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Studdy, G.E. (1878-1948)

Cartoonist, Animator

Main image of Studdy, G.E. (1878-1948)

George Ernest Studdy was born in June 1878 in Devonport, England. He failed to follow his father's footsteps into a military career thanks to an accident with a pitchfork which injured his foot. After three years as a stockbroker, he attended evening classes at Heatherley's Art School, London, and studied animal anatomy at Calderon's Animal School. He had drawings accepted by Boy's Own and Comic Cuts and in 1912 was invited to submit regular weekly full-page illustrations to Sketch magazine.

During the 1920s and 1930s, his 'Studdy dog', soon named Bonzo, enjoyed a reputation as 'the most famous puppy dog in the world', appearing in advertisements, children's comics, and as a neon sign in Piccadilly Circus. Bonzo books, including Lucky Dip (1923) and Puppy Tails (1923), included colour plates of the dog alongside stories, puzzles and rhymes, and enjoyed translations in French and German. In October 1924, the film producer William A. Ward collaborated with Studdy and ten assistant artists to produce the first of 26 films featuring Bonzo for New Era Films. A Sausage Sensation (1924) premiered at Marble Arch Pavilion, London, and was attended by King George V and Queen Mary on their debut visit to a public cinema. Bonzo Broadcasted (1925) featured Bonzo in romantic mood, but also playing Hollywood characters like 'Bon Chaney'. The films ran for about ten minutes each, and were released throughout 1924 and 1925. In 1926 Studdy published an essay on his method, and a year later, introduced a cat called Ooloo, and created Donald McGill-style postcards, but he did not continue his involvement in the film industry. He died in July 1948.

Paul Wells, Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors

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