Saturday, July 15, 2006

Chanticleer and Ralph Hulett

Detail from page 251 of The Illusion of Life.
Steve's recent post on Chanticleer focused on the development work of Marc Davis and Ken Anderson, but one of the handful of wonderful artists working on that 1960-61 pitch was Steve's father, Ralph . . .
Ralph Hulett (second from right) and other Disney background and layout artists with an Indian reporter, from Cartoon Brew.
Here's the senior Hulett at the studio in a publicity photo, apparently showing artwork from 101 Dalmations. I have to say, he looks like he was a formidable man.
Page 86 of Charles Solomon's The Disney that Never Was. The caption reads "The sunny atmosphere of Chanticleer greeting the dawn (Artist: unknown; medium: watercolor) . . ." Compare it to the top photo, and it's clearly by Ralph Hulett.
Above is another Hulett color study for Chanticleer. Even though great development art can make any project look good, I think this version of Chanticleer could have worked. It sure would have been a darn sight more interesting than the version Bluth ended up doing! Ralph was a prolific painter, and did a considerable body of work aside from his Disney painting. Here's a bio and more samples of his personal work. And he did a couple of Walter Foster books, too.


Steve Hulett said...

People used to ask me, "Why didn't you become an artist like your father?"

I always had a simple answer: I didn't want to spend my life being unfavorably compared to my dad. (You're okay, Steve. But your FATHER...") So I went off in another direction.

Besides which, I was always a bookworm. Words were what held most of my attention. But I was in awe of my father's artistic prowess until the day he died.

Anonymous said...

Very nice work. Steve, it's easy to see why he worked at the best place in town. Perhaps you could post a bit more of your dad's stuff?

And you might have posted it and I totally missed it(in which case ignore this request), but I wonder--could you elaborate a bit on why your dad was so anti-union? As you put it, he enjoyed the benefits, etc., so what was his beef with the idea of it all? Was it a personality thing with the postwar union board or something?

Steve Hulett said...

could you elaborate a bit on why your dad was so anti-union?

Sure. As he told it to me, his anti-unionism came out of the '41 strike, and his relationship with the Disney studio.

In '39, when he'd been working at the Hyperion studio about a year, his doctor father fell seriously ill back home in Illinois. My father asked studio management if he could take some time off and go back East. Management said "sure, take as much time as you like. Oh, do you need any money for the trip?"

They gave him a few extra dollars and time off, and he was grateful. In '41, because of this treatment, he elected to cross the picket line and stay inside working. He told me he was threatened by the strikers for going in, and he always held a grudge because of that.

He possibly wouldn't have been thrilled to have me doing what I'm doing, but I'm not even certain of that. He always made sure he worked enough hours to keep his union health coverage.

Steve Hulett said...

I'll be putting up a bunch of Dad's Christmas card designs as we near the Yuletide...

Chris Sobieniak said...

Your dad was cool Steve! I'll have to look for that book!

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