Halas and Batchelor

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Halas and Batchelor was a British animation company founded by husband and wife John Halas and Joy Batchelor. Halas was a Hungarian émigré to the U.K. The company had studios in London and Cainscross, in the Stroud District of Gloucestershire.[1]

From 1936 Halas ran a small animation unit that created commercials for theatrical distribution, and Batchelor responded to his advertisement for an assistant.[2] Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films was founded in 1940, and during World War II the company made about 70 animated propaganda short films for the British Ministry of Information.[3]

HB's first feature film Handling Ships (1945) was the first-ever British animated feature. After the war, they continued making short films while Animal Farm (1954) was being made, usually considered the first British animated feature.[2] The studio grew from a small unit to a proper animation company, with several different British locations. Its best-known animation series were Foo Foo (1959–60), Popeye the Sailor (1960-62), DoDo, The Kid from Outer Space (1965-70) and The Lone Ranger (1966–69). Halas and Batchelor also produced Snip and Snap (1960) and the clip for the song "Love Is All" from Roger Glover's album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast (1976).

As well as short films, the studio made a few feature films, such as Ruddigore (1967). The company was sold to Tyne Tees Television in the early 1970s, although Halas and Batchelor themselves broke away from this association after a few years.[3] Most of the 2,000 films now form part of The Halas and Batchelor Collection in 1996. This collection was part of a donation by the couple's daughter to the British Film Institute in 2010.[4]


  1. ^ Davies, Lorna (March 2017). "Animation in Stroud: Halas & Batchelor". Good on Paper: 8–9. 
  2. ^ a b Brian McFarlane The Encyclopedia of British Film, London: Methuen/BFI, 2003, p.48
  3. ^ a b Paul Wells "Halas, John (1912-1995) and Batchelor, Joy (1914-1991)", BFI screenonline reproduced from Paul Wells Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors
  4. ^ Mark Brown "BFI gets Halas & Batchelor animation archive", The Guardian, 3 December 2010

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