Pamela French


Born Pamela Esme Clayman at Kingston-upon-Thames on 26 July 1921, she was the daughter of Manchester-born turf accountant (bookmaker) Louis Clayman, who adopted the surname French in the late 1930s. (He did not go so far as to change the family name by deed poll, however. His son officially changed his name to Clayman-French in 1939; Pamela, although she used the name French, remained officially Clayman upto her marriage.)

When she joined British Animated Productions in 1946 it would seem she already had some animation experience: in a proposed production schedule splitting the staff into two units (a plan that was drawn up during the latter part of production on The Big City but was not put into practice) she was assigned to Harold Mack's unit as a junior animator, a post between assistant and animator. George Moreno and Mack are the only credits on The Big City, but on the following three films she shares animation credit with Hugh Gladwish and Jimmy Holt. (Although, as director, Harold Mack was probably also lead animator.)

Mack was unhappy with the way British Animated Productions was being run and decided to quit on completion of the fourth film, Home Sweet Home. He planned to set up his own unit, and Pamela and Hugh agreed to join him. They left towards the end of 1948, and Pam and Mack married on 26th January 1949.

Harold was offered a job with Pinschewer Films to work on Willie Does His Stuff, a film for National Savings. This required the Macks to travel to Bern, Switzerland, where production on all Pinschewer films was carried out, in the Spring of 1949.

Learning that Dutch comics artist Martin Toonder was attempting an animated feature, the Macks travelled to Amsterdam after completion of Willie Does His Stuff in the Summer of 1949. Toonder had just lost some key staff to another studio, so he offered the Macks a job. The feature film was postponed while the studio concentrated on commercials, and was finally shelved, but the studio did make several entertainment shorts and the creative ethos of the studio was what Mack had been looking for, so he and Pamela stayed at Toonder Studio's [sic] for the next 9 years. Initially Pamela assisted Mack with the animation, but she soon took on responsiblity for colour design.

In 1958 Mack set up his own studio, the Anglo Dutch Group, in Amsterdam, making commercials and information films, often for the UK market. Harold Mack was diagnosed with cancer in 1975, and died on 24 December. Pamela eventually returned to England, and died in Norwich in 2001.

The Big City(British Animated Productions, 1946) Assistant Animator
Fun Fair(British Animated Productions, 1947) Animator
The Old Manor House(British Animated Productions, 1948) Animator
Home Sweet Home(British Animated Productions, 1948) Animator
The Golden Fish(Toonder Studio's, 1952) Colour scheme (as Pamela Mack)
Moonglow(Toonder Studio's, 1954) Colour scheme (as Pamela Mack)

Links to Other Sites

Harold Mack animator: biography by Jan-Willem de Vries of the Dutch Cartoon Museum.

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Peter Hale
Last updated 2016