At the end of class last week when we watched Ernest Pintoff’s The Critic all I could think about was the Beat Generation of the 1950’s and the subsequent counterculture of the 1960’s. The newly emerging UPA style of animation could be seen as a mirror for the Beat Generation’s continuous challenge of free expression. The ‘Beatnik’ era culture of the late 1950’s – pre Hippie 1960’s encompassed not only literature but music and dance. Poetry, jazz and modern dance were all influenced.
Before Ernest Pintoff won the Oscar for the Best Animated Short for The Critic he directed another animated short in 1961 entitled The Interview. This animation is an interview with a beatnik character named Shorty Petterstein, a jazz musician, that was created by Henry Jacobs. Jacobs was a sound engineer/artist who worked in radio and hosted one of the first ‘world music’ radio programs. The Interview showcases simplistic UPA style – bright color, textured background, partial movement animation, characters with large noses and angled shapes.
I also found a more recent animation, Beatless Nick, that is also in the 1950’s UPA style telling the story of a beatnik with no sense of rhythm.
Dan Meth also capture’s the feeling of the Beat Generation with his contemporary animation of the same name.
Wikipedia: Ernest Pintoff