Shamus on Shamus

I think I first made personal contact with Shamus Culhane when he wrote an incensed letter to Animato about a book review we’d published–of what book, I don’t remember. (By then, I was already a huge fan of his Talking Animals and Other People memoir, still one of the most indispensable books ever written about animation.) Shamus may have been incensed, but he turned into a friend. We exchanged letters and talked on the phone, and I have extremely vivid memories of the two visits I made to his coop on West End in New York. Chatting with him in person was like getting a live, uncensored, funnier version of his memoir, although he talked about Animato with as much enthusiasm as he did about his own life and work.

Kip Williams
pointed me to the videos below, which record parts of a 1989 interview that Ira Gallen conducted with Shamus. It’s wonderful to see him and hear that voice again, about thirteen years after I last saw him in person…

2 comments on “Shamus on Shamus”

  1. Part of the fun of being an animation fan in those days was getting to know a lot of those colorful personalities. Thanks to a lot of good friends and fellow fans, I got to meet guys like Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Shamus. And Shamus was every bit the character as advertised.

    I still have both his books – not only his “Talking Animals” book, but his subsequent “Animation from Script to Screen” how-to book which was extremely invaluable in helping to tell the good from the bad.

    How many of today’s animation wizards are going to possess that same charm about times gone by when they’re in their 70’s and 80’s?

  2. That was me who pissed Shamus off. Ironically, I had a great interview with him several years prior to the review I wrote of his book. He was a very interesting guy….now that’s a neutral phrase!

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