Friday, January 18, 2019

Gene Deitch on the First NBC Peacock Animated Logo in 1957

Gene Deitch, the American illustrator, animator and film director, had a long and amazing career. Based in Prague since 1959, Deitch is known for creating animated cartoons such as Munro, Tom Terrific, and Nudnik, as well as his work on the Popeye and Tom and Jerry series.

And I just saw this, that he posted on his Facebook page. 

Here's Gene, who, at 94 years of age, is going through some old boxes of stuff from his years in show business. He writes:

"Here’s another photo from the boxes full of my past. One of the most fascinating projects I was handed at UPA New York, about 1953, was to devise a peacock logo for NBC, about to launch color television. We tried all kinds of things in the hopeless attempt get really brilliant colors on 35mm Eastmancolor film. One idea I had was to use the colored gels that Broadway theaters used over their stage lights. I went myself to a stage supply company in downtown Manhattan, and picked out a set of the most intensely colored gels. My idea was to shoot the animating peacock with its tail segments animating open, and then, on separate color runs, frame-by-frame projecting the brilliant gels from below up from the bottom, glued to matching cut out animating peacock tail segments. Difficult to explain quickly, but professionals will get the idea. It was typical of the makeshift workarounds we resorted to, in the days long before 'digits' referred to more than just your fingers! Well in the end, the multiple exposures diminished any special brilliance. The example here, the only one I managed to save, was done with normal top lighting. Anyway, you all know that they ended up with a much simplified and better design; the peacock logo is still in use in the CNBC financial offshoot that we see in Europe"


The New Yorker: In Praise of Gene Deitch

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