David Hand (1900— 1986)

David Hand

My introduction to David Hand was about thirty years ago when I used to possess a Gingernut Annual, writes April Spencer. As far as I can remember the cover was m full colour, but I believe the inside illustrations were just in two colours, black and orange. The images were very strong and also the signature of David Hand stuck in my mind visually, lust as now, my children always recognise the Walt Disney signature. Gingemut of course, was the main character in the Animaland series produced by G.B. Animation.

In the seventies I began to research into the history of British animation, and thus started to ferret out animators who had worked at G.B. Anixnation in Cookham between 1944 and

So, it was a great thrill when, in 1974, whilst on a ‘hero worshipping’ trip to California I was able to meet and talk to David Hand. He gave me his account of his six years working in England after the War to add to the other stories that I had gathered from the artists who had worked for him; and he related his history in animation up to and including his 14 years at the Disney Studios, where he had been Supervising Director on Snow White and Bambi.

It was very warm welcome that he gave Les Gibbard (who took the photograph) and myself. Dave Hand had reached a top position at Disney’s with nowhere else to go. So, he saw Gaumont British Animation as a creative challenge. It was a great pity that G.B.A. as a part of the Rank Organisation had to close; and all the well-trained artists such as George Jackson, Arthur Humberstone and Eddie Radage had to distribute themselves wherever they could.

Hand’s career after that was taken up by making industrial films and submitting black and white cartoons to various publications. It had been cartoon drawings that had started him off in his teens at an art college in Chicago.

But he will always be warmly remembered by many of the Cookham artists such as Stan Pearsall, who described him as a ‘Genial Giant’ – “a big man, good looking, smiling, but very tough. But he was dedicated.”

Printed in Animator Issue 18 (Spring 1987)