Connie Rasinski,

Born January 28, 1907 in Torrington, Connecticut/
Died October 13, 1965 in Larchmont, NY

Occupation/Title: Animator, Writer. Director of Mighty Mouse and many more at Terrytoons.

Bio Summary: Connie went from several miscellaneous jobs before finally deciding he belonged in animation. He married his first wife Marie and, after two years of art school and working as a cartoonist at Bell Publishing he was then hired as an inker in 1930 with the low budget animation studio, Terrytoons. In 1937 he became a director at Terrytoons and went on to direct countless animation shorts. Beyond his skills as a director, he was an exceptionally talented animator and even wrote some of the animation shorts. His body of work also includes Mighty Mouse comics. Connie retired in 1955 and passed away in 1965.

Early Life/Family: He was the son of Polish immigrants Walter and Michalina Rasinski. Before working as an animator, he had a job as a hobo clown, then as a boxer, and also a vaudeville clown. Connie Rasinski wrote in a short biography that he sold his first cartoon the day Lindbergh flew to Paris. He was too young for the first world war and too old for the second. He married Marie in New Rochelle in NY and they were married until she passed away in 1945. Connie later married Alma and they lived in Larchmont New York with their english sheep dog, "Pago", and their talkative parakeet, "Sparky". He had no children.

Education/Training: Art students League for two years and had studies under Norman Rockwell.

Career Outline: Director of 200 shorts. From The Saw Hill Mystery in 1937 to The Toothless Beaver in 1965. After the mass exodus from Terrytoons in 1937, those who remained were promoted to directors. One such man was Connie Rasinski.

Comments On Style: His animation style could best be expressed as expressive and energetic. His drawings are also said to have had a "controlled zaniness." He animated straight ahead contour with no rough drawings; his close friend, Ralph Bakshi, even insists he could draw cartoons with his eyes shut and had an excellent handle on timing. His lines were hard and thin, his hand never really left the page. When a drawing fell apart, he is remembered to rip it from his desk, throw it away, and start all over again. He never tried to fix anything.

Influences: Norman Rockwell, Art Students League, his own natural ability to draw.

Personality: A good humored man, willing to teach up and coming animators. Those who knew him remember Connie as witty, honest, and reserved, but not someone you want to anger. He must have been a humble man, for he was invited to Disney but turned it down. He would rather enjoy himself at Terrytoons than try to be the best.

Anecdotes: A story from his nephew, Conrad Rasinski Jr., "In their younger years my Uncle Connie and my Father Joe, played baseball with a team sponsored by the P. N. A. which I believe stood for the Polish National Alliance. The team was in those days, probably around the 1920’s, a semi-pro team, and they travelled throughout the state playing in a league much as we see today in the minor leagues. Their team had a good record and from conversation with my dad, Connie was one great pitcher who contributed greatly to the teams success. "

Miscellaneous: His full name is actually John Conrad Rasinski. Conrad Rasinski Jr. relates, "Connie loved Bass fishing with a fly rod. My dad Joe Rasinski(who was a cameraman at Terrytoon’s) would go every Saturday during the summer to a lake in Putnam County New York bass fishing. He taught us how to cast a fly rod and even tie flies and artificial lures for bass fishing." He loved comic strips like Mutt and Jeff and Krazy Kat. He smoked cigars, played poker with everyone at lunch, loved raw steaks and he even created new camera moves and actions. Connie Rasinski, working at a low budget, could create more footage in one day than a Disney animator in six months. As a director, he did his own layouts.

Filmography: Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, Deputy Dawg, Clint Clobber, Terry Bears, Little Roquefort.

Honors: He produced a number of amateur productions including one showing the work of his sculpture friend Michael Lantz (1908-1988) the brother of animation pioneer Walter Lantz, winner of the W.P.A. award for the group of horses he sculpted for the department of Labor in Washington D.C. He also received an award for another film on how animated cartoons are produced at the Terrytoon’s Studio. Palms D'or was nominated for the best short film in 1961. His cartoon "Gypsy Life" received an Oscar Nomination.

Related Links: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0711197/
http://www.ralphbakshi.com/wordpress/2009/02/podcast-3-connie-rasinski-and-jim-tyer/
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27781423
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27781423
http://www.cataroo.com/cst_MIGHTY.html

Bibliographic References: "Connie Rasinski - IMDb." *The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)*. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. .
"Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials." *Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records*. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. < http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr>.
*John Cawley*. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. .
Ralph, Bakshi. "Podcast #3: Connie Rasinski and Jim Tyer Ralph Bakshi Times." *The Official Ralph Bakshi Website*. Feb. 2009. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. Contributors To This Listing: Conrad Rasinski Jr, Jenny Rasinski, Ralph Bakshi, Jerry Beck, Jessica Perri

Animators Hall of Fame