PA and at the early age of 4 years old, the American- born animator was already ‘hooked’ on early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the Mickey Mouse Club and The Woody Woodpecker Show. Eric was fascinated by Walter Lantz’s demonstrations each week and he would watch and learn, about the process of making animated cartoons. His brother, Elliot, taught him how draw Woody crudely and by the age of 6 he began creating his own flipbooks. The living room window became his first light-box and no memo-pad in the house was safe.
“Dumbo” was the first Disney movie he ever saw and still remains his favorite to this day. He mostly stayed indoors drawing hundreds of flipbooks, usually of “Huckleberry Hound” and “Popeye”, while other kids were out playing baseball. Around the age of ten, Warner Bros. “Looney-Tunes” was where he discovered the realm of Chuck Jones, which made him laugh, due to the character’s sophistication, as much as anything else.
Then at thirteen he got a super-8 camera and began making his own films, first on paper and then on cells. This of course landed him guest appearances on local Philadelphia television programs, as well as national on “To Tell the Truth”. Winning the top prizes in the Kodak Teenage Movie Awards, including 1974’s Grand Prize of summer film courses at the University of Southern California.
Working as a professional freelance animator, while still in school, he eventually wound up as a full time assistant animator on “Raggedy Ann and Andy” directed by Richard Williams. There he worked with master animator Tissa David (UPA, Hubley Studios) as well as animation legends Emery Hawkins (Walter Lantz, Warner Bros.) and even Art Babbit (Disney, Quartet).
When the film was completed, Dick invited Eric to work in his London studio as a director, which he went on to do countless television spots. Kent Harris (Chuck Jones’ greatest animator: Bugs, Daffy, Roadrunner, etc.) became his work partner, as Eric was already a ‘Jones-a-phile’. He then went on to learn and hone his skills, including the blur-frame, a classic Jones techniques, from one of his greatest childhood influences.
Disney came knocking at Eric’s door for what would become a 10 year run at the studio. Eric’s first assignment in was as Supervising Animator of “Aladdin’s” Genie of the Lamp, which featured the voice of Robin Williams, truly his proudest and most widely acclaimed accomplishment. Then he co-directed “Pocahontas”, the first Disney feature based on actual events and people in a vivid part of America’s history. “Hercules” was another chance for Eric to work with a huge celebrity-voice talent, Danny DeVito, as a the mythical satyr Phil.
Next Eric directed, wrote and animated two critically-acclaimed sequences for “Fantasia 2000”, titled “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Carnival of the Animals”. Experimenting with ground-breaking computer animation techniques which replicated the fluidity of ‘squash and stretch’ of hand-drawn animation, first on a Roger rabbit test sequence and then on the Tokyo Disney Seas theme park attraction, “Magic-Lamp Theatre”, which starred his signature character ‘Genie’ in stereoscopic gratuitously-throw-everything-at-the –audience, 3-D computer animation.
Then Eric spent a year at Universal Studios on developing Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Thing Are”, but due to development problems, the project became bogged down. From there he went across the street to Warner Bros. finally and became the animation director on the live-action/animation feature “Looney Tunes: Back in Action”, directed by Joe Dante in 2003. Working together they both consider the film to be a tribute to Chuck Jones and Eric reveled in the opportunity to finally animate some of his childhood inspirations: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, etc.
Recently Eric Goldberg directed a 12 minute high-definition cartoon for a Buddhist cultural center in Hong Kong, “A Monkey’s Tale”. Also recently completed by Eric’s direction is 4 minutes of brand new animation starring Disney’s “Three Caballeros” for the updated Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT Center in Florida. At present back at Walt Disney Animation Studios as the Supervising Animator for the character “Louis”, a trumpet-playing alligator in the upcoming hand-drawn feature “The Princess and the Frog”. For this pioneer, the tradition of hand-drawn animation and cutting-edge computer graphics remain up to his standards. Being the love of his career, Eric just enjoys getting to create characters that people respond to.