Cathryn Aison is an artist and animator from New York who produced several films for Sesame Street in the 1970s.

As a child, Aison studied dance with Martha Graham, and later attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh for Architecture before switching her major to Fine Arts in pursuit of Industrial Design. After joining The Art Students League of New York, she worked in publishing before studying animation through courses at the School of Visual Arts with Disney and Fleischer animator Shamus Culhane. She produced several student films before working regularly as an animator on the ABC TV series Make a Wish from 1972 to 1976, and its replacement Animals, Animals, Animals.

In 1975, she created her first film for Sesame Street, followed by at least five other projects. She's most commonly asked about her collaboration with Philip Glass, a series of shorts called "Geometry of Circles". In 2012, she recalled:

In the back of my mind, my film "Geometry of Circles", which I conceived and created in 1979, has always been a source of pride for me. I love the fact that it travelled around the world anonymously and was seen by many, many children for years and years. Over the years I have encountered people who have seen it and been influenced by it. It is always a treat to hear them say something and I love showing it to my grandchildren. It is quite an honor, and a surprise, to have it now included in the Century of the Child, Growing by Design show at MoMA.[1]

Aison retired in 2012 at the age of 72 as the Art Director for Vintage and Anchor Books, a paperback division of Random House where she had worked since 1988. Following retirement, she pursued printmaking at New York's Art Student's League.

Segments

Picture EKA Description
400029
Episode 0778 (1975) Street Bunny

A rabbit crosses the STREET, and almost gets run over.

Script by CTW. Aison animated the film (with assistance from her brother-in-law Martin Abrahams) and built the sound track with film editor Jonathan Pontell. Aison's sister voiced the spelling rabbit, and Conrad Bromberg played the driver.

JuicePops
Episode 1193 (1978) Snack

A mother and child make juice popsicles.

Music by Charles Gross; animation assisted by Susan Rose; child's voice provided by Aison's daughter Courtney.

DucklingDress
Episode 1195 (1978) Zip

A duckling dresses itself, naming all the parts of its coat.

Music by Charles Gross; narration by Aison's son Patrick.

Toon.fromtadpoletofrog
Episode 1232 (1979) Birth of Frog

How do frogs make more frogs? The birth and growth of a frog is documented. At the very end, the fully-grown frog hops in the middle of a field and calls out, "Hey, Kermit!"

Music by Charles Gross; Aison as the voice of the frog; child's voice provided by Aison's daughter Courtney.

Geometry of Circles 1 - Circle with Flower
Episode 1392 (1979) Geometry of Circles

Two-and-a-half minute film split into four shorter segments.

Music by Philip Glass.

SandwichConfusion
Episode 1715 (1982) Tuna Lunch

A girl tries to describe what kind of sandwich she wants, but her dad keeps misunderstanding her.

Sources

  1. Lines from the League "I Don’t Like to Take Myself Too Seriously" by Cathryn Aison, Winter 2012
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.