Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prince John

Prince John as a tiger?
Milt Kahl considered this for the villain from "Robin Hood" at least momentarily,
as you can see in some of these early design sketches. 
But his brother King Richard "The Lion Hearted" obviously had to be portrayed as a lion, so the tiger idea was dropped.
Ollie Johnston of course animated this character. I remember Ollie talking often how much he enjoyed animating Prince John (as well as Sir Hiss), and he thought that Peter Ustinov for his voice was just great.

Here is a funny story Ollie told me about Milt Kahl and the issue of screen credit for "Robin Hood":
" Milt liked what I was doing with Prince John, he was very complementary about my animation. One morning he came into my office and said that I should get top billing this time within the "Directing Animators" credits. Milt usually got that honor,
because he designed all the characters. Milt was going to talk to management that afternoon. So I said OK thanks, and almost forgot about it. The next morning Milt stormed back into my office, this time with an agitated attitude. 'You know, I am the character designer around here and do all this extra work. I should get top billing on this film.'
I just said, that's fine by me, Milt, no problem. I later found out that he had discussed the credit issue with his wife the night before, and she wasn't  too happy about it."

There you have it, 1970ies politics at Disney.

That being said, I find all of these drawings just beautiful!