Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
[Over at Disney's this p.m., and I found out from Burny Mattinson that longtime Disney Animation veteran Art Stevens has passed away...
Art came to Disney's in 1940, and worked at the Mouse House his entire career. A longtime assistant for John Lounsberry, Art was elevated to feature director on The Rescuers when Lounsberry died. He ended up the lead director on The Fox and the Hound and finished his career with The Black Cauldron.
I worked with Art on Fox and the Hound, and thought he did a commendable job in pulling the film together. (During its making, half the animation crew departed, and there was some fierce infighting among the directors.) That the feature turned out as well as it did is much to Art's credit.
Born in 1915, Art was 92 when he died. It was good knowing you Arthur. I will always have fond memories of the time we worked together.]
An interview with Art Stevens conducted last year by Pete Docter is should appear in Walt's People - Volume 7.
This just in from Jim Korkis:
[At a Cartoon Arts Professional Society (CAPS) event in Los Angeles in the Eighties that I attended, cartoonist Roger Armstrong shared the following story about how he got the job of drawing the Scamp comic strip.
"Cartoonist Ed Nofziger called me one day and said 'They're looking for somebody to do Scamp and I told them if they ever wanted to have a real dog artist, you're it.' (Armstrong had been ghosting the Clifford McBride Napoleon comic strip featuring a huge dog and when he found the workload too difficult since he was doing another comic strip and comic book work, Nofziger took over the Napoleon comic strip for awhile.)
So I went in and talked to Don McLaughlin and he had these other fellows there and they sat around and looked at my samples. Finally, Don said, 'Can you draw Mickey Mouse?' I said, 'Absolutely not. I couldn't draw Mickey Mouse if my life depended on it.' There was a pause and then he said, 'Good, you're hired.' It was just a joke on his part, I guess."
Armstrong also shied away from drawing Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. "I couldn't draw them at all." Although Armstrong did draw some stories of Super Goof and the Beagle Boys. I was fortunate enough to buy two original Scamp daily strips and have Armstrong autograph them.
I believe he started on the strip around 1980 and continued until the strip was cancelled in 1988.]
- Unbuttoned by Jim Korkis and Michael Barrier on MichaelBarrier.com (posted on June 27, 2007).
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
- Walt's School Daze by Wade Sampson,
- The Art of Ratatouille by Jim Hill
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Cartoon Brew mentioned yesterday an exhibition about Kay Nielsen currently taking place in Copenhagen until August 19. I am wondering if a catalog has been released for this exhibition.
Would any of the Danish-speaking readers of this blog (Hans?) be willing to email the GL. Holtegaard museum to find out?
- Walt Lunches With the Fleischers by Steve Hulett and
- Fantasia Leica Reel - Part III by Michael Sporn
I need your help. I am preparing a list of all the articles written by Izzy Klein for Cartoonist PROfiles to be included in Walt's People - Volume 6's bibliography, but I am missing quite a few issues. I am trying to find out what was the subject, title and publication date of the articles he wrote for issues 16, 20, 32, 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46, 50, and 67.
Can you help?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
- Andreas Deja : " ... If you take the drawing out of Disney, it just isn't Disney"
- Disneyland Bacon Bits by Wade Sampson
- Michael Barrier's post from June 19, titled Out of the Night...
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
[I enjoyed Jim Korkis' article on your site a few days back. Very little has been written about Bruce Bushman, but he was central to the development of Disneyland. He was one of the few animators who transferred over to the WED design team in 1953 and 1954. He was a large man who enjoyed playing Santa Claus for various charities. Each Christmas he spent many days inside of an elaborate Santa's Village. And perhaps through this experience, he developed an intuitive sense of how children would respond to created fantasy environments such as those Walt Disney hoped to build at Disneyland. To a great extent Bushman was responsible for the overall "look" of Fantasyland, developing a cohesive color palette for the area and focusing his attention on how the various rides might create a unified presentation. Some of my favorite Bushman designs were never built, such as the Pinocchio boat ride. In the Pinocchio boat ride, guests would float by scenes from the film, before finally plummeting out Monstro's mouth, whose extended tongue was arranged as a 30-foot flume sending flat-bottom boats down to a large splash lagoon. It was an imaginative version of the popular "shoot-the-chutes" boat rides found at many beachside parks in the 1950s.
But the real reason I'm writing is to share some artwork. After leaving Disney, Bruce Bushman helped design a number of non-Disney theme parks. In Jim Korkis' article, he included a link to Dan Goodsell's wonderful blog which included some scans of artwork for the proposed Hanna-Barbera Land. Dan's blog has some fabulous images of rides fashioned after the Jetsons and Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park. But I wanted to send along two images for the proposed Fred Flintstone ride. (I know one Flintstone image is on Dan's site). But in these two images, you can see both the overall track design for the Flintstone ride and also the vehicle design. It would've made for an interesting park.
Todd James Pierce
- Edward Plumb by Joe Campana,
- Remembering Vance Gerry by Floyd Norman,
- Up, Up and Away with Walt Disney by Wade Sampson,
- Fantasia Leica 2 by Michael Sporn.
Monday, June 18, 2007
This comic book album of Astérix has just been released in France to celebrate Albert Uderzo's 80th birthday. It contains tributes to Uderzo by most of the main European comic book artists, including Disney comic book artist Vicar, who created a special 3 page story where Donald and the nephews meet Astérix and Obelix for the first time.
[Two ads from a theater manager's magazine: Exhibitor's Herald World, December 27, 1930.]
Friday, June 15, 2007
It was all in honor of Walt and Sleeping Beauty. I had the honor of going along and drawing whatever Walt said I could draw. They gave him this award, this prize that looked like a burnt turkey on a pedestal with its legs sticking up in the air.
He said, “I am just a cartoonist. I don’t understand what this is. I wish you had the artist here so he could explain it to me. I don’t understand art.”
It turned out the artist was there and he came up and met Walt and they began talking and laughing. He and the artist became close friends right away like they understood each other.
Walt said, “What is this?”
The artist said, “It does look like a burnt turkey. I must admit it does look like that once you mentioned it. What it is supposed to be is that your work and everything you do is like a seed you plant. That’s supposed to be a seed sprouting.”
Everyone else in the room was just looking goggle-eyed at them.
Walt said, “I understand what this burnt turkey is now and will be proud to take it back with me to the Studio.”]
You may remember that about a month ago I mentioned on the blog the upcoming book: Stepping Into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble. I just realized that this book is not "just" a biography of Maurice Noble, it is apparently his autobiography co-written with Robert McKinnon, which makes it even more exciting.
Both MichaelBarrier.com and Mark Evanier's site report the death of artist Roger Armstrong last week at the age of 89.
An interview with Armstrong by Alberto Becattini has been featured in Walt's People - Volume 4.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
[This postcard shows Walt Disney with his Honorable Mention 1932 Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse. The photo was taken at the Hyperion Studio.]
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
[ Disneylands that Weren't Disneylands
I got a chance this last week to spend some time with Todd Pierce on the faculty at Cal Poly who is working on a book on early Disneyland and other theme parks and we talked about some of the early Disneyland Designers like Harper Goff, C.V. Wood and Bruce Bushman who went on to work on other non-Disney theme parks.
Bruce Bushman (1911-1972) began work at the Disney Studios as a layout artist on the short cartoons although he also worked in other capacities including Art Director of the Mickey Mouse Club tv series and Art Director for the Nutcracker Suite segment of Fantasia.
He worked on attractions for Disneyland from the beginning including the horses for the Disneyland Carousel, Casey Jr. Circus train, Phantom Boats and the Mickey Mouse Club Circus.. Bruce was a large, husky man and Walt decided that his proportions would be used as a guide for the seating on the ride vehicles like the Snow White ride. He was the son of famous silent screen star, Francis X. Bushman. He has a window on Main Street at Disneyland.
Here’s a concept piece by Bushman for Bible Storyland, a park to be done in Los Angeles. You’ll notice it is very Disneyland-esque from a Hub and then branching out. I know this is tiny but you might be able to pick out the Dante’s Inferno ride. ( For a larger view, go to this link and go to the October 27, 2006 entry.)
In the Fifties, Nat Winecoff, former Disney promoter and theme park developer, conceived of a $15 million Bible story-based theme parkwhich he planned to build on 220 acres of land in Cucamonga (now Rancho Cucamonga). Investors included actor Jack (Wizard of Oz Tin Man) Haley and Donald Duncan of Duncan Yo-Yo fame. However, the clergy allegedly quashed the idea and Bible Storyland was never erected.
To be constructed in the shape of a heart, Bible Storyland would have included different “lands,” each with its own theme, tied to either pre-Christian times, the Bible or the New Testament. Parkgoers would arrive at a Star of David garden and could then saunter through the Garden of Eden and visit Adam and Eve. Visitors could also venture to Israel and ride animals through Noah’s Ark Carousel, explore the inside of the whale with Jonah and watch Moses on Mount Sinai. Other locales would have included ancient Egypt, Babylon and Rome, as well as Ur, where Abraham began his journey to the Promised Land. It would have featured rides and attractions such as “Adventures in King Tut's Tomb”, “Noah's Ark Carousel”and “Ride Through King Solomon's Mines”.
You can find Bruce Bushman's concept artwork for a Hanna-Barbera theme park for the Sixties go to this link.]
Monday, June 11, 2007
I am trying to get a scan of it as Walt's People - Volume 6 and the volumes after it will feature a few pieces about Disney background artists.
Thanks in advance for your help.
- A stunning series of posts about The Victory March book by David Lesjak on Toons at War
- Two model sheets by Rico LeBrun posted by Michael Sporn.