Roland CrandallOccupation / Title:
29/08/1892Date of death:
Connecticut, USAAssociated studios:
Roland Crandall – nicknamed “Doc” – was one of the most important animators to work for the Fleischer Bros., working on the Ko-Ko the Clown series, Betty Boop, and Popeye, as well as their feature Gulliver’s Travels. In 1923 he married Julia Hoffman and a year later they had a son together named Davenport.
Family and early life
Crandall was born in Connecticut and grew up on a farm. From a young age he wanted to be a cartoonist. Already, at the age of 13, he began to publish political cartoons in the Stamford Advocate, a local newspaper.
Upon his return from the war, and to New York, Crandall worked for the Bray Studios, where he met Max and Dave Fleischer. He became one of Fleischer Bros. first employees when Max and Dave set out on their own. Max nicknamed him “Doc” and the name stuck. He was an important animator at the studio, sometimes even appearing alongside Max as a live-action animator in the Out of the Inkwell cartoons with Ko-Ko the Clown. He stayed with the Fleischer Bros. throughout his career in animation.
One of the most acclaimed Betty Boop cartoons, Snow White (1933), was animated exclusively by Crandall. As a reward for his loyalty to the studio, he was given the chance to exercise some artistic freedom with the cartoon. He wound up animating one of the showiest and trippiest cartoons of the era. He spent six-months drawing the cartoon, and it was released in May 1933. Around the same time he worked with Seymour Kneitel’s unit on the early Popeye cartoons. Crandall was loyal to the Fleischer brothers and politically conservative, passionately refusing to strike during the Fleischer Strike in 1937. A year later he was one of the animators on Gulliver’s Travels, the Fleischer’s answer to Disney’s success with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He retired from animation in 1941.
- Frierson, Michael. “Clay animation comes out inkwell: The Fleischer Brothers and clay animation,” in A Reader in Animation Studies. John Libbey: 1997.
- “Tin Types: Roland Crandall” Fleischer’s Animated News Vol.2 #7, June 1936
- Sito, Tom. Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson. University Press of Kentucky: 2006.
- Barrier, Michael. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford University Press: 1999.
- Stein, Sadie. “Snow Day” in The Paris Review: The Daily.