Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Milt Kahl Talks Casting on Peter Pan


This rare TV footage was filmed when Milt had already finished Madame Medusa for The Rescuers.
It was his last assignment at Disney, he left the studio soon after.
At that time he felt that the "post Walt" animated features weren't nearly as good as when his boss was around. Milt was very critical of the story as well as the craftsmanship that had gone into Rescuers.
Within this frame of mind he talks about animator casting on Peter Pan, many years earlier.

This is vintage Milt Kahl, listen to not only what he says, but how he says it.
You'll agree that Milt was a pretty entertaining character himself…and perhaps that's an understatement!


24 comments:

  1. This is golden, Andreas, just great to see this, loved it.
    Thanks a million!

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  2. Oh wow. It´s seems that he loved to get animate Peter & Wendy. :)

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  3. When you are a young aspiring artist, falling in love with animation and reading all the literature about the old Disney studio you tend to imagine this rosy picture of a great big happy artist family. In truth, those guys had egos and got involved in politics just like it happens in most big studios (and small ones) today. This interview was done, what, a quarter of a century after Peter Pan was finished and Milt is still pissed off about his assignment.

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  4. Milt Kahl is such an amazing person to study. Foul-mouthed and rough around the edges, yet inside is arguably the most gifted artist to ever set foot in Burbank!

    I read once where, if Milt could see you were really trying hard yet struggling, he would go out of his way to help you. That my friends, despite the rough exterior, is character. :)

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  5. You know what I would love to see? That would be any surviving footage of Milt Kahl acting out a scene of one the numerous characters he created over teh decades. Medusa for example. I've heard many animators close their doors so they can't be seen acting it out. Imagine footage of Milt doing Medusa! Or for that matter Andreas acting out Gaston. Or Jafar! How about it, Andreas? Any footage out there you'd be willing to share?! :)

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  6. as close as you'll probably get is this clip from the 1981 illusion of life show. Milt starts at 1:35
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEXGRaCf3m4

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    1. Brad, thank you so much for posting that link! I frequently comb youtube for gems like this and I somehow still never managed to come across this one.

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  7. spot on Uli! I think he was refraining from using his colorful vocabulary due to the camera!

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  8. Hey Andreas!

    I don't suppose you can upload the clip of Milt talking about the dancing Prince and King Hubert scene from Sleeping Beauty???

    Greatly appreciate what you're doing here! I am so grateful that we have you blogging. You've got so much knowledge and appreciation for everything not only Nine Old Men, but art and animation alike. Bravo, Good Sir.

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    1. Ryan,
      I don't remember seeing footage where Milt describes that scene.
      Have you seen it somewhere?

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    2. I just re-played your interview with Clay Kaytis, I believe you mentioned it there. It was very brief, but you had said you just found old footage of Milt talking about that scene.

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  9. Thanks so much for the post Andreas. I've never seen much footage of Milt I've always wondered what his personality was like. Great stuff. Is this excerpt from a larger interview or was it just this small segment? Also, do you know what program was this footage part of?

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    1. This was a two part UK TV program, simply named Walt Disney.
      It aired in 1977.

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  10. Good old Milt. Still pissed after all those years. It's to be expected, of course. Milt was usually pissed about something. Damn! I love those old guys. At least they had balls.

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  11. Goodness where do you find these clips?? Thank you for sharing this.

    Hmm...outmaneuvered. I am reading too much or is that word loaded?

    Ok I'll ask the question, was there really "animosity" between Milt Kahl and Frank and Ollie in the latter years? Did Milt ever say anything to you about his frustrations with working with some people?

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    1. When Milt left Disney, he was frustrated with the level Disney Animation had arrived at. He was outspoken, and seen as too difficult to work with.
      He never voiced complains to me, except that he was just DONE.
      I always felt it was so unfortunate to end such a spectacular career an a sour note.

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  12. Milt was fed up with Disney. Aren't we all, on occasion? Milt, Frank and Ollie remained friends. The old guys were always competitive, but any talk of animosity is bull.

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    1. Thank you Andreas and thanks Mr. Norman for clarifying that. Don't want to seem like I was stirring the gossip pot, but from reading John Canemaker's Nine Old Men and things I've heard about how Milt was mentioned (or not) in Frank and Ollie's books, it was giving me sort of that impression.

      To be sure, in production, and with extremely talented professionals such as Milt and the gang, there would have be "bumps" along the way---

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  13. I agree Milt would of done an amazing Captain Hook.

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  14. Even though Milt wasn't crazy about doing Peter and Wendy he did them justice (don't think Milt was the type to half ass anything whether he loved it or not). Peters lively personality and energy shone through the animation.

    It would be interesting to see his take on Captain hook. Surely he'd be more menacing and less slap stick (though I LOVE Frank Thomas's take on Hook).

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  16. I just love his ironic tone (as he is laughing of himself) when he talks..
    When he says "Wendy" in the beginning.. Such a gem!

    Thank you Andreas for your blog and posting that, it made my day!

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