Back in the eighties, two remarkable people came together to launch an animation studio here in the southland. One was an Orange County businessman and the other was one of the most gifted artist and designers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Our initial office was located on Ventura Blvd in Studio City and this is where these photographs were taken. It’s interesting to note that many of our young employees or interns would later move into high profile positions in the animation industry. Heck, I would even be employed by some of the very same people I hired. These rare photographs capture that remarkable time and serves as a warning to always treat the people you hire with respect. They could very well be your boss one day.

The studio would one day grow in size and would occupy a much larger facility in an industrial park near the Hollywood Burbank Airport. Our staff consisted of industry veterans as well as a number of young animation artists just out of school. It was a very exciting time as we busily developed a number of projects that never went anywhere. Actually, there was one exception. A cute little cartoon bear with the cutesy name, “Kissyfur” actually became a television series on NBC. I still find it funny that a number of people considered the name, “Kissyfur” somewhat risqué. Actually, it had nothing to do with sex. Rather, it was the way a young child pronounce the name, “Christopher.”

That’s story man, Pat Ventura along with animator, Glenn Chaika in the photograph on the upper left. The artists work away on storyboards in the picture on the right, and down below we see industry veteran, Dave Hanan and background artist, Michael Humphries setting up animation desks. Also in the photograph are Pat Ventura and Gary Trousdale who would one day be a top feature film director for Walt Disney Feature Animation. However, this is what things were like back in the eighties when a group of young kids began their long journey in the strange, crazy business known as animation.

The early days of the amazing studio launched by businessman, Tom Carter and animation genius Phil Mendez.

The early days of the amazing studio launched by businessman, Tom Carter and animation genius Phil Mendez.

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AuthorFloyd Norman