Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kahl's Version of Captain Hook

This photo taken during production of "Peter Pan" is interesting to me.
You see Frank Thomas working on the scene with Captain Hook, when he is anxiously waiting for Tinker Bell to reveal the hiding place of Peter Pan. 
I don't know who the visitor is, but she seems to be admiring the Hook model sheet.
The drawings on that sheet are by fellow animator Milt Kahl, who had lobbied hard for the assignment to animate Hook. But Walt Disney wanted Milt to supervise the title character as well as Wendy, and it was Frank who ended up with the villain.
He remembered screening his first test scene for Walt and the crew. Milt was very displeased with the result, "That's a nothing scene" he touted. 
Frank was relieved when he heard Walt's comment, "No, there's something there, I want Frank to play with the character a bit more, he'll get it."

When you look at Milt's drawings below, you can detect his typical graphic abstractions. 
The jaw line is an almost inconsistent design, but it still works.
We'll never find out how Milt would have handled Hook in animation.

It doesn't matter, Frank Thomas did some of his best animation on Captain Hook.
The way he interacts with Smee or Tinker Bell feels to me like animated "acting fireworks".
A phenomenal character.