Friday, April 8, 2016

The Moviola

This film viewing contraption, called the Moviola, was in use at Disney for many decades, all the way into the 1980s. In the photo you see Ollie Johnston examining a 35 mm filmstrip, most likely a pencil test from one of his scenes for Bambi. By his side is Marian Darlington, who whistled imitations of every bird in the forest for the film.
The piece of film was viewed on a loop, allowing for a thorough inspection and search for mistakes.
Fast forward a few decades.

After about one year sketching character designs for The Black Cauldron, I moved into a different office in order to start animation. Clean up artist Rebecca had moved out of this office, but before I settled in, she had somewhat of a warning for me. She pointed out that the Moviola in this room used to belong to animator John Lounsbery (who had passed away a few years prior).
How cool, I said, that's fantastic.
But...according to Rebecca who had spent many late nights trying to help finish clean up on The Fox & the Hound, the Moviola's foot peddle occasionally went down by itself setting the machine in motion. She was dead serious.
I was really looking forward to encountering the ghost of Lounsbery, but despite some of my own late hours in the office, that never happened.