Biography: Norm Blackburn

Birth/Death

B. April 28, 1903
D. February 21, 1990

Occupation/Title

Producer, Animator, Writer

Bio Summary

Norman ‘Norm’ Blackburn was born on April 28, 1903 in England, United Kingdom. He began his career with Walt Disney as an animator. Blackburn left the Disney studios to follow Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising as they began the Warner Bros. cartoon studio He later went to New York to join NBC as one of the first National Program Directors. He redesigned the Howdy Doody puppet in The Howdy Doody Show, which he asked some of his old Disney friends to refine it. He moved back to Hollywood and joined the J. Walter Thompson ad agency. Blackburn was the talent buyer for many radio shows such as The Lux Radio Playhouse and The Elgin Watch Shower of Stars. He created and produced one of the first golf shows on television, Celebrity Golf. He was a member of the Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank, California for many years and eventually was made into an honorary member. Throughout his career, he was responsible for producing four television series and animating twenty-four cartoon shorts. Blackburn was eighty-six years old when he died in North Hollywood on February 21, 1990.

Early Life/Family

He has a son named Norman A. Blackburn.

Education/Training

Career Outline

At the age of twenty-three, Norm Blackburn started his career in with Walt Disney as an assistant animator on February 5, 1927. In that same month, Blackburn was one of the three animators hired in the Disney Studios along with Les Clark and Ben Clopton. From 1929 to 1937, Blackburn worked at Hugh Harman-Rudolf Ising Production that would later be known as Warner Bros. Additionally, he worked for Ub Iwerks at his studio for a brief period during 1933 to 1935. He later became a newspaper cartoonist and a writer. By the 1940s, Blackburn was an executive at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Hollywood. He later became a program director at NBC and created television series such as You Bet Your Life, The Dinah Shore Show, and Celebrity Golf. In 1975, Blackburn wrote the limited edition 50-year anniversary book for the Lakeside Golf Club that he was eventually made an honorary member of that club.


Comments On Style

Influences

Personality

Anecdotes

Miscellaneous

In 1957, he produced a pilot for ABC about the adventures of a boy traveling on a sailing ship entitled, “Cabin Boy,” but the series was never developed beyond the pilot stage.

Filmography

Producer:

(1960) Celebrity Golf (TV series, executive producer)
(1956-1957)Circus Boy (TV series, producer – 40 episodes)
(1947)Circus Boy (executive producer)

Animator:
The Good Scout (1934)
Rasslin’ Round (1934)
Play Ball (uncredited) (1933)
Shuffle Off to Buffalo (uncredited) (1933)
Beau Bosko (1933)
The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives (1933)
Ride Him, Bosko! (1932)
Bosko’s Dog Race (1932)
Pagan Moon (1932)
Bosko’s Fox Hunt (1931)
You Don’t Know What You’re Doin’! (1931)
Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931)
Yodeling Yokels (1931)
Ain’t Nature Grand!(1931)
Hold Anything (1930)
All Wet (1927)
Trolley Troubles (1927)
Alice in the Big League (1927)
Alice the Beach Nut (1927)
Alice the Whaler (1927)
Alice’s Medicine Show (1927)
Alice in the Klondike (1927)
Alice’s Channel Swim (1927)
Alice’s Picnic (1927)
Alice’s Three Bad Eggs (1927)

Writer:
Zenobia (treatment – uncredited) (1939) 

Honors

1988 Golden Award

Related Links

Bibliographic References

Cruz, Brian. “Creators: Norm Blackburn”. Toon Zone – Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies: The Early Years. 2003. Web. 28 October 2011. 

“Norm Blackburn”. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 28 October 2011. 

“Norman (Norm) Blackburn Studio Experience”. The Early Animation Wiki. Web. 28 October 2011.

Susanin, Timothy S., and Diane Disney Miller. Walt Before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years 1919-1928. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. 2011.

Contributors To This Listing

Katrina Miclat 

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