February 19, 1927
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
|Occupation||Animator, Designer, Artist, Director|
Ladd, a Toledo, Ohio native, graduated from Scott High School in 1945 and from Ohio State University in 1949 with degrees in radio and speech. Upon moving to the New York City area, Ladd got a year-long job at an FM radio station and then was employed at Cayton, Inc., an advertising agency that dabbled in film production. The agency acquired several nature documentaries, and Ladd was given the job of repackaging them into a feature film. Rather than an outright sale, the film was offered in trade to European distributors (cash exports being limited in post-war Europe), in exchange for marketable local film productions. The deal resulted in the acquisition of animated cartoons, and Ladd was given the job of repackaging and dubbing the films for the American market.
Ladd became the house specialist in the "Westernizing" of overseas animated programming. A 1937 German short film on the future of space travel Weltraumschiff 1 startet was acquired, and the special effects sequences were excised by Ladd. His re-edited footage was augmented by new animated sequences and became part of a series entitled The Space Explorers which was syndicated to local TV stations from the late 1950s through the early 1960s.
Producer Norm Prescott employed Ladd to help reformat a 1965 Belgian animated feature Pinocchio dans le space, which was released theatrically by Universal in late 1965 as Pinocchio in Outer Space. Prescott later brought Ladd in as co-writer and co-producer on his home-grown 1972 Filmation feature, Journey Back to Oz.
But it was an earlier involvement with NBC-TV that helped open a new and enduring market to North America. In 1963, the network's distribution division, NBC Enterprises, had acquired the North American distribution rights to a Japanese animated series entitled Tetsuwan Atomu, and consulted with Ladd on how to market it. Ladd took the footage and created a pilot episode, eventually leading to the long-running series Astro Boy—the inaugural appearance of anime on Western shores.
Ladd continued his involvement in early anime imports with Gigantor for Trans-Lux and Kimba the White Lion for NBC Enterprises. Later, Ladd was creative consultant for the 90's English dub of Sailor Moon for DiC Entertainment.
Ladd was also responsible for having various black-and-white cartoons such as Looney Tunes, Betty Boop and Popeye and others to be redrawn colorized in South Korea during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.