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Friday, April 30, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (IX)

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Seq. 09.0 "Timothy Befriends Dumbo"
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, assistant director Jacques [Roberts?], layout Terrell Stapp.
This 4th draft dated 4/29/41.

From Seq. 07.0 we cut directly to Seq. 09.0. Timothy Mouse by Woolie Reitherman and Milt Neil, Dumbo by Bill Tytla, haystack by Jerome Brown, and some effects by Jim Escalante. Woolie also animated Dumbo in several scenes, including the one where he grasps Timothy's tail - and got the scene to count double: "S & 1."

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (VIII)

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Seq. 07.0 "Elephants Gossip"
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, assistant director Jacques [Roberts?], layout Terrell Stapp.
This 4th draft dated 5/1/41.

Elephants by Bill Shull, Milt Neil and Bill Tytla. Timothy Mouse by Woolie Reitherman. Effects by Dan MacManus, Jerome Brown, Art Palmer, Miles Pike and George Rowley.

It is again a bit interesting to see how the animators were credited. Take sc. 38: Bill Shull animated the elephants stampede. He is credited with "S& 3/4" which means 1.75 times Screen Footage, while the effects animator Palmer gets "1/8 S" or 178th of the Screen Footage. A crowd of elephants would not even get twice the Screen Footage. Things like this never seem fair - especially to the animator. (Been there, done that...)

Sometimes, like in sc. 1.1 and sc. 3, adjustments are made after the footage is awarded, like - a held drawing might be held longer. In sc. 1.1, Shull is awarded "3/4" but 3/4 of 12 is 9-0, not 5-0. MacManus is awarded "3/8 S" and 3/8 of 12 ft. is 4-08, not 8-0. In this case it looks like both have been re-evaluated during a sweatbox meeting, as directors could decide these things there, I have noticed from the notes in my possession. Anyway, this seems to be the reason that the actual awarded footage credtis are stated here - because they do not match the calculation that ws set previously.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (VII)

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Seq. 06.0 "Menagerie - Mrs. Jumbo Goes Berserk"
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, assistant director Jacques [Roberts?], layout Terrell Stapp.
This 2nd draft dated 4/8/41.

We start quietly with some nice scenes of Dumbo being washed by Mrs. Jumbo, by Bill Tytla, with effects by Art Palmer, Cornett Wood and Sandy Strother. A crowd scene by John McManus. Then Dumbo and Kids by Claude Smith, Mrs. Jumbo by Bill Shull (Bill Tytla's erstwhile assistant), Ringmaster by Walt Kelly of Pogo fame (see elsewhere on this blog for more on him) and some Roustabouts by Jack Campbell.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (VI)

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Seq. 5 "Circus Parade"
Directed by Norm Ferguson, assistant director Larry Lansburgh, layout Ken O'Connor.
This 1st draft dated 2/24/41.

Again some names missing. We do find Howard Swift, Hicks Lokey, Jerry Hathcock and Van Kaufman. One can guess as to the animator of the cute Dumbo scenes, but here (just as anywhere else) it would be nice to have a peek at the names on the scene folders.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (V)

First a little ace-taste - The King's Men again...
While you happily skip this part, please remember that this recording has NOT been heard outside the studio since 3/14/1941 but for two or three people - until now!

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Seq. 04.0 "Roustabouts"
Directed by Sam Armstrong, assistant directors Lloyd Richardson and W. Hays, layout Dick Kelsey.
This 3rd draft dated 5/7/41.

Starting with a few Casey Jr. scenes by Paul Kossoff, Don Patterson and Don Tobin, we find [Warren] Schloat, Jerry Hathcock, Steve Bosustow and Bill Tytla doing a scene each. Jack Campbell seems to have handled most of the Roustabouts. Then we find Hugh Fraser, Edwin Fourcher, Jerome Brown, Karl Van Leuven, Russ Dyson, Frank Grundeen, Jim Escalante, Vern Witt, Claude Smith, Sandy Strother, Cornett Wood, Ed Aardal, Miles Pike, George Rowley, Josh Meador and John Reed, most of whom are effects animators.

It is interesting to see how some scenes seem to have been replaced with others. Not surprising in a sequence like this, where they are building the suspense and in many cases have to try things out before they know if they work...

Two scenes in there of 26 frames each...

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (IV)

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Seq. 03.2 "Stork Delivers Dumbo - Dumbo Named"
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, assistant director Jacques [Roberts?], layout Terrell Stapp.
This 2nd draft dated 1/22/41.

This is one of the sequences with missing names. Bill Tytla animated the elephants. We know, however, that Art Babbitt animated the stork, so me are not missing that much - this is basically a continuation of the previous sequence. It would be nice to have more info on the lesser-acting scenes, like where Mrs. Jumbo signs the receipt book, or the scene where the stork hangs on the pole after he is yanked out of the train.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (III)

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Seq. 03.1 "Stork Chases Circus train"
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, assistant director Jacques [Roberts?], layout Terrell Stapp.
This 1st draft dated 1/6/41.

All animation by Art Babbitt. My old mentor Børge Ring reminds me that Babbitt did all his animation drawings, including inbetweens, himself, and then had his assistant Art Fitzpatrick clean them all up.

Børge also recalls that at Richard Williams' Soho studio back in the 70s, Babbitt shot his line tests by not holding all drawings until the next one, but shooting blanks for the missing drawings, as this would give a better way of judging the timing, with the sacrifice of direct readability.

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Prod. 2006 - Good advice...


From a production acetate that I have, dated 1/2/1941.
The King's Men get their cue from the studio organ.
"Remember those quintuplets..."

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (II)

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Seq. 03.0 "Casey Loading"
Directed (again) by Sam Armstrong, assistant directors Lloyd Richardson and W. Hays, layout Dick Kelsey.
This 2nd draft dated 5/7/41.

Animation of Casey Junior by John McManus, Frank Grundeen, Don Tobin, Cornett Wood, Don Patterson, John Reed and Poul Kossoff, regular effects by Jim Escalante (my guess), with characters by Claude Smith, Edwin Fourcher, Hugh Fraser (Elephants) and Howard Swift (Ringmaster).

We have seen most of the Casey Junior animators as effects animators on Pinocchio already: McManus, Grundeen, Escalante, Tobin, Wood and Kossoff are all found on the Pinocchio draft.
I bet John Reed was another of the people called Jack...

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Prod. 2006 - Dumbo (I)

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Seq. 01.0 "Stork Sequence"
Directed by Sam Armstrong, assistant director Lloyd Richardson, layout Bob Cormack. This 2nd draft probably dated 2/26/41.
The first page says 5/26, the next pages 2/26.

Effects animation by Josh Meador, Miles Pike, Jack Gayek, Cy Young, Karl Van Leuven, George Rowley and Dan McManus.
"Additional character" animation by Harvey Toombs and Ed Aardal, with Mrs. Jumbo by Bill Tytla and Bill Shull.

Sam Armstrong was background painter to begin with, having created wonderful masterpieces for The Old Mill and, of course, Snow White. He also sequence-directed on Fantasia before his work on Dumbo, and on Bambi. Later he did layouts for Warner, but I have no idea why he left the studio around 41 - as he seems to not have been one of the strikers. One of the people we need to learn more about.

The Supervising Director of Dumbo was Ben Sharpsteen, who also is credited for the final sequence. One can, of course, find a lot of additional info on IMDb, as well, e.g. on the writers...

(If you feel I am posting this too slowly - well... Too bad ;-)

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prod. 2006 is Coming Up!

Hi Friends! It's been too long!

I have been drenched in work, and the history of the place I am working in is in itself REALLY interesting! On the other hand, I cannot stand not being in touch with my good Disney friends, and I feel a severe need to share some more stuff. This time I will show you Prod. 2006 - Dumbo. This is the sequence listing, typed on labels and stuck onto the inside of the folder containing the draft:

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I certainly hope someone will make mosaics of this, as well, though I must warn you in advance that there are scenes missing animator assignments. This production seems to have been made so quickly, that once the last scenes were handed out, there would be no new drafts made up. This seems quite logical, considering my "Standard Disclaimer:"

"Animation drafts were never meant to be historical documents. They were meant as go-to documents, showing the responsible artist for a certain scene, who might be able to help in case there would be any need for this further on in the production line. Therefore we often see e.g. that animators who left have been replaced by others, often their assistants, in later versions of a draft. Also for this reason it is most often the actual animator, not the supervising animator, who is mentioned. The drafts may also be directly inaccurate - showing early assignments where the animator actually changed when the scene was finally handed out. Keeping all this in mind, though, the drafts can give us some sort of hands-on insight into the inner workings of the production of some of the most "magical" (in itself an over-used word) motion pictures of all time." the annotations on this copy were made in 1964 when the Background Morgue (where this copy is from) was keeping track of its inventory.

I hope you will forgive me my absence, and that you will enjoy the draft which I will show here in the following days!

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