Rudy Zamora

Birth/Death March 26, 2010 -- July 29, 1989

Occupation/Title
Animator, Animation Supervisor, Animation Director

Bio Summary
Rudy Zamora was a pioneer from animation’s early heyday. He moved around to many different studios in his lifetime, due in part to his restlessness and his attitude. Thanks to his constant movement, he learned many different techniques and philosophies about the business. Zamora was known especially for his irreverent spirit and his rebellious nature. Though many spake lowly of his attitude and work ethic, none denied his talent and genius for his craft, and he directed many famous television shows, most notably for Hanna-Barbera, before his death in 1989.

Early Life/Family:
Rudy Zamora’s early life and family live in obscurity; there was no information I could find. A Rudy Zamora Jr. worked on Peanuts for a bit as an editor and helped to produce the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also helped to start the San Francisco chapter of ASIFA in 1983 as a member of the board of directors. I assume this is his son, though I cannot find anything at all to confirm this.

Education/Training:
Not much can be found about Zamora’s early life, though it is mentioned that he began his career as an animator by being promoted from inbetweener to animator at the Fleischer brothers studio to replace veteran animators during the great Disney upheaval of the early 1930’s. Zamora’s first career credit comes from a small pornographic animation done in 1929, so it can be inferred that he may have learned a crude form of animation to help with this project before being hired on to a more permanent studio.

Career Outline:
Zamora’s very first credit comes from the animation “Eveready Harton in Buried Treasure,” an independent pornographic animation project. From this animation on which he initially worked anonymously, Zamora moved to Fleischer studios, first as an inbetweener, later to be promoted to animator in 1930. He worked for two more years with them, before being hired by Disney briefly in 1931-32. After being fired for having what Walt Disney considered to be a poor work ethic, Zamora spent a few years jumping from project to project, working most notably on a few shorts with Walter Lantz at Walter Lantz Productions, which opened his door to directing his very first short, “Problem Child” in 1938.

Credits from here become much more sparse for the next 20-odd years, as Zamora found himself jumping from project to project, working as an animator with MGM (“Wild Honey” in 1942 and “The Stork’s Holiday” in 1943), the Jam Handy Organization (“Wings for Roger Windsock” in 1947), and United Productions of America (“1001 Arabian Nights” in 1959). Zamora’s talent for directing came back with a flourish when he landed a directing gig on both “Rocky and His Friends” in 1959 and “The Bullwinkle Show” in 1961. These intensive jobs kept him busy til 1965, when he moved on to become a graphic blandisher and animator for Bill Melendez in a series of “Peanuts” shorts and full-length movies. In 1967, Zamora animated on the cartoon series “George of the Jungle,” for which he is still well-known today.

Zamora spent the late 1960’s and 1970’s animating for several well-known television shows and movies, such as “Josie and the Pussy Cats in Outer Space” (1972), “Super Friends” (1973), and “A Flinstone Christmas” (1977), the latter of which became most significant, as his good standing with Hanna-Barbera later scored him a job in 1980 directing the Flinstone Comedy Show. From this point, all of Zamora’s credits are strictly director-related, as he stayed with the Hanna-Barbera company for the final duration of his career. Some of his most famous television show credits include “The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries” (1984), “The Jetsons” (1985), “The Smurfs” (1981-1986), and “Johnny Quest” (1986-1987), though he did direct for many more Hanna-Barbera productions than just these few.

Zamora’s very final credit comes from the TV movie “Yogi’s Great Escape,” which he directed in 1987, just two years before his death.

Comments On Style:
Rudy Zamora preferred to work in straight-ahead style animation, due to the fact that it was quick and didn’t require as much work. Zamora’s preferred animation style is seen by some as somewhat choppy, though classic and retro. Zamora became well-known for his work on many cartoons whose shape languages were very rich, even minimalistic at times, beautifully blending organic and geometric shapes seamlessly.

Influences:
As Zamora began his career at the very beginning of animation’s heyday and the lack of information on his early life, it is difficult to say who influenced him. Knowing his fiery personality, it is very possible that a then-young Zamora may have deemed animation a good money-maker back in the day and jumped in just to see where it would take him!

Personality:
Many people who worked with Zamora describe him as having been rather cantankerous and undisciplined, as well as feisty and outspoken. He found no need to be overly respectful to authority, and is recounted many times as having the attitude of a rebellious teen. He worked, sure, but smart rather than hard, which drove people like Walt Disney insane, thus explaining his short stay with the company. Many people insist that what Zamora lacked in work ethic, he made up for in brilliance, however. Those working with him during his stint with the Rocky and Bullwinkle television shows found him to be witty and invaluable, and actually admired his irreverence.

Anecdotes:
Bowling seems to show up in a lot of personal stories of people recounting Zamora-- during his short stint at MGM, when told the company was upping its production requirements from twenty feet a week to twenty-five during their joining of the union, he rebelled by pulling out his bowling ball to “practice” in the room above production head Fred Quimby’s office, causing tons of racket. This caused Quimby to fire him. Walt Disney reportedly fired Zamora for speaking too freely, though it is known that he was also unimpressed with Zamora’s workload, once stopping in to check on Zamora’s progress on an animated short, only to find that he had animated naught but two pages in a whole day! Bill Melendez, who he worked under during his work on “Peanuts,” playfully said “I couldn’t stand Zamora, I fired him a number of time!” Which meant that he hired him a number of time. “At MGM after the footage requirement he made it a point of honor to never be caught working,” said Melendez, remembering how he would sit and smoke in his office at his leisure, 5 feet of animation done a day when 25 was required for the week. “I’ve done my 5 feet, I’m done for the day.”

Gene Deitch, who worked over Zamora at the Jam Handy studios, recounts being the butt of many of Zamora’s comedic sketches over his stay with the company. He remembers Zamora as being a large man, heavily into spicy eating and drinking. He knew Zamora could have him pinned to the floor in mere seconds if he ever felt the need, but he never feared Zamora. The two of them reportedly worked together quite well, as Deitch was able to not take Zamora’s ribbing personally. There was a mutual respect between them, and Deitch reports that Zamora was in fact one of the very best at the Jam Handy studios and a delight to work with, as he kept him from taking himself too seriously.

Miscellaneous:

Filmography:
1987 Yogi's Great Escape (director)
1986-1987 Jonny Quest (director)
1987 Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose (director)
1986 The Flintstone Kids (director)
1986 Foofur (director)
1986 Pound Puppies (director)
1981-1986 Smurfs (director)
1986 Wildfire (director)
1985-1986 Paw Paws (director)
1985-1987 Yogi's Treasure Hunt (director)
1985 Snorks (director)
1985 Challenge of the GoBots (director)
1985 The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (director)
1985 The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (director)
1985 The Jetsons (director)
1984 The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (director)
1983 The Biskitts (director)
1983 Monchhichis (director)
1983 The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (director)
1982-1983 Pac-Man (director)
1980-1983 Super Friends (director)
1983 The Dukes (director)
1982-1984 Shirt Tales (director)
1982 The Gary Coleman Show (director)
1982 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (director)
1982 Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (director)
1982 Laverne & Shirley with Special Guest Star the Fonz (director)
1982 The Little Rascals (director)
1981 The All-New Popeye Hour (director)
1981 Space Stars (director)
1981 Trollkins (director)
1980-1981 The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (director)
1981 Laverne & Shirley in the Army (director)
1981 The Kwicky Koala Show (director)
1980 The Ri¢hie Ri¢h/Scooby-Doo Show (director)
1980 The Flintstone Comedy Show (director)
1978 ABC Weekend Specials (animator)
1978 Metamorphoses (animator)
1977 A Flintstone Christmas (animator)
1977 Halloween Is Grinch Night (animator)
1976 It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown (animator)
1975 The Tiny Tree (animator)
1973 Super Friends (animation supervisor)
1972 Josie and the Pussy Cats in Outer Space (animation supervisor)
1972 Snoopy Come Home (graphic blandishment)
1971 Babar Comes to America (graphic blandishment)
1971 Play It Again, Charlie Brown (graphic blandishment)
1969 A Boy Named Charlie Brown (animator)
1969 It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown (graphic blandishment)
1968 The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant (graphic blandishment)
1967 George of the Jungle (animator)
1967 You're in Love, Charlie Brown (graphic blandishment)
1966 It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (graphic blandishment)
1966 Charlie Brown's All Stars! (graphic blandishment)
1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas (graphic blandishment)
1964-1965 Linus! The Lion Hearted (animator)
1961 The Bullwinkle Show (director)
1959-1960 Rocky and His Friends (director)
1959 1001 Arabian Nights (animator)
1947 Wings for Roger Windsock (animator - uncredited)
1943 The Stork's Holiday (animator)
1942 Wild Honey, or, How to Get Along Without a Ration Book (animator)
1938 Voodoo in Harlem (director)
1938 Cheese-Nappers (director)
1938 Problem Child (director)
1938 Boy Meets Dog (animator)
1938 Trade Mice (animator)
1932 The Duck Hunt (animator)
1931 Egyptian Melodies (animator)
1931 Alexander's Ragtime Band (animator)
1931 In My Merry Oldsmobile (animator)
1930 On a Sunday Afternoon (animator)
1930 Up to Mars (animator)
1930 The Stein Song (animator)
1930 Barnacle Bill (animator)
1930 The Glow Worm (animator)
1929 Eveready Harton in Buried Treasure (animator - uncredited)

Honors:
Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Awards: Golden Award winner (1984)
Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Animated Program: Smurfs (nominated; 1985)

Related Links:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0952712/ -Rudy Zamora on IMBD.com
http://genedeitchcredits.com/roll-the-credits-01/15-rudy-zamora/ -Rudy
Zamora on genedeitchcredits.com

Bibliographic References:
Barrier, J. Michael. The Animated Man-- a Life of Walt Disney. Berkeley: University of California, 2007. Print.
Barrier, J. Michael. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.
Deitch, Gene. "15. Rudy Zamora | Genedeitchcredits." Genedeitchcredits |
The 65 Greats behind the Scenes! 2011. Web. 9 Oct. 2011. .
Peri, Don. Working with Disney: Interviews with Animators, Producers, and Artists. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2011. Print.
Scott, Keith. The Moose That Roared: the Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose. New York: St. Martin's, 2000. Print.
Sito, Tom. Drawing the Line: the Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson. University Press of Kentucky, 2006. Print.

Contributors To This Listing:
Heather Alexander

Animators Hall of Fame