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  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: An old fashioned notion in the Cartoon Business

    At the risk of being considered a grumpy old timer, I have a need to air a few gripes from time to time. Plus, my sixty or so years in the cartoon business has earned me the right to be critical on occasion. I'll say upfront that I have no personal ax to grind. I've been treated extraordinarily...
  • 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: 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: Looking Back on Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" -- Part Un

    Though not an overwhelming success, I think " The Hunchback of Notre Dame " was one of the most sophisticated animated films I've ever worked on. I actually went to my old pal, Gary Trousdale when I got word that he and his co-director Kirk Wise might be adapting this Victor Hugo novel for the screen...
  • 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 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: 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...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Home for the Holidays

    It's a standard thing this time of year. Travelers loaded with gifts are trying to make their way home to spend the holidays with family and friends. This scenario is often played out in movies where our hero finally makes his or her way home just in time to spend Christmas with the family. After all...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : A Disney kind of guy

    It's been a little over a week and I'm still trying to deal with reality. Sometimes, reality is hard to take. Although much has already been said and written , I feel there is still a little more to say about the loss of Disney Imagineer Bruce Gordon . It's difficult to believe that only two weeks ago...
  • 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 : In Defense of Mavericks

    If you know anything about the Walt Disney Studio, you know that the Old Maestro exercised total control over his animated kingdom. From the studio's humble beginnings in the 1930's to his passing in 1966, nothing -- and I do mean nothing -- ever escaped the careful gaze of Walt Disney. Maybe Walt Disney...
  • 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...
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