Thursday, June 16, 2011

Frank, Ollie & Joe

Sometime in the mid nineties I had Frank and Ollie, their wives Jeanette and Marie, as well as Joe Grant over to my house for dinner.

I don't think I need to introduce Joe to you. Let me just say that Disney Animation
was lucky to have him return to the studio in 1989.
Joe had been at Disney before, way back, working in story and Vis Dev on films like Fantasia, Dumbo and a few others.
The photo shows them engaged in a conversation before dinner.

Joe had told me about a phone call he had received from Frank Thomas soon after his return to Disney. Frank asked : "Joe, after all these years, why the heck are you back at Disney ?"  Joe simply replied: "Why aren't you ?".

Joe had a wonderful, dry sense of humor, and all who knew him really miss him.
And we miss Frank and Ollie as much. Those were great times, when you could call these guys and ask :" Hey, are you up for dinner  on Friday ?"  "Sure !"

The rough drawing of Captain Hook and Smee is by Frank.
You can see how involved it is, Frank searching for the right composition that would bring out both of their personalities.

Ollie's Three Fairies on the other hand show a light touch. After thinking about a scene a lot, Ollie then trusted his instincts  for the animation.


  1. I truly love your blog Andreas! I am always watching my RSS feeds patiently waiting for your next post. This stuff is such a huge inspiration for me.

    Coming fresh out of Animation Mentor and not being much of a traditional animator, your posts are very interesting and intriguing to me.

    With this post, I especially like the way that you compare Frank's "working it out on paper" with Ollie's "I already know what I need to do."

    Please keep these posts coming!!

  2. How Ollie was able to draw so neatly right from the word go is beyond my comprehension. I think even if I thought about a scene for 100 years I couldn't draw that tidily!

    Do you think Ollie was more suited to animating delicate characters due to his delicate pencil handling? Conversely was Frank more suited to energetic performances? The searching lines in his drawing here give a certain extra bit of juice to it!

    Thanks for sharing all of this stuff Andreas. For someone trying to transition from CG games animation to drawn animation, this is so inspiring.

  3. Como aprendiz de animaciĆ³n autodidacta estoy tremendamente enganchado a este blog desde el primer dia.
    Muchas gracias por crear este blog.

  4. Can't thank you enough for your posts Andreas.
    I've been starving to hear more of your Nine Old Men anecdotes ever since you did that interview with Clay Kaytis way back.

    I am sure you know this, but these post are historic, gold and inspiring beyond words.

    With all your 30+ years of experience you could have certainly put all these little stories into a book---but here you are generously sharing it for free. (ack! Maybe I should shut up!)

    Truly, thank you for sharing.

  5. Ha! That's a great story, a good comeback to Frank, I have to say.

    I thought that Frank Thomas did Hook, and Ollie doing Smee, it wasn't unusual for an animator handeling two characters, wasn't it?

  6. You got to eat dinner with these people? That is amazing! It sounds like a very good time.

  7. Andreas,

    Could I do anything to help you as you are tinkering? I am very interested in learning all I can about ALL the facets of animation. I go between my Disney Animation Studio desk to my Wacom connected Macbook to behind the eyepiece of my Canon EX1R. I just can not get enough of the OLD School animators and the fun they must have had at the studio.

    Glad you have migrated to blogging. I will be following with high anticipation.

  8. Who wouldn't want dinner with an animator?