Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tytla's Chernabog

The Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia is probably the most extravagant piece of animated film making in regards to character animation and effects ever produced.
Fire, smoke, highlights and shadows, floating ghosts and experimental use of light, every single scene is loaded with awe inspiring richness. The result is definitely not family entertainment. This footage falls into the horror film genre. (I've said this before, terrifying enough to scare the popcorn out of kids). Disney in perhaps his darkest yet astonishingly beautiful animated moment.

The perfect challenge for young animator Bill Tytla, who had already established himself as an artistic powerhouse with gorgeous animation on several short films like Mickey's Fire Brigade and Cock o'the Walk. And the of course Stromboli in Pinocchio.
I don't know who drew Tytla's clean ups, but this work is exceptional. A devil in Art Deco line work.

What fascinates me even more are Tytla's rough drawings, even exploratory sketches. They give you insight into his extraordinary mind. The way he puts down lines to get a hold of this bigger than life character, his torso, arms, hands.
Many of the poses originate from the sequence director Wilfred Jackson own performance in front of the camera. Michael Barrier posted a few stills a while ago. Skinny as Jackson might have been, but you immediately recognize them as the inspiration for Tytla's masterful animation.

Here is the link to my first post on Bill Tytla:


  1. It must have been a technical nightmare to bring this scene to life! All those separate layers, each with its own effects. While the Chernabog is a great example of Tytla's extraordinary skills, for me his greatest ever character will always be Dumbo. The fact that a bunch of drawings of a baby elephant can bring tears to people's eyes is testament to Tytla's genius.

  2. Hi Andreas,
    This is Franck, Yves Boulanger's friend. Yves Gave to me your email but it's wrong one.
    Remember me? Paris in 90's, several times in DisneyLand Paris,Orlando 18 years ago (I came with Yves and Rit) ;-)
    I tried to reach you. Here is my email:
    Could you contact me please?
    In waiting for your answer.
    Friendly yours.

  3. Since it says "reg to hand" about the flames in the top one, are they on an extra layer or drawn in this detail over the character rough?

  4. Wow, how did you get your hands on THIS!

    Possibly my favorite hands ever animated. On top of bald mountain scared me on a that deep supernatural-fear level that you can only experience as a child. (When I first saw it.) It was the souls and everyone dancing in his hands then amidst the flames.

    The one that actually scared me most I think as a kid were the soul-globs in the Little Mermaid though. I thought about what it would really be like to be trapped like that for who knows how long, never to be released.

  5. As of one week ago, I am the owner of the final three images in this post. I got them through eBay. They had previously been auctioned at Profiles in History. They are stunning to behold.