Chuck Menville

Charles David "Chuck" Menville (April 17, 1940 – June 15, 1992) was an American animator and writer for television. His credits included Batman: The Animated Series, Land of the Lost, The Real Ghostbusters, The Smurfs, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Tiny Toon Adventures.

Chuck Menville
BornCharles David Menville
April 17, 1940
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedJune 15, 1992 (aged 52)
Malibu, California, U.S.
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills
OccupationTelevision animator, writer
ChildrenScott Menville, Chad Menville

Pixilation: career in 1960s and 1970s

Menville was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 with aspirations of becoming an animator. There, he got a job with Walt Disney Productions and served as an assistant on the 1967 film The Jungle Book. Unhappy with the climate at Disney, Menville soon branched out into writing, and began a long working partnership with his friend Len Janson.

During the mid 1960s, Menville and Janson co-produced a series of short live-action films, among them the Academy Award-nominated Stop Look and Listen, an innovative stop-motion pixilation experiment in which the main characters "drive" down city streets in invisible cars.

Disney and other Hollywood studios saw little use for the technique, and so the pixilation technique became largely forgotten after McLaren moved on to using other animation techniques for later films. But Menville and Janson revived the all-but-forgotten technique, introducing it to a new generation.

They followed Stop Look and Listen with their 1967 short film Vicious Cycles, a comedy shot in 16 mm, featuring a gang of hard-core bikers intimidating a motor scooter club. Menville played the head of the scooter club. Clips from the film were featured in a 1970 summer television series on the ABC network called The New Communicators and made Menville's pixilation technique famous in the USA.

Gulf Oil soon hired them to do a series of pixilation commercials for its "no-nox" gasoline, which allowed them to increase the production value of their films.

They graduated to 35 mm with their next short film, 1970's Blaze Glory, a spoof of cliche western movies in which heroes and villains rode around the Old West, without horses. Menville played the title character. It was an ambitious and elaborate short film, in which a full-scale stagecoach, with no wheels, was physically animated, along with an animated moving camera, frame-by-frame for a complex robbery scene. The film, with its other elaborate animated sight gags, was a hit short film at midnight movies in the early 1970s.

They followed this with two more 35 mm short films, Sergeant Swell (1972), and Captain Mom (also 1972), both spoofs of superheroes. The later film was mostly live action with a minimum of their now-trademark pixilation animation technique, and failed to garner a large audience, but by then Menville and Janson had established themselves as a creative force within Hollywood animation production circles.

In the mid-1970s, the team began a stint at Filmation, during which they brought their irreverent style to Star Trek: The Animated Series, writing two episodes: "Once Upon a Planet" and "The Practical Joker". The "rec room" in the latter episode is now seen by many within Star Trek fandom as the genesis of the holodeck.

Later career

In the 1980s, Menville contributed to a number of Saturday morning series, including The Smurfs, The Real Ghostbusters, and Kissyfur. Among his last projects before his death in 1992 was the episode "Opah" of the live-action Land of the Lost, for which he was nominated for the Humanitas Prize in Live-action Children's programming. His final project was writing an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, but Menville died before the episode could be written. Brynne Stephens wrote the teleplay for the 1993 Batman episode "Birds of a Feather" based on Menville's story, for which he received a story credit on the completed episode.

Menville was the author of The Harlem Globetrotters: Fifty Years of Fun and Games, a history of the famed basketball team. It was published by the D. McKay Company in 1978.

Menville died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Malibu, California in 1992. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.[1] He was the father of Scott Menville, an American musician and voice artist and Chad Menville, an American writer.


  1. ^ "Charles David Menville (1940 - 1992) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 2016-03-15.

External links

18th Daytime Emmy Awards

The 18th Daytime Emmy Awards were held on Thursday, June 27, 1991, on CBS, to commemorate excellence in American daytime programming from the previous year (1990). The awards were hosted by The Price Is Right host Bob Barker. For the first time, they aired in the evening, from 9 to 11 p.m. EST.

1940 in television

The year 1940 in television involved some significant events.

Below is a list of television-related events during 1940.

Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies

Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies is a 1972 animated one-hour TV-movie (with a live-action segment near the end) that was part of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie. In this Filmation-produced movie, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and other Looney Tunes characters interact with the characters from the Filmation series Groovie Goolies.

This movie is notable for being the one and only time that Warner Bros. "loaned out" their famous Looney Tunes characters to appear in a Filmation production (otherwise they were a silent partner). Warner Bros. had shut down their animation studio in 1969. While Warner Bros. had outsourced production to other companies since the 1960s, it was usually to studios run by former Warner Bros. alumni (such as Friz Freleng and later Chuck Jones), something that was not the case with Filmation.

Going Bananas (U.S. series)

Going Bananas is a live-action superhero/comedy series produced by Hanna-Barbera and ran from September 15, 1984 to December 1984 on NBC.

Len Janson

Len Janson is an American writer and director whose career in animated cartoons and live-action motion pictures spanned several decades beginning in the 1960s. He began work as an in-betweener at the Walt Disney cartoon studio. By 1965 he had become a story man with his first screen credit in Rudy Larriva's Boulder Wham!. Soon after, he teamed with Chuck Menville to produce a series of live-action films which used the pixilation technique. An example is Stop Look and Listen. By the early 1970s, Janson and Menville had become major names in the animation industry and welcome storytellers at studios such as Filmation and Hanna-Barbera. Their partnership ended with Menville's death in 1992. Janson remained active for a few more years, mainly as story editor for Sonic the Hedgehog. He also wrote episodes of Baywatch Nights.

Little Wizards

Little Wizards, also called '''''Young Wizards''''', is an American animated series, created by Len Janson and Chuck Menville and produced by Marvel Productions and New World International, that ran from 1987 to 1988.

Menville (surname)

Menville is a surname. Notable people with this surname include:

Chuck Menville (1940–1992), American animator and writer for television

Johnny Menville (early 20th century), American college football player and physician

Scott Menville (born 1971), American actor, voice actor and musician

Once Upon a Planet

"Once Upon a Planet" is the ninth episode of the first season of the American animated science fiction television series Star Trek. It first aired in the NBC Saturday morning lineup on November 3, 1973, and was written by American television writers Chuck Menville and Len Janson.Set in the 23rd century, the series followed the further adventures of the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise, continuing on from the original Star Trek series. In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise re-visit a "shore leave" planet for R&R but quickly find themselves under attack.


Pixilation (from pixilated) is a stop motion technique where live actors are used as a frame-by-frame subject in an animated film, by repeatedly posing while one or more frame is taken and changing pose slightly before the next frame or frames. The actor becomes a kind of living stop motion puppet. This technique is often used as a way to blend live actors with animated ones in a movie, such as in The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb by the Bolex Brothers.

Early examples of this technique are El hotel eléctrico from 1908 and Émile Cohl's 1911 movie Jobard ne peut pas voir les femmes travailler (Jobard cannot see the women working).

The term is widely credited to Grant Munro (although some say it was McLaren) and he made an experimental movie named "Pixillation", available in his DVD collection "Cut Up – The Films of Grant Munro"

Scott Menville

Scott David Menville (born February 12, 1971) is an American actor, voice actor and musician. He is best known for his voice work in animated films and television series.

Sergeant Swell of the Mounties

Sergeant Swell of the Mounties is a 1972 short film written and directed by Len Janson and Chuck Menville, and starring Menville in the title role. Sergeant Swell short films were featured on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour during the 1971 season, which began on September 14, 1971.

The film is a pixilation spoof of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

Space Sentinels

Space Sentinels (originally titled The Young Sentinels and renamed midway through its only season) is a Saturday morning animated series produced by Filmation which debuted on the American NBC network on September 10, 1977 and ran for thirteen half-hour episodes.

In this series, the Greek mythology figures Hercules and Mercury are joined by Astrea, a character created specifically for the series, to form a superhero team to protect mankind.

The complete series was released on Region 1 DVD on August 22, 2006, along with the complete series of The Freedom Force.

Space Stars

Space Stars is a 60-minute Saturday morning animated program block produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on NBC from September 12, 1981 to September 11, 1982.

Star Trek Log (book series)

Star Trek Log is a series of ten novelizations based on, and inspired by, episodes of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Animated Series. Published by Ballantine Books from 1974 to 1978, the series was written by Alan Dean Foster and edited by Judy-Lynn del Ray. The series is also known as Star Trek Logs and Star Trek: Logs.

The series is similar to novelizations based on episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series published by Bantam Books, and written by James Blish and J. A. Lawrence.

Stop, Look and Listen

Stop, Look and Listen or Stop, Look, Listen may refer to:

"Stop, Look, Listen, Think" (and similar), a procedure promoted by the Green Cross Code, a UK pedestrian safety campaign

Stop Look and Listen (film)

Stop Look and Listen is a color, 10-minute 1967 comedy film written, directed by, and starring Len Janson and Chuck Menville. The film was nominated for an Oscar in 1968 (Best Short Subject, Live Action). It was mostly filmed in Griffith Park in pixilation (stop-motion photography).

The film generates comedy by contrasting the safe and dangerous styles of two drivers who drive in the way made famous by Harold Lloyd: by sitting in the street and seeming to move their bodies as though they were automobiles.

The New Shmoo

The New Shmoo is a 30-minute Saturday morning animated series based on the character from the Li'l Abner comic strip created by Al Capp, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1979 to November 15, 1980.

The New Shmoo was broadcast as a stand-alone half-hour series from September 22, 1979 to December 1, 1979. Following its cancellation and beginning December 8, 1979, the remaining episodes of The New Shmoo were now incorporated into the 90-minute package show Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo which also featured combined reruns of The New Fred and Barney Show and The Thing (originally broadcast as Fred and Barney Meet The Thing). Despite the show's title, Fred, Barney, The Thing and Shmoo only met each other in brief bumpers between their individual segments.

The Practical Joker

"The Practical Joker" is the third episode of the second season of the American animated science fiction television series Star Trek, the 19th episode overall. It first aired in the NBC Saturday morning lineup on September 21, 1974, and was written by American television writers Chuck Menville and Len Janson who together also wrote the first season episode "Once Upon a Planet".

Set in the 23rd century, the series follows the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (voiced by William Shatner) and the crew of the Starfleet starship Enterprise. In this episode, after the Enterprise passes through an unusual cloud the ship's computer starts playing practical jokes on the crew.

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