Hungarian/American puppeteer, filmmaker, stop-action animator. George Pal earned an architecture degree in Budapest but turned to animation and worked in Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. He began working at Paramount Pictures in 1939 where he coined the term “puppetoon” (a combination of puppet and cartoon) for his stop-action animation work. He created over 40 eight-minute puppetoons between 1941 and 1949. The animations used over 9,000 puppets. The Tulips Shall Grow (an anti-Nazi cartoon); Hot Lips Jasper, John Henry and the Inky Poo, and Tubby the Tuba are notable titles. He won the first of eight Oscars in 1943. Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013), puppeteer and special effects wizard, got his start with George Pal, and puppeteer, Bob Baker (1925-2014), also worked with Pal.
In Hollywood, George Pal is best remembered as a producer, director, and special effects genius who is considered the father of the contemporary science fiction film, including When Worlds Collide (1951), directed by Rudolph Maté; The War of the Worlds (1953), directed by Byron Haskin; and The Time Machine (1960), directed by George Pal.
For puppeteers, George Pal is the great pioneer of stop action animation. His witty, elegant artistry in the Jasper puppetoons and his generosity as a director and teacher are a lasting legacy.
(See United States of America.)