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 Toon Gods
The Hound gets all religious...
  Bob Godfrey - Toon God  

   Saluting the rude and wobbly animator of
   Roobarb, Henry's Cat, and more...



    Wobbling wonders...    Some credits...     Godfrey on the web...


     Wobbling wonders

Bob Godfrey has been animating for nigh-on fifty years. He epitomizes that
     enduring image of the eccentric creator toiling away in his cramped and
     cluttered studio on a shoestring budget. Godfrey
specializes in 2D media,
     often mixing techniques to produce fast-paced, sometimes racy films with
     particular wit and sharpness to them.
Did we say fast-paced? - Let's upgrade
     that to 'breakneck', for surely nothing can outpace his film 'Great', a rip-roaring,
     tongue-twisting sprint through the historical detail of Isembard Kingdom Brunel's
     life and achievements which raced off with an Academy Award in 1976.
     For many, though, it's Godfrey's children's series that are perhaps most familiar.
     'Roobarb And Custard' (1975), 'Noah And Nelly In SkylArk' (1977), and
     'Henry's Cat' (1983) 
are wholly unique, wobbling wonders  of Tea-Time tv.
     All three feature glorious, felt tip colours on white backgrounds. 'Roobarb' 
     really was felt-tipped, 'Noah And Nelly' was cel-created and made to wobble,
     whilst 'Henry' was produced using both cel and felt pen techniques and
     wobbled less, but was no less brilliant for it. Indeed, Henry even collected
     a BAFTA for his brilliance. These three series brim with animated energy
     and enthusiasm and nonsense...

     Away from the 6 o'clock watershed, Bob Godfrey's
films are often rather
     saucy, in a Donald McGill, end-of-pier way. In 'Henry 9 Till 5' (1969),
     'Kama Sutra Rides Again' (1971), 'Dream Doll' (1979), 'Instant Sex' (1980)
     and 'Bio Woman' (1981) Godfrey's just having fun, pointing out our British
     inhibitions about sex and relationships, but - oh, vicar! - what a naughty
     boy he is.
In 1990, Godfrey teamed up with cartoonist Gray Jollife to bring
     'Wicked Willy' into animated life - the perfect marriage, one suspects...

     Godfrey was actually born in Australia, in 1921 but moved here shortly 
     after with his British parents, where he has remained ever since. He started
     out as a background artist in a small Mayfair studio working for W M Larkins,
     but soon realised that background artists frequently ended up in the background
     of the production process too, so after five years he became co-founder of the
     Biographic Studio. The most notable productions during  this period were
     'Polygamous Polonius' (1958), 'The Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit' (1959) and
     commercials for 'Don't Forget The TV Times' and 'Esso Blue'. Godfrey went
     solo in 1964, forming Bob Godfrey's Movie Emporium. This title was later
     shortened to Bob Godfrey Films - the company he still owns and operates

      Bob Godfrey's Dream Doll (1979)

     That's a shot from 'Dream Doll', above. I remember stumbling upon Godfrey's
     more 'adult' output for the first time late at night on Channel 4 when I was
     in my teens - what a world away from 'Roobarb' and co! Here were frank, and
     frankly very funny, sexual toons breaking all the rules of rudeness, but not in
     an erotic way - no - these toons depicted the great taboos in a  thoroughly
     down-to-earth manner you could instantly recognize and chuckle at...
     Oddly, in spite of repeated television, short film and commercial success,
     four Oscar nominations and a coveted golden statuette to his name, no one
     has invited Godfrey to produce an animated feature - Shame on them! - Still,
     he remains a short film genius, a talkative genial artist keen to expound and
     inform about his craft, and the effort involved in its production. And above all
     else, he's an animated inspiration to us all..


    Selected credits

        Bob Godfrey's

        TV Series:

        Roobarb And Custard (1975)
        Noah And Nelly (1977)
        Henry's Cat (1983)
        Bunbury Tales (1987)
        Wicked Willy (1990)

        Henry's Cat...

        Roobarb & Custard...

           Nutty Noah...

Bob Godfrey at the

Academy Awards:

Kama Sutra Rides Again (1972)
Nominated - Best Animated Short

Great (1975)
Winner - Best Animated Short

Dream Doll (1979)
Nominated - Best Animated Short

Small Talk (1993)
Nominated - Best Animated Short

Bob Godfrey at the BAFTAS:

Great (1975)
Winner - Best Animated Short

Dream Doll (1979)
Nominated - Best Animated Short

Henry's Cat (1983)
Winner - Best Animated Short

Other highlights:

British TV Advertising Award 1985
Winner for Trio campaign
(remember? - 'Triiiiioooo!')

Zagreb Animation Festival 1992
Lifetime Achievement Award


     On the web

      The Cartoon Gallery
      Not much out there on the Great WWW, but The Cartoon Gallery site
      features some Bob Godfrey doodles for you to purchase, as well
      as a short biography


                                                         TOON GODS  Next...     
© Bob Godfrey/Stan Hayward/Grange Calveley / F2000-2003