Corry Kingsbury worked at Filmation Studios from
1971 to 1987 and was a special FX Artist on The Animated Series. She has graciously agreed to
answer some questions for us Star Trek:TAS fans.
Thanks for doing this Corry. Maybe we could start with you telling us a little about your background, and how you came to work in animation.
When I graduated from high school in 1963, you either got married, or went to collage and since I was not really sure if I wanted to marry the guy I was
engaged too, I chose to go to dental assistant school. I thought that was what I wanted to do when I was growing up.
In the 5 years that I was an assistant, I worked for 5 doctors. I got fired from all but two of them. I hated it so much, but my parents paid a lot of
money to put me through school, I just did not have the heart to leave the business. The last job I had in 1968 was for a Orthodontist. I liked that
because I got to do models of teeth and that I liked doing as it was creative, but the rest sucked. The doctor was on vacation that year and I had to
run the office myself. My sister called one day and said that she had heard that Hanna Barbera was looking to hire apprentice painters, this means
that they would train you to paint the cartoon cels. I thought to myself, and said, self, do you want to rot here or do something fun?
Well I called them and they asked me if I had any art background and of course I said yes in high school, well they asked how I felt about working the
late shift, 3:30pm to 12:30am. I said that is OK with me. I asked how much the pay was and I was going to make $90 a week. I can not remember how much
I made at the dental office, I think it was $75 a week so it was a better job and fun. Well when my doctor came back, I really felt bad that I was
going to give notice, but when I heard him on the phone to an agency, I knew that he was going to let me go. I told him that I was going to leave and
he was very kind and gave me two weeks severance pay.
Well there I was, at the door of Hanna Barbera. I was taken up stairs to the Ink-n-Paint department and was outfitted with brushes and all of the
things to paint with. I was taken to my desk and my first cel I painted was of rocks. I was working on the Flintstones at the time. I worked for one
season. A season being about 6 months. After I was laid off, I could not find work being new to the business. So for 3 years I did not work in the
In 1971 I got a list of studios from the union and I called Filmation as they were just up the street from where I lived. I got hired right way.
What exactly is a special FX artist?
A special Effects artist. My job was to do the rendering of all of the special effects in the cartoons. All from the beaming up effects to explosions etc. The animator would draw the effects on paper and then I would take a blank cel and either airbrush the effect or hand ink or what we call dry brush with paint. If you have any pictures with effects on it, that is what it is.
Do you have any favorite scenes that you worked on for Star Trek?
No favorite scenes. When you paint cartoons, you never get to see much as you work on bits and pieces of the show. You can work on 50 arms moving or
legs or mouths etc. The only time you got to see the finish project was on TV. I never got screen credits as I was just a painter at the time, and
they never got credits unless it was a feature film.
Have any stories about working at Filmation you'd like to share?
Yes I do. I worked on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Gilligans Island, Zorro, He-Man all of the cartoons that Filmation did from 1972 to 1986 when I was laid off. But the big highlight of working on Star Trek was meeting Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelly and James Doohan. It is a great story.
I remember the day that they all came to the studio to record the voices. I am a huge fan of Leonard Nimoy. Well we knew that they were here in the studio and I was not going home till I saw them. I went to the ladies room because it was near the recording room. I heard William Shatner
doing his lines. Well as I was listing to the door, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said excuse me. I turned around and almost fainted, as what to my wondering eyes to behold, but Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelly and James Doohan. I thought that I had been beamed aboard the Enterprise.
I met a few stars. Dom Deluise, the guy that played Gilligan (Bob Denver), Don Knotts, and Bill Cosby as I was working on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids when I started working there.
Why did you leave Filmation?
They were the last of the studios to send the work over-seas. We got laid off because they did not need the painters anymore as the people who took
our jobs where getting paid $30 a week to my $850 a week. That is why they wanted to go out of the country cause our union kept upping the salary and
they up us right out of our jobs.
What did you do after you left there?
I free-lanced at little ink and paint studios. These are places that did the work that they could not ship out of the country. Because they were
non-union, they had to be out of the Los Angeles county otherwise we as union workers would get fined a large amount. I did this till about 1987 when
I got a letter from the government saying that Filmation would pay for my retraining and if I did not take this offer within a period of time, then I
would loose my unemployment. I looked at all kinds of school catalogs and found a trade school one. Out of desperation I chose, not knowing that it
was the right choice, computerized typesetting. So I trained as computer graphic artist. I fell in love with the Macintosh as that is what I worked
on. I went to school full-time from December of 1987 till June of 1988 when I graduated the top in the class. In January of 1988 I met a lady and her
husband. I was telling her my story and she said that they own an adult continuing education institution and would I like to work there part-time till
I finish school.
I would be a student service rep helping register students and things. I said OK I could use the extra money. Even though $25 of the $50 I paid a week
was taken out from the unemployment while I rent to school, but that extra money helped pay for food and gas and stuff. Well in May of 1988 a studio
that I had worked for in 1987 asked me if I would be interested in working with them as their ink and paint supervisor. They specialized in digital
animation and traditional as well. I said yes of course. So in June of 1988 I started working there. I worked till about 1989 then they could not
afford to keep me as they lost a contract for a big show.
By that time I was so discouraged and at that time I was 44 years old and again out of work. I still though had the part-time job at the school. I
worked on Saturday's. Well in January of 1990 I was asked by the supervisor of the Saturday shift at the school if I would be interested in working
full time as the campus receptionist. I said yes as I knew that I wanted out of the animation industry for good. So that was almost 13 years ago. I
went from campus receptionist to Program administrator assistant to now the Program Administrator of all the Visual Arts Department. This includes
classical animation, digital animation, fine arts, photography and interior design. I love working for the school. I find it very rewarding and I hope
that I will work there till I retire in about 10 years or so.
Thanks for your time and for sharing your story with us Corry!
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