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Archive for the ‘Legends’ Category

Growing Up with Nine Old Men – Ted Thomas

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

CTN is proud to present Ted Thomas in an interview and screening of “Growing up With Nine Old Men”.

For those who don’t know, Disney’s Nine Old Men were the original group of core animators who worked for Walt Disney.  Filmmaker Ted Thomas, son of legendary animator Frank Thomas and one of “the nine old men”, has often been asked what it was like growing up with one of Walt Disney’s core group of artists.  In his documentary “GROWING UP WITH NINE OLD MEN”, Ted hits the road to put that same question to the other children of the team that created a new art form and put a lasting stamp on popular culture.  If you’ve seen the films Frank and Ollie and/or Walt and El Grupo, then you’ve seen the wonderful work of Frank Thomas’ son, Theodore (Ted) Thomas. 

Join #CTNers  on Saturday morning Nov 16th at 10:45am at #CTNexpo 2013  for this wonderful and charming account of the lives behind the scenes of the nine old men.

DVDs will be available at the CTN store on site at the event to purchase and and have signed by Ted Thomas.

This session is included with CTN LIVE, VIP 1-day and 3-day expo passport ticket.
To buy tickets to the event  click here.

For more information about Ted Thomas


Eat Your Oatmeal

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Eat Your Oatmeal!!

Words Care of Dorse A. Lanpher:

Sitting here eating my oatmeal for breakfast and having recently discovered how oatmeal can control ones cholesterol I’m reminded of my last meeting with the revered Joe Grant. Everyone admired Joe for his talent and creative energies but how many of us were close enough to him to have been exposed to his wisdom. I was attending the last showing of some of the many years of his work on the second floor concourse in the Walt Disney Feature Animation building when I had my only chance. (more…)

Frank and Ollie by Dan Jeup

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

“I’ve Never Eaten Dog Food”

Words and Images by Dan Jeup
This post care of Steve Moore at Flip Magazine

My first animation assignment at CalArts back in 1981 was to learn how to “in-between”. A large table stacked with xeroxed scenes from the Disney classic features was there for the class to pick from. I chose a scene from Peter and the Wolf featuring the star character sitting down in a huff, kicking the snow. I loved the appeal of his design, the rhythm in his poses, the elasticity of his action and the way his face squashed and stretched.

As I carefully in-betweened the scene, a waft of tobacco smoke blew over my shoulder,……Read More

Ollie Johnston – Care of Flip Magazine

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Ollie Johnston’s life and career have been well documented. FLIP presents some anecdotes from the next generation of animators whom he so greatly inspired.

Article Care of Steve Moore at Flip Magazine

Randy Cartwright
I was in-betweening for Ollie on The Rescuers. One day he showed me a pencil test loop of Penny. She was holding up her lantern, causing sparkles to appear on the wet wall. It was a slow, not particularly impressive scene.

Ollie pointed and said, “See that? What do you think?”

I replied, hesitantly, “Well, that’s….that’s nice.” (more…..)

Ollie Johnston

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
Together Again


After the announcement of Ollie’s passing on April 14th, 2008.
Words By Nancy Beiman:

It’s been a sad week for animators. First we lose animator/producer Andy Knight on April 11 (he died of a stroke at the age of 46). Now news has come that Ollie Johnston (the last of the famous “Nine Old Men”) died on April 14 after a long illness. Ollie was 95 years old.

I first met him when I was in my freshman year at Cal Arts. I’d gotten the idea of animating an albatross–a gooney bird. I was pretty sure that this amusing creature, which crashes on landing, had never been animated before.

“I hate to disillusion you,” Brad Bird said one day as I was happily working away on a walk on the ‘other’ bird, “but they’re animating an albatross in THE RESCUERS, the new Disney feature. Ollie Johnston is animating it, and he is one of the artists coming to our show this spring to see our pencil tests.” (more…)

Rowland Wilson

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008


Rowland Wilson in his Studio

John Culhane, author of many definitive books on Walt Disney animation, including Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 and Aladdin, The Making of Animated film, was a long-time friend of Rowland B. Wilson and sent this memoir to Rowland’s wife, Suzanne. (more…)

Walt Stanchfield

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008


Walt Stanchfield started at the Charles Mintz Animation Studio in 1937. He also worked for 2 years at the Walter Lantz Animation Studio. In 1948, he went to work for the Walt Disney Animation Studio and with the exception of 4 short retirements, has worked there ever since.

Walt worked on every full-length cartoon feature between The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad (1949) and The Great Mouse Detective (1986). About half of that time was spent as a Clean-up artist and half as an Animator. From then until the present, he has been active in a teaching capacity, including 3 trips to the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio in Florida, to teach some drawing classes and 1 trip to London to help on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as a hands-on animation consultant and a conductor of drawing classes.

When not involved in studio matters, Walt is a painter of landscapes, seascapes, still-lifes, and people. He writes poetry and spends an inordinate amount of time at the piano–that is, between caring for his vegetable garden and playing tennis.

Was this a life, or what?! (more…)

Mel Shaw

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008


Animator and story man Mel Shaw has been called one of Disney’s “elder statesmen” of animation. Walt Disney, who personally recruited Mel to join his team, observed another side.

During his early polo playing days, Mel recalled first meeting Walt at the field, who announced, “You ride like a wild Indian!” And thus, the door opened for Mel to infuse his passion into Disney animation. (more…)

Joe Grant

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Disney Legend

(Caricature by John Musker)

Words by Mike Gabriel for Heroes of Imagination:
Joe Grant taught me many, many things over the 15 years I worked with him, about life and about cartoons. Probably the greatest lesson was observing the way he lived his life, summed up by a little 4 by 3 calligraphic note he wrote and kept taped to the outside of his office door at Disney. It read simply “Get to work” And boy did he work. Right up until he was about a week away from turning 97 years of age. He really lived that note. Never allow yourself to turn fallow. You are an artist; therefore you must reflect then create. Compensated or not, you must never stop coming up with ideas andconcepts and thoughts that need to be captured in drawings and/or words. Stay in the game. Create. Get on the screen or the art pad, pick up that stylus pen, ink pen, grease pencil, water colors, or charcoal and get that brain working. (more…)

Memories of Joe Grant

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

JOE SENT ME: A tribute to Joe Grant, 1908-2005

Joe Grant was the spirit of the old Disney studio incarnate.
He was “the old guy at the end of the hall” who sat for months, and years, in an office on the third floor of the Disney studio, working on ideas for new animated pictures.
One of his ideas was made into a short film called LORENZO which was nominated for an Academy Award when its creator was 96 years old.

In 1931, Walt Disney hired a young newspaper cartoonist named Joe Grant to design caricatures of Hollywood movie stars for a Mickey Mouse cartoon, MICKEY’S GALA PREMIERE. Joe designed caricatures of Wallace Beery, Charlie Chaplin, and Greta Garbo and liked the work so much he stayed on at Disneys for the next seventeen years.

Joe noticed that characters would change shape and volume from scene to scene in the early shorts. He created the Character Models department at Disney at Walt Disney’s request and introduced the concept of maquettes’ three dimensional statues of the cartoon creatures that would enable animators to draw them correctly from all angles.

A list of Joe’s accomplishments would be far too long to include here. He designed the Queen and the Witch in SNOW WHITE. He wrote the story for DUMBO.
Some of his best work can be seen in THE RELUCTANT DRAGON, whose BABY WEEMS sequence, done entirely in storyboard, revolutionized animated storytelling.

In 1948 Joe had a falling out with Walt Disney over credits on the films and he left the studio for forty years.
During this time, he and his wife produced elegant ceramics and graphic art.

In 1988 Joe Grant was called back in to Disney’s to work on concept art for THE LITTLE MERMAID.

This time, he never left.

Joe continued to turn out concept art for every Disney film made since 1988. He sat in the office that he shared with Burny Mattinson and drew elegant pictures of cats and elephants and Indian gods and monsters. His colleague Vance Gerry, who also left us this year, worked just down the hall.

The younger animators were a little afraid of Joe. Most of it was awe of what he’d done. And there was always the notion in the back of our heads that this old guy could draw rings around any and all of us. It was a notion that was perfectly true.

“I know what will break the ice,” I told a friend.

I went straight to Joe’s office, knocked on the door, introduced myself, and said “I bet I’ve got some cartoon books that you don’t have.”

“Like what?”

“SIMPLICISSIMUS, a Munich satirical magazine, the 1975 museum catalogue.”

“I’ve got the complete run of SIMPLICISSIMUS right here!” Joe said, indicating a row of browncoated, dusty books on a nearby shelf.

“I’ve got some Ralph Bartons and T. S. Sullivants that I don’t think you have. I’ll trade copies.”

“Bring em in!”

So I did, and the ice was well and truly broken. We became friends and I would often stop by to see how things were going with Joe’s projects, and discuss my own.

I once asked Joe why he continued to work at Disney’s. We would often discuss the current state of the studio. Joe thought that it definitely had once been better.

“The old man doesn’t work here any more!” he said brusquely. “As for me, coming in here beats staying home looking at the dog!”

When the DUMBO special edition disc came out, I phoned Joe to tell him that I’d seen him onscreen doing an interview with Leonard Maltin in the “extra features”.

“WAS I ALIVE?” Joe asked brusquely.

“You photographed better than Leonard did.”

We were discussing 3D animation a few weeks ago and Joe was terribly excited to hear that a system had been invented in Rochester which did not require special red and green glasses for the three dimensional effect, and one of the systems was installed on the campus of RIT.

“I’ve been predicting this thing for forty years. I have to read about it!” Joe said.

And I got the paperwork that I had promised him and had it all ready for download this weekend. But it’s too late to mail it to him now.

Joe was working right up to the end, which came on May 6, 2005, a few days short of his 97th birthday.

I feel privileged to have known him for ten years and to have been able to work with, and learn from, a damn fine artist who was also one of the last living links with the early years of the Disney studio.

And I imagine that Joe’s getting proper credit, now that he’s working with the Old Man on his next picture.

–Nancy Beiman

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