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Toon Tuesday: Back when cartoon making was fun
It's become a constant theme in my writing this past year. I've been comparing today's animation studios to the cartoon factories of years past and the changes I've observed. Most noticeable are the amazing technological advances as cartoon making has moved from traditional hand drawn...
9 Oct 2012
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...
1 Jun 2010
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...
1 Mar 2010
Toon Thursday: When Dad's a Disney Legend, that's a tough act to follow
The sign on their office door at the Walt Disney Studio read “KKK.” Now before you get your knickers in a knot, let me first explain the meaning behind this silly sign. You see, back in the 1960s, there were very few young people joining Disney’s animation department. Unlike today, animation was still...
5 Nov 2009
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...
6 Oct 2009
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...
12 May 2009
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...
18 Aug 2008
How "One Little Spark" nearly fried the Dreamfinder
As a kid I'd tune in the Wonderful World of Color every Sunday night. Most of the time Walt would introduce some western or historic feature - or some story like "Melvin, the Manic Marmoset" - and I'd switch over to watch Ed Sullivan . He had ventriloquists ! On a good week, there'd be an animated feature...
15 Jul 2008
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...
19 May 2008
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...
16 Apr 2008
Caught in "The Parent Trap" -- Part II
How do you create two Hayley Mills out of one? Well, the Disney effects experts had come up with a matte system that was far superior to anything the other studios had been using. The Sodium Matte Process was in such demand, that other production companies sought out Disney for their effects expertise...
24 Mar 2008
How do you earn the right to perform in Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Revue? Make a left at Magic Mountain
Millions of people work in the entertainment industry. And of those folks, thousands of them make a living as actors. And of those thousands, hundreds of these performers are employed by theme parks. And of those hundreds of performers, only a couple of dozen actually work at Disneyland . I bring this...
19 Mar 2008
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...
18 Mar 2008
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