RON CAMPBELL'S DEBUTS
In the late 60's Ron Campbell, with his good friend and colleague Duane Crowther (RIP), animated many scenes in The Beatles Yellow Submarine feature film, including the Sea of Time sequence, and much of the action between the Chief Blue Meanie and his boot-licking side-kick, Max. He animated a lot of scenes involving the multi-named Boob, Hillary, the Nowhere Man. Earlier, he directed for King Features many of the episodes made in Australia of the highly successful ABC television series The Beatles.
Ron Campbell - Gerry Ray, Pat Mathews, Duane Crowther, Bill Hanna, Al Brodax, Ken Snyder.
In early 1967 Bill Hanna hired me at Hanna-Barbera as an animator. I had come to the US from Australia in late 1966.
In 1968 I started my own company, the year "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You" was first produced. One of my earliest clients was Ken Snyder, who had produced Roger Ramjet. He was selling several shows to the networks in that period (late 1968 early 1969). One was a show based on Mattel's new toy Hot Wheels, another was a show he called Spook-Out. The original drawings for the sales-pitch presentation I saw but had no hand in creating. It starred a group of teens based loosely on the long-successful Archie comic book characters:- Spook-Out featured a handsome hero, a pretty girl, a goofey hippy kid and a smart girl in glasses. They had a big dog, a Great Dane, who could barely speak (like many a 6 year old) who was a big scaredy-cat until the chips were really down. They went around the country in a colorful '60's van solving ghost problems.
The networks bought the Hot Wheels idea from Ken Snyder, but for reasons long forgotten (though I suspect it was doubts about Ken's ability to produce) the Spook-Out idea was shopped by the network to Hanna Barbera. Iwoa Takamato and Joe Barbera redesigned everything, creating Scooby-Doo as everyone knows him, but the basic idea was Spook-Out. In those days the words Love-In, sit-in, drop-out etc were the latest vogue, very hip, up-to-date -- hence Spook-Out.
I have no documented proof of the veracity of this story, just my memory, so my story must be taken as just the memories of an old man, which is all they are. Ken Snyder himself later became a close friend and business colleague of mine through the 1970's.
I did some storyboard work for Scooby-Doo on a free-lance basis that first season in 1969, and subsequently did storyboards for the show in later years. I rarely got credits in those days. For some reason I believed credits were of no importance whatsoever. The animation business was small and everybody knew everybody, including what they did. My company also did several Hot Wheels shows that year, a show that ended with great troubles because they were accused of being long commercials for a toy, which they indubitably were.
No clue as to what shows. It was a TV show and as such it all just runs together in one's mind. I remember every scene I did in Yellow Submarine, that was a feature film, but hardly anything on the TV Beatles, or Scooby-Doo. I just remember going to some trouble drawing a spooky old house once, and I always enjoyed planning scenes when Scooby got scared...
What were exactly your assignments? With what members of the crew did you work more particularly?
I suppose I worked closest with Bill Hanna, but also Iwoa. Yet I did not work in the studio but out of my own studio a mile or soo away on Laurel Canyon Blvd Studio City.
I really liked Bill Hanna and had very little contact with Joe Barbera. I first met Bill Hanna in early 1967. I had to deliver a message to Bill for Eric Porter Productions in Australia, a company that was bidding for sub contract production. After I did so Bill asked me if I wanted a job. I did. He helped get me through all the government rigmarole.
I enjoyed Iwoa's company, and greatly admired his draughtsmanship. I always felt a little uncomfortable around Joe, don't know why, but very much liked his daughter Jane who was a great organizer, v efficient.
Love Dachshunds. Why? Don't much like Great Danes. A friend had one, lovely dog but disobedient and a bit dim...maybe it was the owner? We always had my wife's favorite, Golden Retrievers.
This is actually a great question -- I have sometimes felt extra sympathy for characters sometimes in a very personal and mostly secret way. For almost 10 years I did almost all of the storyboards for the Smurfs and really grew to love poor Brainy Smurf. Inexplicable. The character was a pompous ass, but I secretly felt great empathy for him...I've never admitted this before :) There are others. George Jetson's boss, can't remember his name now. Loved the brat Angelica in the Rugrats.
The teens in Scooby left me a bit cold, they were designed to appeal to tweens, not grown men. Scooby himself carries the day on that show, especially his inability to express himself...
Technical stuff, multiple exposure stuff, computer-generated stuff, lab work. Bottom lights, top lights, they're all Greek to me. Sort of Greek, anyway.
The Big Chase # 26