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Young kids & old codgers proved to be a very powerful combo at Walt Disney Studio
It never occurred to me at the moment. I guess I was too busy being enthralled by all the amazing artwork on the walls. Yet, there was something different about the animation unit, and it took me a while before I realized what it was. It turns out the entire unit was unique. It was comprised of animation...
9 Aug 2010
Toon Tuesday: Exploding on Lift Off
I’ve only felt crushing defeat once in my career. It was 1959, and Walt Disney’s latest animated feature film opened to lackluster box office attendance and scathing reviews. As an animation professional still fairly new to the business, I took the whole thing personally. In later years I...
20 Apr 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
Disney’s timeless battle between the young punks and the old guard
You probably already know the story. A group of young guys move into the establishment and begin to shake things up. The old guard naturally has issues with the young punks, and they begin to push back. It’s a story we’ve all heard before, and I find it amazing that it remains a story that never really...
7 Dec 2009
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: 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...
21 Apr 2009
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 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
Toon Tuesday: Disney's "B" Movie
Back in the 1960s, our morning was interrupted by a special meeting. It was held in a small conference room just off A-Wing in Disney's animation building. I honestly don't recall everyone in the meeting. But I do know that production boss Ken Peterson and Andy Engman were present. Why this special...
11 Feb 2008
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...
13 Aug 2007
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