John and Faith Hubley

I just found out that the MoMA had a showing of, "A Marriage Made in Heaven": Animated Jazz Shorts from The Hubley Studio.

I would have liked to have seen that.

I discovered John and Faith Hubley almost exactly a year ago, when I went to see Yo La Tengo present Argento's "Four Flies on Grey Velvet" at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Georgia Hubley, the drummer, is their daughter, and she presented the short,"Cockaboody" before the film. It's the type of early 70's animation -jittery and sketchy, highlighted with jazz music and natural dialogue - that makes me sort of sad and uncomfortable in a really good way. Sesame Street is full of it. Harry Nilsson's "The Point" is another good example of it (minus the jazz, I guess). But "Cockaboody" is so sweet. And the Hubley family seems even sweeter.

Faith grew up in New York, but left home as a teenager to pursue a career in Hollywood. She started out as a messenger, but quickly moved up to sound-effects / music editor, and script supervisor. She met John, who was employed at Disney painting backgrounds and layouts for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He became an art director and designed layouts for Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, and the "Rites of Spring" sequence in Fantasia.

In 1952, he was blacklisted for refusing to name names in anti-communist investigations, and the couple moved to New York to start making their own independent short films.

According to a NYT article from 2001:

When Faith and John Hubley married in 1955 and began making films together, they had only two marriage vows, according to Ms. Hubley. ''One was to eat with the children,'' she said. ''The other was to make one independent film a year.''

They kept both promises, and ended up collaborating on 21 short films, until John's death during open-heart surgery in 1977.

I think Faith has been sort of cheated by animation historians, who often refer to her as John's assistant, but between 1976 and 2001, she made 24 films of her own. - I like to think that after his death, she felt the need to continue upholding their vow, and in doing so, she was forced to find her own voice which may have been overshadowed a little.

I'm a fan of their other daughter's work too. Emily Hubley did the awesome animation for "The Origin of Love" in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." And "Who Am I?" which was directed by Faith.

The Tender Game by John and Faith Hubley - Ella Fitzgerald (1958)

MoonBird Hubley 1959 Acadamy Award Winning Cartoon Moonbird

Cockaboody (1973) (with voice-overs of Emily and Georgia):

Mr Magoo:

A few Ads:

John Hubley planned and shaped the Watership Down opening sequence ( I think he may have passed away while it was being made) :

For Sesame Street:

Electric Company:

Reference: Muppet Wiki
Interview of Faith Hubley for the Onion A.V. Club 2000
Letterman Playlist on Youtube
Michael Sporn Animation

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