|Frank Hursh, head of the background dept. at Gamma Productions|
|One of Frank's backgrounds from the Bumbling Brothers Circus adventure|
I had come to Mexico with two scholarships to study a Master´s Degree in Mural Painting at the Mexico City College (now Universidad de las Américas) and San Carlos, the art school of the National University (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). I also started doing some television production and television art, and had become a partner in a company called Telepelículas. I had fallen in love with Mexico, so colorful and vibrant, and soon I left school to work full time.
The population of Mexico City was only about 3 million at that time (middle 1950´s). There was not much traffic. There were no stoplights along Paseo de la Reforma, which was such a beautiful boulevard. There were glorietas (roundabouts) and there was a tacit understanding of how traffic was to flow around those. I never saw a car accident along that street. You could walk any place in Mexico City without ever being bothered. It was such a lovely city– everybody seemed to know each other. We did a lot of partying, getting together often to have a drink and some tacos, going to Xochimilco for a ride on the chinampas (flat boats) and lots of mariachi music. We had a good time.
I had met Bud Gourley before, the Operating Administrator in the animation studio (Val-Mar) at that time, and I told him that I was looking for a job. He asked me if I had had any experience in animation, which I hadn't, so I didn't get the job. Sometime later, after my wife and I had separated, I rented my house to Harvey Siegel (a veteran of the NY animation industry sent to assist with production), who invited me over to a get-together that he was having with some people from the (Ward) studio in the States. I had painted a picture of a train for my children´s bedroom, and Bill Hurtz (one of Ward's directors) saw it. He said to me “Frank, I don´t have anybody down here to do color. Can you come and give us a hand?” So that´s how I got into animation.
|The painting that got Frank Hursh his first job as an animation background painter.|
|Some of Frank's BG crew: L to R, Nacho Brambilla, Tio, unknown, Mau Mau Arellano, Sergio, Raul Vilchis, Faufis|
Next week, more rare photos and art, along with part 2 of Frank's life at the Gamma studio in Mexico City.