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ROCKY & BULLWINKLE Animator dies in truck crash...

Posted on 12/08/2002 10:40:10 PM PST by Sir Gawain

Edited on 12/08/2002 11:43:48 PM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]

Father Geek here with some tragic uncool news... Long time animator "Tex" Henson has died... I've met TEX many times over the years, listened to his tall-tales for days gone-by in the animation biz, watched as he drew various comic characters for my kids (Harry and Dannie)... he was a great, fun guy full of history and laughs... and a good friend who never turned his back on the fans. As I flip thru my stack of his art that he gave me over the last 30 years I can't help but shed a tear, not only for "TEX", but for the industry he was soooo much a part of... its changed so much...

Gone for the most part are animation studios like the ones he drew for and oversaw. Drawing and painting by hand is fast becoming lost to the world of modern animated features, REAL cels and pencil tests from recent films are becoming rare as hen's teeth to collectors, annnnd that's sad indeed. "TEX" once told me that when he was over seeing the Mexico operation for Jay Ward during the ROCKY & BULLWINKLE hay-day, that they would run out of paint... that he would send out an assistant to get more to a local Mexican hardware store where they would buy regular house paint, bring it back and paint the cels. They would shoot the cels while they were still tacky... the stacks of used cels would instantly stick to each other, annnnnd that's why there are sooooo few old original cels around from that early series. Well, that's not a problem any more... cels have become extinct...

Damn, I'm going to miss hearing him tell those stories...

Here's what Reuters and CNN had to say...

DALLAS, Texas (Reuters) -- William Henson, the animator behind the wise cracking chipmunks Chip 'n Dale, flying squirrel Rocky and the beloved dimwitted moose Bullwinkle, died earlier this week at the age of 78 after being hit by a pi ckup truck in suburban Dallas, a local medical examiner said Thursday.

Known in the industry as "Tex" Henson, the animator joined the Disney animation studios in California after graduating from high school in Dallas. He was a cartoonist for Disney films such as "Song of the South", "Pecos Bill" and "Peter and the Wolf."

Henson's first major claim to fame was when he joined forces with another Disney animator to campaign for the comic chipmunk duo of Chip 'n Dale to become regular characters in Disney animation. The chipmunks were then featured in about two dozen films.

Henson left Disney, and after a stint in New York where he worked on cartoons such as "Casper the Friendly Ghost", he went to Mexico to supervise a studio that turned out some of the more memorable animated character on American television.

He supervised a team of about 180 animators who brought characters such as Rocky, Bullwinkle and the spies Boris and Natasha to life. The studio also turned out other cartoons featuring Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, and the cartoon rabbit of Trix cereal fame.

"There wasn't much expected from those cartoons," Henson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in an interview about 10 years ago.

"We were hackin' 'em out on the cheap, getting' the job done," he said, adding that most of his employees did not speak English or understand the humor of their work.

"But we made 'em as funny-looking as we could under the circumstances and I guess something clicked between the writing and the cartooning," he told the paper.

Henson later moved to the east Dallas suburb of Terrell and taught animation in the Dallas school system. He also drew cartoons for a small newspaper in the area.

He died at Parkland Memorial Hospital of head injuries suffered in the auto accident, the Dallas County Medical Examiner said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: animation; bullwinkle; cartoons; chipanddale; dallas; film; jayward; moosealert; movies; rockyandbullwinkle; texas; texhenson; waltdisney; williamhenson
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To: Sir Gawain

William Erwin "Tex" Henson: Former Disney animator who helped establish Chip 'n Dale characters

By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News

William Erwin "Tex" Henson's long career in animation began in 1944 with Walt Disney Productions, where he became half of the story team that lifted the cartoon duo Chip 'n Dale to feature status, friends said.

On Monday the 78-year-old Mr. Henson was hit by a pickup after stepping off a curb in downtown Terrell. He was taken by helicopter to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died of head injuries. The Dallas County medical examiner's office said the death was accidental.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Anderson-Clayton Brothers Funeral Home, 301 W. Nash in Terrell.

Mr. Henson was born in Dallas, where his family owned a publishing business, said Peggy Holton of Terrell, a longtime friend.

He got his nickname not from his native state, but rather from another North Dallas High School alum who shared his love of cartooning – Fred "Tex" Avery, who developed Bugs Bunny.

After graduating from North Dallas High School, Mr. Henson went to work for Disney in California, where he was a cartoonist for Song of the South, Mickey and the Beanstalk, Pecos Bill and Peter and the Wolf .

Mr. Henson's claim to fame was that he and another artist suggested chipmunks Chip 'n Dale become featured members of the company's staple of characters. Chip 'n Dale, who first appeared in Private Pluto in April 1943, went on to star in 23 theatrical cartoons.

After Disney, Mr. Henson worked in New York, where he helped draw Casper the Friendly Ghost. Later in Mexico, he supervised 180 artists working on The Bullwinkle Show, Underdog, King Leonardo and Tennessee Tuxedo for American television. The studio also produced Trix cereal commercials with a cartoon rabbit.

Mr. Henson also taught animation in the Dallas Independent School District and drew cartoons for a newspaper in Forney. He was always in the hunt for his craft.

"I think there's a lot of animation work starting to stir around this area – and I mean good animation, not this stuff you see now on Saturday mornings," he said in 1979. "I'm one of the old-timers in this business, one of the few left standing on my feet. And the thing is I can get the chance to be part of this new work. I can help them, show them things that can only be learned through years and years of experience."

In recent years, Mr. Henson lived in Terrell, where he continued to promote his craft to children and drew greeting cards for friends, Ms. Holton said.

Mr. Henson leaves no immediate survivors.
21 posted on 12/10/2002 1:27:20 AM PST by weegee
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To: pbear8

The Emporium is next to the old Jay Ward Studios.

22 posted on 12/10/2002 1:28:38 AM PST by weegee
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