Hugh Michael "Jerry" Shields (1884-1939) was the king of the "crude but funny" style among the first gen. animators in NYC. He had a lifelong reputation as a hard drinker, fast worker, and talented cartoonist. However, he was actually one of the very first men working in the animation business, and an important and tragic figure in the Terry brothers story.
Oakland Tribune, 1/16/1910
Oakland Tribune, 1/15/1910
Oakland Tribune, 2/23/1910
Oakland Tribune, 2/27/1910
Around 1911, Shields met John Coleman Terry (1880-1934) and began experimenting with animation. Art Babbitt, who worked with both men in the early 1930s, recalled their early process: “Original drawings were laid flat on the ground and shot in sunlight. There were no pegholes for registry. The period of Jerry Shields was about 1911". Terry and Shields formed the Movca Film Service in September 1914, claiming to possess “an invention that is claimed to be a great improvement over present methods in the manufacture of comic cartoon films.”
Oakland Tribune, 2/6/1910
This one (above) actually stars a caricature of Shields. Cool!
Oakland Tribune, 3/27/1910
In 1916, John Terry moved Movca to NYC and brought along Shields and fellow San Fransisco newspaper cartoonist Gustavo Bronstrup as animators. Bronstrup returned to California when Movca folded, but Shields and Terry stuck around New York, incorporating a new studio with the properties and staff of Hearst's recently defunct International Film Service in late 1918. In the early 1920s, John Terry's little brother Paul hired Shields away to animate for his new Aesop's Fables studio. He stayed with Paul Terry for the remainder of his career.
Oakland Tribune, 4/30/1910
Oakland Tribune, 5/8/1910
Sadly, the aging Shields of the late 1930's seemed to take his percieved inferior abilities as an artist quite hard, and this, coupled with his alcoholism, led to a deep depression. Note that in the February 6th 1910 cartoon Shields draws himself jumping off a tall building, something he actually did on May 31st 1939. Spooky.