The Duane Crowther Letters Pt. 4

duane-letter-1-29-53.jpgduane-letter-2-28-53.jpg Happy Thanksgiving y’all! Here are the next two letters that Duane Crowther wrote to Bob Balser in January and February 1953. Duane keeps trying to get in touch with Flora Mock, whom he apparently met while he was a student of William Shull at UCLA . He describes the atmosphere at UPA New York, thriving in spite of the Actor’s strike then going on. They were doing the “Howdy Doody and the Magic Hat” cartoon for Bob Smith, and the theatrical cartoon “Spare The Child”. Duane does quite an analysis of “Spare The Child” in his letter of 2-28-1953. He criticizes Abe Liss, the director of the picture, and sites an “Oedipus situation” in the story. UPA hired Cliff Roberts to do design and backgrounds, effectively relieving Duane of the responsibility. Duane remained in touch with Cliff and was still using him for jobs at Duck Soup in the 1980s and 90s. You’ll see a few opening chess moves on page one of the 2-28-53 letter, Duane played chess all his life. Bob Balser told me that Duane learned a lot of advanced moves from a chess master that Duane met in Japan when he was in the Armed Forces (see The Duane Crowther Letters, Part One). This knowledge served Duane very well, even to the time of his illness, when he could hardly talk, Duane was still playing chess in his sick bed, and LETTING BOB WIN! Evidently Duane was interested in cryptography as well, look at the back of the envelope for the 2-28-53 letter above, and you’ll see an alphabet with odd symbols next to the letters. Either they are code, or Greek, I can’t tell. More of these little pieces of Duane’s history to come.

flintstones-11-4-62.jpgflinstones-11-11-62.jpgflintstones-11-18-62.jpgflintstones-11-25-62.jpg In response to Yowp’s blog, here are the Flintstones 1/3rd page Sundays from November, 1962. Some of these may have been the work of Dick Bickenbach, but the 4th and the 11th seem to be the work of an animator to me, judging by how pushed the poses are. Let me know what you think. To see the 1/2 page versions of these in black and white, head over to Yowp’s blog (link is to the right of the page). You’ll see many fascinating historic screeds, although how Yowp has time to write and assemble them all continues to puzzle me. Remember, just click on the thumbnails above to see them full size. May you all have good things to eat on Thanksgiving.

2 Responses to “The Duane Crowther Letters Pt. 4”

  1. In letter 2, I’m guessing the feature that “Steve” (Bosustow, I presume) was in talks with is the Magoo “Arabian Nights” flick?

    I have to keep reminding myself that the UPA “Family Circus” short had nothing to do with the long-running newspaper comic (it didn’t even start until 1960, then called “Family Circle”)

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Charles,
    I don’t think the feature that Duane is referring to is “1001 Arabian Nights”, but some other property. Not quite sure what, as this is 1953 it seems a little early for “Arabian Nights”. You’re right, the “Family Circus” shorts have nothing to do with the Bil Keane comic strip. The daily “Family Circus” still retains the circle format held over from the days when the strip was called “The Family Circle”.
    Mark

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