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Art of Disney Amid Walt Disney Concept and Animation Art from the 1930’s - 1960’s

Edited by Jenna Graviss


Disney Art Amid Walt Disney Concept and Animation Art from the 1930’s–1960’s

Edited by Jenna Graviss

CHAPTER

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ART OF DISNEY AMID WALT DISNEY


TABLE OF CONT ENT S

CHAPTER

Chapter 1

From Mickey Mouse to Disneyland

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Chapter 2

Movies and Shorts

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Chapter 3

Ub Iwerks

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Chapter 4

Mary Blair

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Chapter 5

Eyvind Earle

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Chapter 6

Bill Peet

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Chapter 7

Disney’s Nine Old Men

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Image on left: Walt and Roy Disney with Walt’s first oscar from animated short “Flowers and Trees”

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CH APTE R 1 From Mickey Mouse to Disneyland

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alt Disney arrived in California in the summer of 1923 with a lot of hopes but little else. He had made a cartoon in Kansas City about a little girl in a cartoon world, called Alice’s Wonderland, and he decided that he could use it as his “pilot” film to sell a series of these “Alice Comedies” to a distributor. Soon after arriving in California, he was successful. A distributor in New York, M. J. Winkler, contracted to distribute the “Alice Comedies” on October 16, 1923, and this date became the start of the Disney company.

Originally known as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio with Walt Disney and his brother Roy, both equal partners, the company soon changed its name to the Walt Disney Studio at Roy’s suggestion. Walt Disney made his Alice Comedies for four years, but in 1927, he decided to move instead to an all-cartoon series. To star in this new series, he created a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Within a year, Walt made 26 of these Oswald cartoons, but when he tried to get some additional money from his distributor for a second year of the cartoons, he found out that the distributor had gone behind his back and signed up almost all of his animators, hoping to make the Oswald cartoons in his own studio for less money without Walt Disney. On rereading his contract, Walt realized that he did not own the rights to Oswald, the distributor did. It was a painful lesson for the young cartoon producer to learn. From then on, he saw to it that he owned everything that he made.

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paid the bills, but Walt knew that future profits would come from feature films. Work immediately began on other feature projects, but just as things were looking rosy, along came World War II. The next two features, Pinocchio and Fantasia, were released in 1940. They were technical masterpieces, but their costs were too high for a company losing most of its foreign markets because of the war. Dumbo was made in 1941 on a very limited budget. In 1942 Bambi was another expensive film. It would be many years before animated features of the highest caliber could be put into production.

“Snow White” 1938

“Melody Time” 1948

“Pinocchio” 1940

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During the war, Walt Disney made two films in South America, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, at the request of the State Department. His studio concentrated on making propaganda and training films for the military. When the war ended, it was difficult for the Disney Studio to regain its pre-war footing. Several years went by with the release of “package” features films such as Make Mine Music and Melody Time, containing groups of short cartoons packaged together. Walt also moved into live action production with Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart, but because audiences expected animation from Walt Disney, these films included animated segments. Walt opened some new doors by beginning the award winning True Life Adventure series featuring nature photography of a style never seen before.

1950 saw renewed successes with the first completely live action film, Treasure Island, the return to classic animated features with Cinderella and the first Disney television show at Christmas time.

ART OF DISNEY AMID WALT DISNEY


Concept art of “Cinderella” by Mary Blair

The Company was moving forward again. After two Christmas specials, Walt Disney went onto television in a big way in 1954 with the beginning of the Disneyland anthology series. This series eventually would run on all three networks and go through six title changes, but it remained on the air for 29 years, making it the longest running primetime television series ever. The Mickey Mouse Club, one of television’s most popular children’s series, debuted in 1955 and made stars of a group of talented Mouseketeers.

CHAPTER 1 FROM MICKEY MOUSE TO DISNEYLAND

Walt Disney was never satisfied with what he had already accomplished. As his motion pictures and television programs became successful, he felt a desire to branch out. One area that intrigued him was amusement parks. As a father, he had taken his two young daughters to zoos, carnivals and other entertainment enterprises, but he always ended up sitting on the bench as they rode the merry-go-round and had all the fun. He felt that there should be a park where parents and children could go and have a good time together. This was the

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Concept Art of Dinseyland by artist Herb Ryman.

genesis of Disneyland. After several years of planning and construction, the new park opened July 17, 1955. Disneyland was a totally new kind of park. It has been used as a pattern for every amusement park built since its opening, becoming internationally famous, and attracting hundreds of millions of visitors.

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The 1960s came Audio Animatronics, pioneered with the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland and then four shows in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, and Mary Poppins, perhaps the culmination of all Walt Disney had learned during his long movie-making career. But the ’60s also brought the end of an era when Walt Disney died December 15, 1966.

ART OF DISNEY AMID WALT DISNEY


“ I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing... that it all started by a mouse.”

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CH APTE R 2 Movies and Shorts

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he first Mickey Mouse cartoon released, and the first cartoon with synchronized sound directed by Walt Disney. After unsuccessfully trying to make a deal to record through RCA or Western Electric, Disney contracted with the bootleg

Powers Cinephone process and, after an initial disastrous recording session, finally recorded the sound track with a 15-piece band and his own squeaks for Mickey. Released at the Colony Theater in New York on November 18, 1928, the date used for the birth of Mickey Mouse. As a mischievous deckhand on a riverboat, Mickey, to Minnie’s delight, plays “Turkey in the Straw” utilizing an animal menagerie as his instruments. The tyrannical Captain Pete is not amused, and Mickey ends up peeling potatoes in the galley.

Left image: Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Image below: Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie

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hile the success of Mickey Mouse was convincing other animation studios to buy sound equipment, Disney’s fellow Missourian Carl W. Stalling suggested an idea for a cartoon combining music with action: animation as choreography. Although inventive, the mouse cartoons, apart from the novelty of sound, were virtually indistinguishable from a host of gag-centered shorts featuring circle-and-squiggle characters derived from Felix the Cat, still the world’s reigning cartoon star. Blending music with the visual illusion of animation was a next step on Disney’s path to success. This new alloy would be called Silly Symphonies.

Silly Symphony is a series of 75 animated short films. As their name implies, the Silly Symphonies were originally intended as whimsical accompaniments to pieces of music. As such, the films usually had independent continuity and did not feature continuing characters, unlike the Mickey Mouse shorts produced by Disney at the same time. (Exceptions to this include Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise and the Hare, and Three Orphan Kittens which all had sequels.) The series is notable for its innovation with Technicolor and the multiplane motion picture camera, as well as its introduction of the character Donald Duck making his first appearance in the Silly Symphony cartoon “The Wise Little Hen” in 1934. Silly Symphonies won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film seven times. The series also spawned a Disney media franchise which included the newspaper comic strip Silly Symphony, the Dell comic book series Silly Symphonies, as well as several children’s books, many of which were based on Silly Symphony cartoons.

WALT’S FIRST OSCAR was the first ever Academy Award for Animated Short Subjects for his Silly Symphony “Flowers and Trees.” That same Academy Award Ceremony in 1932, Walt was also given an Honorary Award, which was presented to him for the creation of Mickey Mouse. CHAPTER 2 MOVIES AND SHORTS

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1929 THE SKELETON DANCE

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hen night falls at a church cemetery, amidst howling dogs, hooting owls and fighting cats, four skeletons rise from their graves for macabre merriment. Dancing and playing music by using each other as instruments, the skeletons party until the rise of the sun, where they frantically rush back into their graves, forming a skeletal chimera to get back faster. Being the original and one of the most popular Silly Symphonies, the skeletons have been long associated with the macabre side of Disney. They reappeared later in the year in the Mickey Mouse short Haunted House and would go on to appear in House of Mouse and be given a visual nod in Disneyland Paris’ Phantom Manor in the underground catacombs sequence. A level based on a short appears in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two as well as the short itself being included as an extra feature.

Clip from “The Skeleton Dance”

THE SKELETON DANCE is notable for being the first animated cartoon to use non-post-sync sound. Animation from this short was later reused in the Mickey Mouse short Haunted House, in which Mickey, having taken shelter in a haunted house, is forced to play music for the dancing skeletons.

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1932 MICKEY’S REVUE

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ickey’s Revue is a Mickey Mouse cartoon that debuted on May 25, 1932. It is notable as the first appearance of Goofy, then known as Dippy Dawg. Mickey, Minnie, Horace, and Clarabelle put on another big show, with Goofy as the running gag-eating peanuts and laughing to the annoyance of the audience.

Image above: Goofy’s first apperance in “Mickey’s Revue” Image on left: First Donald Duck

DONALD DUCK made his debut in the short release of “The Wise Little Hen” on June 9, 1934. CHAPTER 2 MOVIES AND SHORTS

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1938 SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

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now White and the Seven Dwarfs is the world’s first full-length animated feature and the first in the Disney Animated Canon. It was also the first one in

English, the first one in Technicolor, and the first one ever made in the United States. It was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Productions, premiered on December 21, 1937 and was originally released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on February 8, 1938. The film is an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, in which an evil queen attempts to have her stepdaughter Snow White murdered so she could be the fairiest in the land, but the girl escapes and is given shelter by seven dwarfs in their cottage in a forest. It is generally considered to be Walt Disney’s most significant achievement, his first ever animated feature. Snow White was the first major animated feature made in the United States, the most successful motion picture released in 1938, and, adjusted for inflation, is the tenth highest-grossing film of all time. This historical moment in motion picture history changed the medium of animation. Before 1937, there was no such thing as an animated feature. The only animated films back then were short cartoons.

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AT THE 11TH ACADEMY AWARDS Walt Disney was recognized for creating Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon. Shirley Temple presented him with one statuette and seven miniature statuettes, representing the Seven Dwarfs.

Image on left page; Snow White with the Evil Queen disquised as an old women, Concept Art by Gustaf Tenggren Ufunk Clockwise starting from top current page; Scene from movie with Snow White, Cartoon drawing of the Seven Dwarfs and Scene from movie with the Evil Queen.

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1940 FANTASIA

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antasia is a 1940 American animated film, produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. It’s the third movie in the Disney Animated Canon. With story direction by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, and production supervision by Ben Sharpsteen, it is the third feature in the Disney animated features canon.

It consisted of eight animated segments each set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski; seven of which were performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Music critic and composer Deems Taylor acts as the film’s Master of Ceremonies, who introduces each segment in live action interstitial scenes.

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Disney settled on the film’s concept as work neared completion on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, an elaborate Silly Symphonies short designed as a comeback role for Mickey Mouse (who had declined in popularity). As production costs grew higher, he decided to make a feature length film with other segments set to classical pieces. The soundtrack was recorded using multiple audio channels and reproduced with Fantasound, a pioneering sound reproduction system that made Fantasia the first commercial film shown in stereophonic sound. Fantasia was first released in theatrical roadshow engagements held in thirteen U.S. cities from November 13, 1940. It received mixed critical reaction, and was unable to make a profit. In part this was due to World War II cutting off the profitable European market, but due as well to the film’s high production costs and the expense of leasing theaters and installing the Fantasound equipment for the roadshow presentations. Also, audiences who felt that Disney had suddenly gone “highbrow” stayed away, preferring the standard Disney cartoons. The film was subsequently reissued multiple times with its original footage and audio being deleted, modified, or restored in each version. As of 2012, Fantasia has grossed $76.4 million in domestic revenue and is the 22nd highest-grossing film of all time within the U.S. when adjusted for inflation. Walt’s nephew Roy E. Disney co-produced a sequel released in 1999 titled Fantasia 2000. The film gained a huge cult following since its first release, and notably important to film industry as a milestone in the creation of the modern “music video”.

CHAPTER 2 MOVIES AND SHORTS

Clockwise from left page: Chernabog the “Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria” segment, Concept art of Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. From the segment Symphony no. 6 in F, Op. 68 “Pastorale”, The ostrads are from the segment “La Giaconda: Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli” , Hippo and Gator.

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1940 PINOCCHIO

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inocchio is the second film in the Disney Animated Canon. It was produced by Buena Vista Distribution and was originally released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on February 23, 1940. The film was theatrically re-released in 1945, 1954, 1962, 1971, 1978, 1984, and 1992. Pinocchio was made in response to the enormous worldwide success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Based on the book by Carlo Collodi, the film stars a puppet brought to life by a fairy who tries to earn his right to become a real boy, as he faces the challenges and dangers of a dark, hostile world of crooks, villains and monsters. Though Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is generally considered to be Walt Disney’s most significant contribution to cinema, Pinocchio is considered his greatest achievement and representative of the Disney studio at the peak of its golden age, as well as one of the greatest achievements in animation. It is one of the most critically acclaimed of all the Disney animated features and is considered to be one of the greatest animated films of all time. However, on its first release, Disney only recouped about half of its $2.6 million budget in 1940.

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THE FILM has been deemed “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress and in 1994 was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The film is constantly considered the greatest film in the animation medium.

The plan for the original film was considerably different from what was released. Numerous characters and plot points, many of which came from the original novel, were used in early drafts. Walt Disney was displeased with the work that was being done and stopped the project midway into production so that the concept could be rethought and the characters redesigned. It was at this stage that the character of the cricket was expanded. Jiminy Cricket became central to the story. The song “When You Wish Upon a Star,” became a major hit and is still identified with the film, and later as a fanfare for Walt Disney Studios itself. Pinocchio also won the Academy Award for Best Song and the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Images Clockwise from bottom left: Concept art of “Pinocchio”, Still of Pinocchio, The Blue Fairy arriving to make Pinocchio real, Jiminy Cricket.

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1941 DUMBO The main character is “Dumbo”. He is laughed at for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is a mouse, Timothy—a relationship parodying the stereotypical animosity between mice and elephants. Dumbo was made to recoup the financial losses of Pinocchio and Fantasia. It was a deliberate pursuit of simplicity and economy for the Disney studio, and at 64 minutes, it is one of Disney’s shortest full length features, Saludos Amigos in 1942 is the shortest, running at 42 minutes. Fourtunatly, it was a box office hit, and became iconic for WWII as it was hailed by critics and audiences as a joyous film, appropriate for such vulgar times.

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umbo is a 1941 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on October 31, 1941, by RKO Radio Pictures before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sound was recorded conventionally using the RCA System. One voice was synthesized using the Sonovox system, but it, too, was recorded using the RCA System.

As the fourth animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon, Dumbo is based upon the book written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl for the prototype of a novelty toy. Images from left: Still of Dumbo, concept art of Dumbo with his mother.

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1944 THE THREE CABALLEROS

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he Three Caballeros is a 1944 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Productions. The film premiered in Mexico City on December 21, 1944. It was released in the United States on February 3, 1945.

The seventh animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon, it plots an adventure through parts of Latin America, combining live-action and animation. It is the second of the Disney package films of the 1940s. The film is plotted as a series of self-contained segments, strung together by the device of Donald Duck opening birthday gifts from his Latin American friends. Several Latin American stars of the period appear, including singers Aurora Miranda and Dora Luz, as well as dancer Carmen Molina. The film was produced as part of the studio’s good will message for South America, but is less obviously propagandistic than others. The film again stars Donald Duck, who in the course of the film is joined by old friend José Carioca, the cigar smoking parrot from Saludos Amigos, representing Brazil, and later makes a new friend in the persona of a pistol-packing rooster Panchito Pistoles, representing Mexico.

Art of characters from “The Three Caballeros”

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Bambi movie poster

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ambi is a 1942 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The fifth film in the Disney Animated Canon , the film was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 21, 1942, during World War II.

1942 BAMBI

The main characters are Bambi, his parents (the Great Prince of the Forest and his unnamed mother), his friends Thumper and Flower, his childhood friend Faline, and the villain of the story Man. The plot centers around Bambi learning to grow up in the forest after his mother is shot by Man. For the film, Disney took the liberty of changing Bambi’s species into a white-tailed deer from his original species of roe deer, since roe deer do not inhabit the United States, and the white-tailed deer is more familiar to Americans. The film received three Academy Award nominations for Best Sound, Best Song for “Love Is a Song” and Original Music Score. The film was a major catalyst in what people now see as environmental films, as well as Walt Disney’s favorite of his animated films. In June 2008, the American Film Institute presented a list of its “10 Top 10”, the best ten films in each of ten classic American film genres. After polling over 1,500 people from the creative community, Bambi placed third in animation. Bambi and Thumper, still from movie

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1947 MICKEY AND THE BEANSTALK

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his segment is an adaptation of the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk by Benjamin Tabart, with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as peasants who discovered temperamental Willie the Giant’s castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans.

Mickey and the Beanstalk was narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist’s dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, told the tale to child actress Luana Patten at her birthday party. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy live in a place called “Happy Valley” which was plagued by a severe drought after a Golden Harp who sang to make people happy was stolen from a nearby castle in Happy Valley. The residents had nothing to eat except one loaf of bread; in a memorable scene, the bread is cut into paper thin slices in which Donald breaks the fourth wall by saying that he can’t stand it. He makes a sandwich out of plates and silverware, but Mickey and Goofy stop him. He then sees an axe with the intention to kill their cow for beef with an axe, but they stop him again and Mickey decides to trade the cow for money to buy food.

Goofy and Donald are excited that they’ll be able to eat until Mickey comes back and reveals he traded in their beloved bovine for magic beans. Thinking that Mickey got tricked, Donald furiously throws the beans and they fall through the hole in the floor. However, it turns out the beans were magic, as later that night a beanstalk sprouted, and it carried their house upward as it grew. Climbing up the gigantic beanstalk they enter a magical kingdom of equal scope, and entering the castle, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy help themselves to a sumptuous feast. This rouses the ire of Willie the Giant, who is able to transform himself into anything. When they are spotted by Willie, Mickey spots a fly swatter and asks Willie to demonstrate his powers by turning into a fly. Willie initially suggests turning into a pink bunny, but when he agrees to their request, he turns into a pink bunny anyway, and spots the three with the fly swatter. Disappointed, Willie captures Mickey, Donald, and Goofy and locks them in a box. Mickey, however. escapes. It was up to Mickey to find the key and rescue them, with the help of the singing Golden Harp. Once freed, the hapless heroes return the Golden Harp to her rightful place and Happy Valley to its former glory, killing the giant by chopping down the beanstalk.The cartoon ends with Willie the Giant stomping through Hollywood looking for Mickey Mouse. Before the scene closes, Willie notices The Brown Derby restaurant and picks up the building looking for Mickey.

Left: Mickey and the Giant Right: Mickey, Goofy and Donald at Happy Valley

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1950 CINDERELLA

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he moment when Cinderella is transformed from her tattered rags into her shimmering ball gown is said to have been one of Walt Disney’s favorite pieces of animation. The significance and legacy of the treasured Disney animated feature Cinderella are indisputable. Cinderella was the studio’s first unqualified hit since 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and restored financial stability to the debt-ridden postwar studio. Some say its release initiated the “Second Golden Age of Disney Animation” by helping the studio reclaim its position at the forefront of feature animation. Thirteen years after the release of the studio’s ground-breaking smash hit Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of the film. Walt himself sat in every story meeting and put forward a constant flow of suggestions for improvements. Live-action references were used extensively as a guide for the animators, and Tin Pan Alley composers were brought on to provide a moving score and plucky lyrics. Fortunately, and to Walt’s great pleasure, Cinderella succeeded. Finally, Disney Studio had an acclaimed, financially successful filmthat captured the hearts of motion picture audiences. The film also afforded the studio the chance to diversify into a number of different kinds of projects including television, nature documentaries, as well as live action and animated films, and Walt’s theme park Disneyland.

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One major element that is responsible distinct look of Cinderella was the extrodinary concept art produced for the film. The artist Mary Blair, whose work widely influenced Disney films throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and beyond. Blair is said to have been one of Walt’s favorite artists, emerging significantly after the Good Neighbor Tour to South and Central America. For Cinderella, Blair is credited with Color and Styling. In her work for the film, she established a romantic, whimsical sensibility using a soft, dreamy color palette, and gentle, sweeping shapes. This ambiance was carried over into the final film by the hands of animators, layout artists, and background artists. One memorable piece from Cinderella shows the prince and Cinderella dancing in a starry nighttime fantasy world. Images Clockwise starting with image on left page: Cinderella and Prince Charming in a still from the movie “Cinderella”, concept art by Mary Blair, glass slipper.

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1951 ALICE IN WONDERLAND

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lice in Wonderland is the thirteenth animated feature film produced by Walt Disney in the Disney Animated Canon and originally premiered in London, England on July 26, 1951 by Walt Disney Pictures.

Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass had only a few adaptations before this movie; this adaptation solved the problems of the setting by using animation. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont as Alice (also voice of Wendy Darling in the later Disney feature film, Peter Pan) and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter. Made under the supervision of Walt Disney himself, this film and its animation are often regarded as some of the finest work in Disney studio history, despite the lackluster, even hostile, reviews it originally received, especially in the UK. Even those that have made the film, including Walt Disney himself, didn’t like the film, though it did receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. It gained popularity in the 1970’s due to the “drug” culture fandom at the time, it was released in 1974, and then again in 1981. By the 1980’s the initial consensus proved to be outdated.

Images on left: Doormouse and stills from “Alice in Wonderland” Images on right page: Evil Queen, Alice, Alice with Mad Hatter and March Hare in a teacup.

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One of the biggest cult classics in the animation medium, the film gained critical praise and became one of the most popular Disney films of all time, as well as one of the most commercially successful Disney films. Today, it is not only universally considered the best film adaptation of Lewis Carrol’s novel, but one of Disney’s greatest classics.

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1953 PETER PAN

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eter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by J.M .Barrie. It is the fourteenth film in the Disney Animated Canon, and was originally released on February 5, 1953 by RKO Pictures. Peter Pan is the final Disney animated feature released through RKO before Walt Disney’s founding of his own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution, later in 1953 after the film was released. Peter Pan is also the final Disney film in which all nine members of Disney’s Nine Old Men worked together as directing animators. It is also the second Disney animated film starring Kathryn Beaumont, Heather Angel, and Bill Thompson after their roles in the animated feature Alice in Wonderland.

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PETER PAN was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. It is one of the most commercially successful Disney movies, as well as one of the most popular.

Images on left page: Stills of the movie “Peter Pan� starting from top and going down, Wendy and Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the Aligator, Peter Pan and Captian Hook, Tinker Bell. Silhouetter of Peter Pan, Wendy and her brothers. Images on this page starting with the top image: The Lost Boys, the Aligator.

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1955 LADY IN THE TRAMP

ady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated romance film produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on June 22, 1955, by Buena Vista Distribution, making it the first Disney animated film to not be distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. The fifteenth animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon, it was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope Widescreen film process. The story, which was based the book Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog by Ward Greene, centers on a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a refined, upper middle class family, and a male stray mutt called Tramp. A direct-to-video sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, was released in 2001. While not a runaway hit at first, today it is considered one of Disney’s greatest classics.

Image above is a still from the movie Image on right is a still of the classic spagetti scene

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1959 SLEEPING BEAUTY

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leeping Beauty is a 1959 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution and originally released to theaters on January 29, 1959. The sixteenth animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon, it was the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney to be based upon a fairy tale (after his death, the studio returned to the genre with The Little Mermaid), as well as the last cel animated feature from Disney to be inked by hand before the xerography process took over. Sleeping Beauty is also the first animated feature to be shot in Super Technirama 70, one of many large format widescreen processes (only one more animated film, The Black Cauldron, has been shot in Super Technirama 70).

The film spent nearly the entire decade of the 1950s in production. The story work began in 1951 and the voices were recorded in 1952. Animation production took from 1953 until 1958, and the stereophonic musical score was recorded in 1957.

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The film was directed by Les Clark, Eric Larson and Wolfgang Reitherman, under the supervision of Clyde Geronimi. The script, adapted mainly from the fairy tale La Belle au bois dormant (“The Beauty Sleeping in the Wood”) in Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé (“Histories or Tales of Bygone Times”), was by Erdman Penner, with additional story work by Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright and Milt Banta. The film’s musical score and songs are adapted by George Bruns from the 1890 Sleeping Beauty ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Sleeping Beauty holds a notable position in Disney animation as the last Disney feature to use hand-inked cels. Its art direction, which Walt Disney wanted to look like a living illustration, was not in the typical Disney style. Because WDFA had already made two features based on fairy tales Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella, Walt decided this film to stand out from its predecessors by choosing a different visual style. The movie eschewed the soft, rounded look of earlier Disney features for a more stylized one. Since Super Technirama 70 was used, it also meant the backgrounds could contain more detailed and complex artwork than ever used in an animated movie before. Disney artist Eyvind Earle was the film’s production designer, and Disney gave him a significant amount of freedom in designing the settings and selecting colors for the film. Earle also painted the majority of the backgrounds himself. Earle took much of his inspiration from medieval art (particularly the mille-fleurs style of 15th century tapestries), which tended toward a certain flatness and perspectivelessness. The elaborate paintings usually took seven to ten days to paint; by contrast, a typical animation background took only one workday to complete. Disney’s decision to give Earle so much artistic freedom was not popular among the many of the Disney animators, who had until Sleeping Beauty exercised some influence over the style of their characters and settings.

Images from clockwise from ltop left to right: The three fairies; Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, concept art of Briar Rose a.k.a Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming fighting Maleficent as the dragon, Maleficent,

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1961 101 DALMATIANS

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ne Hundred and One Dalmatians, often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated film presented by Walt Disney and based on the novel of the same name by Dodie Smith. Seventeenth in the Disney Animated Canon, it was

originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961 distributed by Buena Vista Distribution.

The film stars Rod Taylor as the voice of Pongo, Cate Bauer as the voice of Perdita, and Betty Lou Gerson as the voice of the villainous Cruella De Vil. The plot centers on the fate of the Pongo and Perdita’s kidnapped puppies. This is the first Disney animated feature film to take place in the time period it was made (late 1950’s to early 1960’s), as all previous features were either period pieces or set in some kind of fantasy world with no specifically recognizable time period. Adjusted for inflation it is the 11th highest grossing movie of all time and second highest grossing animated film, just behind Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it is also a critical gem, as critics praised it for defying Disney convention and for its character animation. Images above starting from top left; Still of the dalmatians, Cruella De Vil, Meet Cute with Roger and Anita orchestrated by Pongo and Perdita.

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Image on right concept art by Walt Peregoy

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1963 SWORD IN THE STONE

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he Sword in the Stone is a 1963 American animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Walt Disney and originally released to theaters on

December 25, 1963 by Buena Vista Distribution. The 18th film in the Disney Animated Canon, the songs in the film were produced by The Sherman Brothers who wrote other Disney movies such as Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Images from left to right: Merlin, Wart a.k.a King Arthur, the Sword in the Stone

and The Jungle Book. The film is based on the the novel of the same name, first published in 1938 as a single novel. It was published again in 1958 as the first book of T. H. White’s tetralogy The Once and Future King. It is generally considered a modest success from a Disney company standpoint.

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1967 THE JUNGLE BOOK

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he Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on October 18, 1967. The 19th animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon, the film is noted for being along with The Aristocats (1970) the last film project to be approved by Walt Disney himself, as he died in late 1966, before the film was released. This is also the first animated feature released after Walt Disney’s death The film was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. The film contains a number of classic songs, including “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You”. Most of the songs were written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. The film grossed over $73 million in the United States in its first release, and as much again from three re-releases.

Clockwise from left page: Concept art of the characters by Ken Anderson, Stills from the movie with Mowgli and Baloo, Shere Khan and Kaa.

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Ub Iwerks creating Mickey Mouse

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CH APTE R 3 Ub Iwerks

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bbe Iwerks was known at Disney for his animation genius and technical wizardry as well as his unusual name. In February 1929, Walt Disney and his New York distributors were extremely pleased with Ub’s animation on the Mickey Mouse cartoons,

about which Walt wrote a letter to his wife, Lilly: “Everyone praises Ubb’s artwork and jokes at his funny name,” he wrote.

“ The oddness of Ubbe’s name is an asset—it makes people look twice when

they see it. Tell Ubbe that the New York animators take off their hats to his animation…” Ubbe Eert Iwerks was born to Dutch-American parents on March 24, 1901, in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1919, he met fellow employee Walt Disney at the Pesmen-Rubin Commercial

Art Studio. Both were 19 years old when, after being laid off, they decided to open their own business. Called Iwerks-Disney Studio Commercial Artists (“Disney-Iwerks,” they decided, sounded too much like an eyeglass manufacturer), the enterprise lasted only a month before they both accepted jobs at the Kansas City Slide Company.

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UB is credited with sketching Mickey Mouse for the first time, and he served as chief directing animator for the Silly Symphony series before branching out on his own in 1930. In 1922, when Walt formed Laugh-O-gram Films, Ub joined him as chief animator. The studio went bankrupt and two years later, Ub followed Walt to Hollywood. There, he joined the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio to help produce the Alice Comedies series. As an animator, Ub worked at record-breaking speed. He animated the first Mickey Mouse silent cartoon, Plane Crazy, entirely by himself within a three-week period, completing as many as 700 drawings a day. As Disney’s resident technical wizard, Ub invented technology that would revolutionize feature animation. One of his creations was the multi-head optical printer, used to combine live action and animated footage in Melody Time and Song of the South. He later won two Academy Awards for designing an improved optical printer and for collaborating on the perfection of color traveling matte photography. It was primarily due to Ub’s innovations that the Disney Studio moved to the forefront of photographic effects.

Short Intro of “Steamboat Willie”

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During the 1960s, Ub contributed his genius to the development of Disney theme park attractions, including it’s a small world, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and The Hall of Presidents. Towards the end of his life, he devoted his time to the creation of innovations for the upcoming Walt Disney World project. Ub Iwerks passed away on July 7, 1971.

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Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie”

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CH APTE R 4

Mary Blair

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maginative color stylist and designer, Mary Blair helped introduce modern art to Walt Disney and his Studio, and, for nearly 30 years, he touted her inspirational work for his films and theme parks alike. Animator Marc Davis, who put Mary’s exciting use of color

on par with Matisse, recalled, “She brought modern art to Walt in a way that no one else did. He was so excited about her work.” Animator Frank Thomas added:

“ Mary was the first artist I knew of to have different shades of red

next to each other. You just didn’t do that! But Mary made it work.”

Image above: Mary Blair Image on left page: Concept art of “It’s A Small World“

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The Three Caballeros

Concept art for “The Three Caballeros”

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Walt connected with Mary’s fresh, childlike art style. As Disney Imagineering artist Roland Crump once told animation historian John Canemaker, “The way she painted—in a lot of ways she was still a little girl. Walt was like that… You could see he could relate to children—she was the same way.” Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, in 1911, the inherently gifted artist won a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. After graduation in 1933, at the height of the Depression, Mary took a job in the animation unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer rather than pursue her dream of a fine arts career. In 1940, she joined the Walt Disney Studio and worked on a number of projects, including the “Baby Ballet,” a never-produced segment for a proposed second version of Fantasia. In 1941, she joined the Disney expedition that toured South America for three months; her watercolors captured the spirit of the Latin countries that she was named art supervisor on The

Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos. Mary’s unique color and styling greatly influenced such Disney postwar productions as Song of the South, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, So Dear to My Heart, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. She also contributed to special shorts, including The Little House and Susie, the Little Blue Coupe. Walt later asked Mary to assist in the design of the it’s a small world attraction for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair; the final result was purely Mary Blair in its style and concept. Over the years, Mary contributed to the design of many exhibits, attractions, and murals for the theme parks in California and Florida, including the fanciful murals in the Grand Canyon Concourse at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort Hotel. Mary Blair passed away on July 26, 1978, in Soquel, California.

“ Mary brought modern art to Walt in a way that no one else did. He was so excited about her work.” Henri Matisse

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Cinderella

Images, “Cinderella” concept art

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Alice in Wonderland

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All images are concept art Mary created for “Alice in Wonderland”

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Peter Pan

Both images are concept art Mary created for “Peter Pan”

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CHAPTER 4 MARY BLAIR

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CH APTE R 4

Eyvind Earle

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Left image, concept art of Sleeping Beauty Castle Above, Eyvind Earle Right, concept art for “Peter Pan”

CHAPTER 5 EARLE EYVIND

orn in New York in 1916, Eyvind Earle began his prolific career at the age of ten when his father, Ferdinand Earle, gave him a challenging choice: read 50 pages of a book or paint a picture every day. Earle choose both. From the time of his first one-man showing in France when he was 14, Earle’s fame had grown steadily. At the age of 21, Earle bicycled across country from Hollywood to New York, paying his way by painting 42 watercolors. In 1937, he opened at the Charles Morgan Galleries, his first of many one-man shows in New York. Two years later at his third consecutive showing at the gallery, the response to his work was so positive that the exhibition sold out and the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his paintings for their permanent collection. His earliest work was strictly realistic, but after having studied the work of a variety of masters such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rockwell, Kent and Georgia O’Keefe, Earle by the age of 21, came into his own unique style. His oeuvre is characterized by a simplicity, directness and surety of handling.

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EARLE worked as a background artist and would eventually be chosen by Walt Disney to style and paint all the key backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty. Earle also had the decision in the case of character designs and color schemes. In essence, Earle had been granted control over the film’s visual appearance. Walt envisioned a film with a consistent visual style from beginning to end, and he knew that having one artist responsible for the style would achieve the goal.

Above, concept art for “Sleeping Beauty” Left image, concept art for “For Whom the Bulls Toil”

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In 1951 Earle joined Walt Disney studios as an assistant background painter. Earle intrigued Disney in 1953 when he created the look of “Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom” an animated short that won an Academy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. Disney kept the artist busy for the rest of decade, painting the settings for such stories as “Peter Pan”, “For Whom the Bulls Toil”, “Working for Peanuts”, “Pigs is Pigs”, “Paul Bunyan” and “Lady and the Tramp”. Earle was responsible for the styling, background and colors for the highly acclaimed movie “Sleeping Beauty” and gave the movie its magical, medieval look. He also painted the dioramas for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Earle’s work was also seen on television. One of his animated creations was an 18-minute version of the story of the Nativity that he did in 1963 for Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Special “The Story of Christmas”. A Daily Variety reviewer said Earle’s sequence “should be preserved and played back for years on end.” The show was digitally re-mastered in 1997.

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Earle’s career has encompassed many different fields. In addition to book illustrating, the artist had also designed a number of covers for magazine publications and had produced and created several animated commercials and specials for television. In 1998, at its Annie Awards show in Glendale, the International Animated Film Society gave Earle its Windsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement. In the 1940’s, Earle adapted his creative landscapes to Christmas cards, painting more than 800 designs that have sold more than 300 million copies through American Artist Group. After about 15 years creating animated art, Earle returned to painting full time in 1966 and kept working until the end of his life. In addition to his watercolors, oils, sculptures, drawings and scratchboards, in 1974 he began making limited edition serigraphs. Eyvind Earle had a totally original perception of landscape. He successfully synthesizes seemingly incongruent aspects into a singularly distinctive style: a style, which is at once mysterious, primitive, disciplined, moody and nostalgic.

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Above and top left image, concept art for “Sleeping Beauty” Images on left: Top; Concept art for “Sleeping Beauty”, Christmas card illustration

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He captures the grandeur of simplicity of the American countryside, and represents these glimpses of the American scene with a direct lyric ardor. His landscapes are remarkable for their suggestion of distances, landmasses and weather moods. “For 70 years,” Earle wrote in 1996,

“ I’ve painted paintings, and I’m constantly and everlastingly

overwhelmed at the stupendous infinity of nature. Wherever I turn and look, there I see creation. Art is creating... Art is the search for truth. ” Eyvind Earle passed away on July 20, 2000 at the age of 84. During his lifetime he created many paintings, sculptures, scratchboards, watercolors and drawings that have not been publicly seen or exhibited. Eyvind Earle Publishing LLC, under the specific instruction of the late Eyvind Earle, will continue the legacy of the artist, promoting and introducing new serigraphs and books through galleries worldwide. These posthumous limited edition serigraphs will be printed from the oil paintings created by Eyvind Earle that are in the collection of Joan Earle and others.

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Concept art for “The Sword in the Stone”

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CH APTE R 6

Bill Peet

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ill Peet had a knack for developing stories, and significantly influenced such Disney animated classics as Dumbo, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and The Sword in the Stone. His powers of observation, according to fellow Disney Legends

Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, “enabled him to catch the essence of everything he drew, whether it be a boxcar on a freight train or a Bavarian dwarf living under a lily pad.” Disney sketch artist and storyman Ralph Wright recalled Bill as one of the few artists who would dream up real characters that lived and breathed and thought, and came from the heart of the story artist. Born January 29, 1915, in Grandview, Indiana, Bill grew up in Indianapolis. As a child, he ignored his family’s poverty by sketching upbeat drawings and writing fanciful stories. At the time, he didn’t dream he could grow up and make a living doing what he loved—drawing and writing—because “it was too much fun.” During high school, however, he won a scholarship to Herron Art Institute, and his life changed. “My life really began there,” he later said he could see the light. Bill Peet

CHAPTER 6 BILL PEET

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JUNGLE BOOK was to be the third animated feature film on which Bill Peet would be the only storyman. He did all the story boards.

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After briefly working for an Ohio greeting card company, he moved west. In 1937, he was hired as an apprentice animator at The Walt Disney Studios and worked on their first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A year later, Bill moved into the Story Department. There, he contributed to such Disney films as Pinocchio, Fantasia, The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, Song of the South, and The Jungle Book. During the 1950s Bill also worked on shorts, such as Susie, The Little Blue Coupe and Lambert, the Sheepish Lion, and television programs, including the Disneyland series. He eventually became the sole developer of the animated features One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone, for which he drew the characters, wrote the screenplays, and directed the actors voice performances. In 1959 Bill published his first children’s book, Hubert’s Hare-Raising Adventure. Then, in 1964, after nearly 30 years with The Walt Disney Company, he retired to pursue a full-time career as a children’s writer. Bill subsequently wrote and illustrated more than 35 children’s tales, which were translated into a multitude of languages. His best-selling work is his 1989 book, Bill Peet: An Autobiography, which won him the Southern California Children’s Book Writer’s medal and was named one of four Caldecott Honor Books. Bill passed away on May 11, 2002, in Studio City, California.

Image above: Concet art for “Cinderella” Image on left page: Concet art for “The Jungle Book”

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Collection of character concept art

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“Animal personalities have always intriqued me, the desire to find out more about them made a reader out of me.” Bill Peet

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Image above: Sketch of Disney’s Nine Old Men. Image on right: Photograph of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men in the 60’s.

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CH APTE R 6

Disney’s Nine Old Men

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alt Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” as he called them, were a core group of animators who worked with Walt to create many classic Disney films. The name Nine Old Men was a reference to a book about the U.S. Supreme Court Justices entitled The Nine Old

Men. Walt himself began referring to his animators by this phrase, and obviously, it stuck. Each of the Nine Old Men brought something unique to the art of animation. They were instrumental in creating so many of our favorite Disney classics. Walt’s Nine Old Men helped make Disney animation what it is today. Each of them—have been named Disney Legends for their contributions to The Walt Disney Company.

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assignment on Disney’s first Silly Symphony, The Skeleton Dance. He would later animate a memorable scene in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia, when Mickey’s sleeves keep falling down as he brings the brooms to life.

LES CLARK

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hile in high school, Les Clark worked a summer job at a lunch counter near the Walt Disney Studio in Hollywood. Walt and Roy Disney used to eat there, and, one day, Les got up the courage to ask Walt for a job. He recalled Walt’s reply, “‘Bring some of your drawings in and let’s see what they look like.’ So, I copied some cartoons to showed them to Walt. He said I had a good line, and why don’t I come to work on Monday. I graduated [from high school] on a Thursday and went to work [the following] Monday.” Les, who was the first of Walt Disney’s legendary “Nine Old Men” spent the next 48 years of his life animating and directing for Disney. He joined the company’s Ink and Paint Department. Les developed an adept hand at animating Mickey Mouse, beginning with one scene in Mickey’s debut film, Steamboat Willie. By 1929, he won his first animation

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Les animated on or directed nearly 20 features, including Pinocchio, Dumbo, Saludos Amigos, So Dear to My Heart, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Song of the South, Fun and Fancy Free, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, plus Lady and the Tramp, as well as more than 100 shorts. After Les served as sequence director on Sleeping Beauty, Walt asked him to direct television specials and educational films. For two decades, Les directed dozens of such productions, including Donald in Mathmagic Land and Donald and the Wheel. Like Walt, Les didn’t believe in resting on his laurels, but in always expanding his talent. Les would quietly work perfecting what he did best, constantly at art class working hard to improve and learn. There was much admiration for this quiet, thoughtful man, who came in with no art background yet through sheer determination and desire not only kept up, but helped advance the art with his refinements of many fundamentals.” He retired from Disney in 1976 and passed away on September 12, 1979.

Image on left page: Mickey and Minnie Image on right: Mickey Mouse

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Clockwise from bottom left image, Robin Hood and Prince John in“Robin Hood”, White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland”, Captian Hook and the Lost Boys in “Peter Pan”, Mowgli from “The Jungle Book”

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Woolie once said about animation: “It was a romance from the start. “The minute you know you can make a drawing move, the static drawing loses its appeal: movement is life. “Animation represents the greatest breakthrough in 20th century art.”

WOLFGANG REITHERMAN

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olfgang “Woolie” Reitherman once described himself as “full of life and ginger,” and his animation as having “vitality and quality.” Woolie’s boundless energy and personality did indeed spill over into his animation; with an unusual knack for action sequences, Woolie animated such memorable sequences as the dramatic dinosaur battle in Fantasia, the climactic whale-chase scene in Pinocchio, and the fire-breathing clash between Prince Phillip and the Dragon in Sleeping Beauty. Woolie changed his career flight path when he decided to become an artist and enrolled at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles to study watercolor. While there, he met an instructor who taught classes at the Walt Disney Studio and in 1933, Woolie joined the Company’s animation department.

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Over the years, Woolie contributed to more than 30 Disney shorts including Water Babies, Mickey’s Fire Brigade, and Donald in Mathmagic Land. He also contributed his animation skill to such classic animated features as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, and more. In 1963, Woolie became the first animator in the history of the company to be given the directorial reins of an entire animated feature, with The Sword in the Stone. Among the films he directed include The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), and Robin Hood (1973). He also directed the cartoon featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which won an Academy Award in 1969. After Walt Disney’s untimely death in 1966, Woolie helped unify the Studio’s stable of egos and talent. As fellow animator Frank Thomas recalled, Woolie was a “very strong leader” during that unsettling time. After nearly 50 years with the Studio, Woolie retired in 1981. Woolie Reitherman passed away on May 22, 1985, in Burbank, California.

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Image on left: Character collection of Jiminy Cricket Sketches on left: Mice from “Cinderella”

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Ward also directed two Academy Award winning short subjects, Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom—the first CinemaScope cartoon—and It’s Tough to Be a Bird, which combined both live action and animation. During the 1950s, he produced and directed three one-hour space films for the Disneyland television show. The first of his television productions, Man in Space, was given a command performance before President Dwight Eisenhower.

WARD KIMBALL

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hile some Disney animators sought to touch the hearts of audiences, Ward Kimball sought to astound. As he once explained to a reporter, “Old Wardie got into audience’s hearts his own way. He made them laugh.” Fellow Disney Legend Eric Larson once wrote of Ward’s animation style: “A powerful caricaturist of mood and action, Ward often used the same approach in his scene planning and cutting, as was shown in the first meeting of Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito in The Three Caballeros. The action and cutting was wild, woolly, and humorous.”

During the 1960s, Ward helped write the story and script treatment for Walt’s first live-action musical fantasy, Babes in Toyland, for which he directed the stop-motion toy sequences. A trombone-player, Ward led several fellow Disney employees in the internationally known Dixieland jazz band Firehouse Five Plus Two. He also restored and operated a full-size locomotive on his two-acre orange grove, and was instrumental in sparking Walt Disney’s own interest in backyard railroads. After retirement, Ward consulted with Walt Disney Imagineering on theme park projects such as the World of Motion pavilion at Epcot Center. Ward passed away on July 8, 2002, in Los Angeles, California, at age 88.

He joined the Walt Disney Studio in 1934, and contributed to most of its animated features up until his retirement in 1972. Among the many memorable Disney characters he brought to life were Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Alice in Wonderland, and Lucifer the Cat in Cinderella.

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his father was engaged in oil field developments. Wherever a new oil boom developed, the family moved with Harry and, as a result, Marc attended more than 20 different schools across the country while growing up. Shortly after high school, he enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute, followed by the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. While studying, Marc spent hours at the zoo drawing animals, which became one of his specialties. His story drawings for Bambi are considered some of the finest studies of animal characters ever created at the Disney Studio.

MARC DAVIS

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nimator, artist, Imagineer. Marc Davis dedicated all his creative genius to helping Walt Disney realize his dreams, from helping perfect the animated story to creating Disneyland, the world’s first theme park. About his years at Disney, Marc once said, “I rarely felt confined to the animation medium. I worked as an idea man and loved creating characters, whether they be for animation or any other medium.” Marc is probably best known as the father of some of Disney’s most memorable animated women, including Cruella De Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. When once asked to choose a favorite among his bevy of grand Disney dames, he replied, “Each of my women characters has her own unique style; I love them all in different ways.” Marc was born on March 30, 1913, in Bakersfield, California, where

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Marc joined Disney in 1935 as an apprentice animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and moved on to story sketch and character design on Bambi and Victory Through Air Power. Over the years, he animated on classic Disney features such as Song of the South, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland, as well as shorts, including African Diary, Duck Pimples, and Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom. He later transferred to Disney’s design and development organization, today known as Walt Disney Imagineering. As one of Disney’s original Imagineers, Marc contributed the story and character concepts for such Disneyland attractions as the Enchanted Tiki Room, it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise. Marc retired in 1978, but continued to lend his expertise to the development of Epcot Center and Tokyo Disneyland. He and his wife, Alice, who designed costumes for the Audio Animatronics characters featured in Pirates of the Caribbean and it’s a small world, were also long-time supporters of the California Institute of the Arts, which was founded by Walt Disney. Marc Davis passed away on January 12, 2000.

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Image on left; Tinkerbell Above image; Prince Charming and Maleficent as the dragon Image to right; Thumper and Bambi

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Top image, “The Sword in the Stone” Bottom image, “Winnie the Pooh” Sketch on left page of Mad Hatter

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John worked as a freelance commercial artist while attending illustration courses at the Art Center School of Design. One of the school’s instructors spotted John’s talent and pointed him in the direction of the Walt Disney Studio, which was searching for artists at the time. In 1935, John joined Disney’s animation team and, for several years, he specialized in “Pluto” shorts, such as Pluto’s Playmate, Pluto at the Zoo, and Private Pluto, among others. Later, he was promoted to directing animator on such classic Disney films as Dumbo, Song of the South, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Robin Hood.

JOHN LOUNSBERY

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ounsbery had his own special way of looking at things, according to fellow animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. In their book, Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, they wrote that no matter how bad a situation might be, John could always make “some funny observation to lighten the situation.” And while shy by nature, John created animated characters that were anything but. Thomas and Johnston wrote, “Hardly subtle, John’s characters were always fun to watch.”

He also served as directing animator on such beloved Pooh featurettes as Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which won an Academy Award in the category of Best Short Subject (Cartoons). John also directed Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, which earned an Oscar® nomination. John Lounsbery passed away on February 13, 1976, in Los Angeles. At the time of his death, he was still giving Disney his all as one of the directors of the animated feature The Rescuers.

In fact, John once said that one of his all-time favorite characters was the bold and unabashed Ben Ali, the dancing alligator, who starred in the “Dance of the Hours” sequence of Fantasia. Other memorable characters he animated include the “lessthan” Honest John from Pinocchio, faithful Timothy the mouse in Dumbo, and the ever-so-jolly Tony the cook from Lady and the Tramp.

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Images on current page clockwise starting with image on left: Peter Pan collage, Pinocchio, Alice. Sketch on left: Merlin and Wart a.k.a. King Arthur from “The Sword in the Stone”.

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Phillip from Sleeping Beauty. He was just as adept at animating animal characters, including Bambi, the snooty llama from Saludos Amigos, and Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear in Song of the South.

MILT KAHL

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ellow animators recognized the extraordinary draftsmanship of Milt Kahl early in his Disney career. Fellow animator and Disney Legend Ollie Johnston recalled how, during the making of Pinocchio, a senior animator at the time responded to Milt’s drawings. Ollie meantioned one morning Freddie Moore burst into his room saying “Hey, you ought to see the drawings [of Pinocchio] this guy Milt Kahl is doing.” Walt Disney recognized Milt’s talent as well, and named him supervising animator over the artists who brought Pinocchio to life.

In June 1934, Milt applied to the Walt Disney Studio and was hired to work as an assistant animator on such shorts as Mickey’s Circus, Lonesome Ghosts, and The Ugly Duckling, which won an Oscar for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). Over the years, Milt contributed to such Disney features as Melody Time, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, and The Rescuers, among others. After nearly 40 years with Disney, Milt retired from the Studio in 1976. He then returned to his native Bay Area to pursue other interests, including sculpting delicate wire into human figures, such as dancing ballerinas. Milt Kahl passed away on April 19, 1987, in Mill Valley, California.

Years later, when The Sword in the Stone director and Disney Legend Woolie Reitherman saw Milt’s first rough drawings of Merlin the magician and Madame Mim, he reportedly turned to Milt and said, “These things look so beautiful, they could hang in a museum.” To this, Milt responded with a characteristic “Aw... You’re full of it!” Because Milt was so good at his craft, he was often assigned the toughest of Disney tasks: animating human characters, such as Peter Pan, Alice of Alice in Wonderland, and Prince

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Clockwise from above image, Snow White, Cinderella, The Caterpiller from Alice in Wonderland, Figaro from Pinocchio. Sketch on left of Cinderella and Prince Charming.

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Eric traveled around America for a year freelancing for various magazines and, in 1933, landed in Los Angeles. There, he developed an adventure serial for KHJ Radio, called The Trail of the Viking. That same year, taking the advice of a friend who was familiar with his exceptional drawing skill, Eric decided to submit some of his sketches to the Walt Disney Studio. He was hired as an assistant animator, and his journalism aspirations changed for good.

ERIC LARSON

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oward the end of his enduring career at The Walt Disney Studios, animator Eric Larson became a gentle and devoted mentor to the next generation of up-and-coming Disney artists. Former student Andreas Deja, who animated such Disney characters as Jafar from Aladdin and Scar in The Lion King, remembered Eric as “the best animation teacher ever.” “No one was more concerned with passing on the Disney legacy than Eric,” Deja once said. In the late 1970s, Eric expanded the Studio’s Talent Program to find and train new and talented animators from colleges and art schools across the nation. This program, which still exists today, came at a crucial juncture in Disney’s history, when many veteran animators were stepping down from their drawing boards. Subsequently, through his close work with young animators, Eric helped preserve the integrity of Disney animation for generations to come.

CHAPTER 7 DISNEY’S NINE OLD MEN

Over the years, Eric animated on such feature films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and The Jungle Book, as well as nearly 20 shorts and six television specials. Later, he served as a consultant on The Black Cauldron and The Great Mouse Detective. After 52 years at Disney, Eric retired in 1986. In an interview at that time, he said, “The important thing is not how long I’ve been here, but how much I’ve enjoyed it and what I’ve accomplished in all that time. When I think about my contribution to the animation that people enjoy so much, it makes me feel good.” Eric Larson passed away in La Cañada Flintridge, California, on October 25, 1988.

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From left to right: Lady from “Lady in the Tramp”, Thumper from “Bambi”, King of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland. Sketch on left: Pinocchio

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he animated, including Thumper from Bambi, Mr. Smee in Peter Pan, and the trio of colorful and fanciful fairies from Sleeping Beauty. “They were all good friends whom I remember fondly,” he once said.

OLLIE JOHNSON

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nimator Ollie Johnston infused an unusual level of warmth and heartfelt emotion into his characters. As lifelong friend and fellow animator Frank Thomas recalled, “Ollie was the only one of the Studio animators who was sensitive to character relationships and how they affected story.” Explained Frank: “Back then, cartoon characters seldom touched unless they hit each other. But one day Ollie said, ‘You know, the act of two people holding hands communicates in a powerful way.’ And he was right. His warmth made a difference in so many of our characters.”

On January 21, 1935, Ollie joined the Walt Disney Studio as an apprentice animator, working on early Disney shorts such as Mickey’s Garden and The Tortoise and the Hare, which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). He went on to work as animator and directing animator on more than 24 feature films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty. After 43 years with the Studio, Ollie retired in 1978. He went on to co-author four books with Frank Thomas. He and Frank were the subjects of the 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie, which chronicles their unique friendship from its beginnings at Stanford to their creative relationship at Disney. That same year, Disney artists paid tribute to the legendary animators in the Mickey Mouse short Runaway Brain, which featured a villain whimsically named “Dr. Frankenollie.” Ollie passed away on April 14, 2008, in Sequim, Washington—the last surviving member of Walt’s legendary “Nine Old Men.”

Ollie animated such memorable friendships as those of Baloo and Mowgli in The Jungle Book and the sycophantic relationship between Sir Hiss and Prince John in Robin Hood. And he valued his own relationship with the characters

CHAPTER 7 DISNEY’S NINE OLD MEN

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Images on current page: “Lady in the Tramp” Spagetti eating scene, “Bambi” Ice skating scene. Sketch on right page: Wart from “Sword in the Stone” when Merlin had turned him into a squirrel along with his female squirrel friend.

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FRANK THOMAS

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nimator Frank Thomas instilled vivid personality into his characters. He drew some of Disney animation’s most memorable, as well as touching, moments, including the Dwarfs crying at Snow White’s bier, Bambi and Thumper learning how to ice skate, and the charming spaghetti eating sequence in Lady and the Tramp. After finishing his education at Stanford University, Frank went on to study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. While living in a rooming house in Hollywood, he met a young Stanford graduate who worked as an artist at the Walt Disney Studio. The artist told Frank about a job opening and, on September 24, 1934, he joined Disney as employee no. 224, assigned to work on the short Mickey’s Elephant.

The Jungle Book, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians, as well as numerous shorts. He also accompanied Walt Disney and a select group of artists on a goodwill tour of South America in 1941 on behalf of the American Government, which inspired the films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. In his spare time, Frank played piano with the internationally famous “Firehouse Five Plus Two” jazz band, along with fellow Disney artists including Ward Kimball. After nearly 45 years with the Studio, Frank retired in 1978. Frank and Ollie were also the subjects of the 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie, which chronicles their unique friendship from its beginnings at Stanford to their creative relationship at Disney. That same year, Disney artists paid tribute to the legendary animators in the Mickey Mouse short Runaway Brain, which featured a villain whimsically named “Dr. Frankenollie.” Frank and Ollie also made vocal cameos in two animated features by director Brad Bird, 1999’s The Iron Giant and the 2004 Pixar film The Incredibles. Frank Thomas passed away on September 8, 2004 in California.

Over the years, Frank worked on nearly 20 animated features including Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella,

CHAPTER 7 DISNEY’S NINE OLD MEN

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The “Art of Disney Amid Walt Disney” features final frames and concept art from Disney’s golden age of animation (19371967). Enjoy art and stories of beloved films from “Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs” to “The Jungle Book”. Cover Art: Concept art by Earle Eyvind

Art of Disney Amid Walt Disney  

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