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  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : The Failure Factor

    A couple weeks ago, we had a visit from John Lasseter and two hundred of his wizards from Pixar Animation Studios . The Pixar team was getting a special tour of both the Burbank and Glendale facilities of the Walt Disney Company. It was good to see so many old friends & colleagues again. And I couldn...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: A tribute to Hurricane Eva

    If you were a young woman working in Disney's animation department in the 1950s, chances are you were pretty darn good. Though it was clearly a man's world back then, you might be surprised to know that the Mouse House had a fair share of young women toiling away at animation desks. Savvy young women...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Remembering Vance Gerry of WDAS's Story Department (1929 - 2005)

    When we arrived at the Walt Disney Studio as young apprentices back in the 1950s, much of Walt's "Brain Trust" still labored in the upstairs story rooms. The Storymen -- as they were called back then -- were Disney's elite, and their names are legendary. Bill Peet , Winston Hibler , Ralph Wright , Milt...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Remembering Fred Lucky of WDFA's Story Department (1938 - 1999)

    You could hardly call it a competition. But back in the early seventies, two feature films were being developed at the Walt Disney Studios. Ultimately, only one project would be given the green light for production. F-Wing was on the second floor of the Animation Building. And at the far end of the wing...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Remembering Pete Young (1948 - 1985)

    I've always been fascinated by storytellers. Those gifted individuals who have the ability to spin a captivating yarn and pull you totally into a make-believe world. Animation has had its fair share of talented storytellers. Lucky for me, I've had the opportunity to know and work with a few of them during...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : "Just finish the darned thing !"

    I can't remember the production number of any Disney or Pixar movie I've ever worked on -- except one. "Sleeping Beauty's production number was 2082. I've never forgotten that number and probably never will. It was a number I had to write on every production slip, folder and drawing. And you better believe...
  • Blog Post: Now in full color: A cartoonish take on Black History

    I've always loved Toontown in the " Roger Rabbit " cartoons. Toontown was the special area of Tinseltown where cartoon characters were segregated because they were -- Toons. I've always thought this a brilliant metaphor for racial inequities in the real world. Being a cartoonist and a person of color...
  • Blog Post: Playing with Toys -- Part IV : Coming in for a soft landing on a pile of ... shaving cream ?!

    Picking up where we left off last week ... Things were a little bit different when I returned to Pixar Animation Studios in 1998. This was the second year in the development of " Toy Story 2 ," and it's not surprising to hit a few snags in this wacky process of crafting an animated feature film. Things...
  • Blog Post: Playing with Toys -- Part III: "So where was the dog ?"

    Picking up from last week ... As usual, I decided to sit in the rear of the theater at Pixar Animation Studios . It was the day of the John Lasseter screening of " Toy Story 2 ," and I decided it was best to remain out of sight. This was nothing new for me. I learned this back in the sixties at the Disney...
  • Blog Post: Playing with Toys -- Part II : How Howdy Doody showed us the way

    Picking up where we left off last week ... In early in 1997, we had been storyboarding on the sequel to "Toy Story" at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Occasionally, our small crew would fly north to meet with our Pixar colleagues. Our meetings were always high spirited and energetic because things were...
  • Blog Post: Remembering the Other Retta: Disney Feature Animation's Retta Davidson

    Perhaps some of you are knowledgeable about Disney's first female animator, Retta Scott . Ms Scott has a credit on the Disney feature, " Bambi ." And I'm willing to bet she has been an inspiration for a lot of young women hoping for a career in animation. Unfortunately, I never met Retta Scott. But I...
  • Blog Post: Silly Old Bear: Remembering the development of Disney's first Winnie the Pooh featurette

    This past Tuesday afternoon, a group of artists gathered on the patio of Disney's new Consumer Products building in Glendale for a book signing. The artists were all participants in a new Disney book entitled " The Art of Winnie the Pooh: Disney Artists Celebrate the Silly Old Bear ." Photo by Floyd...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The Beatles were going to be " ... a flash in the pan"?! Or said Walt Disney

    A meeting with Walt Disney always guaranteed one thing. After it was over there would be little doubt if you had succeeded or failed. Lucky for me, my teammate was one of Disney's best. Vance Gerry pitched the Kaa sequence in his own casual manner. There was none of the showmanship and pizzazz that some...
  • Blog Post: Second rate treatment for a first class Mickey Mouse movie

    Back in animation's heyday at Walt Disney Feature Animation, big boss, Michael Eisner proposed this interesting question. "Would it be possible to produce an animated feature that would cost less than a hundred million dollars?" At the time the current crop of Disney films in production were going through...
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