Jack Zander, the veteran New York producer who began his career during Hollywood’s Golden Age of Animation, died on Monday at age 99. Among his accomplishments as an animator was animating Jerry in Puss Gets the Boot (1940), the first Tom and Jerry cartoon. However, after the war he established and ran two of New York’s best commercial houses, Pelican and Zander’s Animation Parlour.
Mark Mayerson, who worked at Zander’s Animation Parlour in the 1970s, has posted a warmly felt tribute and memoir on his blog; comments by several artists who worked for him, including Nancy Bieman and Tom Sito, have also been added. Sito also wrote this piece in Zander’s honor on his own blog.
I only met Zander once, during the early days of my research into the history of animation unions, as he had served as president of the Screen Cartoonist Guild before becoming a producer. At the time, I was still exploring my topic and Zander was gracious enough to tolerate my sometimes uninformed queries. However, to judge by all who told me of their experience working for Zander, he was not a person who ever forgot his roots as a working artist and treated his employees accordingly.