150 Artists

27/150: George Dunning – Animator

Toronto-born animator George Dunning (1920-1979) is best known for his role as director of  The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine but he had a significant impact in Canada, especially at the National Film Board. In Britain, he’s regarded as the father of British commercial animation.

Even in his short time at the NFB (he left in 1947), Dunning created cutting edge animations, pushing the boundaries for future animators.  In 1949 he co-founded Toronto’s first private animation studio and gave now famed artists Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland their first jobs. (Above: Dunning’s work set to the French folk song Cadet Rousselle, 1947, National Film Board)

Successful though the Toronto studio was, Dunning moved on in 1955 to New York and then to London, England the following year where his animation work was wildly popular. He’s responsible for the opening titles of the Pink Panther film A Shot in the Dark (1964, above).


The Beatles liked Dunning’s work, in particular the art-school-trained Lennon. For the full length Yellow Submarine, Dunning supervised more than 200 artists over 11 months, and personally created the “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” segment.

George Dunning, the Canadian Encyclopedia, here

In-depth in this wonderful feature, The Animated Life of George Dunning, at Torontoist

On IMDB, here

On Screen Online, here



This is #27 in the series 150 Artists.

4 replies »

  1. Well, how wonderful to meet this talent. I’ve always adored the “Shot in the Dark” opening. Now I know who did it.
    Spectacular, glamorous and ravenously beautiful are only the first 3 words that come to my mind when watching “Lucy in the Sky”. I state, without hesitation, that is my all time favorite work of animation, ever!!!
    Thank you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remarkable, it’s truly old-style mind-blowing, I agree (Lucy segment). I did not know much about Dunning, just Yellow Submarine, until I started looking at his work. I’m with you on the movie credit. Has stuck with me since I first saw it.


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