Startoons McClenahan Honored by Leonard Kohl

On Saturday, September 9, 1995, animator Jon McClenahan became the second ASIFA/Central member to be honored by the International Popeye Fan Club with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. The fan club annually honors an individual for his or her outstanding contribution to keeping the character of Popeye the Sailor before the public eye.

During his animated career McClenahan has worked on a variety of projects, such as Warner Bros./Steven Spielbergs Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Taz-Mania, etc. He was honored more for these contributions in the field of animation than for his work on Popeye.

McClenahan began his animation career as an in-betweener working on the Hanna Barbera Popeye television series in Australia. I need to tell you right off the bat, that Popeye is one of my all-time favorite characters, real or fictitious, said McClenahan. Ive always been attracted to him as a character -- a rough, foul-mouthed, ugly sailor. I never animated him -- for that I am deeply regretful. I only in-betweened on Popeye. It was a thrill! Just putting a drawing of Popeye on my lightbox was like a wonderful dream come true.

A plaque was presented to McClenahan during the 5th Annual International Convention by Michael Brooks, co-founder of the official Popeye fan club. The club is now located in Chester, Illinois, the hometown of Popeyes creator, Elzie Segar. Brooks said, Jon McClenahan is worthy of the award for his love of the character, and his love of animation. Maybe someday, Jon McClenahan himself will produce a Popeye cartoon series that [the sailors] creator, E.C. Segar would be proud of.

McClenahan said to be honored was thrilling, and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the town of Chester, with its statue of Popeye overlooking the Mississippi river, meeting the people of Chester, and participating in the 16th Annual Popeye Picnic and Parade. He mentioned his only regret was that he hadnt been more persuasive in convincing his family to join him at the convention in Chester. I hope to be back next year, McClenahan said.

Previous honorees include former Max Fleischer animator Gordon Sheehan, Cliff Holman a childrens television entertainer, and comic book artist George Wildman.

In 1993, Sheehan (who also is an ASIFA/Central member) was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. His work on the Fleischer Popeye cartoons began in 1933 with the little sailors first appearance, and included many Popeye classics.

That same year, Cousin Cliff Holman also received the award for his nearly 40 year run of a Popeye T.V. program.

In 1994, George Wildman was honored for his work on the comic book adventures of Popeye during the 60s and 70s.

The Official Popeye Fan Club membership weighs in at over 600 members strong, and includes professional animators, writers, artists, and just plain old Popeye fans. Members get a quarterly newsletter, and advance notice of special events. For further information on how to join, contact Michael L. Brooks, 1001 State Street, Suite 1, Chester, IL 62233; or call (618) 826-4567

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