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Preston Erwin Blair|
October 24, 1908
April 19, 1995 (aged 86)|
Santa Cruz, California
Lee Everett Blair (brother)|
Mary Blair (sister-in-law)
A native of Redlands, California, Blair began his animation career in the early 1930s at the Universal studio under Walter Lantz and Bill Nolan. He later moved over to Charles Mintz's Screen Gems studio, and in the late 1930s moved over to the Disney studio. At Disney, Blair animated cartoon short subjects, Mickey Mouse scenes in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" section of Fantasia, and the hippo-alligator dance in Fantasia's "Dance of the Hours" sequence. He also did some work on Walt Disney's Pinocchio and Bambi.
Blair left Disney after the 1941 Disney animator's strike, and was hired to work for Tex Avery's unit at MGM. There, he became particularly noted for animating the titular female character in Red Hot Riding Hood. "Red" later re-appeared in more Avery cartoons, including Swing Shift Cinderella, Little Rural Riding Hood, Uncle Tom's Cabana and the Droopy cartoons The Shooting of Dan McGoo and Wild and Woolfy, with animation by Blair. In the late 1940s, Blair teamed with Avery animator Michael Lah to direct several Barney Bear cartoons.
Blair continued his career in animation into the 1960s, working on The Flintstones at Hanna-Barbera. He is most noted, however, as an author of animation instructional books for Walter Foster Publishing. His first book, Animation, was published in 1948 and originally included images of the famous MGM & Disney cartoon characters he had animated, who were redrawn to obscure their origins in the second edition of the book. Blair would write many more animation how-to texts over the next forty years, culminating with 1994's Cartoon Animation, a 224-page book which compiles most of the content from all of his books.
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