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'Mr Magoo': WC Fields as inspiration, Jim Bachus as voice


Robert Canon
Jules Engel Film-maker
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Steve Bosustow's son, yeah, he's going to do a film on people who work in the studio. Yeah, he talked to me about a month ago. So finally, finally, which I've been pushing for a long time, to get a book out or something on Bobo Cannon. He's the man who really was responsible for all those films and nobody knows about him. Of course, to a degree, he was... Bobo Cannon his name, he was so... bashful. Bashful is the wrong word. But what happened is Los Angeles Times is going to come out and do a big article on Bobo Cannon because of the films. But anyway, here they're coming with all the equipment, big equipment and all that stuff and… but Bobo Cannon is missing. Where the hell is he? I know where he is. So I go outside the street and I look down this one street, the restaurant is on this street, this was the street, there is Bobo, he's running, he's running away. He's running away. I caught up with him, I said, 'Bob, the paper is here, the people are waiting for you, you've got to talk to them'. Sure enough, I took him back and this is what happened: 'No. Yup. Maybe. No.' And they stopped, they turned around and they walked out. That was the big spread of Bobo Cannon. You see what I mean what kind of person he was? That was a problem. And he never got that much in the press but I think things are happening now. I think they're probably going to have something on him, you know, in a book or a magazine or a large article in an animation magazine. Yeah, an animation magazine I was talking to and they're probably going to do an article on Bobo Cannon. No one knows him, everybody knows Chuck Jones. I mean that's just ridiculous, you know? But because Chuck Jones wanted to get that aspect of it, he wanted to get that aspect of it, you know? Bob never saw that end of it. He never saw it for that. He just did something, was something that he loved to do. And that's just beautiful you know, I mean, there's nothing better, you know?

[Q] Did you know Chuck Jones and do you like the work that he did?

Well, no, he's good, he's good. No, I don't like him. I don't want to hurt him. You know, he's good, he's good, but... Bobo is... Bobo Cannon had this quality that Chuck never had. Chuck is loud and noisy whereas Bob is just the opposite. When you're looking at those films, like Madeline or Frankie and Johnny, Unicorn in the Garden, you know? I think he did 13 films in the time while we were in business at UPA. And also he was a wonderful human being, you know? There was nothing about him that… I want that, you know. But that's all yesterday.

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Bill Moritz Tamara Tracz

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: Madeline, Frankie and Johnny, Unicorn in the Garden, United Productions of America, Los Angeles Times, Animation Magazine, Robert Canon, Steve Bosustow, Chuck Jones

Duration: 3 minutes, 46 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008