Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fred Moore, 103

It is still Sunday evening on the west coast, so I can still say that today Fred Moore would be 103 years old. For a moment I imagined how great it would be to be able to visit him, shake his hand, wish him a happy birthday, and thank him for his incredibly groundbreaking, unparalleled work.
Utopia? Guess what, Bambi’s production designer Tyrus Wong is going to be 104 next month, and I happened to “run into him” yesterday, shook his hand and thanked him for his incredibly groundbreaking, unparalleled work. (I will follow up with birthday wishes on October 25).

Back to Fred, to quote Marc Davis: ”Fred Moore WAS Disney drawing.”
And Ollie Johnston said: ”He couldn’t make a drawing that didn’t have everything in the right place. More beautiful stuff came out of his pencil…it flowed like liquid.”
The charming self portrait above is testament to Ollie’s words.

This vintage photo was taken during the production of the Mickey 1938 short The Brave Little Taylor.
Ollie was doing his first animation ever, on miscellaneous village people, and Fred was mentoring. One of the drawings on the wall in the back is Fred’s sketch of the King from the same short.
Call it spooky, but here is a scan of that drawing, with pinhole and all.

A bit of Fred’s continuity animation with the little sister from Make Mine Music’s “All the Cats Join In”.

A lovely illustration for a greeting card of some sorts.
Happy Birthday, Fred Moore!

To see more Moore art, go to my post celebrating his 100th birthday:


  1. That drawing would make for a great wire sculpt. I need to try this!

  2. You should try to do a wire sculpture of him and the "Nine Old Men",

  3. And wasn´t Ollie Johnston had Freddie Moore´s pen, which Ollie shows on "Frank & Ollie" document?

  4. "appeal" in animation is pretty difficult to define and describe, but Moore's stuff is pretty much the essence of it!
    I just read that you have a book out soon, Andreas, as well as your film and this blog. You must be busy!

  5. I've heard Frank, Ollie, and Marc Davis' high opinions of Fred Moore's talents and contributions to the studio. I'm curious, did Milt Kahl offer any opinions about Fred Moore that have been documented?

    1. Milt had nothing but praise for Fred. He kept a framed print on the wall showing a composition with three Freddie girls.
      Milt's daughter Sybil told me that she was supposed to be one of the girls, another one was Ham Luske's daughter.

  6. Back in the sixties, Frank Thomas gave me a stack of Freddy's animation to study. And, it was a big stack. Sorry Frank, but I wish I had stolen some of those drawings. They were awesome.

  7. A friend of mine was Fred Moore's assistant in the early 50's at Disney's. Fred would come in about 10 am with an extreme case of the shakes, we all know his battle with alcoholism. Joe would pour him a small glass of Bourbon which Fred would drink out of a straw because of the shakes. It about 10 minutes he would say " come on Joe lets get to work and for about two hours the most beautiful drawings would flow off his desk. Then he would go to lunch and not be seen again until the next day. When it would all start all over again. At this point in the story Joe turned to me with a tear in his eye and said " That little guy was the sweetest most lovable guy that ever drew a breath in animation."

    1. Thank you for sharing this. The story of Fred Moore is very bitter sweet.