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Posts Tagged ‘History’

Through the Camera Lens of Mike Gabriel

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Rescuers Down Under

Words and Photos care of Mike Gabriel.

Rescuers Down Under Research trip to Australia. We were the first animation crew at Disney to demand we go to the actual country and do the research before making the film. The studio naturally looked at this as an unnecessary boondogle since it had never been done as far as I know. I vowed to pay my own way if I had to. Peter Schneider relented—or should I say Jeffrey Katzenberg must have relented—-or should I say Michael Eisner must have relented— and allowed us two weeks to explore the continent of Australia. A great experience. This is Joe Ranft, Joe’s first head of story opportunity, and Maurice (Pixote Hunt) our art director at Uluru or Ayres Rock in the middle of the outback. (more…)

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…)

Teacher, Writer, Consultant Bill Matthews (Pt 3)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Here for a 3rd go-around are another batch of recollections from a period at Disney Feature Animation that many of you and I all shared, circa 1987 to 2007 (my tenure with that Studio). Look at it this way, it’s kinda fun to remember the happier times of our lives shared with so many at such a growth time…and, let’s face it, I don’t know about YOU, but best to grab what my ole brain still retains at the age of 77, as no telling how long this can last

Bill Matthews interviewing a student, later Disney Assistant Animator at Kansas City Art Institute.

There were so many talented people that connected with my life as a result of my job responsibilities then, so many special occasions we all participated in, that at times it hardly seems easy to know where to start. So let me begin, with paying a special tribute to a great artist, a dear friend not only to me but to everyone in that Studio from top to bottom, and who gave so much of himself to training and inspiring most of you, not to mention thenew youngsters entering our world for the first time…I speak of the one and only Master, Walt Stanchfield! (more…)

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…)

Producers vs Animators 1980

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Producers vs Animators 1980

(Video care of Randy Cartwright)

Teacher, Writer, Consultant – Bill Matthews (Part 2)

Monday, April 14th, 2008


Caricature by Animation Director John Musker

Well, hello again! I scratched my gray old noggin and dug way in to my past at Disney Feature Animation for a few more reminscences, which might trigger memories for you if you were on production around the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. As mentioned in my previous piece, I began my last decade of professional life hired by Peter Schneider in ‘86 to set up training and recruitment services for all of you. I got tremendous inputs from so many of you “vets” then about what the folks in the trenches were thinking might pick up spirits (that got lowered after Animation got moved off lot into a series of warehouse buildings in a Glendale Industrial Park, aka “Flower Street”! Anyway, for what it’s worth let’s look back. (more…)

Disney Way 1 Orientation

Monday, March 31st, 2008

First Day at Walt Disney Pictures May 23rd, 1983

In 1983 when I was hired at, what was then called, Walt Disney Pictures every new employee went through a process to be welcomed into the family and to become familiar with the entire Walt Disney Company. The 3 day orientation was called Disney Way One.

The first day was on the main lot watching a “Welcome” video and then off to an in depth tour of the sound stages, editorial, animation, ink and paint, gallery cells and the back lot which then included such sets as from Zorro and Something Wicked This Way Comes. The second day was Imagineering and touring the parks and rides division, epcot and the sculpture shop. The third day was a bus ride to Disneyland in Anaheim California where we climbed into character costumes based on our hight and size and were sent out into the park with the public. (more…)

Teacher, Writer, Consultant – Bill Matthews (Part 1)

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Ahh, yes, it was truly a magical time at Disney Feature Animation…what most of us “old timers” like to remember as Disney’s 2d Golden Age of animated features. New, young “stars” creating (but not yet knowing it) legends of themselves with each production, a new spirit of carrying on the Disney Magic through features, which, oddly enough, are themselves, only a decade or so later, considered “classics”, and a spirit of the future as unlimited…a sense which, I’m happy to report, still instills the current generation of new techno-savvy artists! I identify with that 2d Golden Age roughly from 1986 (with John Musker and Ron Clements memorable “The Great Mouse Detective”) to around when I departed into semi-retirement during, if memory serves me, around the making of “Tarzan”. (I’m still, if you can believe it, still under contract to Feature Animation as a “consultant”, doing once-a-month lectures on our history for the new stars in the firmament!) (more…)

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