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Preston Blair

Preston Blair

(1908?1995) was an American character animator, most noted for hiswork at Walt Disney Productions and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayeranimation department. A native of Redlands, California, Blair beganhis animation career in the early 1930s at the Universal studiounder Walter Lantz and Bill Nolan. He later moved over to CharlesMintz's Screen Gems studio, and in the late 1930s moved over to theDisney studio. At Disney, Blair animated cartoon short subjects,Mickey Mouse scenes in The Sorcerer's Apprentice section ofFantasia, and the hippo-alligator dance in Fantasia's "Dance of theHours" sequence. He also did some work on Disney's Pinocchio andBambi. Blair left Disney after the 1941 Disney animator's strike,and was hired to work for Tex Avery's unit at MGM. There, he becameparticularly noted for animating the titular female character inRed Hot Riding Hood. "Red" later re-appeared in more Averycartoons, including Swing Shift Cinderella, Little Rural RidingHood, Uncle Tom's Cabana and the Droopy cartoons The Shooting ofDan McGoo and Wild and Woolfy, with animation by Blair. In the late1940s, Blair teamed with Avery animator Michael Lah to directseveral Barney Bear cartoons. Blair continued his career inanimation into the 1960s, working on The Flintstones atHanna-Barbera. He is most noted, however, as an author of animationinstructional books for the Walter Foster publishing company. Hisfirst book, Animation, was published in 1948 and originallyincluded images of the famous MGM & Disney cartoon charactershe had animated, who were redrawn to obscure their origins in thesecond edition of the book. Blair would write many more animationhow-to texts over the next forty years, culminating with 1994'sCartoon Animation, a 224-page book which compiles most of thecontent from all of his books.

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