Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Milt Kahl Autograph that almost didn't happen

During one of my visits to see Milt in Northern California I brought along a Colonel Hathi sketch, I had just purchased. Milt didn't animate any scenes with elephants for The Jungle Book, but he was involved with their designs.
When I asked him to sign the sketch, Milt hesitated. He said he doesn't like the way he drew the tusks coming out of Hathi's upper mouth. He used his fingers to describe the way it should have been drawn. "No, I don't want to sign this." My facial expression must have been utter disappointment, because that's when his wife Julie, who was also present, spoke up: "Oh Milt, come on."
He then picked up the rejected drawing and autographed it. I was happy!
It is unbelievable to realize how critical Milt remained long after leaving animation behind. I could never get an on the spot drawing out of him. At that stage in his life he felt that he wasn't up to his old standards anymore. I certainly respect him for that, and feel privileged that Milt took the time to meet with me.