Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roy's Memorial

There was a sizable memorial for Roy Disney today at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood. Animators, producers, Robert Iger, one of Roy's sons and Roy's sailing crews came onstage and spun stories about Roy at the studio, Roy as a nature cinematographer, and Roy on the bounding Main.

Sunday's memorial was anything but a sad occasion. There were live performances and clips from some of his award-winning movies. Everyone was asked not to wear black, but bright colors or Hawaiian shirts. It was a true celebration for the man who was behind some of the most successful Disney movies to date.

About 1,000 people turned out for the memorial ...

One of the tales that resonated was a story about Mr Disney racing his boat through the Caribbean in a high-stakes yacht race, fishing as he went. As one of Roy's crew members reflected:

"I was crewing a different boat then, not Roy's. We were focused and serious because we knew we were racing a world-class craft, and we wanted to win. And here comes Roy at the helm of his boat, in shorts. And he gives a wave as he passes us.

"And there's a fishing line trailing off his starboard side. Fishing line. Nobody fishes during a high pressure race on the high seas. You're trying to make your boat go as fast as possible, with as little drag as possible. But Roy was fishing. And he came in first."

There were a lot of other reminiscences, but that one struck me as quintessential: Unassuming Roy. Unconventional Roy. And Roy, despite the idiosyncrasies (or maybe because of them), ending up in first place.

There are worse ways to live life.

(I will shortly put up a few pictures of the day ...)

Add On: As I commented down below, Robert Iger, who had some graceful things to say about Mr. Disney, announced that henceforth the Disney "Animation Building" would be known as "The Roy E. Disney Animation Building."

John Lasseter also had some nice remembrances about Roy, pointing out that Pixar started working on Disney Feature's CAPS system (digital ink and paint) at Roy's behest, a month after Pixar became its own company. He stated: "If not for Roy, neither Disney Feature Animation or Pixar would probably be here today."

Add On Too: The L.A. Times ran an article today about the documentary in which Roy participated shortly before his death:

... "Waking Sleeping Beauty" doesn't paint over the conflicts that not only were inevitable in Disney's resurgence but also were an outcome of the turnaround itself, as the studio's most senior executives (Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Eisner, Roy E. Disney) squabbled over who deserved credit for the renaissance.

"We were hyper aware of not making a puff piece," Hahn said in an interview.

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" tracks two parallel plots. The first and most central to the documentary is how low Disney's animation division had fallen in the years leading to the 1980s -- "given up for dead," the movie states -- and what it took to restore the division to its former brilliance. The second story line follows the studio managers determined to bring the unit back and how their infighting ultimately split Disney apart. ...


Anonymous said...

"Robert Iger ... announced that henceforth the Disney "Animation Building" would be known as "The Roy E. Disney Animation Building."


Which animation building ? There's the old animation building on the main lot which still has "Animation" over the door , even though the animation dept. was kicked out of it in 1984. Then there's the Hat Building .

One of the Disney fan blogs interpreted Iger's remarks thusly:

"... big announcement coming from Walt Disney Animation Studios was indeed the confirmation that feature animation would be moving from the Hat building located across the street from the Walt Disney Studios. That was pretty much common knowledge. But the surprise was that they’ll be naming the new building after Roy E. Disney.

That’s a great move and to announce it on the anniversary of Roy’s birth was class. The Roy E. Disney Animation Building will be on the actual lot, as is fitting the central role animation plays in the past and future of the Walt Disney Company."

That makes it sound as if WDAS (feature animation) will be moving out of the Hat building to a building on the main lot.

But if that's the case then where do they move to on the main lot if not the old Animation building ?

The main lot is packed . To put up a new building would require tearing down an existing structure.

So, are they actually renaming the old Animation building on the lot as the "Roy E. Disney Animation Building" or does that appellation go to the Hat Building ?

And is feature animation really moving out of the Hat Building ?

Anonymous said...

Where is the actual quote from Iger where he specifically says that the artists will be moving out of the "hat" building and heading across the street?

Steve Hulett said...

Iger said nothing about artists moving.

He said that the "hat building" would be renamed "the Roy E. Disney Animation Building."

A slide went up on the screen to illustrate the change. It was the first announcement made at the memorial service.

Anonymous said...

That's what I thought. It's the Hat Building which has been renamed The Roy E. Disney Animation Building.

Thanks for clarifying that , Steve.

A lot of the Disney fan bloggers are all abuzz about feature animation supposedly moving out of the Hat Building to a "new" Roy E. Disney Animation Building , but that didn't sound plausible to me.

Anonymous said...

It seems fitting since the 'hat' was actually Roy's office (though I always thought that making it his office was a putdown of sorts)

Mike said...

And let's not forget, Dick Van Dyke who showed up and really added to the festivities of the day. He was SO energetic! It was a joy. I'll never forget it.

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