Saturday, April 08, 2006
(Woolie R., Milt K., Les C,. Marc D., Ward K., Eric L., Frant T. John L. and Ollie J.) Somewhere around a decade ago, Disney Features called me up at The Animation Guild and asked for a favor. The surviving "Nine Old Men" (Frank Thomas, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston and Ward Kimball) were going to animate scenes for the upcoming "Fantasia" sequel. The studio thought it would be a wonderful thing if the animators who had worked on the original came back for a kind of valediction, and worked on the new one. But the company wanted a waiver from dues for the group, since they were only working on one scene each... After pondering the proposal for fifteen seconds, I said "fine," and wrote the Walt Disney Company a confirming letter that nobody would have to pay any new dues. I thought no more about the deal for several months, but then one day I had occasion to talk to Ward Kimball. I asked how the plan for him and his fellow animators to do work on the new "Fantasia" was going. "Oh that?" Ward said. "That thing was a disaster. They called us all in to look at storyboards for "Pomp and Circmustance." Awful piece of music, but Eisner wants it in the new picture. So we all come in to look at these boards, and it's storks delivering babies of all the old characters from the films we did like Snow White and the Prince, Cinderella and the Prince and some others. One stork after another, delivering babies. With their parents watching." "And the boards are terrible. We all just sit there -- Frank, Ollie, Marc and me -- while the director's telling them. And "Pomp and Circumstance" is playing. And Eisner's hovering around. Nobody says anything. And the presentation ends and all of us get up, making small talk, trying not to make eye contact with the studio people. Marc Davis is over at the side of the room at this buffet table, and I go over to him. I say, "Well Marc. What do you think?" He sees the smirk on my face and he says, "I think we need to get out of here." So we both leave. Without telling anybody anything." More months went by. One day I asked a Disney exec what was going on with the Nine Old Men animating on "Fantasia." He told me: "Oh, that didn't work out. They really weren't up to doing the animation." I replied what a shame that was.
Posted by Steve Hulett at 9:51 AM