George Pal

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George Pal
Pal in 1979
György Pál Marczincsak

(1908-02-01)February 1, 1908
DiedMay 2, 1980(1980-05-02) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
NationalityHungarian, American
Other namesJulius György Marczincsak
Alma materHungarian University of Fine Arts
Years active1931–1975
SpouseElisabeth "Zsoka" Pal (m.1930)
Children2 sons
AwardsSee Awards and Honours

George Pal (born György Pál Marczincsak;[1] Hungarian: [ˈmɒrt͡sint͡ʃɒk ˈɟørɟ ˈpɑːl]; February 1, 1908 – May 2, 1980) was a Hungarian-American animator, film director and producer, principally associated with the fantasy and science-fiction genres. He became an American citizen after emigrating from Europe.

He was nominated for Academy Awards (in the category Best Short Subjects, Cartoon) for seven consecutive years (1942–1948) and received an honorary award in 1944. This makes him the second-most nominated Hungarian exile (together with William S. Darling and Ernest Laszlo) after Miklós Rózsa.

Early life and career[edit]

Pal was born in Cegléd, Hungary, the son of György Pál Marczincsak, Sr.[2] and his wife Mária. He graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 1928 (aged 20). From 1928 to 1931, he made films for Hunnia Film Studio of Budapest, Hungary. In 1931, he married Elisabeth "Zsóka" Grandjean, and after moving to Berlin, founded Trickfilm-Studio GmbH Pal und Wittke, with UFA Studios as its main customer from 1931 to 1933. During this time, he patented the Pal-Doll technique (known as Puppetoons in the US).

In 1933, he worked in Prague. In 1934, he made cigarette[3] advertisement films in his hotel room in Paris, and was invited by Philips to make two more ad shorts. He started to use Pal-Doll techniques in Eindhoven, in a former butchery, then at villa-studio Suny Home. He made five films before 1939 for the British company Horlicks Malted Milk.[4] In December of that year, aged 32, he emigrated from Europe to the United States,[5] and began work for Paramount Pictures. At this time, his friend Walter Lantz helped him obtain American citizenship.

As an animator, he made the Puppetoons series in the 1940s, which led to him being awarded an honorary Oscar in 1943 for "the development of novel methods and techniques in the production of short subjects known as Puppetoons". Pal then switched to live-action film-making with The Great Rupert (1950).

He is best remembered as the producer of several science-fiction and fantasy films in the 1950s and 1960s, such as When Worlds Collide,[6] four of which were collaborations with director Byron Haskin, including The War of the Worlds (1953). He himself directed Tom Thumb (1958), The Time Machine (1960), and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962).


In May 1980, he died in Beverly Hills, California, of a heart attack at the age of 72, and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. The Voyage of the Berg, on which he was working at the time, was never completed.

Awards and honours[edit]

Pal has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1722 Vine St. In 1980, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences founded the "George Pal Lecture on Fantasy in Film" series in his memory.

George Pal (along with the film When Worlds Collide) is among the many references to classic science fiction and horror films in the opening theme ("Science Fiction/Double Feature") of both the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show and its cinematic counterpart, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).[7]

In 1975, Pal received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement,[8] as well as the San Diego Comic Con Inkpot Award.[9]

Pal's Puppetoons Tulips Shall Grow and John Henry and the Inky-Poo (1946) were added to the Library of Congress 1997 and 2015 National Film Registry.[10] One of the Tubby the Tuba models along with a frog and three string instruments were donated to the Smithsonian Institution for the National Museum of American History.[11]


The Academy Film Archive has preserved several of George Pal's films, including Radio Röhren (Valve) Revolution (1934),[12] an advertising short for Philips, Jasper and the Beanstalk (1945), and John Henry and the Inky Poo (1946).[13]

Live-action feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Ref(s)
1950 The Great Rupert Yes [14]
Destination Moon Yes [15]
1951 When Worlds Collide Yes [16]
1953 Houdini Yes [17]
The War of the Worlds Yes [18]
1954 The Naked Jungle Yes [19]
1955 Conquest of Space Yes [20]
1958 Tom Thumb Yes Yes [21]
1960 The Time Machine Yes Yes [22]
1961 Atlantis, the Lost Continent Yes Yes [23]
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm Yes Yes [24]
1964 7 Faces of Dr. Lao Yes Yes [25]
1968 The Power Yes [26]
1975 Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze Yes [27]

Unreleased, unfinished, or projected films[edit]

Posthumous collection[edit]


  1. ^ "Historical Development". University for the Creative Arts. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  2. ^ "George Pal". October 25, 2019.
  3. ^ Worth, Stephen (29 November 2010). "Biography: George Pal". Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  4. ^ Lloyd, Fran (5 April 2019). "10 Making Animation Matter: Peter Sachs Comes to Britain 191". Applied Arts in British Exile from 1933: 191–211. doi:10.1163/9789004395107_012. ISBN 978-90-04-39510-7. S2CID 194290056.
  5. ^ Pal, his wife and son, were second cabin passengers on the S.S. Statendam which arrived at the Port of New York from the Netherlands on December 3, 1939.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (February 7, 1952). "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; George Pal's New Film Adventure Into Outer Space, 'When Worlds Collide,' Opens at the Globe". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Sokol, Tony (26 September 2019). "Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Movies And References Behind Science Fiction Double Feature". Den of Geek. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  9. ^ "Inkpot Award". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 6, 2012.
  10. ^ "2015 National Film Registry: "Ghostbusters" Gets the Call". Library of Congress. December 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "Puppets on Radio, Film, and Television". National Museum of American History. 18 February 2014.
  12. ^ "The George Pal Site: Philips Radio". Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  13. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  14. ^ "The Great Rupert". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "Destination Moon". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "When Worlds Collide". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  17. ^ "Houdini". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  18. ^ "The War of the Worlds". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "The Naked Jungle". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "Conquest of Space". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "Tom Thumb". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  22. ^ "The Time Machine". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  23. ^ "Atlantis, the Lost Continent". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  24. ^ "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  25. ^ "7 Faces of Dr. Lao". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  26. ^ "The Power". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  27. ^ "Doc Savage...The Man of Bronze". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  28. ^ "Available Now** **at** www.Puppetoon.Net ~ **The triumphant discovery of** ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES **(1935), thought lost for some 85 years, has... | By Arnold | Facebook".
  29. ^ Chico Record. "Hollywood". Virginia McPherson. 25 October 1945. Chico, page 2. (login needed)
  30. ^ The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. "Ellen Drew Named For Film Comedy". 13 April 1946. Brooklyn, page 14. (login needed)
  31. ^ "William Nolan recollection of history of Logan's Run Movie". William Nolan. Archived from the original on 2013-05-31.
  32. ^ "The Puppetoon Movie: Volume 3 BD". 4 March 2023.


  • Gail Morgan Hickman. The Films of George Pal. South Brunswick, NJ: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1977. ISBN 0-498-01960-8.
  • Schepp, Ole and Kamphuis, Fred. George Pal in Holland 1934–1939. Den Haag: Kleinoffsetdrukkerij Kapsenberg, 1983.
  • Miller, Thomas Kent. Mars in the Movies: A History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2016. ISBN 978-0-7864-9914-4.
  • Peters, Mette. "George Pal’s ‘Cavalcade of Colours, Music and Dolls’: 1930s Advertising Films in Transnational Contexts". In: Animation and Advertising. Thompson, Kirsten Moana, Cook, Malcolm (Eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. ISBN 978-3-030-27938-7.

External links[edit]