Friends, it has been a couple of weeks since the last Toon In offering – you might even have thought we’ve dropped into The Hole perhaps? That just happens to be title of the classic animated short film that we are sharing today – one that I might add won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject – and after you watch it for yourself I believe you will agree it most certainly deserved it. The Hole was written by Faith and John Hubley with animation being handled by Bill Littlejohn (The 2000 Year Old Man) as well as Gary Mooney (Underdog).
The Hole was produced and animated at Storyboard Studios, the animation studio that John Hubley formed in 1953 after being forced out of the UPA studios for refusing to participate in the House Commitee of Un-American Activities. Hubley received his start in animation working at the Walt Disney Studios as a background and layout artist – working on the likes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and the “Rites of Spring” segment of Fantasia. After the Disney animation strike in ’41 – he would end up working at UPA where he would have a hand in co-creating the character of Mr. Magoo.
The animation for The Hole is rather unique for the time – as instead of using animation cels and paint – Littlejohn and Mooney shot it on paper and used watercolors. If this looks a little familiar I believe they used the very same process while working on animated shorts for The Electric Company!
The Hole features the voice work of both George Matthews (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) and iconic jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. Furthermore the dialogue was totally improvised – which I find to suit the two characters quite well. In the short film we listen to two construction workers talking about a myriad of subjects – from dirty dishes, citizenship, and even nuclear annihilation. The humor comes not from the standard hijinks of the typical animated short but the real life conversations between these two co-workers – although I would be lying if I didn’t say the ending is a chilling one.