Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Century Birthday - Dick Lundy


Richard James Lundy, an only child, was born to parents James and Minnie Lundy a century ago today. He was born in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan on the eastern tip of Lake Superior at the Canadian border. The family would soon move south to Detriot where James began work as an inspector for the Burroughs Adding Machine Company.

By the time Richard was ten years old, his parents were separated and he and his mother had moved north to Port Huron, Michigan. A short time later he and his mother were back in Detroit where she, now divorced, was employed as a waitress at a nearby restaurant. The home they lived in was on Tillman Street very near where highways 96 and 94 intersect today.

Late in the 1920s Dick was in Los Angeles and by the middle of summer,1929 he had arrived at
the Disney Studio on Hyperion where he began in the ink & paint department. That September he was moved up and began inbetweening. With the departure of Ub Iwerks the following January, production began to slip behind. Lundy was soon promoted to animator to help with getting production deliveries back on track. He animated on several classic shorts including Three Little Pigs and Orphans Benefit, the film that would begin his association animating "the duck" later to become known as Donald.

Dick had several residences throughout the area during the 1930s, his first was an apartment at 1740 N. Gramercy Place, just north of Hollywood Boulevard. He moved closer to the studio by 1931 when he lived at 4637 Melbourne Avenue**. Lundy had moved again the next year to an apartment at 6514 Cerritos Place, near Cahuenga Boulevard.

Soon he would be married and he and his new wife, Juanita would settle into an apartment at 3335 Rowena Avenue. In 1934 they were on the move again, to a home at 4115 Greenbush Avenue in Sherman Oaks.
Following his work on the landmark feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lundy was given to opportunity to direct some of the cartoon shorts beginning in 1939. By this time Dick was divorced from Juanita and he and his second wife, Anne, were living at 4615 Strohm Avenue in North Hollywood where they would stay until the late 1940s.

He remained a director at Disney's until fall,1943 when he departed to work for Walter Lantz. Dick started as an animator, but quickly moved back to directing on shorts starring Andy Panda and Woody Woodpecker as well as the musical Swing Symphonies. When the Lantz studio closed down in 1948, Lundy moved into making commercials at Wolff Productions.

In the spring of 1950, an offer for more money and directing work landed him at MGM where he briefly took over Tex Avery's unit and directed Caballero Droopy and several Barney Bear shorts. Throughout most of the1950s and 1960s, Lundy lived in Glendale, tucked up against the hills near the Brand Library at 1553 Western Avenue.

He returned to animating when he arrived at Hanna-Barbera in early 1959 where he worked on The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo shows among many others. Aside from a period when he animated on Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat, Lundy remained at H-B until his retirement in late 1973.
He continued to stay busy with freelance work for several years following that 'official' retirement.

Dick Lundy later moved south to beautiful San Diego County. He passed away there on April 7, 1990 at the age of 82.

**Note: Lundy's boss, Walt Disney, had lived next door to this house (at 4639 Melbourne) six years earlier, a short fifty yard walk from his studio at the time on Kingswell Avenue.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Century Birthday - Virgil Ross


Virgil Walter Ross was born a century ago today in Watertown, New York. His parents, Bertha Mary (Hart) and Ellwood Burdsoll Ross, both natives of New York state, married in 1901 and made their home at 142 Washington Street. Their first son, Ellwood Hart Ross, (known by his middle name as a child) arrived in late April in 1906 and Virgil followed about 15 months later.

By the time Virgil was ten, the family had moved to 41 Auburn Street
in the Detroit suburb of Highland Park, Michigan where the his father worked as a tool-making foreman at the Ford Motor Company.

By 1920 the family had relocated to 2857 E. Theresa Street in Long Beach, California and Ellwood continued his trade, but was now working in the nearby shipyards. They had settled further north in the late 1920s at 211 W. 126th Street in Compton a home currently in the shadow of the 110/105 freeway interchange.
While in high school he picked up a pencil and signed up for a class in cartooning.

Shortly after he graduated Virgil began working as a commercial illustrator with an office on Figueora in downtown Los Angeles. Having been turned down when he brought his portfolio to the Disney Studio, he did find work at the Mintz Studio.

His stay at Mintz did not last long and he soon found himself inbetweening at Ub Iwerks' Studio. A short time later he had moved on to Walter Lantz where he eventually became an animator. There he worked with many rising stars of the industry including a young (six months younger than himself) man known by the nickname of Tex.

When Tex Avery was hired in 1936 by Leon Schlesinger to direct cartoons at his studio, he brought along a few of his Lantz co-workers including Sid Sutherland and Ross. He animated in Avery's unit until Tex departed the studio in 1941. Then after a short stint with director Bob Clampett he settled in with Friz Freleng beginning an association that would last nearly three decades!

While at Schlesinger's he met an inker at the studio, miss Frances J. Ewing. They were later married and made their home at 5933 Carlton Way. By 1945 they had moved to 3337 Bennett Drive in the hills above the Cahuenga Pass. They would live on Bennett Drive for more than fifty years!

Following the closing of Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the early 1960s, Ross worked at Filmation, Hanna-Barbera, DePatie-Freleng and Marvel, among others.

Virgil Ross passed away at his home on May 15, 1996 at the age of 88. He had lived long enough to receive the recognition of his peers in the industry and cartoon fans around the world.