Eli Noyes – multi-talented animation, film, and media creator, dies at 81.

Posted by on Mar 28, 2024 in Uncategorized | No Comments

The film community has lost a talented documentary filmmaker, animator, and interactive media creator
as we announce the passing of Eli Noyes at age 81 from cancer in San Francisco, surrounded by his
family. He was born in Alexandria, Virginia on October 18, 1942.

The son of Modernist architect Eliot Noyes and Mary “Molly” (Weed) Noyes, Eli grew up in an
environment imbued with art and music. In 1965, while an undergraduate at Harvard, Noyes was
nominated for an Academy Award® for his 8-minute animated short film, “Clay, or the Origin of Species”. It is credited as establishing the genre of clay animation and remains a classic of stop motion
filmmaking. Subsequent animated films employed diverse techniques: sand animation (“Sandman”,
1973), pixelated stop motion (“Peanut Butter and Jelly”, 1976).

In the early 1970’s Noyes and Claudia Weil, filmed a number of documentaries, many of which are still
shown in film schools today, including “This Is the Home of Mrs. Levant Graham” (1970). Accompanying
his father to the Aspen Design Conference, Noyes and Weill documented the confrontation between
established architects and the new generation of socially conscious young talents of the era in “Aspen:

An independent artist and animator, Noyes brought his playful creative talents to shape the look and
spirit of children’s programming in the early days of cable TV, especially for the Nickelodeon network. Eli
was one of the first creative contributors to Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon’s first show, Pinwheel, featured
Noyes’ animated pinwheels made with sand. In 1983, Eli and Kit Laybourne started Noyes & Laybourne
Enterprises, an independent studio located in NYC’s Soho. In the early 80’s Nickelodeon was filled with
content it acquired, with a variety of styles and looks. Packaging was the only way to express a
personality. Noyes & Laybourne contributed to the look of Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite with playful
network IDs. They subsequently created the original shows, “Eureeka’s Castle” and “Gullah Gullah

In 1988 Noyes and Laybourne joined Colossal Pictures. For MTV they also produced network graphics
and created a showcase of independent animation in “Liquid Television”,which launched series like Mike
Judge’s “Beavis and Butthead” and Peter Chung’s “Aeon Flux.” Other clients included HBO, IBM,
Scholastic, ABC Sports, Reebok, and Xerox.

Eli Noyes and family moved to San Francisco in 1991, where he directed animation, live action and
interactive projects for commercials and TV development. Always early to embrace technology, Eli
created “Ruff’s Bone” (1994) at Colossal, a groundbreaking interactive CD-ROM product for Broderbund
Software. He moved on to work on interactive projects at Pixar, and with programmers at the Disney
Channel and The Disney Imagineers to create one of the first program blocks that combined TV and the
internet, ZOOG Disney. Eli subsequently brought that experience to the first “convergence network”
Oxygen, as Creative Director in the late 90’s.

Noyes partnered with “Toy Story” producer Ralph Guggenheim in 2003, forming Alligator Planet, where
he created film, print and media works including short films, animated segments for documentary films
including Oscar® nominee “The Most Dangerous Man in America” (2003). His 2011 “Go Green” stamps
for the US Postal Service featured simple actions everyone can take to conserve natural resources and
promote the health of the environment.
Eli loved music, mastering the oboe, accordion and – most of all – Jazz piano. He is survived by his wife
Augusta Talbot, daughter Abigail, son Isaac and wife Anastasia Holland, and granddaughter Esme;
siblings Fred Noyes, MaryD Brust and Derry Craig. Donations in Eli’s memory can be made to
International Rivers or the Coalition of Natives and Allies.

For further information: Ralph Guggenheim info@alligatorplanet.com
Clay, or the Origin of Species
Peanut Butter & Jelly

International Rivers
Coalition of Natives and Allies