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Archive for the ‘Effects Animators’ Category

The Black Hole Memories by Dorse Lanpher

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The Black Hole Memories
From the autobiography of Dorse A. Lanpher
“Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck”


Copyright © Cinefantastique

In early 1979 I was working at Walt Disney Productions on The Black Hole, a live action film with animated effects. The spectacular success of George Lucas’s brilliant Star Wars inspired Walt Disney Studio’s to do a film which would cash in on that sci fi success. I had just finished working on the hand drawn animated effects for Pete’s Dragon, another live action film. Don Bluth who had directed the 2D animation for Pete’s Dragon was talking about leaving the studio with John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman to do the animated film, The Secret of NIMH.  Don had mentioned that he would like for me to join them as special effects supervisor. Even though I was intrigued by Don’s offer I felt I had a professional obligation to finish The Black Hole and was having a good time doing it. Jack Buckley, a long time Disney effects animator, had retired as effects department head and left me in charge as the animation effects department supervisor. Ted Kierscey, an effects animator, was helping me animate the laser blasts, rocket engine exhaust, and various visual effects that at the time, before computers, only 2D animation could accomplish. Don Paul was just out of the Eric Larson animation training group and he was assisting us. There was even some input from Brad Bird, later to become a successful director for Pixar Studios. During a conversation with Brad he revealed his successful directorial future when he expressed some ideas about how I might animate the laser beams when the actors fire their hi tech weapons. The production designer of the film was Peter Ellenshaw. A successful fine artist who was honored as a Disney Legend in 1993. (more…)

I Can't Believe They Paid Me For This

Friday, November 28th, 2008

My Sleeping Beauty Adventure 1956-1958
From my bio “Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck”

by Dorse Lanpher

The year…1956

After struggling through 5 semesters of The Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles , California , I, at the age of 21, decided it was time to conquer the real world. I heard The Walt Disney Studio was looking for artists to help do an animated film entitled “Sleeping Beauty.” I had never really considered cartoon animation as a career but I needed a job and animation art sounded like fun.

I made an appointment to show my portfolio at Walt Disney Feature Animation. On that magic day I nervously carted my portfolio to the main gate of The Walt Disney Studio. Attempting great stage presence I announced my arrival to the guard. He gave me proper directions to my meeting place, Andy Engman’s office in the animation building, follow “Mickey Mouse Lane” to “Dopey Drive,” turn right and enter the animation building on my left…Andy’s office would be the first door on your left as you enter the animation building. Got it! The studio was beautiful. Well kept buildings, un-fearful, frisky squirrels scampering across grassy lawns edged with colorful flowers and large manicured trees. I felt very special walking up Mickey Mouse Lane , frightened, nervous and beatific.

Walt Disney Animation Building On the Lot

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Roger Rabbit Memories

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

In London for “Roger Rabbit” 1988
Words by Dorse Lanpher

Richard Williams got an Oscar for the animation and had a party at The Carriage House Restaurant in Burbank to celebrate.

Vera and I arrived in London during a very chilly and sometimes very wet early January, 1988. We were there to help on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The movie was directed by Robert Zemeckis and the animation was directed by Richard Williams. Max Howard was the exceptionally friendly efficient and courteous British studio manager who welcomed us to The Forum. The Forum was a nice three story building in a pretty area of London with lots of restaurants and good Greek food. Our townhouse at the corner of Saint George’s Terrace and Regents Park Road wasn’t ready for us so we were housed in a very quaint, very British hotel. We had a car with a driver to cart us to work each day for our first week of work on the film. (more…)

My Big Scene

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

From the memoirs of Dorse A. Lanpher “Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things To Duck”


Dorse Lanpher 1975 Walt Disney Animation
(Photo care of Dorse Lanpher)

In1975 I was re-employed by Walt Disney Feature Animation after having spent 12 years living the artist life in the outer world. I had resigned from Disney’s in 1962 thinking animated cartoons just didn’t serve the world. I had an opportunity to go into technical films which I thought would help instruct the world rather than just entertain. Most of the films I worked on in this period were military films which served a wealth of information on how to fight wars, break things and hurt people severely. I eventually came to conclude that contributing art to animated cartoons was a more useful worldly uplifting endeavor. At this time I had become involved in my own company, a partnership with four partners and myself. It was like being married to four people, all guys with too much testosterone. I decided to sell my share in our little concern and seek another job. Fortunately the other guys wanted my shares and Disney’s wanted me back. Well, Disney’s wanted me back after a lengthy interview. At that interview I tried very hard to convince them that I could animate special effects but I had to settle for a position as an assistant animator in the special effects department.

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Banjo Days

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Words and Images care of Dorse Lanphers memoirs “Flyin’ Chunks and Other things to Duck”

In 1979 I was comfortable in my position as department supervisor at Walt Disney Feature Animation but there were political clouds forming on the animation horizon. Don Bluth, along with Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy felt the studio wasn’t being true to what they thought Walt Disney himself wanted of animation. There were others who didn’t agree and tensions were mounting. (more…)

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