Chapter 7 – Voice Actors
Don Bluth and his troops were gone, but the studio still had an animated movie to get out. Art Stevens, now lead director, was slowly pulling the picture together with the animators and layout artists who remained loyal to the Mouse. Woolie Reitherman, now that the crane sequence had been shelved, moved on to development projects with a new young writer named Tony Marino.
So the animation department was in a wee bit of flux. My friend Pete Young, working on Act I of the feature, saw his opportunity to put his “Don’t give them fresh ideas until they’re ready for them” philosophy into operation. Lo and behold, Pete got new story wrinkles and plot points into “The Fox and the Hound’s” evolving narrative. He had waited for the right moment and boom boom! BOOM! He sold his new ideas in the course of two story meetings.
Meanwhile, up on the third floor, I was writing new outlines and revising dialogue. ...
Read the rest of the episode here. ...
The Fox and the Hound was an odd Disney feature. It was started with one lead director (Reitherman) and finished with another (Art Stevens.) Started with one set of directing animators in their sixties (Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston) and ended with ones that were twenty-somethings.
There were story problems, personnel problems, and Walt Disney Productions was morphing into a different kind of company, one that was more "Hollywood" and more corporate. Except, as the eighties started, nobody could see those changing realities clearly. All we knew was that the calm Disney seas were becoming turbulent, and the old-timers were leaving.
Nobody had a clue about what was ahead. (But that's often the case, isn't it? "How clueless these mortals be.")