Thomas G. Smith is a film producer, director, and writer from Canton, Illinois, born in 1938. Smith graduated from Northwestern University in 1960 and served in the US Air Force from 1962-1965. After serving in the US Air Force, Smith joined Encyclopedia Britannica Films (EBF) in 1965 and produced his first educational film, Food From the Sun, in 1966. Working for EBF, in addition to freelance work for Bailey Film Associates and the Public Broadcasting Service, Smith produced, directed, and/or wrote more than 50 educational films for the next 12 years. One of the films Smith made for EBF, The Solar System (1977), notable for its visual effects, brought Smith to the attention of George Lucas. Smith was hired in 1979 to run Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), overseeing the visual effects for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Return of the Jedi (1983), among others. Smith later left ILM for Disney, producing Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), as well as several 3D theme park films, most notably MuppetVision 3D. Smith left Disney in 1995 to work as a freelance producer. In his last feature-length film, Smith produced the visual effects for Gods and Generals (2003).
IULMIA's collection includes many of the educational films Smith produced for Encyclopedia Britannica, BFA Educational Media, PBS, and Churchill Films. Films in this collection date from 1964-1979.
Watch excerpts from Thomas G. Smith films
KENTUCKY PIONEERS (1969)
Dramatization of one family's journey to Kentucky during the late 1700s.
NEWSPAPER STORY (1973)
A fascinating process film showing how the Los Angeles Times time is produced in the 1970s.
THE SOLAR SYSTEM (1977)
Spectacular visuals and special effects in this film about the solar system.
MOTORCYCLE SAFETY (1977)
Safety film with excellent cinematography and depictions of scenic American roadways.
FOOD FROM THE SUN (1966)
Shows how all organisms, even little league baseball players, depend on energy from the sun.