As Archie Foley, a sound effects editor, lays dying in the hospital, his life is replayed in his ears.
The Ballad of Archie Foley - He Played it by Ear was completed in 1995. Not as light-heartedly satirical as Buzzco's other films, Archie Foley is a sentimental look at one man's life, as it passes before his ears. The song is another Lanny Meyers original and the design was inspired by woodcut graphics and has had its share of international film festivals and prizes.
The Ballad of Archie Foley was a tough film to make. Lanny had written this song and wanted it made into a film. It was his turn in the collaboration, but when I first heard the song, I found it a bit too saccharine. I didn’t feel it.
Then in February 1994 my mother suffered a major stroke. It affected the right side of her brain and, at first, she was not expected to survive. I spent the next six weeks at her hospital bedside, looking at the monitors, watching her progress and talking with myriads of doctors. It was living through all that, that I realized that the sadness of death is not necessarily with the person dying, but with their loved ones who anticipate and experience the loss. My mother did survive and lived more than another twelve years, but it made me hear The Ballad of Archie Foley in another way.
I added Archie’s wife throughout his memories and at his bedside to have a stand-in for the audience. Which lets the viewers feel her pain.
Another personal note: In making this woodcut design, I had to use a scratcher to scratch my brush line on the cels. I had watered down the India ink with dishwashing soap to let me scratch easier, but holding that long toothpick gave me severe carpal tunnel syndrome-- I couldn’t even open a jar! But it was a sort of self-flagellation, giving me an external pain to compensate for my internal pain dealing with my mother’s care.
Directed/Animated/Designed/Written by: Candy Kugel & Vincent Cafarelli
Music/Lyrics/Sound Design: Lanstronaut
Production Company: Buzzco Associates, Inc.
Executive Producer: Marilyn Kraemer
Animation Camera: George Davis, Eighth Frame Camera Service
Track Analysis: Max Seligman
Negative Match: Neil Lawrence
Telecine Transfer: Bill Willig
Colorist: Princzco Productions