Thursday, June 18, 2015
I am lucky enough to count both of these artists as friends. Frank Thomas and Lisa Davis, who voiced Anita in the Disney classic film 101 Dalmatians, interact with a couple of Dalmatian puppies at the studio around 1959 or 1960.
Frank did animate beautiful scenes with some of the puppies as well as their parents Pongo and Perdita, but none with Anita.
This character presented a design challenge as a new human leading lady. Marc Davis had just finished animation on Aurora for Sleeping Beauty, and his early scenes with Anita show a certain resemblance to the princess ( Anita and Roger meet awkwardly in the park before falling into a lake.) Les Clark got involved and did a few scenes when the puppies are born, but it wasn't until Milt Kahl came on board that this heroine's final design was set for the film.
This cel shows a Marc Davis drawing for a Les Clark scene.
In the end Milt Kahl drew Anita looking like Julie Andrews, which was coincidental, since the actress wouldn't become a household name until Mary Poppins a few years later.
Lisa and I are planing to get together and discuss her involvement in the film. We will take a few photos to be posted here along with lots more artwork that will demonstrate Anita's visual development. So stay tuned!