Of the arts and self-employment…

Wow, has it really been that long?  I guess it has.  I’ve spent the majority of my time trying to get my photography business going and wasn’t able to devote much of any of my time to personal projects this year.  But through all of it, I haven’t forgotten about my research.

Earlier this year, when I was able to read a little more, I found a reference in a book that noted my grandfather’s connection to the Disney studios and the timeframe for when he also chose to go it alone and became self-employed.  Herb Lamb (b. 3 Sep 1904, New York, NY; d. 14 March 1960, San Francisco, CA) worked for Disney in the mid-20th century.  In the 1940 U.S. census (City of Burbank, Los Angeles County, California, E.D. 19-180, sheet 10-A), as we see below, he listed his occupation as “production manager” and his place of employment as “motion picture studio.”


I had already determined through discussions with living family members that he was working for Disney at this time, and at least one reference I saw in Google Books (although I don’t have the citation handy right now) notes that he was involved in the production of Fantasia.  Another Google Books reference I found was an excerpt of a book titled “Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in its Golden Age” (Amazon affiliate link; book by Michael Barrier, 1999, Oxford Univserity Press) that mentions Herb setting out on his own after this census.

As has become my usual practice, if a book that mentions my family is still available, I put it on my wish list at Amazon if I don’t already have a copy.  So yesterday when I was unwrapping the items that were for me, “Hollywood Cartoons” was one of the gifts that I received this year.  My grandfather is only listed in the index once, for a note on page 387; it says there:

“Disney’s own enthusiasm cooled even as the viability of his industrial-film strategy began to prove itself. By mid-1944 he was speaking much more cautiously about the postwar market for educational films than he had just a year earlier. Two former members of the Disney staff, Herb Lamb and Tom Codrick, set up their own industrial-film studio, called Herb Lamb Productions, and Disney eventually transferred the contracts for several such films to them.”

Now I have another name in the FAN (Friends/Associates/Neighbors) club to research, that of Tom Codrick.  Looking further, there are records of copyright registrations through the rest of the 1940s, available through Google Books, listing many of the film titles that my grandfather worked on.

So you might say that I’m following in his footsteps by trying to create my own business in commercial photography.  The big difference here is that I don’t have a mega-monolithic company feeding me business, I’m out there trying to sell my services to clients.  It’s been a tough year learning how to sell, but I’ll get there.  Meanwhile, I’ll try to set aside more time for myself to get back to projects like my genealogy research; a big portion of my research in 2013 will now be to read this book and learn more about the background of this fascinating entertainment industry in which my grandfather worked.

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