Ray Haryhausen is one of my favorite film animators. His most famous animations were for King Kong, It Came From Beneath the Sea, and Jason and the Argonauts. With an increasing interest in animation, I find that Haryhausen has to be one of the most patient dudes in the world.
I have come across another hero of animation (and general hoky-ness) while looking for references for small machines. Tim Hunkin is an animator, engineer, cartoonist, and the host of The Secret Life of Machines series (You can watch all the episodes here). Not only is the information that he provides on the show intriguing, but the creative camerawork and uniquely hilarious cross-sections of the appliances make it seem like they were making the show exactly how they wanted.
Also, Hunkin was partly responsible for 300 mortar-fired inflatable animals for the 1977 animal tour.
Most amusing, in my opinion, is Hunkin's work with acquiring old arcade machines and refitting them with what seem to be a bunch of mediocre jokes, his public bonfires, and animated paper-mache sculptures. It is pretty entertaining to see a cartoonist have enough resources to actually make one-liner objects and events.