Albert Whitlock


Born in London, he began working in the motion picture industry at age 14 in 1929.
“Because of the depression, l quit school and went to work to help out the family. lt was just good fortune,” he remembers. “that l had a relative in the industry who helped me get a job.
“l was the ‘boy’ in the studio, you see. Someone shouted, ‘Boy!’ and I came running. I made l5 shillings a week as the fetch-and-carry fellow at London’s Gaumont Lime Grove Studio before the British took it over.
“My career was a progression from working in a warehouse to helping carpenters. Then miniature makers, then painting signs for sets and getting into titles, then back to miniatures and finally into matte work.
Whitlock vividly remembers one of his first assignments painting all the signs for Alfred Hitchcock´s The39 Step when he was only I9. If pressed, he can even tell a tale or two about assisting the miniatures supervisor on Hitchcock’s first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, which came even earlier.
My first matte was made during the war with a turkey called Bad Lord Byron; the man who was originally doing the mattes went on to an art director’s job leaving the post vacant. I was a scene painter at the time, so they said l was the most
obvious person for the job. It was a black and white film, my first color film didn’t come along until around I950 with a picture called The Seekers, which was made at Pinewood.”

Whitlock had been working with the Wall Disney unit during those last years in England and at the urging of Peter Ellenshaw thought there would he something for him at the U.S. Disney studios,

“lt was about I954 that l got up enough courage to pack up the wife and kids to come to Hollywood. The Mecca of the movie business. It wasn’t an easy decision. I was in a very good position, I had worked for over 20 years with Gaumont British, which became the Rank Studios and then five years at Pinewood; I could have eventually retired from Pinewood with a comfortable pension.”

After a few weeks of finding little work, Whitlock decided to return to England. Just before he was scheduled to depart, Walt Disney Studios phoned and offered him a job. His first assignment was to design the titles for 20.000Leagues Under the Sea. From I954 until I961 Whitlock worked on most of Disney’s motion pictures. He was involved with some of the basic concepts at Disneyland and himself painted the Main Street Theater at the world-famous amusement park. ln l96l Whitlock went to Universal Studios where he renewed his acquaintance with Alfred Hitchcock. Whitlock painted the mattes for that masters last six films, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz. Frenzy, and Family Plot.
Whitlock refers often to the special eflects team he organized at Universal.
lt includes first cameraman Bill Taylor, assistant matte artist Syd Dutton, camera operator Dennis Glouner, assistant cameraman Mike Moramarco, camera loader Mark Whitlock, rotoscope artist Susan Rodgers, and key grip Larry Shuler and his assistant Henry Schoessler. Whitlock earned Academy
Awards for Special Visual Effects for “EARTHQUAKE” and “THE H|NDENBURG.”
He retired from Universal Studios at 1984. But continued working on occasional productions for a few more years.
He passed away 26 Octuber 1999 by Parkinson’s disease at age 84‘

Whitlock´s photo by Bill Taylor.


Articles about Whitlock´s matte work:



- Chaplin (1992) (matte painting consultant)
- Graveyard Shift (1990)(matte painting consultant)
- The neverending storyII (1990) (matte painting supervisor)
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) (matte consultant)(uncredited)
- Millennium (1989) (matte painting)
- Coming to America (1988) (matte painting supervisor)
- Funny Farm (1988) (matte consultant) (uncredited)
- Spaceballs (1987) (matte painting supervisor)
- Critical Condition (1987) (matte painting consultant)
- Dragnet(86)(Matte art consult)
- Red Sonja (1985) (matte shots)
- Clue (1985) (matte consultant)
- A.D. (1985) (mini) TV Series (special visual effects)Anno Domini.
- Dune (1984) (special effects)
- Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) (special visual effects)
- Airwolf (TV Movie)(1984) (special effects)
- Lonely Guy, The (1984) (special effects)
- Sting II, The (1983) (special visual effects)
- Psycho II (1983) (matte artist)
- The Wicked Lady (1983) (special visual effects)
- The Thing (1982) (special visual effects)
- Victor/Victoria (1982) (special visual effects)
- Missing (1982) (special visual effects)
- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) (special visual effects)
- Cat People (1982) (special visual effects)
- Ghost Story (1981) (special visual effects)
- Heartbeeps (1981) (special visual effects)
- History of the World: Part I (1981) (special visual effects)
- Masada (1981) (mini) TV Series (special visual effects) (1981)
- In God We Tru$t (1980) (special visual effects) .
- The Blues Brothers (1980) (special effects)
- Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980) (special effects)
- The Island (1980)
- Dracula (1979) (special visual effects)
- The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)
- Y Wanna hold you hand(78)(matte art)Robert Zemeckis
- The Wiz (1978/I) (special visual effects)
- Airport ’77 (1977) (special visual effects)
- It Happened One Christmas (TV Movie)(special visual effects)
- The Car (1977) (special visual effects)
- Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) (special visual effects)
- High Anxiety (1977) (special visual effects)
- MacArthur (1977) (special visual effects)
- The last remake of beau geste(77)(Matte effects)
- Sentinel, The (1977) (special visual effects)
- Family Plot (1976) (special effects)
- Front, The (1976) (matte effects)
- Face of Darkness (1976) (special photographic effects)
- Swashbuckler (1976) (special visual effects)
- Rollercoaster (1976) (special visual effects)
- Bound for Glory (1976) (special photographic effects)
- W.C. Fields and Me (1976) (special effects)
- Two Minute Warning (1976) (special effects)
- Day of the Locust, The (1975) (special photographic effects)
- Funny Lady (1975) (special photographic effects)
- Log of the Black Pearl, The (1975) (TV) (special photographic effects)
- Hindenburg, The (1975) (special visual effects)
- Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) (matte artist)
- Mame (1974) (special photographic effects)
- A Cry in the Wilderness (1974)(special photographic effects)
- Girl from Petrovka, The (1974) (special photographic effects)
- Earthquake (1974) (special photographic effects)
- Killdozer (1974) (TV) (special effects)
- The Questor Tapes(1974) (TV) (special effects)
- Papillon (1973) (special photographic effects)
- Oklahoma Crude (1973) (special photographic effects)
- Showdown(1973)(matte art)
- The day of the dolphin(1973)(matte art)
- The Train Robbers (1973) (special photographic effects)
- That Man Bolt (1973) (special photographic effects)
- The Day of the Dolphin (1973) (special photographic effects)
- Cahill: United States Marshal (1973) (special effects)
- The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War (TV Movie)(special effects)
- Portrait: A Man Whose Name Was John (TV Movie)(1973)
- The Sting (1973) (special effects)
- Short Walk to Daylight (1972) (TV) (special effects)
- Columbo (1972)TV series
- The Snoop Sisters(1972-74) TV series
- Hec Ramsey (1972) (TV) (special photographic effects:mattes) (1972)
- Female Artillery (1972) (TV) (special photographic effects)
- Frenzy (1972) (special photographic effects)
- Slaughterhouse Five (1972) (matte supervisor)
- The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) (matte supervisor)
- Evil Roy Slade (TV Movie) (1972)(special photographic effects)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (TV Movie)(1972) (special photographic effects)
- Ironside (TV Series) (1972)(special photographic effects)
- McMillan & Wife (1971-73)TV series(special photographic effects)
- McCloud (TV Series) (1971)(special photographic effects)
- Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (TV Series)(special photographic effects)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971) (visual effects)
- One more train to robe(1971)(Matte art)
- Vanished (1971) (TV) (special photographic effects)
- Big Jake (1971) (special photographic effects)
- O’Hara, U.S. Treasury (TV Series)(1971) (special photographic effects)
- Andromeda Strain, The (1971) (matte supervisor)
- The Birdmen (1971) (TV) (special photographic effects)
- Raid on Rommel (1971) (special photographic effects)
- Catch-22 (1970) (special photographic effects)
- Skullduggery (1970) (special effects)
- The Virginian(1969)(TV Series)(special photographic effects)
- Topaz (1969) (special effects)
- The Bold Ones: The Lawyers(TV Series)(1969–72) (special effects)
- Colossus: The Forbin Project (1969) (special photographic effects)
- Gaily, Gaily (1969) (matte artist) … aka Chicago, Chicago (1969)
- The learning tree(1969)(matte art)
- Shakiest Gun in the West, The (1968) (matte supervisor)
- Hellfighters (1968) (matte supervisor)
- In Enemy Country (1968) (matte supervisor) aka In Enemy Hands (1968)
- Madigan (1968) (matte supervisor)
- Counterpoint (1968) (matte supervisor)
- P.J. (1968) (matte supervisor) aka New Face in Hell (1968) (UK)
- Funny Girl (1968) (special photographic effects) (uncredited)
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) (matte supervisor)
- Rough Night in Jericho (1967) (matte supervisor)
- The War Wagon (1967) (mattes)
- The Way West (1967) (special photographic effects)
- Tobruk (1967) (matte supervisor)
- The President’s Analyst(1967) (matte supervisor)
- The Ballad of Josie (1967) (matte supervisor)
- The King’s Pirate (1967) (matte supervisor)
- The Reluctant Astronaut (1967) (special photographic effects)
- Torn Curtain (1966) (pictorial designs)
- Star treck(tv serie)(1966)
- Munster, Go Home (1966) (matte supervisor)
- Beau Geste (1966) (matte supervisor)
- Rare Breed, The (1966) (matte supervision)
- The ship of fools(65)(matte art)
- That Funny Feeling (1965) (matte supervisor)
- Blindfold (1965) (matte supervisor)
- War Lord, The (1965) (special effects)
- Mirage (1965) (matte supervisor)
- Shenandoah (1965) (matte supervisor)
- Marnie (1964) (pictorial design)
- Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964) (matte shots)
- I’d Rather Be Rich (1964) (matte supervisor)
- Island of the Blue Dolphins (1964) (matte artist)
- Robinson Crusoe on Mars(1964) (matte artist)
- Captain Newman, M.D. (1963) (matte supervisor)
- Birds, The (1963) (pictorial design)
- That touch of mink(62)(Matte art)
- Greyfriars Bobby (1961) (TV) (special photographic effects)
- “Daniel Boone” (1960) (mini) TV Series (matte artist)
- Greyfriars Bobby (1961) (special photographic effects)
- Pit and the Pendulum (1961) (matte artist)
- Ten Who Dared (1960) (matte artist)
- Polyanna (assistant matte artist – uncredited) (1960)
- Darby O’Gill (assistant matte artist – uncredited) (1959)
- The zorro(tv series)(58-59)(matte artist)
- Tonka (1958) (assistant matte artist)
- Westward Ho the Wagons! (1956) (assistant matte artist)
- Great Locomotive Chase, The (1956) (assistant matte artist)
- Seekers, The (1954) (matte artist) (uncredited)
- 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea (54)(titulos)
- Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953) (assistant matte artist)
- Sword and the Rose, The (1953) (assistant matte artist)
- Net, The (1953) (special effects)
- Malta Story, The (1953) (special effects)
- Outpost in Malaya (1952) (special effects)
- Trio (1950) (special effects)
- Christopher Columbus (1949) ( Special effects)
- The Lost people (1949)(special effects)
- Bad Lord Byron, The (1949) (matte artist)
- Quartet (1948) (special effects)
- Mine Own Executioner (1947)(assistant art director – uncredited)
- Caravan (1946)(background – uncredited)
- Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945)(scenic artist)
- Jamaica Inn (1939) (scenic artist)
- Lady Vanishes, The (1938) (Scenic artist)
- Young and Innocent (1937) Scenic artist)
- Secret Agent (1936) (scenic artist)
- Sabotage (1936) (scenic artist)
- 39 Steps, The (1935) (Scenic artist)
- Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1934) (miniature and scenic artist)


A young Albert Whitlock with an unidentified painting, probably from his British period.


Al Whitlock with a painting from the film Mame.


Working on a painting for Earthquake.


Albert Whitlock on his office at Universal  matte department with the painting he made for The man who would be king.

ManKing Withlockpainting ManKingWhitlock1

Whitlock with one of the paintings for Dune.


Full gallery is not available yet, but you can visit the old site: