Each model animation production shows advances in technique. By using modern materials Cosgrove Hall’s young designers and model engineers have taken animation into entirely new areas such as the facial movements and lip synchronization in THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Some of the techniques used by the company, including chemical formulae of modelling plastics and the design features of the puppet skeletons, are trade secrets.
Cartoon animation plays just as big a part as model animation at Cosgrove Hall. These are as follows:
JAMIE AND THE MAGIC TORCH
This was the first of their cartoon animation series. First shown on TV in April 1977, it features a boy called Jamie and his faithful friend Wordsworth the sheepdog. His mother puts him to bed, closes the door and suddenly Jamie is out of bed, Wordsworth out from under the bed, and Jamie is shining his magic torch onto the bedroom floor and following the beam down into a strange new world called Cuckooland.
Mark Hall used to watch his children Simon and Rachel playing with their torch projector, and he saw how absorbed they would be by the pictures beamed on the wall. “It seemed a marvellous device for getting a little boy and his dog into all sorts of magical adventures.”
Jamie and Wordsworth went through many pre—production meetings before they shaped into the characters eventually seen. A prototype Jamie wore both pyjamas and hat. Hall thought that too Noddy-like. The hat went on Wordsworth. Wordsworth in the planning days was a Yorkshire terrier. He ended up an Old English sheepdog because more animation could go into such a shape.
THE TALKING PARCEL
The Talking Parcel, a forty-minute cartoon (Christmas 1978 TV Special) taken from the book by Gerald Durrell and adapted by Rosemary Anne Sissons, tells the story of Penelope, a young girl who finds a talking parcel on the sea¬shore. Inside is Parrot, who takes her flying by train to the magical land of Mythologia. All the mythical animals live there ruled over by the wizard H.H. Junketberry, but he has been imprisoned by wicked fire-breathing Cockatrices, huge monsters half cockerel and half reptile.
Penelope, Parrot, and a toad called Ethelred try to rescue the Wizard. The climax comes when the good animals join forces to attack the castle where the wizard is held captive.