Tuesday, July 23, 2013

From Live Action to Final Frame

These black and white photostats show clearly how the actors' performance influenced the Disney animators. To me it is always fascinating to find out what parts were kept and which ones were changed. 
Young dancer/actress Marge Champion, who had just finished acting out the role of Snow White for the animators, also performed as The Blue Fairy in Pinocchio.
By the way, today at age 93 Marge looks as beautiful as ever. I had the good fortune to get to know her a little, she is a remarkable lady, who had a remarkable career.

That's actor Christian Rub, painting Pinocchio's mouth. He not only acted out the part of Geppetto for animator Art Babbitt, he also voiced the character. Rub was born in Germany and his accent was for real.

Actress Rhoda Williams, as Cinderella's stepsister Drizella, beats up on actor Don Barclay, who is trying his best to fit the glass slipper on to her foot.
Ollie Johnston animated this scene.

In this group shot Wendy, John, Michael and Mrs. Darling are feeling sorry for the dog Nana, who just had an accident running into Mr. Darling.
Wendy of course is Kathryn Beaumont, John is Paul Collins, Michael has Mickey Mouse standing in for him, and Mrs. Darling is played by English actress Heather Angel, who also voiced her character.
Nana is put together by a sac, a box and a plunger. 

Young Prince Phillip is being presented to baby Princess Aurora by the Queen, except that he is not supposed to look into the camera !!
The boy is Cubby O'Brian, who was a famous Mouseketeer in his day job at that time. The Queen is played by Jane Fowler (later Boyd), a Disney effects artist.


  1. Finding and matching these pictures seems like a great game in itself. :D

  2. I enjoy seeing how well the animators adapt the reference to their drawings. Animation excellence!

  3. Neat Stuff. I'm glad you found that Gepetto reference.He does really look like Gepetto.I use a lot of live action reference for all of my 3d stuff, for both posing and timing.
    you can see the planning that goes into these shots,and the end result shows it.Thanks fer sharing, Amigo!

  4. Andreas, I'm curious about something. When is it OK for the animator to change what he sees in the live action? Does the director give the OK to change it, or is it the animator's discretion?

    Great stuff...thanks!

    1. In my experience the live action reference was looked at as a suggestion. It's up to the animator how to make use of it.

  5. Is that a stuffed Mickey standing in for Michael? LOL!

  6. I just watched Jupiter's Darling and googled Marge Belcher Champion. We thought she looked so much like Barbara Eden, I just had to find out about her. Little did I know what magic I'd find! Disney animation has been part of my psyche since I was born, watching all the animated movies, Mickey Mouse Club, The Wonderful World of Disney, etc. The information and photos here are amazing. Thank you for sharing this.