Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-five shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wild Things 1983

To end the year with a bit of a bang, here are some pertinent pages from the June 10, 1983 internal Disney Newsreel. They outline the "Where the Wild Things Are" test, which can be viewed on YouTube here. There is also mention of the Brave Little Toaster, a film that ultimately was made outside Disney, directed by Jerry Rees (who was, with Bill Kroyer, one of the animation directors on TRON).

I find this article especially poignant as I have just yesterday revisited Glen Keane's baby Rapunzel (now called Tangled, to make it more appealing to a male audience) in 3-D, which has a trailer for John Lasseter's Cars 2 in front of it (also Smurfs and Mars Needs Moms - Oh, boy, I'm countin' the days - NOT!). Whereas Cars 2 seems to be all about car racing (and thus selling toys to boys), Rapunzel was without a doubt the most beautiful, poetic and luscious CG movie I have ever seen, with amazingly controlled acting and animation, believable characters that never move like puppets. MoCap should turn around in its grave after this one!

My favorite scene? It's a tough call, but I really enjoyed the last scene of the reprise of the Mother Knows Best number. The controlled, scary poses capture the evil Mother Gothel's villainy while at the same time being subdued enough to not scare Rapunzel witless. But I also truly enjoyed the fun spirit of Rapunzel herself, and Maximus' dog-like behavior is hilarious, and very well received by the youngest audience members. For the first time I see acting as controlled as live-action can be, and with a simple twitch of a cheek or so, we understand the inner emotions, mostly of our main character--a huge step forward from Image Movers' stop motion of virtual corpses.

That said, I do feel the film has some inherent story problems that result in my not getting "hit in the gut" by it, as in Dumbo ("Baby Mine") or as Pixar has been able to do in films like Toy Story 2. First, the film takes a long time to get started, and could well have begun, after some explanatory narration and quick shots, with Flynn entering the tower. The "I Want" song could have followed it somewhere, preferably less a High School Musical number, and the film would have jump-started. Worse, Flynn Ryder does not ever get to show REAL authentic feelings, so Rapunzel's love for him, and the climax, seem rather postulated. Flynn's attempts to show these feelings are always either sidetracked or made fun off, as if the directors themselves were afraid of showing emotions. His one full attempt sounds so hollow it needed repeating "no, really, thank you!" and is immediately deflected. In the boat, he would rather do something obscure (to us) than kiss the girl. In the end, noone seems to care about him, so neither will we. Rapunzel herself is a fun girl, full of life and emotions, a great character, beautifully animated, but when, during the climax, we are asked to root for someone whose looks have changed radically, we disassociate ourselves and just look at the film with our eyes, not "with our heart." With her hair, it seems her free spirit is cut down, too, and she ends the film as a show-n-tell doll. I feel that all this could have been fixed with some cutting and pasting in the script - in my mind it is what will turn out to make all the difference at the box-office...

Still, with its lush Fragonard color scheme, its great use of 3-D, and especially its wonderful acting, it is a beautiful film that shows great promise for the future of CG animation. As a gentleman behind me in the theater said, beaming, as the credits had ended: "I didn't think they could make films like this anymore!" Yet with the rumored demise of the fairytale, the Disney Marketing Dept. may well have cut down the promising future in its prime. Let's hope not.

I hear the original story reel had beautiful hand-drawn animation and story sketches by Glen Keane. This I hope to see on an upcoming Blu-Ray, dear folks at Walt Disney Home Entertainment!

(Note: the scans are full 300 dpi, 2550 x 3300 px!)
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Lastly, a nice little piece on Eric Larson being the first employee
(only at the parks they are Cast Members) to hit the 50 year mark.
[Bill Cotter reminds us that Larson actually was NOT the first to hit 50, for though Eric Larson was hired 6/1/33, Bill Cottrell's hire date was 2/15/29, and, as it stated on his Disney Legends page, he retired in 1982 "after 53 years of service" making him the first to hit 50 in 1979, four years earlier!]
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Going into my own 49th year today, I wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and a GREAT 2011!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Links to Older Posts!

Folks, I just found a posting about adding links to older posts at the bottom of the page, which I implemented - it works!!!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXX)
  - Seq. 12 (Ave Maria)

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Directed by Wilfred "Jaxon" Jackson, assisted by Jacques (Roberts). Layout by Terrell Stapp and Thor Putnam. This draft dated 10/16/40. (Final page: Directed by Sam Armstrong, layout Blair/Plummer, dated 10/2/40).

A John McManus effects tour-de-force. I always liked the story that the last scene was delivered to the cinema on the afternoon of the premiere, after there having been an earthquake and no time to re-shoot it...

This, of course, concludes the draft for Prod. 2004, Walt Disney's Fantasia. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe learned something new!
{News Flash! Steven Hartley has begun posting the mosaic for Fantasia!]

As always, remember my "Standard Disclaimer" on drafts (see most of my earlier drafts). That's the one on drafts not being historical documents and not always correct and not always showing the Directing Animator etc. etc. They do give an interesting insight in the inner workings of the studio, the unit system (like the Jaxon unit in this and yesterdays postings), and they highlight animators otherwise possibly forgotten, one of the main reasons for my posting these drafts.

For those of you who "came here after the show started," you will find animator drafts here for thus far eleven features, one featurette and some eighty short films. Also check out my items on barsheets and my "Beatronome!" You find links to the items' labels in the right column... >>

...and then have a look at my company website!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXIX)
  - Seq. 11 (Night on Bald Mountain)

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Directed by Wilfred "Jaxon" Jackson, assisted by Jacques (Roberts). Layout by Terrell Stapp and Thor Putnam. This draft dated 10/3/40.

Character animation by Bill Tytla, Bill Shull, Bob Carlson, Les Novros and (Don) Patterson.

Effects by Cornett Wood, Frank Follmer, John Reed, John McManus, Sandy Strother, Ed Aardal, Don Tobin, Josh Meador, Milt Shaffer, Miles Pike, John Tucker and Jack Harbaugh.

This is, of course, one of Bill Tytla's masterpieces, Chernobog on the mountain top. Actually, this is much the same unit as the Stromboli sequence in Pinocchio and several sequences in Dumbo: Jaxon, Roberts, Stapp and Tytla...

Funny how scene 20 ia credited to its footage. Must be a typo...

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXVIII)
  - Seq. 11A (Interim Orchestra)

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Directed by Sam Armstrong, assisted by Lloyd Richardson. Layout by Lee Blair and Elmer Plummer. This draft dated 10/2/40.

Deems Taylor's introduction to the last section, comprised of Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXVII)
  - Seq. 10.4 (Dance of the Hours: Alligator Ballet--Night)

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Directed by T. Hee, assisted by Larry Lansburgh. Layout by Ken O'Connor. This draft dated 9/9/40.

Character animation by John Lounsbery, Hicks Lokey, Preston Blair, Howard Swift, Norm Tate, Hugh Fraser, Art Elliott and Harvey Toombs.

Effects by Cornett Wood, George Rowley, Brad Case, Jack Gayek, Jim Will, Ed Aardal, George DeBeeson, John Reed, [John?] Fitzpatrick (for the ? see a previous posting) and Jerome Brown.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Folks!

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On the front of the A. Film homepage you can find this image, drawn by my friend Luca Fattore, of the "A. Film pigs" at their Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas, Everyone! Hope you get time to relax - and check out our homepage!

I especially want to extend my best wishes to my trusty commenters, Zartok-35, John V. (thanks for sorting out my Pattersons, guys!) and Steven Hartley who just finished his Alice in Wonderland mosaic, as well as my "blog friends," first and foremost Michael Sporn, whose blog continues to be an inspiration for all lovers of animation.

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Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXVII)
  - Seq. 10.3 (Dance of the Hours: Elephant Ballet--Evening)

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Directed by T. Hee, assisted by Larry Lansburgh. Layout by Ken O'Connor. This draft dated 9/9/40.

Character animation by [Ray] Patterson, Harvey Toombs, Howard Swift, Frank Grundeen, Hicks Lokey and Grant Simmons.

Effects by John Reed, Brad Case, Jerome Brown, Cornett Wood, Vernon Witt, Josh Meador, George Rowley and Ed Aardal.

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An idea for your (late) Christmas shopping!

I'll keep this at the top for a while. It may be too late for your Christmas shopping, but there is always January.
Here is my suggestion:
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Russell Schroeder's great books on the "lost treasures from the Walt Disney Music Library" are not only filled with great songs, but have interesting stories you may not find elsewhere, as well! Click the image to get to the page that shows how you can order them!
(When Vol.1 came out, the late Roy E. Disney bought 3 copies!)

For those of you who do not read sheet music, there exists software in which you can scan the pages and it plays the music back to you! More info: click the image!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXVI)
  - Seq. 10.2 (Dance of the Hours: Hippo Ballet--Afternoon)

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Directed by T. Hee, assisted by Larry Lansburgh. Layout by Ken O'Connor. This draft dated 9/9/40.

Character animation by Howard Swift, Preston Blair, Van Kaufman and Norm Ferguson.

Effects by Cornett Wood, Brad Case, Jack Gayek, George DeBeeson, Jim Will and Ed Aardal.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXV)
  - Seq. 10.1 (Dance of the Hours: Ostrich Ballet--Morning)

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Directed by T. Hee, assisted by Larry Lansburgh. Layout by Ken O'Connor. This draft dated 9/9/40.

Character animation by Howard Swift, Jerry Hathcock, Hugh Fraser, Norm Tate and George Nicholas. Effects by Cornett Wood, Brad Case and Jack Gayek.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Early 1930s Storyboard Paper

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In a comment on a posting about Mickey's Orphans on Michael Sporn's ever-inspiring blog, it was asked what the size of the storyboard drawings shown is. I happen to have some pages of this paper, and scanned one. It isn't a great work of art, but it shows the sheet, a standard sheet of 9.5" x 12" animation paper with three red rectangles printed on it. The rectangles are precisely 3" by 4". Hope this answered that question...

The rough sketch of a beached Clarabelle Cow is by Burt Gillett...

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Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXIV)
  - Seq. 10 (Interim Orchestra)

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Directed by Sam Armstrong, assisted by Lloyd Richardson. Layout by Lee Blair and Elmer Plummer. This draft dated 10/2/40.

Deems Taylor introduces the "Dance of the Hours" segment...

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXIII)
  - Seq. 4.5 (Beethoven: Fifth Movement: Sunset)

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Directed by Ham Luske and Ford L. Beebe (Jr.), assisted by Erwin Verity. Layout by Hugh Hennesy. This draft dated 7/24/40.

Character animation by John Elliotte, Bernie Wolf, Bob Youngquist, Murray McClellan, Jack Campbell, Bill Justice, Milt Neil, Don Lusk, Ward Kimball, Don Towsley, Sewell (see previous) and [Ross?] Wetzel.

Effects by Jack Gayek, Fitzpatrick (see previous), George Rowley, John Reed, Don Tobin and Sandy Strother (where did that last S come from?).

I am uncertain about the function of Ambi Paliwoda, Art Palmer, and Walt Kelly (misspelled Kelley). They should all rank as character animators, but their "position" on this draft is as effects animator.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXII)
  - Seq. 4.4 (Beethoven: Fourth Movement: Storm)

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Directed by Ham Luske and Jim Handley, assisted by Jack Bruner. Layout by Ken Anderson. This draft dated 7/23/40.

Character animation by Bill Justice, Fred Moore, Eric Larson, Walt Kelly, Bernie Wolf, Lynn Karp, Art Babbitt, Fred Madison, Don Towsley, Bob Youngquist, Sewell (see yesterday), Jim Moore, Ward Kimball and Ambi Paliwoda.

Effects by Bob Martsch, Brad Case, Jim Will, Jack Harbaugh, Josh Meador, George Rowley, Jack Gayek, Don Tobin, Cornett Wood, Jerome Brown and Harry Hamsel.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XXI)
  - Seq. 4.3 (Beethoven: Third Movement)

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Directed by Ham Luske and Jim Handley, assisted by Jack Bruner. Layout by Ken Anderson. This draft dated 9/16/40.

Character animation by Jack Bradbury, Sewell (see note), Lynn Karp, Murray McClellan, Walt Kelly, Bernie Wolf, Eric Larson, Bill Justice, Bob Youngquist, Ward Kimball, Milt Neil, Don Lusk and John Elliotte.

Effects by Ugo D'Orsi, Frank Follmer, Jack Gayek, Paul Kossoff, George Rowley, (see note 2) Fitzpatrick, Cornett Wood, George DeBeeson, Ed Aardal, Miles Pike and John Reed.

(Note: Alberto Becattini has a John Sewall who was animator during this era, and, of course Hazel Sewell, Walt's sister-in-law who married Bill Cottrell, and who was in charge of Ink and Paint in the early Mickey years. Alberto has a question mark behind animation in her name. I must admit I lean towards John Sewall here. They could have spelled his name wrong, based on Hazel being well known around the studio...)

(Note 2: Alberto mentions only Art Fitzpatrick, who was Babbitt's assistant. But a contemporary list of employees who took part in the 1941 strike that I have a copy of (and promised not to post) lists an effects animator called Paul Fitzpatrick. It could be a typo, of course, but more likely our effects guy here is this Paul, who at the time of the strike made a weekly $47.50, while e.g. Don Tobin made $76.50... Oh, by the way, the same list names John Sewall and a person working in color called Claudia Sewell. No other Sewell.)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XX)
  - Seq. 4.2 (Beethoven: Second Movement)

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Directed by Ham Luske and Ford L. Beebe (Jr.), assisted by Erwin Verity. Layout by Hugh Hennesy. This draft dated 9/11/40.

Character animation by Jack Campbell, Ollie Johnston, Bill Justice, Milt Neil, Bernie Wolf, John Elliotte, Bob Youngquist, Fred Moore, Jim Moore (unless this is a typo), Art Palmer and Amby Paliwoda.

Effects by Harry Hamsel, Don Tobin, Josh Meador, George DeBeeson, Jim Will, Frank Follmer, Miles Pike, Paul Kossoff, Cornett Wood, Jack Gayek, Dan McManus, George Rowley, Art Fitzpatrick, Brad Case and John Reed.

Ward Kimball called this "a candy-box sequence..."

[I decided against a typo for Jim Moore for the simple reason that if it had been Fred Moore all of it, they would simply have written "Moore." Adding the "F" implies that there also is another, "J." Elementary, my dear Watson...]

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Prod. 2004 - Fantasia (XIX)
  - Seq. 4.1 (Beethoven: First Movement)

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Directed by Ham Luske and Ford L. Beebe (Jr.), assisted by Erwin Verity. Layout by Ken Anderson. This draft dated 9/6/40.

Animation by Lynn Karp, Walt Kelly, Bill Justice, Bernie Wolf, Jack Bradbury, Eric Larson, Murray McClellan, Don Towsley and Fred Madison.
Effects by Jack Gayek, Ed Aardal, George Rowley, Brad Case, Josh Meador, Cornett Wood, Vernon Witt, Dan McManus, Harry Hamsel, Don Tobin, Frank Follmer and Ugo D'Orsi.

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