Monday, February 4, 2019

Wetzel "Judge" Whitaker

Another unsung Disney animation hero. Judge Whitaker worked at Disney as a character animator
on a ton of Donald Duck shorts as well as features, from  Snow White all the way to Peter Pan.
He animated scenes with Cinderella's stepsisters and Peter Pan's Lost Boys. Whitaker also worked on Lambert the Sheepish Lion.
Some of his most impressive animation includes the army of cards in Alice in Wonderland.

Here is a Youtube link that shows some of his beautiful work. While watching turn down the annoying soundtrack:

After leaving Disney Whitaker produced films for the Mormon church.
He died in 1985 at the age of 77.


  1. Mr. Andreas ,
    Wow , fantastic , very interesting .

    i have just two question on the Lion King , who animated the scene of Scar when he tell to mufasa "long live the king " ? You ?

    And who animated all sequence of the Mufasa death ? Tony Fucile ?

    1. I did not animate that scene. I would have to get the info from the Lion King draft.
      Mufasa's death was the work of Tony Fucile, Simba by Mark Henn.

    2. Jean Morel might know if you ask him. You can get his email here

  2. Hello Andreas.
    I've been a fan of yours for many years now! I'm a 34-year old guy from Denmark. My favorite Disney movie is The Little Mermaid. I know you worked on King Triton in that movie. I have the Disney Book "The Disney Villain" by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas and in the back of the book it has a list of all the Disney Villains up to Jafar and who was the Supervising Animator and the In-between Animators for each villian.

    It says in the back of the book:

    Ursula: Ruben Aquino, Kathy Zielinski, Dave Cutler, Nik Ranieri, Rob Minkoff & Chris Wahl.

    Vanessa (Ursula as girl): Andreas Deja, Doug Krohn, Mike Cedeno, Chris Bailey & Kathy Zielinski.

    So I was wondering if you could share anything about the creation of Vanessa? Did the directors have a picture of how they wanted her to look? And how many scenes did you do her animation in? Can you share any sketches of Vanessa?

  3. Thanks for this post, Andreas. Brigham Young University was my alma mater, where a production studio, as well as an animation program, are thriving thanks in many ways to the seeds planted by Whitaker (they made a documentary about him several years ago).

  4. Andreas...he was my (great) uncle!! Of course I learned about his Disney origins long after starting at Disney myself...lots of strange connections. I believe he started just b4 the move to Burbank, when animation was still on Hyperion... a block from where I live now! I am yards from the ‘Snow White cottages...’ :-)