Tag Archives: Early Cinematic Poems

“Icarus Montgolfier Wright”: Animated Ray Bradbury Screenplay Narrated By James Whitmore Directed By Osmond Evans (1962)

Ray Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson adapted Ray’s short story “Icarus Montgolfier Wright” into a screenplay for an animated short. Animation studio Format Films produced the film in 1962.  Joseph Mugnaini created the artwork for the 18-minute film.

Directed by:  Osmond Evans

Screenplay by:  Ray Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson

Narrated by:  James Whitmore and Ross Martin

Produced by:  Jules Engel (Format Films)

Artist/Animator:  Joe Mugnaini

Ray’s story of the first manned flight to the moon is depicted with surprising accuracy seven years before the Apollo mission rocketed into history. Ross Martin and James Whitmore gave voice to a poetic journey punctuated by Mugnaini’s stunning visuals. Icarus Montgolfier Wright was an animated gem.

The unique nature of Icarus caught the attention of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and it was nominated for an Academy Award in 1962.

“The Tell-Tale Heart”: Animated Edgar Allan Poe Short Film Narrated By James Mason Directed By Ted Parmelee (1953)

The Tell-Tale Heart is a 1953 American animated short film directed by Ted Parmelee and narrated by James Mason. The screenplay by Bill Scott and Fred Grable is based on the 1843 short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

Directed by:  Ted Parmelee

Produced by:  Stephen Bosustow

Written by: Bill Scott and Fred Grable

Narrated by:  James Mason

Music by:  Boris Kremenliev

Produced at:  United Productions of America


The plot focuses on a murderer whose increasing guilt leads him to believe he can hear his victim’s heart still beating beneath the floorboards where he buried him. Seen through the eyes of the nameless narrator, the surrealistic images in the film help convey his descent into madness.

Paul Julian served as both designer and color artist for film, and Pat Matthews was the principal animator.

In May 1953, pre-production started on The Tell-Tale Heart, which originally was intended to be a 3-D film. It is not known if the film was animated in this fashion, but it was not released in 3D. There is no reference to 3D in a technical trade review.

“The Raven”: A 1967 NFL Short Film “Parody Poem” Narrated By Charlie Jones Directed By Simon Gribben

In 1967, Simon Gribben was a film writer/editor for Tel Ra Productions in Philadelphia making syndicated American Football League highlights. He produced “The Raven” as an audition piece for NFL Films, where he was hired.

One of the earliest examples of the origins of Cinematic Poems.

Written, Edited and Produced by:  Simon Gribben

Narrated by:  Charlie Jones

“The KC Chiefs destroyed the Denver Broncos in KC; it reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” and so I wrote a parody of the poem as a description of this game. Ed Keane was the Supervising Editor and supported this deviation from the norm and even found some harpsichord music for mood. Announcer Charlie Jones got into the silliness and did a superb read. I cut a minute out of the original to speed up this version but someday would like to return it to its original nuttiness. This is the audition piece I sent to NFL Films and got hired talking about making a Football Ballet, my 1st film for NFL Films.

Website:  https://vimeo.com/user1277282