Monday, January 28, 2013


As I've mentioned 
eleventy hundred and five times on this blog,
my first job in animation was at 
Buzzco Associates
back in 1990.

I was only there for less than a year,
but I learned a ton
and met many people who became 
good friends, 

One of them was a guy named Gordon Bellamy.
He was an assistant animator on the theatrical short
Buzzco was making based on the Rudyard Kipling story,
The Maltese Cat.

Gordon couldn't have been a nicer guy.
He was in his early 50's.
Bright eyed behind little round glasses.
A comforting Southern twang.
Crimson suspenders.
Balding save the anachronistic rat-tail he wore
which gave hint to his musical tastes.

Jesus Jones
Blue Aeroplanes
The English Beat

You know...
the stuff all us college kids 
were listening to at the time.
It was really strange
to have an
'old guy'
introduce me to
(and awesome)

one day while we were working,
this conversation went down:

Gordon:  Hey, Tom.
Me:  Yeah?
Gordon:  You got an animation disc?
Me: Um... no.
Gordon:  Want one?

And I was all like--

For those of you unfamiliar,
an animation disc is
the round frame for the glass that goes over a lightbox.
It has specified pegs that registered animation paper fits onto
and can turn to help the animator draw at any angle he or she wants.

Here's an example from the 
Beavis and Butthead years
at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions:

In this day of CGI and Cintiqs,
they're pretty much obsolete.

But back then,
owning an animation disc 
was like having your own car.
(Well, maybe a cheap used car)
They were expensive!

And Gordon was going 
to GIVE me one!
But not just any disc...
 Mr. Bellamy was handing 
his own personal disc down to me!

He had been looking for some 
young up-and-coming kid to give it to the same way
it had been given to him.
And to that person before.

On the back was a piece of tape with all
"the folks who this disc owned previously"

The first was legendary Disney animator 

How cool is THAT?!

The second owner was...



that piece of tape?
It eventually dried up and crumbled away.
And I don't remember who the 2nd person was.
It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it.

The third person was Gordon.
so I can't even ask who gave it to him.

And the fourth was

Here it is today:

The sliding peg bar was gone long before I got it.

The bottom pegs have also gone missing.
They weren't the standard Acme used in my day,
so I had a plastic peg bar taped on the glass.

I can't find pictures of any of my home desks with the disc
except this one...
taken during some late night JJSP project.

The poor thing gets no love these days.
I can't even remember the last time I 
actually animated anything myself.
Even if I did,
odds are it wouldn't be on paper.

What's worse...
there's no enthusiastic young kid for me to hand it down to,
except maybe for nostalgic reasons.

But that's okay.
I think I'd have a hard time parting with it.

Wanna learn more about animation discs?
Wanna see an old desk I worked at?
Of course, you do!

So head on over to Imprint Magazine
and check out
J.J. Sedelmaier's comprehensive post
on animation discs and peg bars.
It's jam-packed with pics of animation gear 
from ages past!
(and my old desk at JJSP!)

And it's all right


pinkandorangesunset said...

ugh, so lucky! Your my idol D8

Joe said...

I just stumbled across the blog post about your animation disc. I originally saw the photo of the back side of the disc and happen to know who E H. Bowlds was -- Edward Hamilton "Eddi" Bowlds (1906-1960) a native of Los Angeles, was a background painter at Van Beuren 1934-1936 and later at the Fleischer Studio in Miami. Very interesting to discover that he had also gone into engineering to manufacture these discs!