July 1, 2024 posted by Devon Baxter

Howard Beckerman (1930-2024)


Animator/educator/historian Howard Beckerman passed away (perhaps symbolically, this past Saturday Morning). I met Howard back in my SVA and Asifa-East days in the early 1970s. He was always open and free to speak – recounting his personal experiences at the studios (50s Famous, UPA, 60s Paramount, etc.). His stories gave me insight and perspective on animation history I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

Howard has only passed on – his memory will live forever; his films will continue to entertain; his influence on a younger generation will inspire for decades to come. Howard was beloved by the community.

There was such an outpouring of love by everyone who knew him, or took his classes, or read his articles, on Facebook and other social media, I wasn’t sure what to post today in tribute. Don Yowp posted this nice tribute on his Tralfaz blog.

How to remember Howard? It’s too soon for me to wrap my head around that. I asked our Devon Baxter if I could repost his audio commentary with Howard, over Howard’s brilliant little Paramount cartoon, The Trip (1966). Devon also sent a selection of Howard’s hilarious print cartoons from Top Cel. I can’t think of anything that sums it up better. I included a few other Paramount cartoons to this post which Howard contributed story and design. We will all miss him. – Jerry Beck

Howard told me he got a $5 bonus in his paycheck because he came up with this “punny” title for a Popeye cartoon.

Here are Howard’s illustrations from the New York Union newsletter, TOP CEL. His response when I showed these to him two years ago:

“Thank you for the collected works of ME. As you continue through the later issues you may find some more such things. I was trying all kinds of styles. To tell the truth, it’s strange seeing these come up after all those years.”

January 1954

June 1954

Sept 1955

May 1956

April 1959

Sept. 1959

December 1959

January 1962

January 1970

May 1971

Here are a few treats you may not have seen. The mid 1960s at Paramount was a little paradise for several animator/designers working under Shamus Culhane. Culhane, Gil Miret and Howard Beckerman had free rein to create shorts (albeit on a low budget). Here is one of his best – with an audio commentary by myself and Howard.

The following are just a few cartoons that were written and/or designed by Howard Beckerman in 1966-1967:

Rest in Peace, Howard. From all your friends who were inspired by you to do Cartoon Research.


  • I was immediately shocked by this news. I really wanted to meet him along with Devon and J.J. Seldemier!

  • Sad to hear. I’m sad all of the “old days” animators are passing away.

  • My condolences to Howard Beckerman’s family, friends and former students. He sounds like a wonderful man, and he certainly had an amazing career.

  • My condolences to his family. I was just thinking recently about a musical bit he did at UPA New York for “The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show” called “Two by Two” where an individual dog wants to go in the ark. It’s on Youtube, but it’s water-marked and time code.

  • I corresponded with Howard many times via email, and got to meet him in person in 2018 at the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards weekend, held in Philly that year. He told me his first job at Terrytoons, doing assistant work for Jim Tyer on a “Mighty Mouse” cartoon. A very joyous encounter and a kind man. He will me missed.

    • I can’t imagine being Tyer’s assistant!

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