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, September 22, 2010

An Early Comic Strip...

...though not meant to be comical. It tells a story in separate but similar images in progression, with balloons that show the dialogue. But this is from 1493, the year after Columbus stumbled upon the Caribbean ("discovered America")!
Yes, predating The Yellow Kid by about 400 years!

The duchy of Gelria (Gelre), in what is now part of the Dutch province of Gelderland, saw the return of the young Duke Charles (Karel) from captivity in Burgundian France in 1492. Bernard, Count Van Meurs remained hostage in stead of his uncle Charles in Péronne, France, so Charles could settle his ransom. It is Van Meurs who in this document of 1493 complains that Charles has not kept his promises...
(From the Municipal Archives of Zutphen, old arch. nr. 2386.)
[Though I found the above image in a book, you can see a wonderful reproduction of it here on the website of the Zutphen Archives!]

I would venture to guess it would read something like this:
   1) "Oh, King of Burgundy, I, Count Van Meurs will take Duke
        Charles' place while he fetches your ransom in Gelria.
   2) "Thanks, Van Meurs, I will get you out of here pronto!"
   3) "I'm out! That dumb Van Meurs can rot for all I care...!"

It may not seem to be animation related, but in my opinion it is a direct ancestor to our storyboards: it shows that this way of telling a story is very basic (at least in Northern European culture)...

(On a personal note I can tell that 1493 is three years after the earliest date in my own family tree--the church books before that date have reportedly burned.)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three Peg Bar

As one can see in the table on my paper-and-pegbar page, the Disney studio first added three pegs with a center peg for the 1935 short film Mickey's Garden.

However, already in February 1927, a patent was filed (granted May 1929) that describes the three peg system. It also gives good reasons to implement this system. The inventor named is Frank Lyle Goldman, who according to this page was Max Fleischer's best friend! (If this is the same person, but what would be the odds there were two of that name in animation at that time on the East Coast?)


Those of us who "grew up" using good old ACME pegs, or you East Coast-ers using Oxberry pegs, may have wondered why one professionally would not just use two pegs which seems simplest. Well, here is the explanation. Having manufactured aluminum animation discs myself back in 1983, I must admit that this did not come as a surprise to me. Obviously, the pegbars that we were used to had flat outer pegs (and yes, one could lay a ruler over the outer Oxberry pegs), but the principle is the same as in above patent.

Do we know when Fleischer started using flat-round-flat holes in their animation paper? Did the Disney studio have to pay a licensing fee for using the three pegs in addition to their regular two round pegs?

[Still really busy - not much time for blogging!]


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Prod. 2519 - The Rescuers (XXV)  - Seq. 013 - Happy Ending

Directed by Art Stevens, assistant director Rick Rich, layout by Joe Hale, Sylvia Roemer and Vance Gerry. This FINAL draft of 3/18/77.
(Just stubled upon a picture of Joe Hale in an interesting article!)

Finally, here are the last eight pages of the Rescuers draft! Again directed solo by Art Stevens, this sequence is animated by Andy Gaskill, John Pomeroy, Dale Baer, Gary Goldman, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Cliff Nordberg and Chuck Harvey.

Ollie has a few "re-use with costume change" scenes, and even has his name spelled wrong on the final scene...

I am, while I type this, rendering comps for the final stereo frames of our latest feature film, The Olsen Gang Gets Polished. More about this later. Right now I just would like to see this finished so I can deliver the framestacks tomorrow to the post facility that produces the DCP's! Maybe get some sleep between now and then, even.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Prod. 2519 - The Rescuers (XXIV)  - Seq. 012 - The Escape

Directed by Art Stevens, assistant director Rick Rich, layout by Joe Hale and Vance Gerry. This FINAL draft of 3/18/77.

Animation by Bill Hajee, Milt Kahl, Glen Keane, Cliff Nordberg, Ron Husband, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Pomeroy, Ron Clements and Andy Gaskill. It's a veritable free-for-all as to who draws what! Milt drawing the flying teddy bear?
Effects by Jack Buckley (fireworks) and Dick Lucas (Swampmobile).

This sequence and the next, final sequence are the only ones that give Art Stevens sole directing credit. At this time, John Lounsbery was long gone, though Woolie was still on his post (where I met him 17 months later). Also note that Vance Gerry, who should by now be quite well-known as story artist, is credited here for layout!

[This will have to tide you over through the weekend!]

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Prod. 2519 - The Rescuers (XXIII)  - Seq. 011 - The Pirate's Cave

This sequence 011 is placed between 008 and 08.1 in the film!
Directed by Woolie Reitherman, assistant director Jeffrey Patch, layout Don Griffith, secretary Lorraine [Thilman? Davis?].
This FINAL draft dated 4/1/77.

We start off with Milt Kahl (Snoops, Medusa and Penny) and Don Bluth (Penny). Then, Frank Thomas animates the mice with Bill Hajee, Ron Clements, Ron Husband and Dale Baer. Ollie Johnston and Glen Keane animate Penny. Effect water by Jack Buckley.

Probably the most screened sequence of this movie, the sequence where Penny is down in the cave was sequence-directed by frank and Ollie. They would plan their part of this sequence in rough layout thumbnails, then continue by posing all scenes roughly as can be seen in this previous posting.

They relished telling the story that Woolie told them the animatic/Leica-reel/work-reel was JUST the right length, and when they posed out the sequence and showed it to Woolie, he said: "See? Just as I said: just the right length!" They kept to themselves that the sequence had grown to twice the length!

Notice that only the water scenes have an effects animator (Buckley) assigned - all other scenes do not, and there are shadows, sparkles, flashes etc. When talking about Rescuers, Frank and Ollie made it quite clear that out of finanthere were very few effects in this film, and only a few scenes with shadows. But who did these effects? Did they do them themselves? Or are we missing names here?

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