Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for fifteen complete Disney features and eighty-five shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (VIII)

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The rest of Supercal - animated by Ward Kimball.

And this concludes the Mary Poppins draft. The only other animated part in this film is the stop motion by Bill Justice and X. Atencio, and it is not in the draft. As always, as I said before, remember the standard disclaimer: these were working documents, not historical artifacts, so at times they may not be correct. The draft was prepared October 7th, 1963, while the film premiered August 27th of the next year, so a lot could have happened in the mean time. Steven already pointed out that a penguin scene is missing and two live action scenes were cut out. I presume, however, that the draft otherwise is pretty much precise, but keep the comments coming anyway!

Next up, The Jungle Book. Still need to prepare the files, but it will not be long...

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (VII)

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Animation by Milt Kahl (fox, stewards), Eric Larson (racers), Cliff Nordberg (photographer, reporters), Ward Kimball (pearlies).

David Tomlinson speaking for jockey and both stewards, while the reporters are Dal McKennon, J. Pat O'Malley, Alan Napier and George Pelling respectively.

We have reached the start of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious... (Strange: the word is not in my spell check!)

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (VI)

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Animation by Fred Hellmich (fox hunters, hounds), John Lounsbery (huntsman and horse) and Milt Kahl (fox and riders).

Again we hear Dal McKennon doing a voice, this time the Irish fox, animated by Milt. In a way it is funnier seeing the credits for the voices of the hounds: J. Pat O'Malley, George Pelling (voice of Danny in One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Dal McKennon, Sean McClory (another famous actor, for Disney e.g. the police sergeant in The Happiest Millionaire) and Alan Napier (Sir Pelinore in Sword in the Stone, and Alfred in the Batman series of my childhood!). We meet most all of them again later in this sequence.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (V)

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The rest of Frank and Ollie's animation of the penguins, and a scene of the merry-go-round guard by Art Stevens.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (IV)

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Animation by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas.
Voices actors mentioned here: Dal McKennon (penguin) and J. Pat O'Malley (another penguin).
And we are reminded to "check with Joe."

You knew THAT Frank and Ollie did the penguins. Here you can find out HOW they split them between them precisely... (More tomorrow!)

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (III)

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Hal Ambro (turtles), Julius "Sven" Svendsen (swans & cygnets), Ollie Johnston (penguins) and held cell menus by Jack Boyd.


Note sc. 48: "Daws Butler - 45 cycles - turtle dialogue." The "cycles" show how the track is to be sped up (or down, as the case may be). One sees this more often, like on Paul Frees' tracks for Ludwig von Drake, which I seem to recall are done at 90 cycles.

The indication on sc. 64 is also kind of fun: all the action to be fielded to a (Disney) 6½ field, with the characters to be positioned and blown up per guide. Ollie drew based on the stats in a different size, and then the drawings were to be xeroxed according to his indications filling the entire 6½ Field (which is, for those of you calculating in ACME, 14.4 Field, see the calculator on my separate Fields, Paper and Pegs page linked to in the right column).

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (II)

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Today we find Eric Larson (birds, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies, deer), Cliff Nordberg (chickens and small animals), John Lounsbery (farmyard animals: rams, lambs, chicken, geese, pig, horse) and Hal Ambro (turtles), a well as effects animator Dan MacManus (butterflies).

Eric Larson's squirrel in Sleeping Beauty is a classic (I have a great model sheet of that one somewhere), one he revisits here in a little less stylized version.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (I)

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As a little surprise, before throwing myself at the more extensive job of posting the Jungle Book draft, I will, over the next week, post the draft to Mary Poppins - to wit the animated sequence that Mrs. Travers seems to have hated (see Saving Mr. Banks). The film itself had production number 2162, while this sequence by itself is 2165. It's a Jolly Holiday - in April. I am aware I haven't posted anything significant in quite a long time; to get back in some kind of rhythm, I will start slowly:

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Directed by Ham Luske, assisted by Jim Swain. Layouts by MacLaren Stewart, Don Griffith and Joe Hale. Production secretary Ruth Wright. This 2nd draft dated 10/7/63.

These first pages are mainly Live Action on animation backgrounds; there is little effects animation (dust and falling blossom) by Dan MacManus.

The interesting bit here is the top of the first page: here we see explained the legend of the letters used in the BG column (!), stating the different types of shots, while it is noted that all scenes have animation backgrounds:
A - Live action on top of animation (on animation background);
X - Live action on animation background without actual animation;
C - Cartoon only: no live action, only animation as usual;
OL - Goes with A: an overlay of animation on top: "tough!"
B - Blob matte - a different method of combining the live action and animation. (Elucidation, anyone?)
As we can see, it seems the hardest to do was combining the live action with animation and putting a layer of animation on top. This made for a few more passes through the optical printer...

The first scene is one of those scenes, called A+OL, and thus has animation on top of live action on top of animation. Then two scenes are A: with live action over animation, and the rest are X, live action over the backgrounds. Pretty straight-forward, right?

As always, my "Standard Disclaimer" is in effect. You know - the one that says that drafts are go-to production documents aiming to show the persons responsible for the scenes to the next person handling the scene folders, as well as possibly for crediting purposes. As Frank Thomas put it, "It is the most important document that everyone uses to find out who is responsible for what, and when." Thus, it is not a historical document. At least, it wasn't originally. You can read more about this in a lot of earlier postings.


Now started editing our next feature film, "Albert," based on a Danish children's book of the same name that was first published in 1968. I will try to not be a stranger here, folks. For the longest time I spent all my free time - not a lot of that! - pouring over any and all information and images pertaining walt Disney's Hyperion Ave. studio, and I feel I could find my way in it pretty well now (except for a few areas that irritatingly still are "black boxes" to our research group, led by our fearless leader David Lesjak). You can see a bit of our work here and here: the "camera room" image on the first link, and the "what were Dave Hand and Johnny Cannon working on" images on the second were things that I figured out. Which was wonderful fun. The fact that I can date the camera room image to June 1930 just adds to the merriment...

I must say, I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Sporn, earlier this year. He was a great supporter of this blog; I was an avid reader of his. And anyone who proclaims Multiplane Day is tops in my book!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is there a Hermes Pan Appreciation Society?

Is there a Hermes Pan Appreciation Society? If there is, sign me up!

The Jungle Book draft is coming up shortly on this blog. I've been kinda busy these past months... In the mean time, throughout these months, I have watched enough Astaire movies and others like Kiss Me Kate to find that there should be a Hermes Pan Memorial built to the man who influenced ALL of our lives so profoundly. Hermes Pan and Fred Astaire shaped my vision of rhythm, soul and harmony more than any single person I could name. Fred and Hermes are a part of my heart beat. Let us not forget either of them. If you know their work, you never will.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Prod. 2443 - Gull Crazy
  - a.k.a. The Simple Things

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Originally called internally Gull Crazy as a reference to the Gershwin show (and Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland film) Girl Crazy, the film The Simple Things is considered the last Mickey Mouse short made during Walt Disney's lifetime.

Directed by Charles Nichols, laid out by Lance Nolley with as secretary Beulah May "Bee" Selck (who started at Disney in April 1937 and whom we know to have been assistant director and editor during the war years). The film itself adds to the credits: written by Bill Berg, backgrounds by Ed Starr, music by Paul Smith.
Released 4/18/1953. This FINAL draft of 1/25/1952 (!)

Animation by Marvin Woodward, Norm Ferguson, George Kreisl, Fred Moore, Charles Nichols (the director), George Nicholas and Dan MacManus (effects). Sadly Fred Moore died, age 41, on 11/23/52, between the date of this draft and the release date of the film.

A lot can be said about the quality of the animation, so I will not comment a lot on that. The film is lifted by the thought process of Pluto, but the animation of him at times seems to be outdated when looking at the other characters. Mickey at times is pretty badly drawn, his model isn't too exciting either. But once in a while there are great scenes, so we can't really blame Fred Moore or Norm Ferguson for that matter. Marv Woodward's and George Nicholas' scenes aren't among their best (to say it mildly). As a whole this film is pretty uninspired, not a great (temporary) ending to Mickey's acting career in the Disney shorts.

I do like the song, though - I find it hard to shake. Paul J. Smith (1906-1985), though mainly noted for his work on the True Life Adventures, has worked for Disney since 1934 - his official starting day was the same as that of assistant director Lou Debney, father of the great composer John Debney. Paul Smith later worked together a lot with writer Gil George, who was actually Disney nurse Hazel George. Check him out on IMDb - his list of credits is incredible!

The film The Simple Things is found on the Treasures DVD "Mickey Mouse in Living Color Part Two" and can be seen on YouTube, as well.

Busy as always, I am currently editing A. Film's latest Olsen Gang CG film that will be released in Denmark in October 2013.
Sorry I have so very little time to upload stuff here!

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