Friday, September 16, 2011


The rooster has such a small part in "Robin Hood", but to me his few scenes are very memorable. His character design and acting are outstanding.
Milt Kahl again created a totally believable and appealing character.
When you think about the assignment here for a moment,  it would be very difficult to pull this one off:  A rooster, who acts as a narrater, he is dressed in medieval clothes and he plays the mandolin with his wing feathers.
But as with the character of Lady Kluck (another sensational design) Milt has a way with feathers that are articulated as hands.

Frank Thomas also animated Allen at the opening of the film where he is walking on top of the text in the book. The interesting thing is that Frank's walk differs slightly from Milt's, in that the toes hit the ground first. Milt uses the back of the foot to make ground contact. Both walks are great, and only geeks like me would notice the difference.

Here Milt takes a skeptical look at some of his character designs. He is showing them to Roger Miller, who voiced  Allen-a-Dale. Miller also wrote three songs for the movie.
Following are a whole bunch of thumbnail sketches Milt did for the opening scenes.
"Exploring all the possibilities" is what Milt called this phase of planning out a scene.
Wonderful, almost exuberant explorations !

I  have always thought that Milt got a head start from Marc Davis' design of the rooster Chanticleer from a film that was never produced.
More on that project in a future post.

These are actual rough animation poses by Mit Kahl. 
As you can see there is a little anatomical license going on here.
Sometimes the leg's middle joint is used as a human like knee, other times it functions as a realistic bird's heel. Very cool cheating!

The final colors on the character are stunning, I love his pink eyes.