The Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) is pleased to present a new exhibition exploring the world of animation and the Italian Americans who were pioneers of this exciting medium, as well as those who continue to inspire audiences today.
Italian Americans figure prominently in the world of animation, having given birth to iconic series including The Flintstones, Tom and Jerry, and Woody Woodpecker, and having served as creative forces behind major studios and comic classics.
Spanning a century of animation history, Fantasy World: Italian Americans in Animation examines the lives, inspirations, and contributions of Italian Americans artists, writers, directors, voice actors, musicians, and producers who created unforgettable characters, hilarious cartoons, enduring musical scores, and timeless stories.
Creative minds such as Joseph Barbera, co-creator of The Flintstones; Walter Lantz, whose surname was changed from Lanza, and who created Woody Woodpecker, among other characters; Clyde Geronimi, co-director of Lady and the Tramp; and Joe Oriolo, creator of the Felix the Cat television show, are presented as part of a distinct chapter of entertainment history revealing how Italian Americans have shaped the field of animation since its inception.
Although animation has been and remains a male-dominated field, Italian American women were among those who overcame bias to carve out successful careers. Fantasy World highlights important figures such as Bianca Majolie, Disney’s first female story artist; Grace Godino, an animator for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White; and Milicent Patrick (born Mildred di Rossi), the long-overlooked creator of the Gill-Man from the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
A special section of the exhibition is dedicated to Italian American comic artists including Carmine Infantino, who co-created the Flash and designed the character’s iconic costume; Frank Giacoia, a legendary inker behind The Incredible Hulk and Captain America; John Romita Sr., who worked on Spider-Man with Stan Lee; and John Buscema, who co-created the Vision, an android member of the Avengers, among others.