R.I.P. Arthur Rankin, Jr.
February 1, 2014 8:20 PM Subscribe
posted by dotgirl (35 comments total)
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Arthur Rankin Jr., the animator behind holiday classics such as Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
passed away on Thursday, January 30.
Arthur Rankin, Jr. was born in New York City in 1924 into a showbiz family. His father was prolific actor Arthur Rankin, whose career spanned the silent era to the early 1940s, and his grandfather Harry Davenport co-founded Actors Equity and appeared in "Gone With the Wind"
He began his career in the early 1940s as a cameraman for RKO. In 1948, he moved to the newly formed ABC studios as an art director. He left ABC in 1952 to start his own company, through which he met Jules Bass.
In late 1960, Arthur and Jules formed Videocraft International, which was renamed Rankin/Bass in 1961. Although you likely remember them most for their stop-motion features which utilise doll-like characters with spheroid body parts and ubiquitous powdery snow using an animation technique called "Animagic", Rankin/Bass has a much broader portfolio.
The pair worked together on the 1977 animated telling of The Hobbit
, for which they won a Peabody award, as well as the 1980 animated version of The Return of the King
The pair are also responsible for The Last Unicorn
, and The Wind In The Willows