Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spotlight on Halas & Batchelor

These pioneers of British animated film aren't that well known stateside, even though their studio made several cartoons that the American public of a certain age would be familiar with, including The Jackson Five and The Osmonds for Hanna Barbara. I first ran across the name in the credits of a previous O.F. post - The Medusa Touch, which featured some of their work on a TV screen in one of the scenes. The studio was started in 1940, the same year that John Halas, a native of Hungary married Joy Batchelor, an English girl he had hired several years earlier to work on some animation projects. Their collaboration would span five decades and leave a legacy of animated shorts and full length films that defined the art in Great Britain. Their most famous work was an animated adaptation they created of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Above is the Animal Farm trailer, uploaded to YouTube by Vivien0Halas, the couple's daughter and curator of the Halas & Batchelor archive. Much of the company's business came from commissions for corporations and the government such as The Five, a film produced for health department of Great Britain about proper foot care and the importance of buying the right sized shoes.

Here it is, uploaded to YouTube by WellcomeFilm.

This charming short from 1965 presents the task of washing a dog as a flow chart. It was also uploaded by Vivien0Halas.

Above is the last clip I have for you. It's part one of the uber-trippy Autobahn from 1979 uploaded by NatasPad. This company was such an integral part of the British film industry and so many of its films are known in Britain. Halas and Batchelor deserve to be better known in the US. To find out more about the studio and its founders have a look at this site dedicated to preserving their legacy.


  1. I've never heard if Halas and Batchelor until today. Very good :) I like the Flow Chart the best. I don't think the Autobahn would go over well here :( It's too erotic for the people in the US. Great find on all.

  2. Yes, though in the sexy 70's, things were a little different.

  3. The Jacksons/Osmonds cartoons were produced by Rankin-Bass.

  4. Yes, you're right. They were. Thank you for pointing that out.

  5. I remember them for their Hoffnung shorts.