Welcome to part two of the second round of posts devoted to Robert Binks and his work. All our posts to date can be found here, and Mr. Binks’ illustrations for the poet Ogden Nash are gathered here. All the works in this post are © CBC/Bob Binks.
Let’s start with a look at Mr. Binks and hat design. He models the work himself, along with a clown nose for added high spirits:
“This hat celebrates a new CBC building to be erected,” Mr. Binks writes by email. The occasion was lunch in 1984 for CBC graphic designers.
Now two illustrations Mr. Binks drew for broadcast around 1960, during the era of black-and-white television. They were part of a story called “The Frolicking Mastodon.”
“The drawings were done in India ink on beige window blind with added white paint,” Mr. Binks writes.
The next three works were done about 1980 as part of a story broadcast on the CBC children’s show Mr. Dressup. The story’s set-up is simple: Queen Victoria hires a cat to rid her palace of mice.
“In contrast to this world of high tech that we now live in, we created simple animated solutions by moving cut-out shapes,” Mr. Binks says. “The stagehand at the back of the graphic would move the magnetized cat cutout along a felt pen line that determines the action. The camera follows the action of the cat as it crosses the bridge along the path to visit Queen Victoria.”
“The stagehand moves the magnetized mouse up out of the hole.”
“Part of the castle door is on another level to allow the mouse to appear and travel down the path following a curved line.”
Next, three panels belonging to a feature created during the mid-1970s for the CBC television program Such Is Life. Their collective title is “Strange Beliefs of Children.”
Mr. Binks: “The animation was preshot by myself on an animation stand. This was a simple animation technique where I used paper cut-outs and I double framed each shot.”
The first two center on the longstanding trepidation felt by little boys over contact with their grandmothers’ insistent, wrinkled mouths.
In the first shot, “the little boy was moved up to Grandma’s mouth by moving her long arms,” Mr. Binks writes. Then “a match dissolve changes the little boy’s normal lips to puckered lips. The eyes go from normal to crosseyed.” And that is what happens to the poor blighters. The CBC was on the case all those years ago.The next picture also addresses a widespread problem:
The boy is about to encounter something horrible. From the script: “There’s this thing which lives in the toilet and likes it and when you go in the night and flush the toilet it wakes the thing up. So you’d better hurry getting out of there — but this kid was too slow.”
Mr. Binks used a series of cutouts to show the boy flushing the toilet, then being seized and dragged into the toilet by a wormlike creature with a suction-cup head.
So this is what the CBC wants to show young people! Mr. Binks notes that his nephew, when small, was given a look at the sequence and suffered nightmares as a result. “As an adult he still has vivid memories and requested a copy,” Mr. Binks adds, which tells us something about the bizarre power of nostalgia.
Finally, a foldout Valentine’s card Mr. Binks made around 1980. Its recipient, of course, was his wife, Katharine. It’s a lovely piece of work, even in the miniaturized form we must settle for here:
Next week: A dog and cows!