Friday, May 8, 2009

Praise for Iwao Takamoto

Film critic Leonard Maltin weighs in on Iwao Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters at his blog, Movie Crazy. Takamoto was a very influential and well-respected animation artist.

The book chronicles his career, first with the Walt Disney Studios, where he worked directly with the famous "Nine Old Men," and later for Hanna-Barbera, where he was a key artistic force. Takamoto is responsible for designing characters such as Scooby-Doo, Atom Ant, The Jetsons' Astro, The Flintstones' Great Gazoo, and The Wacky Races' Penelope Pittstop and Muttley.

The book is highly readable but it’s also a valuable document for several reasons: we learn what it was like to grow up in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles in the 1930s, gain a vivid portrait of life at the Manzanar camp during World War Two, discover rich, wonderful anecdotes and observations about working at the Disney studio, and get an inside look at the m.o. of Hanna-Barbera when it was at its peak of production (along with intimate word pictures of both Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera).

Takamoto has a wonderful sense of humor and his book is an absolute delight. It’s also one of the richest autobiographies I’ve ever read by someone in the animation field.

My Life with a Thousand Characters
is now available from UPM.

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