George Sidney was an American film director and film producer who worked primarily at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Born in Long Island City, New York, Sidney began his career as an assistant at MGM until being assigned to direct the Our Gang comedies, which MGM had just acquired from Hal Roach, in 1938. Sidney, then age 21, was the youngest Our Gang senior director ever, and was only nine years older than the eldest Our Gang kid, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer’s brother Harold.
After a year of working on Our Gang shorts, Sidney moved on to the Crime Does Not Pay series and popular Pete Smith specialties. He soon graduated to features, including The Harvey Girls, The Three Musketeers, Annie Get Your Gun, The Red Danube, Kiss Me, Kate, Jupiter’s Darling, The Eddy Duchin Story, Pal Joey, Jeanne Eagels, Bye Bye Birdie, and Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas. His last film was Half a Sixpence. Sidney became good friends with MGM animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Hanna and Barbera’s Jerry Mouse appeared alongside Gene Kelly in Sidney’s film Anchors Aweigh. After MGM closed its animation studio in 1957, Sidney helped Hanna and Barbera form a deal with Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures, to form the successful television animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions, for which Sidney served as a boardmember for ten years. Sidney later featured Hanna-Barbera’s Fred Flintstone, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear in Bye Bye Birdie.