George Pal

Birth: Born on February 1, 1908 in Cegled, Austria-Hungry. He was given the name Gyula Gyorgy Marczincsak.

Death: May 2, 1980 in Beverly Hills, California of a heart attack while working on “The Voyage of the Berg”.

Occupation and Title:
Inventor, Creator, Director, Cinematographer, Animator, Writer and Producer. Film Director

Bio Summary:
George Pal will be remembered as a gifted creator, director, inventor and producer of cinema history. Pal created Puppetoons, a stop motion animation comprised of puppets and cartoons mixed together with hand built sets out of paper.

When Pal came to America he continued producing his Puppetoons from 1941 through 1943 winning numerous Academy Awards. Eventually Pal would cross over into feature films while working for Paramount Pictures to become what many consider the father of fantasy and science fiction adventure. George Pal received credits for work as a Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Writer, Editor and Animator.

Early Life:
George Pal was born Gyula Gyorgy Marczincsak to traveling stage/theatrical performers Gyula and Maria Marczincsak. His parents later divorced and sent Gyula to his grandparents who were actors with the National Theatre in Budapest. His grandparents raised Gyula and later in life Gyula chose to pursue a different path than theatrical acting or stage performing. Gyula went to pursue architecture and set out to study at the Budapest Academy. However, fate interceded and Gyula was enrolled in the Illustration Department by accident, before pursuing architecture.

In Illustration, Gyula was exposed to drawing techniques and animation techniques that would have impression upon his intellect and education. After graduating in 1928 as an architect, Gyula never became an architect in the professional world. Gyula found work after graduating, working as an illustrator at Hunnia Studio where he was drawing title cards, helping with set design and cutout art animation techniques for advertising and film. Later on he started animating his stop motion puppetoons while in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He couldn’t find or afford an animation camera, so he obtained a normal camera and started using stop motion techniques with his possible figures known as puppettoons. In 1937 Gyula Gyorgy Marczincsak changed his name to George Pal.

Education and Training:
George attended the Budapest Academy to train as an architect, but a typo error on the application placed him in illustration classes. He graduated with an architectural degree. His background studies in illustration with drawing/animation influence would aide him later on in his career.

Career Outline:
George started with an apprenticeship at Hunnia Films in Hungry after college, but his new job turned out to be an unpaid internship. He then moved to Berlin with his wife Zsoka and found a paying position at UFA Studios. Months later he was in charge of there cartoon production. He fled to Prague, Czechoslovakia because of effects of the war Gestapo agents in Berlin. In Prague, Pal had the idea to use puppets for animation. Then he could use any camera to film his cartoons. He started animating cigarette commercials, then moved to Paris to sell his ideas. He became famous for his cigarette animation, then later moved to Einhorer, Holland to open his Dollywood Studios. His studio became a success, and George Pal started winning some awards that american companies noticed. Philips radio in the United States saw Pal’s films and hired him for their own projects, expanding his directorial art of Europe into working for United States companies. With World War II expanding in Europe his next move would be coming over to the United States to pursue other options that Europe was about to lose due to the expansion of the Nazi’s. George Pal was visiting the United States giving lectures on film and would never return to Europe after his American lecture. He started working at Paramount Pictures and introduced his animated shorts Puppetons, which became a success, and would later land him an academy award. After his award he would be given the chance from Paramount to move in feature films were he could direct his first feature length movie " The Great Rupert" 1949. However the he film that got him recognition was his second picture, "Destination Moon" 1950. It was a great science fiction piece for the time period, with effects that nobody had seen before. He won an academy award for special effects. The films success and popularity set up Pal for life. From this point he continued directing/producing films through the 50's and 60's, with such classics as "The War of The Worlds", "The Time Machine", and "The Seven Faces of Dr.Lao". Pal's imagination brought him closer into special effects for science fiction, and adventure films. From here Pal would win 5 academy awards will working for Paramount Pictures. As the interest for science fiction diminished with the movie audience, Pal would continue his work in Hollywood as director, cinematographer, writer, and producer of many more pictures. His filmography is amazing, and reads with a wealth of experience, and creativity. George Pal died from a heart attack during the directing of the science fiction film, “The Voyage of the Berg. What an amazing life!

Comments on Style:
Creativity and ingenious George Palls approach to designing and film making left an imprint upon stop motion animation and science fiction film making. He had a style that nobody had seen before with his Puppetoon animation that was so impressive that it won him an Academy Award and opened the doors to Paramount Pictures. At Paramount Pictures, George’s movies became success stories and lead him into film history with productions such as Destination Moon (1950), When Worlds Collide (1951) and The War of the Worlds (1953). Over time Pal’s style would grow to encompass special effects and lead him to become a director/producer of science fiction adventure films using trick photography for his special effects. He would be awarded 5 Academy Awards for his stylistic approach in creating special effects for movies and film.

Influences:
George Pal had many influences that pushed him through his career. As a child he spent time around his parents and grandparents who were both involved with stage performing, theater and acting. Through his childhood he was exposed to the creative processes involved with the theater, in which theatrical set design might had been tremendous influence. As George attended college, his accidental submission into illustration also had an influence upon his abilities. As he moved through college and graduated as an architect, his background and training as an illustrator involved with drawing and painting actually lead him to find work for his first post collegiate job. While working, George was exposed to and influenced by animation and German film. His was situated right in the middle of Europe working in Germany with some of the best artistic talent in the German film industry. George Pal was brought into the world by parents who were artists. They specialized in theater, and their parents were also artists, who ended up raising George. It is no wonder why he decided to pursue a career somewhere within the arts. However though pursing acting, and theater was of no interest to George. The effects of being around traveling stage performers, who ended up divorcing later was not the best option for him to pursue. He went to art school and studied illustration, animation and design in architecture. For the rest of his life, George was exposed to and influenced by the European and American film industries. He continued to grow throughout his career moving from one artistic position to another, elevating himself with more and more experience doing what he loved to do.

Personality:
George Pal was a highly creative and imaginative individual. His creativity moved him from working in Europe into obtaining a full-time spot at Paramount Pictures directing films. He was a very dedicated and hard working individual, letting no obstacles stand in his way. He even funded some of his own film projects with his own finances. He didn’t let anything stand in his way. In Czechoslovakia, he was unable to find a proper camera for animation so he used what he could find and created his own stop motion animation techniques. Using only a basic camera and his imagination, he started animating and created the foundation for Puppetoons. He had many friends in Hollywood including the famous Walt Disney and Walter Lantz. George displayed a level of professionalism and creativity that kept him at Paramount Pictures through the years developing picture and picture while obtaining award after award.

Anecdotes:
George Pal became good friends with Walter Lantz, who helped him and his wife gain their citizenship in the United States. Walter had some connections and was able to pull some strings to help them obtain a visa, which would later lead towards his citizenship. As a tribute to Walter, all of George Pals movies then featured a cameo of hidden clue/image of Woody Wood Pecker inside them. George Pal had an office at Paramount Pictures next to Gene Rodenberry, and was cited to have been an influence and a guide for some of Gene’s creations including Star Trek. George Pal also employed Ray Harryhausen, and was a mentor to him throughout his career. During the 1920’s, he designed art subtitles for silent movies in order to keep food on the table.

Miscellaneous:
George Pal was considered by many to be the founding father of fantasy and science fiction. He had a heavy influence on Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen. After his death, Ray Bradbury would appear in a tribute to George Pal called, “The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal”. Ray Bradbury considered Pal to be one of the few other talents in the fantasy and Sci-fi field that can compare with Ray Harryhausen.

Filmography:
1962 7 Faces of Dr. Lao 19
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (fairy tales segments)
1961 Atlantis, the Lost Continent
1960 The Time Machine
1958 Tom Thumb
1957 The Big Fun Carnival (archive footage)
1947 Rhapsody in Wood (short)
1947 Date with Duke (short)
1947 Tubby the Tuba (short)
1947 Wilbur the Lion (short)
1947 Shoe Shine Jasper (short)
1946 John Henry and the Inky-Poo (short)
1946 Together in the Weather (short)
1946 Olio for Jasper (short)
1945 My Man Jasper (short)
1945 Jasper and the Beanstalk (short)
1945 Jasper's Close Shave (short)
1945 Jasper's Minstrels (short)
1945 Jasper Tell (short)
1945 Hot Lips Jasper (short)
1945 Jasper's Booby Traps (short)
1944 Two-Gun Rusty (short)
1944 Jasper's Paradise (short)
1944 And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street (short)
1944 Jasper Goes Hunting (short)
1944 Say Ah, Jasper (short)
1944 Package for Jasper (short)
1944 A Hatful of Dreams (short)
1943 Good Night Rusty (short)
1943 Jasper Goes Fishing (short)
1943 The Little Broadcast (short)
1943 The Truck That Flew (short)
1943 Jasper's Music Lesson (short)
1943 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins (short)
1943 Bravo, Mr. Strauss (short)
1943 Jasper and the Choo-Choo (short)
1942 Jasper and the Haunted House (short)
1942 Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk (short)
1942 Sky Princess (short)
1942 Jasper and the Watermelons (short)
1942 Tulips Shall Grow (short)
1941 Rhythm in the Ranks (short)
1941 The Gay Knighties (short)
1941 Hoola Boola (short)
1941 Dipsy Gypsy (short)
1941 Western Daze (short)
1939 Love on the Range
1938 Den stora Philipsrevyn 1938 (TV short)
1938 Radiorør-revolusjonen (short)
1938 Sky Pirates
1938 South Sea Sweethearts (short)
1937 Captain Kidding
1936 Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (short)
1936 Ether Symphony (short)
1936 Sinbad
1936 Vier Asse (short)
1935 The Magic Atlas (short)
1935 The Sleeping Beauty
1934 Philips Cavalcade
1934 Ship of the Ether

Director Credit
1975 Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (producer)
1968 The Power (producer)
1964 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (producer - uncredited)
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (producer - uncredited)
1961 Atlantis, the Lost Continent (producer)
1960 The Time Machine (producer - uncredited)
1958 Tom Thumb (producer - uncredited)
1957 The Big Fun Carnival (producer - archive footage)
1955 Conquest of Space (producer)
1954 The Naked Jungle (producer)
1953 The War of the Worlds (producer)
1953 Houdini (producer)
1951 When Worlds Collide (producer)
1950 Destination Moon (producer)
1950 The Great Rupert (producer)
1947 Rhapsody in Wood (short) (producer)
1947 Date with Duke (short) (producer)
1947 Tubby the Tuba (short) (producer)
1946 Jasper in a Jam (short) (producer)
1946 Jasper's Derby (short) (producer)
1946 Together in the Weather (short) (producer)
1946 Olio for Jasper (short) (producer)
1945 Jasper's Minstrels (short) (producer)
1945 Jasper's Booby Traps (short) (producer)
1944 Jasper Goes Hunting (short) (producer)
1942 Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk (short) (producer)
1942 Sky Princess (short) (producer)
1942 Jasper and the Watermelons (short) (producer)
1942 Tulips Shall Grow (short) (producer)
1941 Rhythm in the Ranks (short) (producer)
1938 South Sea Sweethearts (short) (executive producer)
1936 Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (short) (producer)
1936 Ether Symphony (short) (executive producer)
1935 The Magic Atlas (short) (executive producer)

Cinematographer
1946 John Henry and the Inky-Poo (short)
1945 Jasper and the Beanstalk (short)
1944 And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street (short)
1944 A Hatful of Dreams (short)
1943 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins (short)
1943 Bravo, Mr. Strauss (short)
1942 Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk (short)
1942 Sky Princess (short)
1942 Tulips Shall Grow (short)
1941 Rhythm in the Ranks (short)
1941 Western Daze (short)
1939 Love on the Range
1938 Sky Pirates
1938 South Sea Sweethearts (short)
1937 Captain Kidding
1936 Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (short)
1936 Ether Symphony (short)
1936 Sinbad
1935 The Magic Atlas (short)
1935 The Sleeping Beauty
1934 Philips Cavalcade
1934 Ship of the Ether

Writer 1975 Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (screenplay)
1957 The Big Fun Carnival (story / archive footage)
1946 Together in the Weather (short) (script)
1942 Tulips Shall Grow (short) (story)

Editor
1946 Jasper in a Jam (short)
1938 South Sea Sweethearts (short)
1936 Ether Symphony (short)
1935 The Magic Atlas (short)

Miscellanous Crew
1960 The Time Machine (morlock designer - uncredited)
1947 Variety Girl (puppetoon sequence)

Actor
1955Lux Video Theatre (TV series)
Lux Video Theatre Guest
–1955 The Copperhead (1955) … Lux Video Theatre Guest
1953 The War of the Worlds Bum #1 Listening to Radio (uncredited)

Animator
1940 Strike Up the Band (animator - uncredited)

Thanks
2010 Vixen Highway 2006: It Came from Uranus! (special thanks) Self
1967 Dateline: Hollywood (TV series) Himself
– Episode dated 11 August 1967 (1967) … Himself Archive Footage
2005 The Sky Is Falling: Making 'The War of the Worlds' (video documentary short) First man listening to radio
1993 Time Machine: The Journey Back (video documentary) Himself
1985 The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (documentary) Himself (uncredited)

Honors:
A total of 8 Academy Awards won.

Related Links:
http://www.scifistation.com/george_pal/legacyof.html

Bibliographic References:
Frank J. Taylor “Pal of Puppets”, Collier, January 16, 1943
Samuel J. Maronies “George Pal 1908-1980, Starlog, September 1980
UCLA Film and Television Archive
The Academy of Motion Picture and Science
DVD – The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal, 1985
Director Arnold Leibouit
Writer Arnold Leibouit
The Animation World Network – The George Pal Puppetoons Site

Contributors to this listing:
Philip Dimitriadis

Animators Hall of Fame