Paul Terry opened his own animation studio, called Terrytoons, in 1929. Paul Terry is known in the animation industry for producing his cartoons quickly, and for resisting improvements. Terry’s goal was to produce cartoons at the lowest cost possible, and to utilize techniques that simplified the animation process, for instance the cel animation. He objected switching to synchronized sound and color. This decision is seen by many as one of the reasons for loosing the competition with Walt Disney and Fleischer Studios. Terry’s decisions also differed from those of Disney and the Fleichers regarding his characters. Terry favored a variety of one-shot films over developing continuing series with charismatic and easily recognizable characters like Disney’s Mickey Mouse or Fleischers’ Betty Boop.
It wasn’t until the late 1930s that Terry introduced some memorable characters in continued series such as Gandy Goose, Sourpuss the Cat, Puddy the Pup, Mighty Mouse (originally Super Mouse), and Heckle and Jeckle (Terry’s answer to Bugs Bunny and similar characters). Eventually Terrytoons would be known for producing animated shorts with such popular characters as Little Roquefort, Berker Bill, Farmer Al Falfa, Peg Leg Pete, Kiko the Kangaroo, Dinky Duck, and Casper the Ghost.
At the beginning of the 1950s, Terry’s fame and fortune considerably increased as Terrytoons became the first major animation studio to sell animations to television. In 1955, Terry decided to retire from animation and sell his company, rights to all his cartoons and characters, as well as his film library to CBS. The studio remained active without Terry’s supervision until 1968.
- Barrier, J. Michael. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford University Press, 2003.
- Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.
- Maltin, Leonard. Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980.