Gregory La Cava (Gregory La Cava)

Gregory La Cava

Gregory La Cava was born in Towanda, Pennsylvania and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students’ League. Towards the end of 1915, William Randolph Hearst decided to create an animation studio to promote the comic strips printed in his newspapers. He called the new company International Film Service, and he hired La Cava to run it (for double what he was making with Barré). Gregory La Cava’s first employee was his co-worker at the Barré Studio, Frank Moser. Another was his fellow student in Chicago, Grim Natwick (later to achieve fame at Disney). As he developed more and more of Hearst’s comics into cartoon series, he came to put semi-independent units in charge of each, leading to the growth of individual styles. Gregory La Cava also had the significant advantage over other studios of an unlimited budget: Hearst’s business sense completely broke down when it came to his Hearst-Vitagraph News Pictorial and the “living comic strips” they contained. La Cava’s main fault as a producer and director was that his cartoons were too clearly animated comic strips, hampered by speech balloons when rival Bray Studio was creating more effective series with original characters. He was apparently aware of this fault, and he had his animators study Charlie Chaplin films to improve their timing and characterization. But he didn’t have time to achieve very much, because in July 1918, Hearst’s bankers caught up with him and International Film Service was shut down. Hearst still wanted his characters animated, so he licensed various studios to continue the IFS series. La Cava and most of the IFS staff got jobs with John Terry’s studio (not surprising since John Terry himself was an IFS alumnus). This only lasted a few months before Terry’s studio went out of business. The animators were immediately hired by Goldwyn-Bray (as the Bray Studio was now known), but Gregory La Cava was not, since Goldwyn-Bray had several producers of its own and La Cava was not interested in starting over. Instead, he moved west to Hollywood. Gregory La Cava died nine days before his 60th birthday on March 1, 1952 in Malibu, California. His remains were buried at Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Born

  • March, 10, 1892
  • USA
  • Towanda, Pennsylvania

Died

  • March, 01, 1952
  • USA
  • Malibu, California

Cemetery

  • Chapel Of The Pines Crematory
  • Los Angeles, California
  • USA

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