The Visionary Animation of John and Faith Hubley - Thur. May 14 - 8PM

Oddball Films and curator Kat Shuchter present The Visionary Animation of John and Faith Hubley, an animated program of films by the first family of animated experimentation as part of our Masters of Animation series. In the 1940s (up to 1951), John Hubley worked as a director and animator at UPA, defining their mid-century style of minimal and stylized backdrops, a style that would take over the animation industry for decades to come. John was blacklisted from the studio system in the age of McCarthyism and so he and his wife struck out on their own, working out of their kitchen, experimenting with form and technique and creating some of the most ingenuitive, forward-thinking, and politically conscious - but nonetheless humorous and entertaining - cartoons in animation history and winning several Oscars in the process. Inspired by jazz (and often scored by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Benny Carter), the Hubleys films have the same feeling of improvisation and experimentation. This program will highlight both John and Faith's solo-careers as well as their plentiful and imaginative collaborations. We will begin with the last Mr. Magoo short John Hubley directed for UPA, the hilarious Fuddy Duddy Buddy (1951) in which our nearsighted hero mistakenly befriends a tennis-playing walrus. Adventures of an *(1956) - the first collaboration between John and Faith - features a stunning experimentation of imagery and a soundtrack from the great Benny Carter. Dudley Moore and Dizzy Gillespie improv a tale of two soldiers on either side of a borderline discussing the absurdities of war, the nature of humanity and even dinosaurs in the hilarious and thought-provoking The Hat: Is This War Necessary? (1967). A runaway city on legs devours everything in its path in the engaging allegory of urbanization Urbanissimo (1967). A taped recording of the couple's toddler daughters, Emily and Georgia (from Yo La Tengo) provide the naturalistic soundtrack to the delightful Cockaboody (1973). Take a ride on the carousel of life in excerpts from Everybody Rides the Carousel (1975). A rock pushes a little boy into the center of the earth to teach him about pre-history in Dig: A Journey into the Earth (1972).  We will be finishing the evening with Faith's first solo work, the inspiring and beautiful Women of the World (1975). Plus!  Two John Hubley commercials: Maypo (1956) and doggy Flavor Snacks (1966, a Clio award-winner) and the AT&T produced We Learn About the Telephone (1965) a mix of live-action and Hubley animation for the early birds.

Date: Thursday, May 14th, 2015 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117

"The Hubleys were exciting to work with because they had a strong sense of adventure in their filmmaking. John was never tied down to techniques that he was already familiar with. Each picture was a new experience, because the appearance of the film was always dictated by the content."
-Shamus Culhane


Adventures of an * (Color, 1956, John and Faith Hubley) 
The first film John and Faith Hubley produced together commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum, with music by jazz great Benny Carter. “They violated all the rules”, remembered once animator William Littlejohn, “They threw dust on the cels, and they worked with grease so the paint would run. It came out beautifully: everybody was awestruck that such a thing would work”.

We decided to do a film with music and no dialogue and to deal with abstract characters. We wanted to get a graphic look that had never been seen before. So we played with the wax-resist technique: drawing with wax and splashing it with watercolor to produce a resisted texture. We ended up waxing all the drawings and spraying them and double-exposing them. We did the backgrounds the same way. It photographed with a very rich waxy texture, which was a fresh look” – John Hubley 

Mr. Magoo: Fuddy Duddy Buddy (Color, 1951) 
Mr. Magoo's first starring role and John Hubley's last Magoo cartoon before being blacklisted for not naming names during the era of McCarthyism. Mr. Magoo heads to the country club for a game of tennis when he mistakes a walrus for his tennis partner.  Meanwhile, a zoo detective is hunting down the walrus to bring back to the zoo.  By the end of the day, Magoo and the Walrus have unwittingly outwitted the detective and become the best of friends.

Urbanissimo (Color, 1966, John and Faith Hubley)
Famed animators John and Faith Hubley’s film tells the tale of a wily farmer who matches wits with a runaway “city” on legs. Dramatizing the blight perpetuated by chaotic urban development, this animated film tells the story of an unassuming little farmer, symbolic of non-urban man, who is sitting amidst natural surroundings enjoying the flowers and bees. He is interrupted by the entrance of a personified city which chews into his charming landscape. The urban monster is rampant and uncontrollable but the farmer is intrigued by its mobility and dynamic excitement. With a hoppin’ jazz soundtrack by the great Benny Carter with Maynard Ferguson and Ray Brown.

Everybody Rides the Carousel (Color, 1975 excerpts)
A film about the many stages of life and human development, based on the writings of Eric Erikson. Featuring trumpet soloist Dizzy Gillespie.  We will be enjoying Ride 1, Ride 7 and Ride 8, starring the voices of Dinah Manoff, Juanita Moore, and Jack Gilford.

The Hat: Is This War Necessary? (Color, 1967)
An entertaining anti-war allegory of two soldiers on either side of a border line. When one soldier's hat flies off onto the other side of the border, he and the opposing soldier get into a fascinating conversation on the nature of aggression, adaptation and the absurdity of war.  The soldiers voices are none other than Dudley Moore and Dizzy Gillespie, who improvised their parts in the Hubley's kitchen.  For an in depth examination of The Hat, check out Michael Sporn's article here:

Dig: a Journey into the Earth (Color, 1972)
Music by Quincy Jones and starring the voice talents of Maureen Stapleton and Jack Warden.
Adam and his dog named Bones take off on a simple bike ride to the store, but after they stop at a construction sight, a talking rock throws them into rabbit hole towards the center of the earth.  Then, Rocco takes them on a magical and scientific journey through the pages of pre-history; from stalactites to dinosaurs and all before dinner!
Women of the World (WOW) (Color, 1975, Faith Hubley)
Faith Hubley began work on Women of the World as her first solo project (with help from other women in her circle, including daughter Georgia (drummer/vocalist for Yo La Tengo). Using ritualistic Goddess imagery from different ancient civilizations, Hubley creates a beautiful and artistic history of the world from a feminist point of view.

Plus! Clio-award-winning 1966 commercials for Flavor Snacks directed by the Hubleys! and John Hubley's spot for Maypo cereal from 1956.

For the Early Birds:

We Learn About the Telephone (Color, 1965) 
A young man sketches a generic human (“Mr. Man”) who takes us back through history to show us how humans developed a need to communicate and the devices to do so. Then shows us how telephones enable the modern mid-Sixties world. Part-animated by the master John Hubley.

Curator’s Biography
Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder.  She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009.

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.
Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.