November 2, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

In Honor of the Day of the Dead: Animated Friends That Have Left Us

First – in Thunderbean news:
As I write this, late on a Wednesday night, we’re over at the office dubbing special discs and packing things. I’m hoping to get through the rest of the special discs and Flip orders this week, and hopefully have some time to review some of the Rainbow Parades materials and the new scans for the Lou Bunin set. Trying hard to get Rainbow done this year, with Mid Century Modern 3 close behind. The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry Blu-ray is off to replication within a week or so if all is reviewed ok too. More on these projects in the coming weeks.

Día de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) has a beautiful and long history. In the Roman Catholic Calendar it lists November 2nd as All Souls Day, sort of echoing the day of the dead with a title that doesn’t include, er, death. Growing up I heard of the celebration in passing through a friend in grade school, who wore colorful clothes that day.

Since I have the bully pulpit here, I thought it might be nice to chat a little bit about two animation-related folks I’ve known and worked with in the animation industry. I’ve written just a bit about each of them as I knew them- a short tribute to each. If you knew them too or would like to add some thoughts about animation people you knew, please do. This can be a day of quiet tribute to them.

Louise Zingerelli (1941-2000)

Louise was a character designer, background artist, production designer and storyboard artist that did beautiful work. She worked many years for Ralph Bakshi on films including Lord of the Rings, American Pop and Cool World. I was lucky enough to know her just a little in the mid-90s when she worked for Media Station, a studio that made CD-Rom games for Mattel, Disney and lots of other companies. She was always pleasant to me in the short time I knew her- and I loved her beautiful drawings that seemed to flow from her effortlessly.

One of my favorite stories about Louise centered around her designing the ‘Puzzle Fox’ Character for the game Puzzle Castle— a sort of where’s Waldo book series from England. Louise was in a meeting for the design, and, if memory serves, during the meeting she seemed impatient at the amount of detail they were trying to describe for this simple character. After it was almost too much to take, she interrupted, waving her hands, saying in a somewhat harsh and confident voice “Listen— I’m going to go back and draw the character, and you’ll LOVE it”. As someone tried to continue the conversation, she got up, interrupting with a stern “Ahh!!— you’ll LOVE it”. She went out of the room and quickly drew the character. And they loved it.

You can see the Puzzle Fox character here in the opening animation for this game. I worked on this shot and lots of other parts of the game, and was happy to see it again. I wish the pixels did justice to her beautiful drawings!

Ken Southworth (1918-2007)

Ken Priebe (left) with Ken Southworth (right) at VanArts

Ken was a wonderful animator and friend. I got to know him just a little in the late 90s, and stayed in touch with him through my early years teaching at the College For Creative Studies into the 2000s. Over his career Ken worked for everyone including Disney, Lantz, Warners, MGM, Hanna-Barbara and many, many others. It was lovely to meet him and get to know him a little, and we had great conversations about working for all sorts of people through his long career. He started at Disney during World War II, working on shorts and features. I loved hearing stories about various studios from him. One of the times we talking he said, out of the clear blue, “When are you going to send me a scene?”. I thought he was joking at first, but I decided to take him up on it, and he animated on at least three of the games we did animation for from Media Station during the early days of Thunderbean. It may have been the last professional work he did for a studio. He was just supposed to do layout on the first thing I sent him, but a week and some days later he sent it back completely in keys, both character completely animated. Even into his 80s, his x-sheets were perfect and it was great fun to in-between his work.

Ken was generous and loved working with students. In his later years loved visiting schools, and was a visiting artist at VanArts summer program for many years. He also worked with Ray Pointer on the award-winning Ken Southworth animation instruction series.

Here are some of Ken’s Pencil Tests from Hanna Barbara’s Don Coyote, from Ray’s Youtube channel:

Have a good week everyone, and please add a comment if you can.


  • Thanks for these touching tributes to your friends in the field. Life is too short.

  • Steve:

    As you know, I’ve been hoping that my two-books of interviews will be published soon – so many “road-blocks” have popped up over the past year and a half-though! But … things seem to be moving forward again! Maybe you should – when you have some “free time” (Ha!) – work on a book of rememberances or actual interviews you’ve done with people like this that you befriended and learned from. For example, did you record any interviews you had with Myron and Rosalee Waldman?

  • Louise Zingerelli – I really like her clean look with so many little details. Kind of like Richard Scary meets a VERY tight version of Sergio Arragones? I don’t quite know how to describe it. Very beautiful detailed stuff! Thanks for sharing that!

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