Dunning based the narrative on the notion of “lateral thinking,” a creative problem-solving concept from New Agey self-help consultant, Edward de Bono. The trippy ambient music is from Ron Geesin, who also co-composed the “Atom Heart Mother” suite with Pink Floyd.
Dunning was born in Toronto, Canada and studied in at the Ontario College of Art, and soon found freelance work as an illustrator. Dunning joined the National Film Board of Canada in 1943, where he worked with Norman McLaren and contributed to several episodes of the Chants populaires series. From 1944 to 1947 Dunning created many original short films and developed his skills animating articulated, painted, metal cut-outs.
In 1948, he spent a year working for UNESCO in Paris under the mentorship of Czech-born animator Berthold Bartosch. Then in 1949, he and fellow NFB grad Jim McKay created one of Toronto’s first animation studios, Graphic Associates, where he produced commercials and gave Michael Snow his first job in film. Dunning later moved on to New York working on UPA‘s The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show and in 1956 he moved to England to manage UPA’s new London office. After the office went under, he hired many of the UPA staff to work for him and his newly established production company, T.V. Cartoons Ltd. (renamed TVC London). Among the animators working for TVC where Richard Williams and Jimmy Murakami. By 1961, TVC was producing about one hundred commercials a year. During this time Dunning also managed to make many personal short films noted for their surrealistic atmosphere and Kafkaesque themes.
Dunning also oversaw the cartoon series The Beatles for ABC, and this led to his involvement with Yellow Submarine (1968). Dunning was also responsible for the opening credits of Blake Edwards’ A Shot in the Dark, along with a series of shorts and inserts including “The digger”, for the BBC’s Vision On series for children.
About the time of his death he was working on animated version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which was never completed. His company was briefly resurrected in the 1990s, before being merged with Varga Studio.