THE HISTORY OF
DANISH ANIMATED CARTOONS
1919 - 2000
From prehistory to the computer age
Collected, told and partially experienced by
Webmaster: Jakob Koch
This project on Danish cartoon history was started in 1984, and was originally intended as a book publication. However, the nature and scope of the subject has made such a form of publication questionable. Therefore, we have decided instead to put it online with this website.
The benefits of publishing on the website are many. We have control over the form and content, and we can change and add to the material at any time. We can grow the website by constantly adding new chapters and biographies.
There is already some collected material available, and this version of Danish cartoon history is largely written. New sections will be added to the website on an ongoing basis, which will also be regularly updated with new information and new material. Therefore, we would like to encourage everyone who has worked professionally with cartoons, or who has relationships with, knowledge or information about living and / or deceased cartoonists, to contact us with relevant information to illuminate the Danish cartoon history. We are very interested in drawings, photos, newspaper clippings and video clips for the website, but must point out that we can only put material on the website that will not be in conflict with copyright law and copyright.
Of course, we cannot guarantee that all submitted material will appear on the website. In return, it is the intention that all collected material in due course will be handed over to the Film Museum or a similar institution, where it will hopefully be preserved for posterity.
Harry Rasmussen. Initiator and author of the project.
Jakob Koch. Website webmaster.
relating to. copyright
For the sake of clarity, it must be clarified that in accordance with the Copyright Act, the image material from this website may not be used without prior permission from the respective persons and companies that have the copyright to these. The same applies to longer excerpts from the text, which may not be reproduced unless there is an express written agreement to this effect with Harry Rasmussen and Jakob Koch.
April 6, 2010. Translated into English in February 2021 by Harry Rasmussen.
Harry Rasmussen and Jakob Koch.
The present story about Danish cartoons from and including the prehistory of the film and the cartoon, over Storm.P. and the feature film “Fyrtøjet” (1946), even the short film "It is perfectly true!" (2006), will to some extent be a narrative about my personal connection to the Danish cartoon industry in the years 1943-1991, and what followed."
But the story naturally also contains an objective presentation of the preconditions for and circumstances surrounding Danish cartoon production in the mentioned period, which is the result of many years of research and collection of information about people and facts concerning the people's greater or lesser importance in connection with the subject. Below, conferences have been held with live as well as with printed first- or second-hand sources.
Three sources must be highlighted here, namely Wonderful Danish animated films, which unfortunately are no longer available at the Internet address www.plaschke.dk, a website written and designed by journalist Niels Plaschke (b. 1957). It is therefore with great regret that interested parties will no longer be able to retrieve the good, relevant and useful information and knowledge from that source. Where there are references to the said source in the cartoon history, the reader must therefore be disappointed with regret. It can be said about Niels Plaschke that he was educated at the High School of Journalism, where in 1981 he was given the task of writing an exam about the then Gutenberghus' publishing policy around the magazine Anders And & Co. As a trained journalist, he was contacted in 1982 by the editor of the fanzine Carl Barks & Co., Freddy Milton, who gave him the task of editing a tape interview, Milton had done with one of the older Danish cartoonists, Børge Ring. It was the beginning of many years of con amore work with collecting data and material and building a database on the subject. Niels Plaschke tried in 1995 to produce a TV program on the subject, but it failed.
The other source, which, however, is more about American cartoons and only to a lesser extent about Danish cartoons, is “Tegnefilmens historie”, written by the author and editor Jakob Stegelmann (b. 1957) and published by Forlaget Stavnsager 1984. The book is a relatively thorough review of American cartoon production, but contains several factual errors about Danish cartoons. It was especially the circumstance that got me started on my own project.
The third source is the cartoonist and author Lars Jakobsen (b. 1964), who for some years has researched specifically about two of Danish cartoon pioneers and great figures: Jørgen Müller (Myller) and Henning Dahl Mikkelsen (Mik). The latter will be best known for his world-famous cartoon "Ferd'nand". The knowledge that Lars Jakobsen has acquired through his extensive and thorough research work and also through his personal friendship with Dahl Mikkelsen's son, Eric Dahl Mikkelsen, California, he has published in 2001 with the book “mik - a biography of the artist Henning Dahl Mikkelsen”. Published by Wisby & Wilkens. The book makes a significant contribution to uncovering an important period in the history of Danish cartoons. About Lars Jakobsen can also be informed that in collaboration with Jakob Stegelmann in 1997 he produced a TV program for DR TV on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the creation of the cartoon character "Ferd'nand". By the way Lars Jakobsen's website also deals with cartoon history.
During my own research work, it has turned out that several of the people who have had a relatively prominent place in the history of Danish cartoons, and for whom it was important to get additional information from and about, have unfortunately passed away. This applies first and foremost to Robert Storm Petersen, who died in 1949, and the photographer Karl Wieghorst, who also died many years ago. This also applies, for example, to Jørgen Müller, who died in 1995, aged 85, and Henning Dahl Mikkelsen, who died in 1982, aged 67. The same is true of Anker Roepstorff, who died in 1992, aged 82. Also with Børge Hamberg, who died in 1970, 50 years old, Allan Johnsen, who died in 1983, 75 years old, Ib Steinaa, who died at the age of 60 in 1987, and Peter Toubro, who died in 1993 at the age of 78 years.
Robert Storm Petersen Fortunately, there is a lot of available and useful information about, not least thanks to the Storm P. Museum by director Jens Bing, who must therefore be thanked here for extremely benevolent permission to freely use drawings by Storm P., who has his cartoon production to do. We consider this permission an important contribution that can only make the account of Storm P.'s unique pioneering efforts in the history of Danish cartoons even more interesting and exciting than would have been the case without his humorous and slightly satirical drawings in this area.
On the other hand, we must regret that so far it has unfortunately not been possible to obtain further information about Storm P.'s photographer in the years 1919-27, Karl Wieghorst, apart from the information about him found on Niels Plaschke's website and in Lars Jakobsen's book. about Henning Dahl Mikkelsen.
Regarding Jørgen Müller, there is reason to thank for the information that Mrs Edel Müller has kindly contributed. Also a big thank you to Mrs Inge Roepstorff for the much information about her husband and his time with cartoons, and for the material that has been so kindly provided. Mrs Roepstorff has also contributed a great deal of information about both Jørgen Müller and Dahl Mikkelsen, without which this cartoon story would have been even more deficient than is now hopefully the case. And finally, a big thank you to Mrs Bodil Hamberg for her lively interest in the case and her willingness to provide information regarding Børge Hamberg's life and career, as well as for the material provided.
Finally, thanks to the extremely benevolent interest of Allan Johnsen's widow, Mrs Gerda ("Tesse") Johnsen, it was possible to obtain the details of his life and career that are important for understanding the part of Danish cartoon history that deals with the feature film "Fyrtøjet" and the project "Klods-Hans". Thank you very much for this information.
Thanks are also due to Peter Toubro's son, Michael Toubro, for his equally benevolent interest in this project and for the important information about his father, without which the story of the feature film "Fyrtøjet" in particular would have been incomplete.
The same would have been the case without the information and photos made available for this version of "Fyrtøjet"'s story by artist and painter Bodil Dargis, b. Rønnow. Bodil Rønnow at the time was a valued employee on the feature film for several years.
There is also good reason to thank the many who to a greater or lesser degree have contributed information about themselves and their lives and careers within or in connection with Danish cartoons. The thanks go especially to Børge Ring, born 1921, and Bjørn Frank Jensen (1920-2001) and his daughter Inga F. Jensen, whose help with information on behalf of the father has been invaluable. Thanks are also due to Kaj Pindal (1927-2019), for his great helpfulness with information and material regarding himself and his long career in Danish and especially foreign, especially Canadian cartoons. Former advertising manager at Ferrosan, Helge Hau (1922-2006) is thanked for his willing help with information and material about himself and his many years of career as a draftsman, which began with "Fyrtøjet". The cartoonist and animator Walther Lehmann (1933-2006) is also thanked for great and benevolent help with information and material about himself and his almost lifelong career within the Danish cartoon industry.
A special thank you to the film company PALLADIUM A/S v / Ulla Hansen for kind permission to use images from the feature film "Fyrtøjet" in connection with this website's mention of the film's production in the years 1942-46. So far, the cartoon story has been able to link to the movie "Fyrtøjet" on YouTube, which is no longer possible as it is in violation of copyright. Palladium A/S was discontinued in 2017 and the rights to e.g. "Fyrtøjet" has been handed over to the Danish Film Institute. We have applied for permission to link to the film via Google Drive, but were refused on the grounds that in that case there would be a publicly available showing of the film, which is contrary to the Film Institute's copyrights to it. On the other hand, the Film Institute by lawyer Aida Hassouna has given permission for a free screening of 10 minutes of the film "Fyrtøjet" with a total of 76 minutes of playing time. We naturally thank this kindness and permission on behalf of our own and the history of cartoons. Link to the abbreviated version of "Fyrtøjet" can be found in Part 2 "The cartoon " Fyrtøjet".
Speaking of pictures, a cartoon story without a sufficient number of pictures, albeit only still pictures, should be almost unthinkable. Nevertheless, it has been shown along the way that not all copyright holders have wanted or been able to give permission to reproduce images from their cartoons free of charge. Therefore, we must disappoint the website's readers that it is not possible to bring silence from Poul Ilsøe's "The Swineherd and the Princess on the Pea" (1962), nor from the highly publicized "Valhalla" (1986), which Sandrew Metronome Danmark A/S owns the rights to. Unfortunately, it is also not possible to bring pictures from two of Jannik Hastrup's long cartoons: "The Bird War in the Kanøfle Forest" (1991) and "The monkeys and the secret weapon" (1994), which Nordisk Film in both cases owns the copyright to.
A very special thank you, however, to my friend and colleague, the illustrator, animator and trick film photographer Jakob Koch, whose great interest and enthusiasm for the subject has been a great inspiration and encouragement during the creation of this dissertation. It is also Jakob Koch who is responsible for the computer technology in connection with this website, whose Web master he is at the same time.
Last but not least, my thanks go to my wife, illustrator and educator Birgit Bennedbæk, who has followed the work 'birth pains' with interest, faithfully and lovingly, as well as the joy of its completion. Birgit Bennedbæk has previously for a number of years worked professionally with cartoons.
However, it has had to be stated that several of the people who are or have been involved in the Danish cartoon industry over time, unfortunately have not wanted or been able to contribute information about themselves. In those cases, it has been necessary to investigate the people's efforts and possible significance in Danish cartoons through other, not always equally easily accessible channels. But it is to be regretted that some have therefore not been given the place or mention in this version of the history of Danish cartoons that they could possibly have deserved.
Part of the cartoon history, especially regarding the feature film "Fyrtøjet" and the time after, is as mentioned partly based on my own memories of this film's production in the years 1942-46, and on my own knowledge of and participation in the Danish cartoon industry, such as this came to shape subsequently.
Needless to say, the history of Danish cartoons - like any other cultural phenomenon - is linked to the general economic, political, social and cultural situation and conditions of the surrounding society. The report on Danish cartoons has therefore, to a certain extent, been sought to be placed within the framework that constitutes Denmark's general internal and external situation in the decades covered by cartoon history.
As the subtitle suggests, this cartoon story is to some extent also about the foreign cartoon, including not least American cartoon and its history. Without this, there would hardly have been anything called Danish cartoons.
Taastrup, October 2005. Revised September 2017. Translated into English in February 2021 by the author.
Updated January 10, 2013:
It should be clarified here that from the very beginning, this website has had an ambition to tell the story of Danish cartoons as seriously and correctly as it has been possible, based on the available facts on the subject. In the years that have passed since the website's start in 2005, we have experienced an approach of visits to this, which we, in view of the narrow topic, had only dared to hope for. It is therefore gratifying to note that even more demanding readers or users of this website think that our treatment of the subject matches an international standard. It naturally inspires to continue the relatively large project, which to date has been completed con amore and will continue to be so.
Taastrup, January 2013
Harry Rasmussen and Jakob Koch.
In this version of Danish cartoon history, the term ‘cartoon’ has been consistently used, because it was and still is under this concept that most older Danes and children know the phenomenon that the term covers: namely drawn ‘live images’. In recent times, it is mainly people without a direct connection to the cartoon industry who prefer to use the more comprehensive term ‘animated film’. The latter concept and designation is taken from the English technical language, as the word ‘cartoon’ in English is called ‘animated cartoons’. But when, like me, you have mainly wanted to describe the phenomenon that the concept covers on Danish soil, and otherwise to distinguish between the genres within animation film, it is only natural to use a Danish term as 'cartoon'.
Taastrup, June 2009. Translated into English by the author in February 2021
The story of Danish cartoons and its historical preconditions and production conditions in the years 1919-2000, which must be told here, is, as already mentioned, the result of many years of research work.
However, due to copyright and copyright, as well as the price of photos, drawings, etc., which it would have been natural and a plus to include in a report of a kind like the present one, we have had to restrict the dissertation to cover the period mainly only from and with the feature film "Fyrtøjet" (1946) and even "It is perfectly true!” (2006). This version of Danish cartoon history will, however, mainly concentrate on the time immediately before, during and after the production of "Fyrtøjet", which took place in the years 1942 - 1946.
It was projected from the beginning that it would be possible to give a comprehensive and comprehensive review of not only the decidedly cartoon, but also of other forms of animated film history since the 19th century. However, it became clear along the way that the subject had to be limited to dealing with the decidedly cartoon for various reasons, though primarily for temporal and economic reasons. That is, films drawn and animated on paper and in many cases then copied onto celluloid sheets and together with one or more hand-painted or possibly photographic or similar backgrounds, have been recorded on a so-called trick table.
The earliest cartoon history does not know about the use of celluloid sheets, drawing and animating on paper. The technique of copying the animated drawings onto transparent celluloid sheets using pen and ink was, as far as is known, first used from around 1914-15.
Above is the light desk, which is indispensable for classical animation.
Photo © 1973 Harry Rasmussen.
The animation drawings were previously transferred to the celluloid sheets with a felt-tip pen or brush, just as the figure / figures were painted on the back of the celluloid sheets with a brush and special colors.
Photo © 1980 Harry Rasmussen.
Above is an example of the so-called trick table, in English called Rostrum Camera, as this in principle looked from the 1930s and all the way to the 1990s, when it was supplemented with computer technical improvements. Photo © 1983 Jakob Koch.
However, the dissertation also includes cartoons, which are made with the so-called cut-out technique, where the figures are hand-drawn on paper or cardboard or other material and then cut or cut out for use in so-called moving animation. Compared to the hand-drawn full-animation and celluloid cartoon, the significantly faster and more economical work process in the cut-out technique was used from a very early stage in the history of the cartoon, and has in fact been used right up to the present day.
But with the mentioned limitation of the subject, it means that all other forms of animation films, than decidedly cartoons and cut-out films, which i.a. that is, puppet films, pixilation films and computer-generated animation, will only be mentioned in this dissertation in those cases and contexts where it is deemed relevant.
It was originally planned that the project would also provide an overview of the rest of European, Russian and Asian cartoon production, but no matter how interesting the cartoon history of the respective countries is in itself, it had to be abandoned. Partly because it would be too extensive and partly because the film production of the countries in question - perhaps just apart from Eastern European cartoons in the 1950s-60s - has not had a significant impact on Danish cartoon production.
However, there are a few exceptions, as French and English cartoon production in particular will be mentioned to the extent that these can be stated to have had an impact on cartoon history in general and on Danish cartoons in particular. In any case, it must be stated that it is and will be American entertainment cartoons that over time have had the greatest influence on commercial Danish cartoon production, from Storm P.'s and Karl Wieghorst's primitive cartoons to especially A. Film's technically advanced productions.
From the start, the project was large-scale, as the plan was also to compile a biographical register of all the people who over time have been employed in the Danish cartoon industry. But this unfortunately turned out to be out of the question, as it partly required a major research work and partly required too extensive and costly correspondence for it to be affordable for a single man to carry out.
However, as the work of collecting information had begun and was thus available to a number of people, ready-made biographies were available for those concerned. These - unfortunately far too few - biographies are therefore included in the dissertation's biographical section, as they are intended as a contribution to a tentatively started register of people who over time have had some form of employment in or affiliation with the Danish cartoon industry.
So far, the press and the media, even in the professional literature, have only heard of the most prominent figures in Danish cartoon production, which mainly means producers and directors. But my thought has also been to give recognition to the "ordinary" and usually unknown cartoonists, which especially means key animators, assistant animators, in-betweeners, inkers and celluloid- painters, as well as layout designers, background painters and trick film photographers. Because without all their greater or lesser talent and patient work, there are a lot of Danish cartoons over time that would not have been produced at all.
Unfortunately, my relatively old age forbids me to continue the project myself, apart from refining and preparing the material for the website. It is therefore my hope that one or perhaps more other researchers in Danish cartoon history will understand my intentions and continue the work begun, possibly. in collaboration with Jakob Koch, who will continue to be the Webmaster of the website, also after my death.