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Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Quick Culhane/Tate note...

Remember the discussion we had about Shamus Culhane's animation showing up on the draft as Norm Tate? Well, I had a little think about it. I wonder why I didn't do that before.

I have previously expressed that the drafts are working documents that should point those in need of information to the responsible person. Since Culhane left, the responsible person and the one to be on the draft would logically be his assistant, Norm Tate. In other words, it is correct that Tate is on the drafts.

The questions should instead be about credit: 1) why isn't Culhane credited on the film, and 2) why is Norm Tate? The first one is easy to answer: he left. Sorry, no credit. We have seen this more often - remember the missing credits for Don, John and Gary on The Fox and the Hound? Not a very nice thing to do in my book, but, well, a fact of life. The second one I have as yet no answer for, except maybe that some production person made a list of credits based on the draft, which under NORMAL circumstances would have the name of the responsible animator there. I'm sure Norm wasn't going to complain. It would be interesting to see, though, if he did ANY animation in the film...

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Anonymous David Nethery says...

When Culhane left we don't know how much work remained on his assigned scenes to get them ok'd to clean up. Tate was Culhane's assistant animator (which in those days meant more than simply a clean up artist) and if he had to add significantly to Culhane's rough scenes to get them approved then perhaps the Powers-that-be were bestowing upon Norm Tate a bit of a reward for rising to the occasion of successfully finishing Culhane's animation without having to recast another full- fledged animator to the footage, just as the same Powers-that-be punished Culhane for what was perceived as his disloyalty in leaving during production. By his own admission Culhane worked VERY rough and loose in the first pass on his scenes, so depending on how much remained to be tied down on the scenes which he left behind when he departed for the Fleischer Studio it may have been considered fair game to give Norm Tate co-animator credit on that work. Especially if it saved the studio production management from having to scramble around to pull another full-fledged animator off his assigned sequence and reassign him to finish Culhane's work . If Tate went above and beyond the call of duty for a regular assistant animator then he deserved the credit.

The unfairness was in the studio not acknowledging any of Culhane's work as the "co-animator" on those scenes with a screen credit of his own.

Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 6:51:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Stephen Worth says...

Grim Natwick told me that one of the reasons he left Disney was a result of him asking for a copy of the draft for Snow White to put together a list of his footage on the film to justify his complain about not getting a bonus check as he was promised. He found that Ham Luske had scratched out Grim's name and written his own in over scenes that Grim had animated. Grim was furious and when Fleischer came knocking, Grim went walking.

See ya

Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 11:12:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Thad says...

We've all been told by Frank and Ollie that the feature drafts would sometimes credit the assistant artist, which is why Milt Kahl isn't in certain places on the "Bambi" draft that they remembered specifically as being his work. So it could be the same case with "Pinocchio" and Shamus.

Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 1:31:00 PM PST  
Anonymous FantasiaMan says...

I remember seeing a drawing of Foulfellow & Gideon frightened by the Coachman after his menacing gleam signed by Culhane on John K.'s blog a couple weeks back. He did a lot of scenes in this film, & got absolutely no credit out of it. At least he's finally getting it now, even if it is too late.

It is pretty unfair that you work really hard on a film & not get credit on it, even if you quit. A real shame.

Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 7:23:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

David - yes, that is exactly my point. That Tate is on the draft is fine, but that Culhane isn't credited isn't, at least morally.

Stephen, I once looked up the relation Ham to Grim on the Snow White draft, and they were about even. With Ham the man in charge, it is in some cases not strange his name would appear on a scene in the draft, if we see it as a working document, pointing the way to the responsible person.

But all this shows an inherent flaw in the drafts: the person responsible is not neccessarily the one to be credited. The information was TOO condensed: there would have been need for two separate documents...

Monday, March 5, 2007 at 9:38:00 AM PST  
Anonymous David Nethery says...

Hans - yes, I was agreeing with what you posted re: Tate's credit and Culhane's lack of credit and I'm pretty sure I did have some other point I was trying to add to it, but it seems that all I did was reiterate what you had already said in the main body of your post. Sorry about that... this should teach me not to try posting on people's blogs when I haven't had any sleep the night before; brain muddled , needed more sleep ! Uh, what was I saying ??

Monday, March 5, 2007 at 3:59:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Michael Barrier says...

A parallel situation: The draft for sequence 6A of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs credits scenes 26, 26A, and 28X to Fred Spencer, but we know that the original animation for those scenes was done by Fred Moore early in 1936. By the fall of 1936, Dopey's appearance had changed drastically--thanks to Moore--and so it was necessary for Moore's animation to be reworked to be consistent with the new design. That job fell to Spencer, probably because Moore was so busy with other sequences.

I don't know why the Dopey scenes are credited on the draft solely to Spencer, but it would be unreasonable to conclude that the motive was to spite Moore. I don't think it's any more reasonable, in the absence of evidence other than Culhane's memoir, to conclude that Tate received credit to spite Culhane. It's certainly possible that happened, but speculation and gossip aren't enough to make it so.

Monday, March 5, 2007 at 7:16:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Stephen Worth says...

Animation studios' production departments usually have a "score sheet" that lists the scene numbers and footage totals per week for each animator. If the score sheet was used to assemble the draft, it would be natural that the last person animating on a scene would be the one listed- even if that animator was just revising an existing scene by another animator. I agree that it probably isn't a spite thing.

See ya

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 10:32:00 AM PST  

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