Home > Animation, Film, TV & Radio, Graphics & Illustration, Things I Like... > Halas & Batchelor – Animators

Halas & Batchelor – Animators

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Although their names are not well known, the husband and wife team of John Halas & Joy Batchelor were responsible for some of the most recognisable British animations and cartoons of the post war period.

The couple met in the early 1940’s and together created what was for over 50 years, the largest and most influential animation studio in Western Europe. Sometimes referred to as the British Disney, Halas & Batchelors Studio produced over 2000 films, bringing to the world of animation a reputation for extending the possibilities and boundaries of the medium.

Their works include a number of post war public information films including the rather wonderful Charley in New Town, a 1948 promo for the Government’s New Town Development Programme.

The one most people might recognise is their highly acclaimed animated version of Animal Farm. Released in 1954 it is generally considered to be the very first British animated feature film released worldwide. Amazingly YouTube has all 1 hour and 11 minutes of the film here

The seventies saw their influence spread across the Atlantic and resulted in animated series for both the Jackson Five and the Osmonds, both of which I can clearly remember from my childhood. And then something I’ve only just discovered writing this post; an inspired psychedelic interpretation of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn from 1979.

Clips from a number of their films can be found on their own site here.

Anyway, I read today that the Halas and Batchelor archives have been donated to the BFI for the Nations posterity, which I think is very fitting. Hopefully this will result in a more widespread appreciation of their work.

Check out Automania 2000 from 1963, a fantastic 8 minutes of film with a message truly ahead of its time:

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