Edward H. Love was one of the most admired animators of cartoon shorts during Hollywood’s Golden Age, a reputation that continued on through his work in television at Hanna-Barbera. For instance, Michael Barrier points out he was one of Tex Avery’s “strongest animators” at MGM while John Kricfalusi greatly admires his work on The Flintsones and other H-B shows (check out his blog post on Love here). While my 1984 Golden Awards Banquet interview below is not really that informative, it does reflect his affection for his work and his son, animation producer-director Tony Love, for whom he both worked with and for.
Love started in animation in 1930 as an inbetweener at Disney, after he famously traded the use of his car for animation lessons. The lessons seemed to not only get him a job, it may have also had something to do with his being made an animator after only two months. Except for a stint with Ub Iwerks, he stayed at Disney through 1941, working on such films as Flowers and Trees (1932) and Lonesome Ghosts (1937), and apparently specializing in dance sequences; his one feature credit there was “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” section of Fantasia, which actually began as an extended Silly Symphony.
In an interview with Joe Adamson, Love claimed credit for inadvertently starting the “cleanup system” at Disney. Though the studio liked his animation, his lack of drawing skills hampered his ability to do his own cleanups. “So they took Marvin [Woodward] and told him, ‘You clean up that stuff of his.’ He cleaned up a couple of scenes and he got mad as hell. ‘What’s this getting me? I’m an animator.’ They didn’t know what to do. So they took Roy Williams who was very crude, and they made him my assistant. He was taking my drawings and cleaning them up. Now the others animators, said, ‘Jesus, there is this guy who has only been here a couple of months and he does not have to clean up his own drawings! If he can have one…’ And this started the assistants business. Until then the animators cleaned up their own drawings and all they left were in-betweens.”
In 1941, Love was one of the few animators to join the Disney strike, a decision he later said was “stupid.” In any case, he was one of the casualties of the large layoffs that followed the end of the walkout; the Screen Cartoonists Guild actually knew the layoffs were coming and it was one of the issues in the strike in terms of how they were to be done. (Incidentally, a Guild list of people on the picket line indicates Love was making $81.00 a week, though with bonuses his actual pay would have been more.)
Love then went over to MGM, where he joined Avery’s unit, becoming a key animator on such classics as Blitz Wolf (1942), Red Hot Riding Hood (1943), and Screwball Squirrel (1944). He left in 1947 and animated for Bob Clampett on his last theatrical cartoon, It’s a Grand Old Nag, a pilot film for Republic Pictures showcasing their Trucolor process. Love then briefly went to Walter Lantz, where he worked under Dick Lundy on cartoons like Playful Pelican (1948), starring Andy Panda. Then, like a number of colleagues at the time, he opened his own studio, Love, Hutton, & Love, with his son Tony and Bill Hutten, of which little seems known. However, Don Yowp noted that in 1957, E.H. Love Sales was “providing TV cartoons to Swift-Chaplin Productions.”
He then moved over to Hanna-Barbera, where he animated on many of the studio’s iconic shows, including the original incarnations of The Flintstones (1960) and The Jetsons (1962), as well as on various commercials. It was his work there that seemed to inspire a new generation of animation artists, including John K., who praised the stylized way he moved his characters.
For more on Ed Love, check out Denis Gifford’s obit for The Independent, which Don Yowp reprinted with additional information here. A list of Mike Kazalah’s Cartoon Research posts on commercials animated by Love is found here. For more detailed insight into Love’s work, there’s a volume 11 of Didier Ghez’s invaluable series, Walt’s People: Talking Disney with the Artists Who Knew Him (Xlibris, 2011), which includes a lecture Love did at CalArts in 1978, from which I took his tale of creating the assistants program at Disney.
Next week: Jack Kinney.