Halas & Batchelor for the
Office of Information animation: cel animation films:
8 x 9mins
was a post-war cartoon star, created for the Central Office of Information
by Halas & Batchelor, at the behest of
then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir
Stafford Cripps. Charley was an "everyman",
just a regular, working class fellow,
through whom the public could learn
about the various reforms that were being
undertaken in Britain, to help the country get
back on its feet after WWII.
"Charley" films were produced in 1946 - 1947 and released
from 1948. There
eight films in total, looking at the new towns,
schooling, the National Health, building
up exports and working for heavy industry.
had his own chirpy theme tune,
and opening titles, in which he would ride across
the screen on his bicycle, writing
out his name. And each film was billed as being
part of an ongoing series, so you
knew there were others to view and learn from.
Usually the films would begin with chipper Charley
on his pushbike, exploring
postwar Britain and commenting on social developments.
He would interact with
an unseen Narrator, who would answer his questions,
correct and educate him.
Charley could often be a reluctant reformist,
and would need some cajoling to get
into the spirit of things. Indeed, in the most
imaginative of the films, "Charley's
March of Time", our hero runs away from the
introduction of National Insurance,
all the way back to the Dawn of Time!
In "Charley Junior's Schooldays"
we focus on Charley's new baby boy, and we
soon discover that Charley Junior's a chip off
the old block, as he tours the
new school developments springing up around
Of course, by the end of each short tale, any hesitancy
has been blown away,
and Charley - Senior or Junior - is right
behind the reform and eager to participate.
Just what the Government wanted.
The "Charley" films were handsomely
produced and delivered, and displayed
some great creativity. The chipper exchanges
and ripostes between Charley and
the Narrator may seem quaint today, but they were
the perfect way to get the
message home. Halas & Batchelor were particularly
adept at conveying what
were then considered daunting, or complex
new ideas with clarity and focus,
and just the right amount of humour...
The Charley films
Charley in the New Towns
Charley in "Your Very Good Health"
Charley's March of Time
Charley in the New Schools
Charley in the New Mines / Charley's
Charley Junior's Schooldays
Halas & Batchelor Cartoon
Halas, Joy Batchelor producers: John
Halas, Joy Batchelor stories: John
Halas, Joy Batchelor design: John
Halas, Joy Batchelor music: Matyas
Percy Wright backgrounds: John
Beaven animation: Douglas
Low, Wally Crook, Jack king
Beaven, Percy Wright, Vera Linnecar
Williams, R Privett, EH Meyer sound & fx: Jack
King editor: Jack
King voices: Jack
This is grand. Four "Charley"
films are actually available to view online,
at the National Archive,
together with images and plenty of information
about the reform in question,
and its historical context...
The official site with info
on their magnificent catalogue, details of the
studio history, awards, availability
and clips to view too...
The Surrey-based centre
have an extensive Halas & Batchelor collection,
and they present a wealth
of information for us...