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Iwao Takamoto: My Life With A Thousand Characters

Iwao Takamoto: My Life With A Thousand Characters

by Iwao Takamoto with Michael Mallory; Foreword by Willie Ito

Mention the name of Iwao Takamoto to anyone who’s worked in the animation business over the past fifty years and you’re bound to get a smile and a story. Although he spent several decades at Hanna-Barbera as their chief character and production designer he started his career as a teenager at the Walt Disney…

studio in 1945 and worked alongside such legendary figures as Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.

Knowledgeable animation writer Michael Mallory helped Takamoto tell his life story, and fortunately for us, they finished just before Takamoto’s death in 2007. The book is highly readable but it’s also a valuable document for several reasons: we learn what it was like to grow up in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles in the 1930s, gain a vivid portrait of life at the Manzanar camp during World War Two, discover rich, wonderful anecdotes and observations about working at the Disney studio, and get an inside look at the m.o. of Hanna-Barbera when it was at its peak of production (along with intimate word pictures of both Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera).

Takamoto has a wonderful sense of humor and his book is an absolute delight. It’s also one of the richest autobiographies I’ve ever read by someone in the animation field.(University Press of Mississippi)

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