Monday, July 11, 2016

Animation Guild Golden Award Interviews #32 -- Johnnie Vita and Ed Aardal

As Mr. Deneroff puts up the last of these archived interviews (and many thanks to Mr. Deneroff for posting them), here is background artist Johnnie Vita and animator Ed Aardal, remembering when.

Johnnie Vita jumped into the animation business as a background artist soon after high school and stayed in the industry for decades ... mostly on the East coast. He started his career at Terrytoons (where he ingested his first strong slug of liquor) and years and years later became Ralph Bakshi's go-to background artist, as Michael Sporn explains (with visuals at the link):

... When Ralph Bakshi got Fritz the Cat as a feature, he brought Johnnie Vita along as his Background designer and artist. This was arguably the best decision Bakshi made on the film.

Vita went out with the storyboard and photographed locations that actually existed. His camera was all over Greenwich Village and Harlem. Then he took these photos and did a linear tracing of the settings. Then he colored the images with Luma dyes under the lines that he had traced. These brilliant colors gave the gritty images a luminescent appearance. He manipulated the images and purposed them as the film’s backgrounds. ...

Longtime animator Edwin Aardal came into animation in 1935 (the same year Johnnie Vita entered it on the opposite side of the continent). He worked at Disney as both an effects animator and character animator, on both shorts and features.

Mr. Aardal spent decades at Walt's place, but then was cut loose in the mid 1950s, much to his sorrow. Walt called him back soon after, but Edwin declined, having already lined up other animation work. You can view a bit of that other work below:

Ed Aardal passed away in 1988, aged 77.

You might be asking: Why do these interviews appear on both Cartoon Research and The Animation Guild blog?

The answer's simple. Mr. Deneroff has done most of the work on these 1980s questions-and-answers, and posts them like clockwork every Monday. The Guild, since the interviews were stored at our headquarters all these years, puts them up as well.


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