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Oliver Postgate RIP
January 14th, 2009

Since 1994, I have been helping organize an annual memorial for ASIFA/Hollywood and the GUILD to honor all those who have passed away that year. One ancillary result of my efforts is it enables me to learn about facets of the Animation industry I had not known of before.

This year, one of the revelations to my parochial American eyes is the depth of emotion caused by the passing of Oliver Postgate.

Oliver Postgate 1925-2008 was the son of a British MP, a conscientious objector and anti-nuclear protestor who in his soft, gentle way made some of the most memorable British children's programming ever.

In 1959 he and his partner Peter Fermin turned an old cowshed into an animation studio. Oliver wrote the stories and did the voices and articulated the cuttouts under a 16mm camera, and Fermin did the visuals. They could sometimes finish up to two minutes of footage a day! For this the BBC paid them 3O pounds an episode.

To many a child growing up in the British Isles in the 60s and 70s, these programs are the warmest of childhood memories.

Check out this video retrospective on U-Tube, and read all the tributes from around the world below. Do a GOOGLE search and check out all the articles about him.

Shelley Page of Dreamworks wrote me: I don't know who or what was the voice of your childhood - but for Brits of my and Jan's (Pinkava) generation it will always be Oliver Postgate's unforgettable voice - warm, witty and reassuring. He stirred the imagination of a generation as no other animator (with the possible exception of Walt Disney) ever has or will do.

In the Hollywood animation business we endlessly stress over money, status, union contracts and job security. But every once and awhile, we need to step back and be reminded what a wonderful thing we've been allowed to do - that we can touch the hearts of children, and create memories for them that will be there long after we too are gone.

Sometimes, just knowing that is compensation enough.

Thank you Oliver Postgate, for reminding this dumb Colonial what really matters. Congratulations for your amazing career.

{The ASIFA/TAG sponsored AFTERNOON OF REMEMBRANCE will be held Saturday Feb 7th at the HOLLYWOOD STUDIO MUSEUM at 1:30PM. It is a non-religious program where the animation community remembers their friends and colleagues. Among the 40 other honorees will be Ollie Johnston, Bill Melendez and Eartha Kitt. admission is free and all are welcome}