Thursday, September 5, 2013

John Pomeroy's Penny



Ollie Johnston animated most of the orphan girl Penny in The Rescuers, but other animators did key acting scenes as well, including Milt Kahl and John Pomeroy.
John had joined Disney in 1973 with the intent to do background paintings, but he soon developed a fascination for character animation. He showed extraordinary talent, so Ollie put him under his wing to be part of the Penny unit.
These are John's drawings for a scene in which the girl has just met the mice Bernard and Bianca.They had found her bottle with a note for help. 
"Did you hear that, Teddy, our bottle worked!  (Pause) Didn't you bring someone big with you (like the police)?"
There is a nice sensitive quality in these sketches that reveal strong insight into Penny's personality. The change of mood from initial excitement to being somewhat confused is beautifully portrayed.




















After working for many years at Don Bluth Productions, John returned to Disney to work on films like Pocahontas and Treasure Planet. Since I was assigned to different movies at that time, we unfortunately never really worked on the same project together. Perhaps sometime in the future...

15 comments:

  1. That was interesting detail and information. And great drawings. Have to see that movie again for long time.

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  2. I recall being reminded of Penny by your Lilo scene when she says, "I know that's why you break things, and push me." Very sincere and heartfelt.

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  3. I remember Frank and Ollie showing us three consecutive tests of Johns from his training at Disney. The first was already very good and by the third test he was great!! I know that Milt praised him as one of the good young talents (but you would know better than I)!

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  4. John was the next Milt Kahl in those days. I remember a shot of Tiger in one of the Pooh shorts that I thought was by Milt but later on I learned it was actually John's work.
    I still, to this day, study John's animation in The Secret of Nihm. That owl in that is incredible.
    And yes, Milt actually praised him in a lecture he gave at Disney and I have a recording of that. Milt rarely did that.
    Thanks for posting this, Andreas.

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  5. John Pomeroy seems like such a cool guy. :D

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  6. He was my first supervisor and I must say I was pretty anxious.Then we were paired by Don Bluth together to do an acting class routine after work.........terror!(but it was fun in the end)
    I worked with him again on the girl Anne-Marie for All Dogs go to Heaven.

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    1. Did you know Dan Kuenster when you were at Don Bluth? He's my dad! I used to run around at the studio when I was a kid, and they taught me to paint cels. And I think I was even a voice in the film, because I remember singing that Pizza Pup song with some other kids in a vocal booth.

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  7. I love John Pomeroy's work. He's an extraordinary animator and artist.

    Didn't Glen Keane also work in the Penny unit?

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    1. He did. He also worked in the Bernard unit.

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  8. That's a great scene. Did Ollie Johnston design Penny as well? She doesn't feel like a Milt Kahl designed character. Snoops and Medusa are so distinct in design from others in the film. I thought I read somewhere that Milt took some heat for that.

    This was the first Disney movie I remember seeing in the theater. Very special.

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    1. Milt Kahl did the final design for Penny, along with Ollie's input.
      I'll post some Kahl Penny drawings soon.

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  9. Penny is one of my favorite Disney animated little girls. <3 Along with Jenny from Oliver & Company and Lilo from Lilo & Stitch.

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    1. These three are also my favourites. I wonder how much Penny inspiration was on Jenny, but I've read that initially it was supposed to be Penny herself in the early version of the script.

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  10. Bei diesem Film war ich zum ersten Mal im Kino und wurde davon so nachhaltig beeinflusst, dass ich mich gegen meinen eigentlichen Job und für eine Zusatzausbildung Richtung Trickfilm entschieden habe. Ich bereue es nicht einen Tag!
    Danke für all die wunderbaren Posts und den absolut tollen Vortrag beim Hamburg Animation Jam letzten Monat!

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  11. I very much admire Pomeroy's work on Treasure Planet. Wonderful stuff!

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