Monday, November 26, 2012

Mel Shaw, 1914-2012

Concept art from The Fox and the Hound by Mel Shaw. © Disney

Mel Shaw, master storyman and visdev artist known for his work for Disney and other studios, has passed away at the age of ninety-four.

In his teens, Shaw got his first animation job at Harman-Ising where he worked for several years before coming to Disney in 1937, where he did visdev art for Fantasia, Bambi and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

During WWII he did training films with Hugh Harman and developed a live-action/animated feature of The Little Prince with Orson Welles. After the war he started the Allen-Shaw design studio with former Harman-Ising co-worker Bob Allen, which worked on the original Howdy Doody puppet.

In 1974, Shaw returned to Disney and contributed visdev and story ideas to films including The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Great Mouse Detective, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, among others. He retired in 1989.

His artwork is on display at his website,


Steve Hulett said...

I worked with Mel in the 1970s and 1980s, and he was one talented artist. The title sequence of "The Rescuers" was built on his artwork, and he had strong input with the story of "The Fox and the Hound."

And Mel was among the first artists to work on "Bambi." He once regaled me with tales of how the "Bambi" unit was one of the first set up after "Snow White," working in an apartment building near the Hyperion studio. Mel was one of the key artists (among the first nine hired) who developed the "look" of the picture.

Floyd Norman said...

End of an era. The Disney that once no more.

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