The Mintzes. Margaret Winkler Mintz passed away in a nursing home in Mamroneck, New York at the age of 95 in June 1990. Funeral services were held at Beth Olam Cemetery in Hollywood (where her late husband Charles was also interred in January 1940).
She was the first woman to produce and distribute animated films including Felix the Cat by Pat Sullivan and the Alice Comedies from Walt Disney. She left the business in 1930 after having two children and told a reporter on her 90th birthday that she “never really thought about it again”.
She and her husband Charles, who famously clashed with Walt, moved to Beverly Hills in 1931 and lived at 717 North Linden Drive (a five bedroom house built in 1927). She was survived by a son and a daughter, William and Katherine, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
While many places state that her husband Charles Mintz died in 1940, his actual passing was December 30,1939 according to an obit (at right, click to enlarge) in Variety January 2, 1940. The obit stated that Mintz “was born in York, PA in 1889, was educated at St. Lawrence University and began his career as a lawyer, later becoming a jeweler. During the war, he became interested in films. He started as a booker with Warners in NY in 1915, later producing medical shorts. He left WB in 1920 to start his own Felix the Cat animated cartoon series.”
To me it is interesting that his obit doesn’t mention Margaret by name (just survived by “his widow”) even though he took over her business after marrying her in 1924 and being her employee before that nor are the names of Pat Sullivan or Walt Disney referenced. In 1939, Mintz was in debt to Columbia (where two of the cartoons he produced were nominated for Oscars) and was forced to sell his studio to the firm, which terminated him and put his production manager, Jimmy Bronis, in charge, followed by Mintz’s brother-in-law, George Winkler. Then, Charles died of a heart attack later that year at the age of 50.
Where No Man Had Gone Before. In the December 21, 2015 issue of TV Guide magazine, actor and writer George Takei paid tribute to the recent demise of actor and writer Leonard Nimoy who played Mr. Spock in the television series Star Trek.
Among other things, Takei wrote: “When Star Trek was turned into an animated series, he refused to voice Spock unless Nichelle Nichols and I were also hired to play our characters. (James Doohan (Scotty) and Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) were first tapped to voice Sulu and Uhura, respectively. ) He (Nimoy) said, ‘Star Trek is about diversity, coming together and working in concert as a team, and the two people who most represent diversity are Nichelle and George. If they’re not a part of this, then I don’t think I’d be interested in doing it either.’ He knew what Star Trek stood for and had the guts to stand behind that too. Leonard was integrity.”
Filmation’s Star Trek: The Animated Series ran for twenty-two half hour episodes in 1973-74.
Prince of Egypt Character Design. Animator William Salazar who worked on Dream Works’ Prince of Egypt (1998) said that the production strived for “nearly anatomically correct” designs for such figures as Moses and Rameses. “The Egyptians have a hieroglyphic look. The Hebrews are designed organically with more curves,” stated Salazar.
Finding The Real Pocahontas. Shirley “Little Dove” Custalow McGowan is a descendant of Virginia’s Powhattan Indians. James Pentacost, the producer of Disney’s Pocahontas (1995), first saw her in June 1992 while visiting the Native American Festival at Jamestown with a couple of Disney writers. McGowan works occasionally at the Jamestown Festival Park and traveled all over Virginia and along the East Coast, presenting programs on the history and culture of her Algonquin ancestors who included Pocahontas.
“We didn’t meet her then,” stated Pentacost to the Daily Press in 1993. “But when we came back in October I brought a larger group – about eight or nine artists and writers. We met her then and talked. Glen Keane photographed and videotaped her and the re-created Powhatan village at Jamestown.”
Pentacost said that research for the movie also included a visit to the Pamunkey Reservation, across King William from the Mataponi, and interviews with historians such as ODU’s Helen Rountree who has written several books about Virginia’s Indians, and Tom Davidson, curator of the Jamestown Festival Park museum.
“We’re attempting to keep the history as accurate as we can and be entertaining at the same time,” stated Pentacost.
Dennis Marks. How did Dennis Marks get started writing animated cartoons? From a much longer 2002 interview on the website http://www.spider-friends.com/ Marks stated, “My agent asked if I could do cartoons and I said ‘sure’. I was a big comic book reader as a kid. Went in to see Al Brodax, head of King Features TV. King Features handled all the Hearst comic strips and Brodax was trying to promote them onto TV. The first one I wrote was a six minute “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.” It sailed through. I was all at once a cartoon writer.
“I wrote several Snuffy Smiths and then went on to write several Beetle Baileys. I got married and left the morning after with my bride for Miami Beach. This lasted till the following February. I returned to NYC and immediately heard that Al Brodax wanted me for his new series, The Beatles.
“In the 60’s I wrote a lot of cartoons including “Batman,” “Aquaman,” “Justice League of America,” and half of the 100 Batfink 4 1/2-minute syndicated shows for Hal Seeger, and for Ralph Bakshi, Max, the 2000 Year Old Mouse, an educational series.
“By 1971 writing cartoons in NYC had dried up. I went out to LA for a few months in the spring or summer and landed episodes at Hanna-Barbera and with Ruby-Spears and DePatie-Freleng, things like “The Chan Clan,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” and “The Barkleys.” All this just to pay the rent.”
Dennis went on to write for many other animated series including ones for Filmation and becoming the Story Editor on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. He passed away of pancreatic cancer at the age of 73 on January 10th, 2006. A service was held at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles where he had performed regularly.