Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bob McCrea

This item stands alone - here are notes for a talk held by animator Bob McCrea on Tuesday evening 9/4/56 at the Disney studios.
It shows us that there was an interest in creating an interest for the history of animation in 1956. It may be a bit simplistic, and not always correct (there is no D in Bill Nolan), but it was well-meant and they screened a few highlights that I guess may otherwise have been hard to get to see...

Why Bob McCrea today? Well, I just revisited Wall-E (my this-year-favorite film) on BluRay, and the following image ran by:
From Wall-E

On the The Animation Guild blog, we read (and check it out, as there is more info and a drawing): "Bob spent forty years at the House of Mouse, starting with Snow White in 1937 through The Rescuers in 1977. Afterwards he was an animation instructor at CalArts from 1977 until 1986, the last four years as the head of the School of Character Animation. He passed away in 1995." AHA! Bob McCrea was the "captain" of CalArts! Ok, that figures! THAT must be why they named the captain of the Axiom after him! By the way, I find it interesting that McCrea also speaks of Don Graham's classes in his talk.

[Addition: this seems to have been the center of some discussion on the web! A note for those folks: Ken O'Brien, also an animator from Disney's, also taught at Cal Arts...]

Alberto Becattini has this info for Bob McCrea:
- Inbetweener: DISNEY c35-37 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 37)
- Animator: DISNEY c38-41/52-70/74-77 (Fantasia 40, Mickey Mouse 41 [Orphan’s Benefit], Ben and Me 53, The Goofy Success Story 55, An Adventure in the Magic Kingdom 58, From All of Us to All of You 58, Donald Duck 59 [Donald in Mathmagicland], Donald’s Silver Anniversary 60, Kids Is Kids 61, Man Is His Own Worst Enemy 62, Three Tall Tales 63, A Square Peg in a Round Hole 63, Goofy 65 [Freewayphobia No. 1, Goofy’s Freeway Trouble], A Ranger’s Guide to Nature 66, Man on Wheels 67, How the West Was Lost 67, The Ranger of Brownstone 68, The Rescuers 77)
- Key Assistant Animator: DISNEY c71-73 (Robin Hood 73)
(On this blog we have also encountered him as animator on Pinocchio and One Hundred and One Dalmatians!)

I suspect that the following info from the California Death Records is the Bob McCrea described above: Robert Edward McCrea, born exactly 10 years after Walt Disney on 12/5/1911 in Michigan, passed away in Santa Cruz 7/1/95. I am certain that in 1945 he occupied room 1D-8 in the Animation Building (the room next to Ollie Johnston), in 1957 he was in 1G-15, while in the 60s and 70s he was in 1B-11.

Personally, I first encountered his name as the animator of the - may I say rather stiff - Mickey Mouse for the 1977 series The New Mickey Mouse Club. In the end credits one could see someone flip Mickey drawings, and I always imagined this to be Bob McCrea...



Anonymous Floyd Norman says...

Did you know I attended that Bob McCrea lecture on 9/4/56? Yep, I was there back in 1956.

I also attended other more informal "lectures" because Bob would love to stop and talk. Bob especially loved to talk about Disney studio history. We found Bob McCrea very informative and entertaining. However, he never seemed to do any work. I'm sure he did on occasion, it's just that we never actually saw him working.

I never attended Cal Arts. I was an old Art Center guy. However, I'm sure Bob was a great instructor, because he loved the business so much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 2:14:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Aidan says...

That is indeed the correct Bob McCrea's records you found. I'm his grandson :)

-Aidan Elliott-McCrea

Friday, December 26, 2008 at 6:13:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Steven Hartley says...

Wow! Bob McCrea is very interesting man and I'm really into this information that he wrote down!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 6:33:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Unknown says...

Thanks for this. As I am on a journey of piecing together my family tree and to what ends of the Earth my predecessors ended up in. Today I discovered Robert Edward McCrea is a distant cousin, 2nd 3x removed. Then I found out he had an occupation in animation. Google this google that and I find this. Interesting to see movies I grew up with now has a more meaningful connection too. :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 5:55:00 PM PDT  

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