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George Pal (born György Pál Marczincsak;[1] Hungarian: [ˈmɒrt͡sint͡ʃɒk ˈɟørɟ ˈpɑːl] February 1, 1908 – May 2, 1980) was a Hungarian-American animator, film director and producer, principally associated with the fantasy and science-fiction genres. He became an American citizen after emigrating from Europe.

George Pal
George Pal (1979).jpg
George Pal in 1979
György Pál Marczincsak

(1908-02-01)February 1, 1908
DiedMay 2, 1980(1980-05-02) (aged 72)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
Other namesJulius György Marczincsak
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materBudapest Academy of Arts
Years active1934–1975
Spouse(s)Elisabeth "Zsoka" Pal (1930–1980; his death)
ChildrenDavid (b. 1937)
Peter (b. 1941)
AwardsSee Awards and Honours

He was nominated for Academy Awards (in the category Best Short Subjects, Cartoon) for seven consecutive years (1942–1948) and received an honorary award in 1944. This makes him the second-most nominated Hungarian exile (together with William S. Darling and Ernest Laszlo) after Miklós Rózsa.

Early life and careerEdit

Pal was born in Cegléd, Hungary, the son of György Pál Marczincsak, Sr.[citation needed] and his wife Maria. He graduated from the Budapest Academy of Arts in 1928 (aged 20). From 1928 to 1931, he made films for Hunnia Films of Budapest, Hungary.

At the age of 23 in 1931, he married Elisabeth "Zsoka" Grandjean, and after moving to Berlin, founded Trickfilm-Studio GmbH Pal und Wittke, with UFA Studios as its main customer from 1931 to 1933. During this time, he patented the Pal-Doll technique (known as Puppetoons in the US).

In 1933, he worked in Prague; in 1934, he made a film advertisement in his hotel room in Paris, and was invited by Philips to make two more ad shorts. He started to use Pal-Doll techniques in Eindhoven, in a former butchery, then at villa-studio Suny Home. He left Germany as the Nazis came to power.

He made five films before 1939 for the British company Horlicks Malted Milk. In December of that year, aged 32, he emigrated from Europe to the United States,[2] and began work for Paramount Pictures. At this time, his friend Walter Lantz helped him obtain American citizenship.

As an animator, he made the Puppetoons series in the 1940s, which led to him being awarded an honorary Oscar in 1943 for "the development of novel methods and techniques in the production of short subjects known as Puppetoons". Pal then switched to live-action film-making with The Great Rupert (1950).

He is best remembered as the producer of several science-fiction and fantasy films in the 1950s, such as When Worlds Collide,[3] and 1960s, four of which were collaborations with director Byron Haskin, including The War of the Worlds (1953). He himself directed Tom Thumb (1958), The Time Machine (1960), and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962).


In May 1980, he died in Beverly Hills, California, of a heart attack at the age of 72, and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. The Voyage of the Berg, on which he was working at the time, was never completed.

Awards and honoursEdit

Pal has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1722 Vine St. In 1980, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences founded the "George Pal Lecture on Fantasy in Film" series in his memory.

George Pal (along with the film When Worlds Collide) is among the many references to classic science fiction and horror films in the opening theme ("Science Fiction/Double Feature") of both the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show and its cinematic counterpart, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).

Pal's Puppetoons Tulips Shall Grow and John Henry and the Inky-Poo (1946) were added to the Library of Congress 1997 and 2015 National Film Registry.[4] One of the Tubby the Tuba models along with a frog and three string instruments were donated to the Smithsonian Institution for the National Museum of American History.[5]


The Academy Film Archive has preserved several of George Pal's films, including Jasper and the Beanstalk, John Henry and the Inky Poo, and Radio Röhren Revolution.[6]

Live-action feature filmsEdit

Unreleased, unfinished, or projected filmsEdit

Posthumous collectionEdit


  • Gail Morgan Hickman. The Films of George Pal (South Brunswick, NJ: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1977) ISBN 0-498-01960-8.
  • Miller, Thomas Kent. Mars in the Movies: A History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2016. ISBN 978-0-7864-9914-4.


  1. ^ "Historical Development". University for the Creative Arts. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  2. ^ Pal, his wife and son, were second cabin passengers on the S.S. Statendam which arrived at the Port of New York from the Netherlands on December 3, 1939.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (February 7, 1952). "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; George Pal's New Film Adventure Into Outer Space, 'When Worlds Collide,' Opens at the Globe". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "2015 National Film Registry: "Ghostbusters" Gets the Call". Library of Congress. December 16, 2015.
  5. ^ "Puppets on Radio, Film, and Television". National Museum of American History.
  6. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  7. ^ "The Great Rupert". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  8. ^ "Destination Moon". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  9. ^ "When Worlds Collide". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "Houdini". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  11. ^ "The War of the Worlds". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Naked Jungle". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  13. ^ "Conquest of Space". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "Tom Thumb". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "The Time Machine". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "Atlantis, the Lost Continent". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  17. ^ "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  18. ^ "7 Faces of Dr. Lao". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "The Power". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "Doc Savage...The Man of Bronze". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "William Nolan recollection of history of Logan's Run Movie". William Nolan.[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit