Howard Beckerman, now 81, lived through and witnessed much of the Paramount cartoon studio’s history. He started as an inbetweener at Terrytoons at age 19 and worked at Famous Studios the following year. He didn’t return until much later in 1964, when the studio entered one of its few creative surges under Shamus Culhane, where he wrote, storyboarded, designed, and animated on many shorts. Howard is an immensely talented artist, teacher, and a living piece of animation history.
When I visited him with Tom Stathes earlier in March this year, I made it a point of bringing him copies of the shorts he worked on at Paramount and record his recollections of working on them and of his dealings with Culhane, Al Eugster, Irv Spector, and other underrated stars from NY animation’s past. My apologies for the poor editing and low quality, but at the insistence of Jerry Beck, I managed to make something relatively coherent out of about two hours of raw audio recorded in Howard’s living room. (As you can tell from how often this site is updated, I have very little time to spare.)
You can download an mp3 of this night here. (mp3 file size is 69 MB.)
And for your viewing pleasure, here are several of the shorts we discussed that have been posted online.