Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Johnny Appleseed



We are in Ollie Johnston's office, around 1947. He is working on the character of Johnny Appleseed, who was the original "man who planted trees".
This is a lovely short which was part of the feature length film Melody Time.
It tells the story of American folk hero John Chapman (1774-1845), who was on a mission to plant apple trees around the Ohio River region for many decades. 
Ollie animated the opening section of the film, where we first meet Johnny.
Milt Kahl is responsible for the song sequence, when Johnny's Angel demonstrates the many ways apples can be used in recipes. (One of my all time favorite animated songs.)
Eric Larson drew scenes with Johnny planting seeds and befriending wild animals in the forest.

Milt drew these rough model sheets to establish the look of the character. It turned out to be one of his least favorite assignments. He explained years later that to him Johnny was just a mild mannered guy without any strong emotions. Not much fun to animate.




A beautiful unfinished staging sketch by Milt. Old Johnny is following his Angel into a pink apple blossom sunset at the end of the film.



Vis Dev art by unknown artist and story sketches (by Joe Rinaldi).  What a beautiful inspiration for the animators to bring their characters to life.









11 comments:

  1. Oh man, what a beautiful smooth lines on last sketch! Can image how pen fly on the paper.

    That would interesting to know, is that bookend or what next to the mirror on the Ollie´s desk. :) And what charactere is on it?

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    1. Glad you're talking about my favourite Disney short film.
      great influence of M.Blair in the BG design.
      I'm also surprised how freely and very naturally,the story refers to "God" and faith...

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    2. I always liked the fact the guy passes away in the end but felt he job wasn't finished yet.

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  2. "Milt drew these rough model sheets to establish the look of the character. It turned out to be one of his least favorite assignments. He explained years later that to him Johnny was just a mild mannered guy without any strong emotions. Not much fun to animate.

    I remember Milt talking about this in an audio recording of one of his talks where he felt the only thing he got out of the film animation-wise was Johnny's angel (although Johnny as the old, departed spirit also has a bit of that too).

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  3. We have the American Legends VHS. Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Johnny Appleseed and The Brave Engineer. One of my favorites! I'm a little confused with the John Henry addition. It doesn't seem finished, but we like it anyway.

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    1. The short, "John Henry", was actually made to contribute the old Zerox process back in the '60s and '70s. Surprising enough, it was directed by Mark Hehn.

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  4. There is nothing much words stock in my vocabulary which can describes My thousands `Thank you` to you Andres Deja for sharing these insightful information and art work among us.!!!! your blog is already a classic one where we can find lots of stories and art work!!...Thank you!!

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  5. Aw, Johnny's such a sweetheart. And I so love model sheets. More, please!

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  6. I have seen this short a few times when I was young. Now I have it on tape on "Disney's American Legends". I just enjoy it big time.

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