Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Early NY Animator Profiles: Rudolph L. Eggeman

  Rudolph L. Eggeman was born August 15th, 1889 in Switzerland. According to the 1940 US Census, he had only an 8th grade education. The Eggeman family immigrated to the U.S. in 1894. In 1910, the family was living in the Bronx and young Rudolph’s occupation was listed as artist at a fashion company. By 1920 the family was living in Weehawken, Hudson, New Jersey and Rudolph’s occupation was listed as “Animated Cartoonist”.       

    Otto Messmer recalled Eggeman animating at the Pat Sullivan studio as early as 1916, and on June 5th 1917 he signed his draft card “Artist- Sullivan Studios”. His next confirmed job in animation didn’t come until 1930, when he and animator Alexander Cruickshank copyrighted a cartoon called “Smellot Bones, the Dog Detective”. According to information found on the Library of Congress website, in 1925 Cruickshank was operating a studio known as the “Screen Sketching Service” in NY, which also employed Sullivan prodigal Walter E. Stark. I’d imagine Eggeman may have animated here as well. 
   Later in 1930 Eggeman joined Fleischer studios as an animator, where he received his first screen credit on the Screen Song “My Gal Sal” (released October 18th, 1930). Grim Natwick recalled that Eggeman had a reputation for producing crude, messy work, and this is supported by surviving studio gag drawings that ridicule his draftsmanship. Despite his limited technical skill, Eggeman had a natural flair for funny expressions and movement. His last screen credit at Fleischers’ was on “Stopping the Show”, released August 12th 1932.

                                                     Eggeman scene in "Dizzy Dishes"

                                                    Some Eggeman scenes in "Barnicle Bill"

     Eggeman's Magician scene in "Silly Scandals" (wow, watch that pup's head grow.... kinda like magic!!)                    

                                                  Eggeman scene in "Stopping the Show"

                              Eggeman's take on the redesigned Bimbo (from "Admission Free")

            If Eggeman worked in animation after 1932, I’ve yet to find any evidence supporting it. On the 1940 census, he was listed as unemployed, living with his sister Lillian’s family in North Bergen, New Jersey. He died in Teaneck, New Jersey in October 1975.