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!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Prod. 5906 - The Story of Oil  - or: The Richfield Oil Film Shown in the Disneyland attraction "The World Beneath Us"

No, I do not have the draft of this. The info below was used with kind permission from Didier Ghez who researched it.

Though Tomorrowland had opened in Disneyland in July 1955, a few attractions were added later in the year. To pay the bills, companies were invited to invest their marketing budgets in attractions in the park. One of these was Richfield Oil, with an attraction called The World Beneath Us, which, if I remember it correctly, was near the Kaiser "Aluminum Hall of Fame," the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, and next to the 20,000 Leagues under the Sea walk-through, opposite Circarama and the Art Corner. In the attraction, a film was shown called The Story of Oil.

One of the MANY items at this weekend's auction that will find a new owner is item 649, an original background by Eyvind Earle with matching cells, which show that this was a CinemaScope production:
01← Click to enlarge!
Estimate: between $9,000 and $12,000.

The Story of Oil was directed by Les Clark, assistant director Jim Swain, layout by Lance Nolley with secretary Elena Polles. With backgrounds by Eyvind Earle, obviously, done at the time of the start-up of the Sleeping Beauty background unit. It was animated by Cliff Nordberg and Harvey Toombs, with effects by Josh Meador, Jack Buckley and Jack Boyd. I haven't seen the film, sadly, but something tells me that the last three gents did a good deal of the film! The info comes from the draft of the film at the Archives, dated 7/11/1955 (six days before the park opened), but the Answer Print was already approved 6/22/1955. How the draft gets to be dated three weeks after print approval is beyond me...

Another item, nr. 648, is a cell from this film, by Nordberg or Toombs (left). The character was voiced by Bill Thompson, of course. The second image and the last two are from two publications from the same attraction that are in the auction, as well. Note how the cell resembles the image on the first publication, just in completely different colors (and a different frame of the walk cycle)!
Estimates: cell $800-$1,000. Pamphlet $100-$200. Booklet $150-$200 (but starting at $125).

All this and MUCH more can be found in the auction catalog. Hurry up and register for the auction - I hope there still is time! Above items are under the hammer on Sunday!

A last bit of fun: this morning, an interview with Mike Van Eaton about the auction could be heard on NPR (station 89.3 KPCC - Southern California Public Radio):

[Update: the Earle did not sell! The cell sold for $1,100, the publications sold for $100 & $150.]



Anonymous Steven Hartley says...

I didn't realise you're back to blogging for a while, it's good to see you back, Hans!

That Eyvind Earle background looks amazing! I recently saw one in Toronto of a concept painting by Earle of the Fairy's Cottage in "Sleeping Beauty". Greg Duffell, who has the painting, told me that Carl Bell had a long pan background, from I've heard back in the 70s, no-one wanted it.

Keep up the good work, and hope to see more soon!

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 3:44:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Zartok-35 says...

It would seem when Les Clark started directing in the late 1950s, he took over most of Ham Luske's filmmaking assets.

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 8:28:00 AM PST  

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