Sally Cruikshank

Animator Sally Cruikshank's eye-opening, mind-bending shorts earned her the admiration of cartoon fans and professionals alike, as well as work on features and television and even inclusion in the National Film ... Read more »

Born: 11/30/1948 in Chatham, New Jersey, USA


Director (5)

Animated Self-Portraits 1990 (Movie)

(USA) (Director)

Face Like a Frog 1988 (Movie)


Make Me Psychic 1979 (Movie)


Chow Fun 1977 (Movie)


Quasi at the Quackadero 1977 (Movie)

Visual Effects & Animation (5)

Smiley Face 2007 (Movie)

Main Title Design (Titles)

Madhouse 1990 (Movie)

title animator (Animator)

Loverboy 1989 (Movie)

animated titles (Titles)

Mannequin 1987 (Movie)

animation sequence producer (Animator)

Ruthless People 1986 (Movie)

animation sequence producer (Animator)
Executive (1)

Twilight Zone - the Movie 1983 (Movie)

cartoon supervisor("It's a Good Life") (Supervisor)


Animator Sally Cruikshank's eye-opening, mind-bending shorts earned her the admiration of cartoon fans and professionals alike, as well as work on features and television and even inclusion in the National Film Registry. Her best efforts, like "Quasi at the Quackadero" (1975), echoed the garish, anarchic antics of Felix the Cat and Betty Boop in their blend of '20s-style sound and characterizations and underground/New Wave energy. The success of "Quasi" and other efforts led to contributions for "Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1982) and "Sesame Street" (PBS 1969- ), as well as guaranteed immortality for "Quasi" when it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation. Though perhaps not well as known as many of her animation peers, Sally Cruikshank's work stood out from the vast array of cartoon shorts, features and series by the sheer, unfettered creativity of her best efforts.

Born Sarah Cruikshank in Chatham, New Jersey in June 1949, Sally Cruikshank was one of three children of Ernest and Rose Cruikshank. She studied art at Smith College, where she studied under sculptor and painter Elliot Offner, who submitted slides of her pencil-and-clay-on paper drawings to a screening committee, which resulted in a scholarship to the Yale Summer Art School. While there, she began adapting her work to animation, and upon her return to Smith, arranged a special studies class in animation. Her first animated short, a three-minute, 16mm short called "Ducky," which featured an early version of her most iconic character, an eccentric duck named Quasi. Encouraged by the response to "Ducky," Cruikshank enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she continued to develop her duck character with the 1971 short "Fun on Mars," which was followed by "Chow Fun" (1972), a short funded by a $400 grant from PBS.

While working for Snazelle Films, a commercial-film producer based in San Francisco, Cruikshank created what was her most enduring work: "Quasi at the Quackadero" (1975), a 10-minute, 35mm short that followed her duck hero, Quasi, through the titular establishment, a kaleidoscopic funhouse that granted glimpses of the past and future. Drawing heavily on the surreal, kitchen-sink style of the Fleischer Brothers and featuring a Roaring '20s jazz score by legendary artist Robert Crumb's band, the Cheap Suit Serenaders, "Quackadero" was a hit on the film festival circuit, and allowed Cruikshank to make more expansive projects, including the eight-minute, $14,000 "Make Me Psychic" and "Face Like a Frog" (1987), which featured music by Oingo Boingo. Cruikshank also contributed animated sequences to several major motion pictures, including a nightmarish television cartoon in "Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1982) an animated gag in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker comedy "Top Secret!" (1984), and the credit sequence for the trio's next film, "Ruthless People" (1986). Cruikshank also created several short animated inserts for "Sesame Street" (PBS 1969- ) during this era. In 1994, "Quasi at the Quackadero" was one of the few post-1960 animated shorts included in The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals, and was selected in 2009 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.


Jon Davidson Production Accountant



Smith College

developed her own animation special studies program while there.

School of Fine Arts, Yale University

won a scholarship through her teacher, Elliott Offner.

AFI Conservatory




"Quasi" selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry


Contributes numerous animated shorts for "Sesame Street"


Creates cartoon sequence for "Twilight Zone: The Movie"


Produces three-minute sample, "Quasi's Cabaret," for a proposed animated feature


Releases her breakout project, "Quasi at the Quackadero"


First animated short, "Ducky"

Bonus Trivia


Her duck characters are loosely based on Carl Banks' iconic "Donald Duck" and "Scrooge McDuck" comic strips and books


Cruikshank's cartoons were screened at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012.


Attempted to sell a television series based around three-minute shorts that featured many of her recurring characters


Won the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award, given to video artists and independent filmmakers, in 1986.


Contributed animated sequences to Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker's "Top Secret!" (194) and "Ruthless People" (1986); she was married to the filmmakers' longtime producer Jon Davison.


Next >