John Randolph Bray

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John Randolph Bray

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John Randolph Bray was the founder of Bray Studios, one of the first studios dedicated to animation. He did it all from producing and directing to acting and animating. Bray’s goal was to have four units working on four cartoons at any one time, that way a cartoon that would take a month to finish only took one week! J. R. hired great animators like Raoul Barre, Max Fleischer and Walter Lantz. In 1914 John Randolph Bray and Earl Hurd are granted patents for animation systems using drawings on transparent celluloid sheets and a registration system that kept images steady.

Family and early life

John Randolph Bray began his career as an artist for a newspaper. He soon began selling cartoons to magazines. His first animated film was “The Artist’s Dream,” released in 1913. After signing a contract with Pathe to make cartoons, Bray set up his own studio with other artists. He patented many of his improvements on the animation process, realizing early on the business potential of these developments. One of these innovations was the use of translucent paper to make it easier to position objects in successive drawings.  He was married to Margaret Bray.

Honors and awards

Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1975




  • Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.

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