Hal Sutherland is an animator and director who started his career as a Disney animator in 1954, working on Sleeping Beauty. In 1962, he left Disney to found the animation company Filmation with Norm Prescott and Lou Scheimer. Sutherland directed a number of animated TV shows for the company, including The New Adventures of Superman, Aquaman, Archie’s Fun House, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Flash Gordon. During his time there, he also tried his hand at directing features. For this installment of Animation Corner, I’ll be looking back at the only two good features he directed: Treasure Island (now celebrating its 40th anniversary) and Oliver Twist.
Directed by Sutherland, 1973’s Treasure Island centers on young Jim Hawkins and his sidekick Hiccup the Mouse, who comes into possession of a map that he believes will lead to gold, and along his journey at sea his shipmate Long John Silver plots to acquire the treasure for himself. Featuring the voices of Richard Dawson, Davy Jones, Larry D. Mann, Dallas McKennon, Larry Storch, and Jane Webb, this critically acclaimed Filmation-produced film was based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and features music by Ray Ellis. It aired in an edited version on NBC in the early 1980s as part of their Special Treat series.
Directed by Sutherland, 1974’s Oliver Twist centers on a young orphan named Oliver and his experiences in London, including his encounter with the criminal Fagin. Featuring the voices of Josh Albee, Davy Jones, Les Tremayne, Bob Holt, Dallas McKennon, and Larry Storch, this underrated animated musical was based on the novel by Charles Dickens and features music by Ray Ellis and Norm Prescott. It was withdrawn from release after poor preview screenings and aired on NBC (like 1973’s Treasure Island) in an edited version in the early 1980s as part of their Special Treat series.
(Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any trailers for either film on YouTube.)