Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tony and Joe

Tony, the proprietor and Joe, the chef of the Italian restaurant in the Disney classic Lady and the Tramp are among the best human characters ever done at the studio. John Lounsbery was responsible for their charming and very expressive animation. He took full ownership of this fun couple of eccentric Italians, all of their footage is Lounsbery's.
Animating dialogue that has a foreign accent is always a treat for any animator, and Lounsbery took full advantage of the possibilities that this assignment presented. Tony and Joe not only sound Italian, they act Italian as well. Big, broad gestures that define the Italian spirit. Their faces show a marvelous range of squash and stretch, and you feel the elasticity of skin in motion.

Lounsbery got a little help from a couple of actors who provided live action reference.
Tony on the left is played by Disney veteran Don Barcley, the actor who does Joe is unknown to me. The final animation though hardly shows any traces of such reference, Lounsbery made these two characters his own.
As you can see, Pluto had to sit in for Lady and the Tramp.

A couple of lively rough drawings from Lounsbery's desk.

Look at these expressive hands. We know that Milt Kahl was a master of articulating hands in animation, but so was Lounsbery.

A great story sketch by Joe Rinaldi, full of character and mood.

This final cel and background art shows a very skillfully painted and lit scene.
The calendar on the wall by the Geronomie Noodle Co. could be an in house reference to co-director Clyde Geronimi.