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Toonhound presents...






  Short British Films &  TV Specials  

        Charley from Halas & Batchelor/ COI

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  The Charley films      (1946 - 1947)
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producers: Halas & Batchelor for the
                    Central Office of Information
  animation: cel animation

           films: 8 x 9mins


Charley was a post-war cartoon star, created for the Central Office of Information
    by Halas & Batchelor, at the behest of then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir
    Stafford Cripps. Charley was an "everyman", just a regular, working class fellow,
    through  whom the public could learn about the various reforms that were being
    undertaken in Britain, to help the country get back on its feet after WWII.

 The "Charley" films were produced in 1946 - 1947 and released from 1948. There were
    eight films in total, looking at the new towns, schooling, the National Health, building
    up exports and working for heavy industry.
Charley had his own chirpy theme tune,
    and opening titles, in which he would ride across the screen on his bicycle, writing
    out his name. And each film was billed as being part of an ongoing series, so you
    knew there were others to view and learn from

    Usually the films would begin with chipper Charley on his pushbike, exploring
    postwar Britain and commenting on social developments. He would interact with
    an unseen Narrator, who would answer his questions, correct and educate him.
    Charley could often be a reluctant reformist, and would need some cajoling to get
    into the spirit of things. Indeed, in the most imaginative of the films, "Charley's
    March of Time", our hero runs away from the introduction of National Insurance,
    all the way back to the Dawn of Time!

    In "Charley Junior's Schooldays" we focus on Charley's new baby boy, and we
    soon discover that Charley Junior's a chip off the old block, as he tours the
    new school developments springing up around the country.

    Of course, by the end of each short tale, any hesitancy has been blown away,
    and Charley - Senior or Junior - is right behind the reform and eager to participate.
    Just what the Government wanted.

    The "Charley" films were handsomely produced and delivered, and displayed
    some great creativity. The chipper exchanges and ripostes between Charley and
    the Narrator may seem quaint today, but they were the perfect way to get the
    message home. Halas & Batchelor were particularly adept at conveying what
    were then considered daunting, or complex new ideas with clarity and focus,
    and just the right amount of humour...


     The Charley films

     Charley in the New Towns
     Charley in "Your Very Good Health"
     Charley's March of Time
     Charley in the New Schools
     Charley in the New Mines / Charley's Black Magic
     Robinson Charley
     Charley Junior's Schooldays
     Farmer Charley       


      Halas & Batchelor Cartoon Films

      directors:           John Halas, Joy Batchelor
      producers:         John Halas, Joy Batchelor
      stories:              John Halas, Joy Batchelor
      design:              John Halas, Joy Batchelor
      music:               Matyas Seiber
      photography:     Percy Wright
      backgrounds:     John Beaven
      animation:         Douglas Low, Wally Crook, Jack king
                              John Beaven, Percy Wright, Vera Linnecar
                               E Williams, R Privett, EH Meyer
      sound & fx:        Jack King
      editor:               Jack King
      voices:              Jack Train
                               Harold Berens
                               Geoffrey Sumner
                               Dorothy Summers
                               Max Adrian


      On the web

       The National Archives
       This is grand. Four "Charley" films are actually available to view online,
       at the National Archive, together with images and plenty of information
       about the reform in question, and its historical context...

       Halas & Batchelor
       The official site with info on their magnificent catalogue, details of the
       studio history, awards, availability and clips to view too...
      Animation Research Centre
       The Surrey-based centre have an extensive Halas & Batchelor collection,
       and they present a wealth of information for us...

      index »     

© Halas & Batchelor / COI / F2006