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The wonderful worlds of Arthur Rankin

Genius: The animated movie magic of late Bermuda resident Arthur Rankin Jr is now on show at Masterworks

Arthur’s Galaxy, an exhibit celebrating the life and brilliant imagination of renowned animator Arthur Rankin Jr, opens today at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

Harrington Sound resident Mr Rankin produced many of the world’s best loved holiday specials, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Here Comes Peter Cottontail and Frosty the Snowman.

He died in January at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital after a short illness. He was 89.

The Botanical Gardens museum will feature dolls, scripts, photographs and other tools used by Mr Rankin and partner Jules Bass to create their world-famous “stop-motion” animated specials and films.

The exhibit focuses on Mr Rankin’s works from 1964’s pioneering Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer through his award-winning 1977 production of The Hobbit and popular ‘80s cartoon series like Thunder Cats.

“Arthur Rankin had such a prolific career, it was difficult to choose which areas to highlight in this exhibit,” said Anne-Marie Walsh, photographic collections manager at the Masterworks Museum.

“I decided to represent touchstones of his career that would resonate with viewers, as well as elements of projects that never made it to production.”

The exhibit features puppets of Punch and Judy from one unrealised project and Shirley Temple as Dorothy in a proposed Wizard of Oz special Mr Rankin pitched to TV networks in the 1970s.

“We also have animation celluloids, scripts, screenplays and presentation art from projects that were never completed,” added Ms Walsh.

Mr Rankin’s family donated the pieces on display in Arthur’s Galaxy, giving much of his personal collection to the museum.

Ms Walsh spoke of Masterwork’s plans for future Arthur Rankin exhibits: “This is the first show Masterworks has done on Arthur Rankin, although it certainly won’t be the last. A larger show is planned for this winter, which will celebrate Arthur’s Christmas classics.

“We’re excited to bring a Bermudian legend to life through his personal collection, and to share his creativity and inspiration to a wide variety of visitors.”