Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ollie's Reason and Emotion

Ollie Johnston animated the two female parts in the 1943 propaganda film Reason and Emotion. (Milt Kahl did the sequence featuring the male parts).
For those of you who have not seen this short, there are two opposing characters inside the human head. One of them is Reason, proper and dignified, the other Emotion, intuitive and fun loving.
The film’s point is that only a good balance between the two guarantees a successful way to conduct one’s life.
This is one of the best War Time shorts Disney produced. The contrast between the characters makes for interesting conflict and fun situations.
Here are some of Ollie’s character layouts showing Emotion getting a hold of the driver’s seat.

I recall Frank Thomas suggesting way back that we study this short as character inspiration for The Black Cauldron. I know he felt that cartoony designs like these would be easier tho handle by a new, green animation crew. The designs Milt Kahl had suggested looked too familiar to him and too difficult to draw.

Reason and Emotion can be seen as part of the Disney treasures DVD called: On the Front Lines.


  1. I remember Ollie telling me this was one of his favorite assignments. Lots of appeal in those designs..Thanks, as always, for sharing.

  2. Great post. Here is a good animation that I think is inspired by this one.http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/hilarious-animated-short-film-explains-exactly-happens-mind-meet-crush.html

  3. I remember first seeing part of "Reason & Emotion" (namely this sequence with the girls) on some Disney Channel special or show in the mid 80's and enjoyed it for what it was on it's own not knowing it was originally produced during WWII or had anything to do with Hitler as was the case in the film itself (of course the short was excerpted in a later Disney anthology episode with Ludwig Von Drake narrating over it too I recall, removing references to WWII in favor of making it more contemporary to a 1960's audience).

  4. Really worth studying, I really love the posing. Images 4, 5, 6 have a great line of action running through both of them. I really enjoyed looking at these. Great post Andreas.

  5. This must be based on Plato's allegory of the Chariot. Very humorous rendition!