Monday, October 20, 2014

Don Lusk


…will celebrate his 101 birthday on October 28. I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time one week ago at a Disney event. Don has an amazing memory and didn’t mind recounting highlights from his long career in animation. He joined Disney in 1933 (!!) and left in 1960. Many shorts and most of the animated features include great animation by Don. He animated the fish ballet in Fantasia’s Nutcracker Suite, he drew Alice during that long fall down the rabbit hole, where her dress turns onto a parachute. When in Sleeping Beauty Flora and Merryweather start to  throw pink and blue pixie dust at each other, that was Don, too. One of his final assignments included Nanny from 101 Dalmatians, as she finds out that the puppies have been stolen and runs out into the street calling for help.
After Disney Don worked for Hanna Barbera and other studios as an animator and director.

I really enjoyed talking to Don, who is one of the most positive, forward looking artists I have ever met.

About a year ago Steve Hulett from TAG conducted a great phone interview with Don. Here are parts 1,2 and 3:



17 comments:

  1. Hy Andreas, I recently parteciped in the Conference View in Turin and Glen Keane said Milt Kahl never spoken with you animators.
    Also with you Milt was of few words or furnishes you precious suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. When I started at Disney Milt had already left and lived near San Francisco. I saw him frequently and enjoyed every visit with him.

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  2. 101!?! May we all live so long!

    And many more to you, Mr. Lusk.

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  3. What an illustrious career Don has had! It's interesting how he felt more welcome working for Hanna-Barbera than for Disney (according to the interview).

    I'm particularly fond of his work on Alice in Wonderland, especially the falling down the rabbit hole sequence. The shot in which Alice flips over completely as she waves goodbye to Dinah blew my mind the first time I saw it, as it is a very fludily animated shot and must have been difficult to pull off (animating Alice speaking, waving to Dinah, and flipping over completely all at once).

    The part where Alice begins to float upside down must also have hard to pull off since it's hard for me to imagine Mr. Lusk relying on live-reference footage for the shot.

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  4. Finally Don Lusk, thanks for this post! It's amazing to see one of the last animators from Golden Age. I admire his animation work and I need to rewatch the scene from Alice, I didn't know it was also made by him. He was often casted for animating fish, like Cleo in Pinnochio, the Fantasia sequence or even a short with Goofy, How to Fish. Maybe this expertise has also a meaning in Alice scene, because when she's falling, her motion may have something in common with a motion of a fish :) I look forward for more posts about Don Lusk work!

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  5. Finally information about Mr. Lusk!

    The legend! Incredible that he is the last one who worked on BAMBI and was present all along the golden years! Thank you for sharing info about him, good news that he is still well.

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  6. Parts 1 & 2 are not longer working for me :(
    Any chance you could reshare it?

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    Replies
    1. Just copy and paste the address on to your computer, and it will play.

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    2. Oh, I just have my cellphone here. I'm on vacation and I wanted to listen to this while relaxing in the grass or something hehe, what a pitty...

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  7. Great photo ! Happy 101st Birthday to Don Lusk on Oct. 28 . I'm a great admirer of your animation.

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  8. http://www.cartoonbrew.com/award-season-focus/its-time-to-honor-don-lusk-and-willis-pyle-with-a-winsor-mccay-award-105082.html

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  9. Alex - Lusk is not the last person alive who worked on Bambi. Willis Pyle, who turned 100 this year, animated on the teen-aged Bambi, and of course, the film's production designer Tyrus Wong is still with us at 104. There may be others too.

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  10. I was lucky enough to know Mr Lusk who lived next door to me and my family for 12 years until we moved to northern California in 1976 . I know him as the most gracious and caring person you could ever know. I had no idea that most of the childhood Disney classics that I watch to this very day are movies which were animated by him until now. My brother Mark and I were talking, and Mark told me about Mr. Lusk's career as an animator, and we were surprised to find out that this great man is still alive, and wish him a happy 100th birthday, and hopefully God will bless him with many more. Thank you Mr. Lusk for being you.
    Arlan Bohrer

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  11. I was lucky enough to know Mr Lusk who lived next door to me and my family for 12 years until we moved to northern California in 1976 . I know him as the most gracious and caring person you could ever know. I had no idea that most of the childhood Disney classics that I watch to this very day are movies which were animated by him until now. My brother Mark and I were talking, and Mark told me about Mr. Lusk's career as an animator, and we were surprised to find out that this great man is still alive, and wish him a happy 100th birthday, and hopefully God will bless him with many more. Thank you Mr. Lusk for being you.
    Arlan Bohrer

    ReplyDelete