Friday, September 23, 2016

Thirty-Three Years Back ...

President Emeritus Tom Sito tells us:

Sept 23, 1984 --- Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells met the Disney Animation Dept. and are pitched storyboards for the film Basil of Baker Street, later called the Great Mouse Detective. Up to now their thinking had been to dismantle the animation department and earn income from the licensees of the existing library. Roy Disney was instrumental in insisting the animation division remain. Eisner dictates memos to start the television animation division. ...

Well, something like that.

Walt Disney Productions animation division was on pins and needles about whether the production group was going to get shuttered or was going to continue. Rumors abounded. Rectums were tight.

Then word came down that the animation department was still in business and the new guys (Eisner, Wells, Katzenberg) okayed opening a TV animation division. Michael Eisner came up with the idea for The Gummi Bears (okay, he wanted a cartoon developed around the candy) and the resulting series became Disney Television Animation's first hit.

A lot of water has passed beneath Diz Co.'s bridge since those nerve-wracking days in the early eighties. It's good to see the place has prospered, even if most of the personnel at the studio in 1984 have moved on ... including Frank, Michael and Jeffrey.


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