CONSHYSTUFF LOST A DEAR FRIEND
YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW HIS NAME, BUT WE’VE ALL SEEN HIS WORK
WE CAN ALL THANK HIM FOR GREAT CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
By Jack Coll
January 26, 2021
It was a sad day for us when Brian and I were informed by Scott Segelbaum that his business partner famed animator-producer-director-storyboard artist Ron Campbell had passed away at the age of 81. In the words of Mr. Segelbaum “Campbell was one of the final people who literally animated our childhoods.”
According to his bio on Wikipedia Ron Campbell’s career began in 1958 animating various commercials for Australian television. Before long he was animating both Krazy Kat and Beetle Bailey cartoons. Following Krazy Kat, Campbell went on to animate and direct the Beatles television series for King Features. The show debuted on September 25, 1965, and remained number one in the ratings for the duration of its four-year run. He later wrote the foreword to the book Beatletoons: “The Real Story Behind the Cartoon Beatles,” where his involvement in the show is talked about extensively.
Campbell was hired by Bill Hanna (of Hanna-Barbera fame) and relocated to Hollywood, California. In Hollywood, Campbell would go on to work on a wide array of animated television series including, but not limited to The Smurfs, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Rugrats, Rocket Power, and Ed, Edd n Eddy.
Perhaps Ron Campbell is remembered and will be remembered for his work in the movie “Yellow Submarine.” Al Brodax who had hired Campbell in Australia to work on Krazy Kat once again contracted Campbell from London, where he was producing The Beatles feature-length animated motion picture, “Yellow Submarine.” In his 2004 memoir “Up Periscope Yellow,” chronicling the making of Yellow Submarine, Brodax accredits Campbell for essentially helping pull together various elements of the movie.
Campbell founded his own animation studio, Ron Campbell Films, Inc.; the company’s first project would also place him as associate producer for ABC’s television special “Nanny and the Professor.” He would go on to produce and direct animation in both the Emmy and Peabody award-winning children’s shows, The Big Blue Marble and Sesame Street. Following this, Campbell worked on the hit animated series, The Smurfs.
The 1990’s took Campbell to Disney Animation, where he worked on several cartoons, including “Bonkers,” “Goof Troop,” “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and “Darkwing Duck.” In addition to this he also worked for Nickelodeon, and storyboarded on such shows as: “Rugrats,” “Rocket Power” and “Duckman” for USA Network.
In 2008 Ron Campbell who lived in Phoenix, Arizona retired and began creating original pop art paintings based upon the films he was involved with in one capacity or another. His paintings were sold through our good friend Scott Segelbaum’s Rock Art Show, with whom he regularly exhibited and sold his artwork in various art galleries throughout North America.
It was around this time Brian and I were introduced to him by Segelbaum and developed a friendship. Coll’s Custom Framing had framed for Segelbaum’s traveling Rock Art Show, when Scott recruited Ron to travel with him around the country selling Ron’s original art. Soon we were framing all of Ron’s work and continued framing for him for more than a decade.
Ron had visited our store on many occasions and in September of 2019 we hosted him for a month long art exhibit. He spent a couple of days at our shop and was a big hit with the public. Ron was a kind man, gentle and funny and he loved kids. My grandchildren Nora and Rocco absolutely fell in love with Ron while watching him create cartoon characters for them. His talent was amazing, he would paint his characters as he chatted with people and had fun with the kids.
Ron would travel the country with Scott Segelbaum and when he was local in Pennsylvania and New Jersey I would often pop in on them to spend the day, have lunch with them or just chat, they were good days. The thing I noticed most at these shows was Ron would be painting and most of the pieces he was working on were sold before they were even finished, he was that good.
Ron would always greet us by saying “Hey Mate,” I’m guessing that was “Hello” in Australia, when he retired he lived in Phoenix, Arizona, I’m not so sure that the “Hey Mate” greeting went over very well in Arizona.
Ron was a really something special, it’s a rare man who never shows any ill feelings for anyone or anything, Ron was one of those guys. I spent a lot of time with Ron and he never spoke poorly of anyone.
He passed away on January 22, at the age of 81 due to complications of the heart and a number of other organs. We’re gonna miss framing his work, seeing and handling his original art work, especially his renderings of the Beatles were always special to us.
Brian and myself lost a good friend, we’re gonna miss-him, rest-in-peace my friend, say hello to George and John, the rest of us will catch up to you in the years to come.
Assorted Photographs from over the years in no special order include:
Two photographs of Ron Campbell with Jack and Brian Coll at Coll’s Custom Framing during one of his many visits to the shop. These photographs were taken in 2012.
Ron posing with a Resorts Casino employee holding a Smurfette drawing he did for her at a 2009 show.
Ron talking to a few of his many fans at a Center City Show in Philadelphia back in 2009.
Ron chatting with Scott Segelbaum, owner of the Rock Art Show and Joey Molland, lead singer of Badfinger who had recorded at Apple Studios in London where the Beatles recorded. Photo was taken at the King of Prussia Plaza.
A portrait of Ron standing outside of Coll’s Custom Framing in 2019.
Ron chatting with members of the Reed Family at Coll’s Custom Framing in 2019.
Ron posing with two of his fans in 2019 at Coll’s Custom Framing, Mitch and Ryan Reed, actually Ron was a fan of Mitch and Ryan as he noted after the pair left the store what a great time he had with the two and talked highly of Mitch’s potential.
Ron surrounded by fans and television cameras during his visit to Coll’s Custom Framing in 2019.
Ron with a few of his fans at the Coll’s Custom Framing show in 2019.
Three photographs of my grandchildren Nora and Rocco who had a wonderful time with Ron, he was at his best when children were at his workbench, Nora and Rocco adored him as well.