Sunday, 21 March 2010

Gerald Scarfe's Long Drawn-Out Trip

Long Drawn-Out Trip: Sketches from Los Angeles is a 1971 animated short made by Gerald Scarfe, better known for his caricatures. As Scarfe relates in this interview, the short came about when the BBC sent him to Los Angeles to try out the "Dejoux" animation system, which was designed to allow sequences where one image dissolved into another. Scarfe made the film in LA using the system and added a soundtrack back in Britain, where it was screened on TV and caught the eyes of Pink Floyd, who recruited Scarfe to provide animation for their film The Wall.

The soundtrack that Scarfe put together was to prove troublesome, as it consisted of copyrighted clips from various sources ranging from a Cheech and Chong stand-up routine to John Wayne films. "In order to re-show it, they would have had to pay so many royalties to so many artists... it's not likely that it will ever be shown again," says Scarfe in the interview. "So it's a lost piece."

Fortunately, since the interview was conducted the film has indeed been screened again (in 2005, tying in with BBC4's Animation Nation series), and so I was able to bring you these stills:

It appears that royalty issues cropped up, however, as the short was not screened in its entirety: the Animation Nation documentary itself contains a sequence from the film that was not shown in the actual broadcast. It depicts a naked woman undergoing a series of transformations, eventually ending up as an American eagle.


  1. I would love to see this. What a shame about the royalty issues.

  2. It's a great film, has made me want to dabble in animation