Animation History
March 27, 2017 posted by

The Ray Abrams Archives – Part 1

I’ve started getting email from William Abrams – the son of early Disney/Lantz animator Ray Abrams. He has a whole cache of material that his dad saved – a potpourri of staff photos, gag drawings, personal sketches – and he’s graciously decided to share them with the readers of Cartoon Research. It’s going to take several weeks to post what he has sent me so far, and for now, I’m going to start posting this material in a very raw, unedited state, with minimal comments by William or myself. I think you’ll like it. Some images you’ve seen, some is new to me. All of it quite interesting.

My dad was Ray Abrams. He started working for Walt Disney in the late 20’s drawing Oswald and I’m sure you know the rest. Anyway, I have some old photos and drawings from the Universal era (ca.1929) and also his time at Lantz. I’m still scanning artwork so let me know what you think? It is a good variety of his work.

Here is a great picture of my dad on the right and behind him is Paul Smith. They were roommates and I grew up with his family, among others like Tom and Robert (Buddy) McKimson. Something to start with.


When my dad went to interview with Disney, they said “draw something”. This ink drawing of Rudolf Valentino got him the job!


This is one he did about another unknown animator who used to say that.


Love this one too! Pete worked with both Oswald and Mickey.


From Ray’s pal, Manuel Moreno


Just found these old slides. I was looking at them with a old slide viewer and tried to take some pictures with my phone. The pictures are not good but they will be better when I get them scanned to jpeg files. Cake says “HAPPY BIRTHDAY WALT”. I don’t recognize most but my dad and Paul Smith and Laverne Harding. I think Ed Miller is in the back. Cool huh?


The staff at Walter Lantz Productions, June 1954 (click to enlarge):


Here is one from Cal Howard, another long time family friend. A real funny guy!


NEXT WEEK: More from the Ray Abrams Archive


  • These are great! Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow! Thanks for posting. 🙂

  • Wonderful material, can’t get enough of it. Ray Abrams also animated for Tex on practically all of his ’40s classics at MGM. Any chance of Metro material in a future post?

  • Wow, makes the heart skip! Thanks William for sharing all this. Gives us wonderful new material to see this era through the work of your incredibly talented dad and his co-workers. I’m a big fan of these guys!

  • These are amazing. Thank you! I always love the old photos.
    And I wonder who did the cartoon of Oswald, Mickey and “WC Fields” Pete. Hilarious to see Mickey latched onto Pete like a toddler.

    • That drawing above was by Ray Abrams.

    • Thanks! I like the slightly sunburned faces.

  • Awesome stuff! Thanks to William for sharing!

    But why does Walter Lantz look so old in this picture? He looked much younger on TV in the 60’s!

  • F McManus is Fred McManus an inbetweener who later got credit on Bakshi’s Heavy Traffic and Coonskin, Tiger West was later a major employee for Hanna Barbera and who later co formed a studio with Walt Kubick, Joe Vought stayed until the final era in which he became a animator, Pat Jencks later supervised Ink and Paint at Fred Calvert. Bill Brazner later ended up at disney in the late 80s

    • Joe Vought was my dads only assistant for quite some time. A real nice guy.

  • William I am a great, great niece to your father. I have searched out family history to try to find a link to him and this is the first in several years. I actually just started taking voice lessons from the wife of a nephew of Walter Lantz so we have been talking about the two of them and their work. I would love to be able to speak with you if possible. Thank you

    • I’d love to talk to you too. How are we related?

      • Oh my gosh. I just ran across this after all these years. I had no idea you responded. I believe my grandfather Jack, was his nephew, if I remember correctly.

  • Mr. Beck, thank you for sharing these. Manuel Moreno is my maternal grandfather. I enjoy mixing with the diaspora of animator legends’ spawn. Thanks to you and scholars such as Tom Klein, we have enough to chew on and reminisce on. Keep it up. Mario Manuel Prietto Moreno.

  • So Joe Voeght was already on Walter lantz productions already back in 1954? I mean, he only became a lantz animator in early 70s, but he was already there for almost 20 years. Was him some kind of animator assistant or what?

  • His father was Curtis Abrams. I remember him telling us stories of how they would go to California to visit your dad and they got to play polo with him and some of the movie stars.

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