Bob Godfrey: Animator of the wonderful Roobarb and Custard Cartoon Series. RIP.
In a bad week for Roobarb and Custard fans that has already seen the loss of the VoiceOver of Richard Briars, now the animator Bob Godfrey has died too.
The wonderful cartoon series that exploded in zany, psychedelic colour in the seventies was a s bright and vibrant and ordinal as its great theme tune- which many have argued is one of the great proto punk anthems.
RIP Bob, you brightened up the world…
He also worked on the Betales Yellow Submarine cartoon…I just found this great quote….
BG: No, that was mostly – there was Bi-Graphic I think we called ourselves then, just about to turn into Bob Godfrey Films and there was George Dunning and TV Cartoons. Now, The Beatles did two films – they did A Hard Day’s Night, they did Help and had a contract to do three films. They weren’t very good, Help wasn’t all that good so they said we’ll do it cartoon, cartoon film, we’ll call it Yellow Submarine so they went to George Dunning and George brought me in on that and he said “I want you to make the Yellow Submarine funny.” So I said, “Ok George, that sounds reasonable but where’s the script?” And he said “Oh well there is no script”. He talked like Senor Droopy from Guadalupe. “Ok, no script. Where’s the storyboard?” “Oh there is no storyboard”. “Oh my God, no script, no storyboard and you want me to make it funny? I mean what am I making funny?” He said “Well you’ve got all the Beatles numbers and we’re doing this and it’s psychedelic”. I was just going out the door when he called me back, he said “Hey Bob have you ever taken LSD?” I said “Hell no George! What’s that gotta do with it?” He said, “I’ll tell you why – this whole thing is a psychedelic trip” – which it was! It was a psychedelic trip, I mean I don’t know what he was taking but it turned into a psychedelic trip, nobody knew what – it had been going about three months and I hadn’t a clue. So, I thought I gotta make this thing funny, I don’t know how to make a Yellow Submarine funny. And so I think I thought of a couple of gags and these gags got into the – it was a really difficult film to make I mean because George Dunning turned himself into a Beatle – he thought that the Beatles music and the Beatles’ numbers were just psychedelia – just drawn out of the air by John Lennon or something! I think they were very professional, they had to be worked on. Anyway finally I got a couple of gags into Yellow Submarineand I think the Yellow Submarine somehow says the 60’s. There’s a film, you may have seen it – I’m trying to think of the name of the guy who did it – um, “Joie de Vivre”. And it is so 30’s. It’s the 30’s, it’s so 30’s. It’s about two naked girls swimming in a pond and a guy cycling through the air on a bike and he takes these two girls – one on the handlebars and one on the crossbar and he cycles through the sky! Oh what’s his name? He was a great animator. And that to me says the 30’s. The Yellow Submarine is the 60’s, it has to be. And they didn’t know what they were doing. George didn’t know what he was doing half the time. I think the Yellow Submarine killed George, I mean he was drinking, you know, whatever he was taking, I mean he died shortly after you know (indecipherable) – oh I know – he was doing my preview theatre seeing Great or something and I turned to George and said “Now you’ve done Yellow Submarine George, what are you going to do next?” and he said “I’m gonna do …” – oh something out of Shakespeare. And I said “Oh my God, why don’t you animate the Bible!” Yeah and that’s what he was gonna do and I saw some line tests on it and it was Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He was gonna animate that. And I’ve seen line tests of Shakespeare’s The Tempest done by George Dunning and I think you can see those courtesy of John Coates, he’s not very well I believe, but John Coates has got these, these incredible line tests and I saw these line tests and I mean if you’re offering work the last thing on earth I’d want would be The Tempest but you know but there it is, it’s wonderful. I don’t think that George could have handled the voices or the drama. I don’t think he was in any way theatrical but he was one hell of an animator. And so this thing people would have looked at it and the wonderful animation may have gone over their head but it was innovative. But it’s around somewhere and it’s very good.