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  1. #1
    Senior Member Euryale's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    The British animator and cartoonist has died at the age of 88.

    John created TV series such as Captain Pugwash, The Adventures of Sir Prancelot, and Mary Mungo & Midge.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Vatican Sgt Sunshine's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Pugwash creator Ryan dies aged 88

    Just testing to see if this link to the BBC news site works........


    Sgt S

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Cartoonist John Ryan, creator of the Captain Pugwash TV series, has died in hospital in Rye, East Sussex, aged 88.

    The BBC commissioned the first series in 1957 after spotting potential in Ryan's books about the tales of Pugwash and his nemesis Cut Throat Jake.

    His agent, Jane Gregory, said there was "a huge amount of love" for the childish pirate and his shipmates, who included Tom the Cabin Boy and Willy.

    Mr. Ryan is survived by his wife and three children.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    Jan 2003
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    Sad news indeed. I must confess that from seeing it as a very small person I have always had a particular soft spot for Mary, Mungo & Midge - even though Pugwash was by far John Ryan's most famous creation.

    Thank you, Mr. Ryan, for helping to make my carefree childhood just that...

    Respect and RIP


  5. #5
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
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    Captain Pugwash is a huge favourite in The Batcave. RIP sir.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Grew up watching your stuff. RIP John

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    From The Times

    July 25, 2009

    John Ryan: illustrator and creator of Captain Pugwash

    John Ryan at work in his studio

    John Ryan, an impoverished art master at Harrow School, was idly doodling one day when a rotund and rip-roaring pirate sprang fully formed on to the page.

    His creation, Captain Horatio Pugwash, who sailed the high seas near New Zealand yelping �dolloping doubloons� and �kipper me capstans�, would become for generations of British children a cult cartoon hero, via a successful BBC series based on the popular comic strips published initially in the Eagle, then Radio Times and later in books.

    Pugwash and his trusty crew � cabin boy Tom, Willy and Barnabas, and Master Mate, aboard his vessel Black Pig � made their first appearance in 1950 in the debut edition of the Eagle, the comic founded by the Rev Marcus Morris as a wholesome English alternative to violent US comics.

    Morris deemed Pugwash �too childish�, and he was dropped from the Eagle, and replaced by another Ryan creation: Harris Tweed, Extra Special Agent. In 1957 Captain Pugwash, a Pirate Story, the first of more than 20 books featuring the swashbuckling pirate was published by The Bodley Head, after being rejected by a dozen publishers. Soon afterwards a Pugwash series was commissioned by the BBC. The imagination of Owen Reed, a producer on BBC Children, was captured by Ryan�s drawing of Pugwash being forced to walk the plank by his mortal enemy, Cut-Throat Jake.

    Assisted by his wife Priscilla, Ryan evolved a painstaking 2-D animation method, cutting out each character from painted cardboard, using paperclips as joints, and manoeuvring them with levers. This is what gave the original episodes their jerky look. In addition each five-minute episode required Ryan to make about 50 painted background scenes. Ryan�s children provided incidental sound effects, and the early episodes were recorded live. Soon the cartoon was a hit, recognisable for its trademark theme tune featuring a hornpipe. By the 1970s episodes were appearing in colour, with audio and video tapes following a decade later. In 1998 John Cary Studios re-created the series.

    Though he created many characters, Ryan, who sketched on cardboard using pencil and Indian ink, confessed that he always seemed to return to Pugwash. The pirate, he said, possessed �two qualities which I believe are present in all of us to some degree: cowardice and greed. It is the conflict between these opposing emotions which make the stories work. It may be that the Captain is popular because we all have something in common with him. What would you do if you saw a delicious toffee on the nose of a crocodile?�

    John Christopher Gerald Ryan was born in 1921 in Edinburgh, the son of Sir Andrew Ryan, an Irishman and British diplomat posted in Morocco during Ryan�s childhood.

    Young Ryan would look out at the fishing port of Rabat from his bedroom window, hoping to glimpse real pirates. The seeds of his vocation as a cartoonist sprang from his subsequent schooling at Ampleforth College, near York, run by the Benedictine order. Hauled up by monitors for a minor offence, he was given the choice of accepting a beating or contributing a cartoon to the school magazine.

    He chose to cartoon, and was later encouraged by Father Sylvester, a monk who had worked as a cartoonist in Fleet Street before entering the monastery. After school Ryan joined the Lincolnshire Regiment, spending the Second World War in India and in Burma, where he drew caricatures of bumbling senior officers.

    Postwar, he took art classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic, where he met his wife, Priscilla Blomfiel, granddaughter of the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield. They married in 1950, by which time Ryan had been employed for three years as assistant art master at Harrow School. Four years later the school offered him a job as art master. Ryan and his wife sat up all night to debate it � they had two children, and the job came with a school house � but in the end they decided that a regular lifestyle would cramp their creativity.

    Decades of financial uncertainty followed, and the lively Ryan householdoften included paying guests. Ryan worked constantly, creating 12 books featuring Noah, and other popular characters such as Lettice Leefe, �greenest girl in the school� for Girl, the female equivalent of The Eagle. For Swift magazine, he drew Sir Prancelot, a medieval knight with a penchant for invention, who later became a television cartoon. A third comic strip-turned-television cartoon series, Mary, Mungo and Midge, featured the voice of his 11-year-old daughter Isabel. Ryan also wrote religiously themed books for children,such as A Bad Year for Dragons: The Legend of Saint George (1986) and Mabel and the Tower of Babel (1990).

    For 43 years, from 1964 onwards, Ryan produced a weekly cartoon for The Catholic Herald, many featuring the popular Cardinal Grotti, a prelate fond of his food, who was never averse to calculating the potential benefit in new schemes. When the BBC was seeking new Catholic contributors, Ryan pictured Grotti in St Peter�s Square saying �Hmmm. Yes . . . English lessons, transport, speaker�s fee ... should be worth my while.� When The Catholic Herald ran a campaign against the BBC cartoon Popetown, which satirised the Vatican, many pointed out that the behaviour it lampooned was not a far cry from that of Cardinal Grotti. But the editors at The Catholic Herald claimed that Ryan, a devout Catholic, the nephew of an Archbishop of Trinidad and the brother of Britain�s oldest Dominican, knew how to tread the line between gentle anti-clerical mischief and offensive attacks on the Church. He produced five books of Catholic Herald cartoons and said his weekly contribution �kept him in gin�.

    A keen walker, his favourite spot was Llantarnam Abbey near the Black Mountains in South Wales, where he had visited the community set up there by the artist and engraver Eric Gill since the 1950s.

    In later years Ryan worked as a �talking artist�, illustrating how the Captain Pugwash series were created, at schools, libraries and book fairs. This work with children was adversely affected by claims that the series contained characters whose names had clear sexual innuendos � such as Master Bates and Seaman Staines, although these names were not in the books and were, according to his family, the products of popular mythology. In 1991 Ryan successfully sued and gained apologies from two newspapers where the allegations appeared (The Guardian and the short-lived Sunday Correspondent). He gave the proceeds to a lifeboat charity.

    Ryan, who had a joyous childlike innocence, would draw mini-sketches of Captain Pugwash for fans on request. In return he would ask that they make a donation to their favourite charity. Many of the original Pugwash books have recently been reprinted by Frances Lincoln. Translations of Captain Pugwash exist in German, Italian, Spanish, Danish and Japanese. The French, noted Ryan, �did not find them funny at all� � Pugwash, in the original story set in the 18th century, is apparently unaware that Britain is at war with France and sells �misplaced� sausages to a French quartermaster.

    In 1988 Ryan and his wife moved to Rye. There he painted the scenery each year for the pantomimes of the Rye Players, and created two-panel scenes of the Magi based on the Renaissance painting of Gentile da Fabriano. Each Christmas they are displayed in front of Rye Town Hall.

    Ryan drew his last cartoon only a few weeks ago, after which his fingers could no longer hold a pen.

    His wife and three children survive him.

    John Ryan, cartoonist, was born on March 4, 1921. He died on July 22, 2009, aged 88

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Wales
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    Jul 2005
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    I was playing golf one year down in Rye and had the great pleasure of meeting the great man just as I was buying a Pugwash book in a shop. He found it quite amusing that a bloke in his forties was buying a book for himself rather than a young relative and kindly signed the book for me and drew a picture of Pugwash inside the front cover.

    A treasured possession.


  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
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    Dec 2007
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    Nice guy too! I loved captain Pugwash...

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