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Classic Animated Directors: 8 Filmmakers Who Stand Out

By    |   Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:20 PM

Remember when moviegoers looked forward to the animated shorts that played before featured films? Animated films enjoyed a Golden Age in the United States when technology advanced to enable sound to appear with the stories on film.

At the height of popularity, animated, full-length feature films were considered exciting theater attractions, and animated short films were regularly played prior to top-billed films in theaters around the world. The Golden Age of Animation lasted from 1928 until the late 1960s, when cartoons found a home on television. Here is a look at some of the top directors of animated films.

1. Walt Disney

Disney formed Walt Disney Productions in 1928, launching the careers of several prominent directors. Disney occasionally acted as sole director, on films such as "Barnyard Concert," "Just Mickey," and "The Cactus Kid." Others in the Disney camp led direction efforts on very important projects.

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2. David Hand

Hand's first director credit was a Mickey Mouse short, "Building a Building," followed by "Silly Symphonies" and additional Mickey shorts. He directed 32 animated films and is best known for his stellar achievement on family favorites "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Bambi."

3. Ben Sharpsteen

Sharpsteen directed both animated and live-action movies, including classics "Pinocchio" and "Dumbo." He also wore many hats at the studio, receiving Disney's praise for his essential contributions.

4. Tex Avery

For Warner Brothers, Avery directed the escapades of Bugs Bunny and his pal Daffy Duck, the Road Runner and nemesis Wile E. Coyote, and the lovable pig with a speech impediment, Porky. He later developed Chilly Willy at Walter Lantz's studio.

5. Friz Freleng

Freleng is linked to his work on "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies," staples as opening acts at theaters everywhere. His subjects included the studios superstars, and he was known to physically resemble Yosemite Sam. He later hooked up with producer Dave DePatie to create the Pink Panther for the opening and closing credits of the film of the same name, which evolved into a long-running cartoon on TV. 

6. William Hanna and 7. Joseph Barbera

Hanna and Barbera began their relationship at MGM, working on the classic "Tom and Jerry" shorts. They opened Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1957, where features like "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear" and "Charlotte's Web," along with TV shows like "The Flintstones," "The Jetsons," and "Scooby Doo" were born.

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8. Walter Lantz

Lantz signed on with Universal Studios in 1929, directing Andy panda, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and the adorable Jolly Little Elves. He opened his legendary Walter Lantz Studio in 1935, directing such notables as Andy Panda and Woody Woodpecker. Lantz took his inspiration from events in his own life, and he considered his characters as being "real."

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Animated films enjoyed a Golden Age in the United States when technology advanced to enable sound to appear with the stories on film. Here is a look at some of the top classic directors of animated films.
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:20 PM
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