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Joanna Romersa has clear memories of working on the Disney lot in the first weeks of her animation career. She was training to be an inker, and the studio had Lady and the Tramp in production. But Disney's had more than its first Cinemascope cartoon feature going on back then. ...
Jack Webb's Dragnet was shooting on one of the newly-built sound stages and a mockup for "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" for some new amusement park down in Anaheim was laid out on yet another stage.
Joanna recalls the Disney studio of the mid-fifties as "enchanting," but it was only the beginning of an animation career spanning decades. Ms. Romersa is one of the few female animator/directors who has worked in almost every facet of the cartoon business. From inking on Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty, Joanna moved on to assistant work in the '60s and '70s (ultimately supervising a department of assistants at Hanna-Barbera) to animating in the '70s and '80s. She's been an animation director for three decades, and has worked on almost every kind of cartoon product, from theatrical features to direct-to-video features, from episodic series to commercials. (There aren't many Hanna-Barbera characters with which Joanna hasn't been involved.)
She today works as an animation director on Disney's upcoming The 7D. We spoke at the Animation Guild on March 28th.