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  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: It's a darn shame that Disney doesn't have any new hand-drawn animated features in the works

    "We currently have no traditional hand-drawn animated motion pictures in production or development." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved I'm paraphrasing what Disney CEO Robert Iger said at the recent shareholders meeting in Phoenix, AZ . But whether he knew it or not...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: My Meeting with Gerry

    As I sat at my drawing board wildly sketching away on a new feature film idea, I suddenly glanced up to see two visitors in the room. It seems they were scrutinizing the sketches, models and story boards in my cluttered office. The two older gentleman were wearing the pastel colored garb usually sported...
  • Blog Post: Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Jim Henson and the matter of time

    The three men were engaged in a spirited conversation when I took a seat directly behind them. This was a screening room at the Walt Disney Studio and we were there to get a look at a new animated feature film being produced by Pixar Animation Studios . In front of me and to my right was the Vice Chairman...
  • Blog Post: What's the connection between Roy E. Disney's camera and the 1965 Watts Riot?

    Back in Disney's old days, life was simple. It was before corporate laid down dozens of rules, protocols and regulations that complicated the heck out of everything. When an employee wanted to sell something, he or she simply posted it on the company bulletin board. That meant any Disney employee...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Undercover (Parking) at Disney Studio

    Once upon a time there were no parking structures on the Walt Disney Studio lot. The under and above ground parking facilities we take for granted today were once non-existent. Disney staffers either parked in available space on the lot or sought street parking. Of course, there were fewer cars in those...
  • Blog Post: The female artists & animators who changed Disney Studio’s “boys will be boys” culture

    There’s a mistaken notion that back in the 1950s the Walt Disney Studio was strictly a man’s world and women were not even allowed in the Animation Building. It was believed that women employees were restricted to the “women’s work” over in the Ink and Paint Department where...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The Wow Factor

    I’ve often been asked this goofy question. “How would you run an animation studio if you were in charge?” Questions like this come from young people who assume I have answers. The truth is, I’m not in that position, and I don’t expect to be. However, I once ran my own business...
  • Blog Post: When you work in animation, there’s just no avoiding those Pink Slip Blues

    It was late summer 1958 and things had been going well. The mad rush to wrap the animated feature film, “ Sleeping Beauty ” was finally succeeding, and the film was well on its way to completion. Taking a break from the drawing board, I headed up to the second floor of the Animation Building...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: What was it like to work at the Mouse Factory back in the 1950s?

    A group of young guys and gals gathered in the office of a Disney veteran on the third floor of the Animation Building. “Boy, you missed it,” the old timer rhapsodized as he spoke about the good old days of the late 1930s and early 1940s. “This used to be a great place to work, but the strike ended all...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The End of Endless Development

    Recently, I was listening to a writer describe President, Barak Obama and the Obama White House as being impatient. In fact, White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanual has a known reputation for being impatient, and is a guy intent on getting things done. What the heck does this have to do with animation...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch : No Studio for Old Men

    I returned to the Walt Disney Studio in the early 1970s after a brief dalliance with my own production company. Not surprisingly, running my own shop proved to be a rather daunting task, and the thought of steady work at the drawing board didn’t seem all that bad. Plus word was out that there were opportunities...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Funky Warehouse Syndrome

    Some years ago, I watched helplessly as Walt Disney's animation department was moved out of their old building on the Burbank lot. You see, the new management needed room to expand, and animators took up space. So clearly somebody had to go. The Animation Building on Disney's Burbank Lot. You can wait...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Jim Fletcher, Disney Artist and the Ultimate Hollywood Fan

    I hope that you’ll allow me to indulge myself here with a new series that I’m going to call “The Disney Artists You Never Knew.” Only this time, it’s personal. Because I’m now going to write about my old pal & colleague, Jim Fletcher . James Lawrence Fletcher was born in Des Plains, Illinois, and...
  • Blog Post: Steve Jobs: A Tough Act to Follow

    You couldn’t help but feel sorry for Phil Schiller , Apple ’s vice president of marketing, when he stepped onstage to deliver the keynote at San Francisco ’s MacWorld Expo a few weeks ago. Apple CEO and visionary leader Steven P. Jobs would not be making an appearance at this year's show, so the speech...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Here's to the real survivors

    There's a popular television show called " Survivor ." I've never been able to watch this show or even take it seriously. It's difficult to consider the consequences of surviving on a desert island when craft services is located nearby. However, I did see some real survivors a few weeks ago as I walked...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Getting a head with Blaine Gibson

    Like most old guys, I tend to get my brain stuck in a certain time frame. So I didn't immediately recognize the man sitting in the limo. For some odd reason, I expected to see the guy I remembered. The slender, dark haired young man with the horn rimmed glasses. However, this older gentleman didn't exactly...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The curious case of Elizabeth Case

    We called her "Big Liz" because she was tall. Animation artist Rolly Crump even featured her in a series of black & white posters that he designed back in the 1950s. The wonderful stylized poster featured Elizabeth Case Zwicker giving poetry readings at a local Beatnik hangout. That's right, kids...
  • Blog Post: Toon Thursday : Mermaids, donuts and musical concrete

    Hey, folks -- Jim Hill here. Before this month's Floyd Norman column officially gets underway, I thought that I'd take a moment to let JHM readers know that Mr. Fun recently launched his very own blog. Appropriately titled Mr. Fun's Blog . So if you want more than just the usually once-a-month dose of...
  • Blog Post: Caught in "The Parent Trap" -- Part I

    Yes, it's true. Disney's " The Parent Trap " will always be special to me because -- unlike other Disney movies -- this one is personal. However, we'll get to that in a moment. Let's take a trip back in time. The year is 1960, and the Walt Disney Studio is still a beehive of activity in a laid back Disney...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Disney's Night School

    Did you know Walt Disney Studios once provided what could be considered the finest animation course ever offered? That's right, kids. If you've shelled out the big bucks for an animation education at such institutions as California Institute of the Arts or Sheridan College , you might be surprised to...
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