Friday, March 31, 2023

Old Milt Kahl


A great photo of Milt working on The Aristocats, sometime in 1969 or 1970. Afterwards he would work on two more animated features before leaving Disney, Robin Hood and The Rescuers.

Madame Bonfamille is a unique character in terms of her realistic design and illustrative look. I remember seeing the film for the first time, and I was thinking: She is different, she looks like a beautiful magazine illustration come to life. I wondered who mastered such a unique challenge.

In the pic Milt is re-working the first drawing from one of her opening scenes, in which she inspects her appearance in a mirror in anticipation of her lawyer George Hautecoure's visit.

Here is the link to an earlier post about this scene:

And a relating post:

Here are copies of Milt's rough animation drawings from Madame Bonfamille's first close up scene. What delicate drawings!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Young Milt Kahl


My guess is that this photo dates back to Milt's days on Snow White or Pinocchio, perhaps even earlier. We all know that he showed tremendous skills from the day he started animating at Disney. After a few scenes with Mickey Mouse in the 1936 short film Mickey's Circus, his career took off into the stratosphere.

Yesterday was his birthday. Milt died in 1987.

Here are clean up key drawings from one of his scenes with Brer Fox from Song of the South. The fox is holding Brer Rabbit and threatens to kill him. "I spect I'll have to skin ya!" What is brilliant here is to see how Milt handled the second part of the dialogue. The fox talks through his teeth, which adds a great sense of menace (as well as comedy).

And look at the first page of the scene's exposure sheet! Milt felt compelled to add a doodle showing how he himself felt about the scene. Hilarious!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

MUSHKA Cast & Crew Screening

Just about a month ago the MUSHKA crew finally got together for a premiere screening of our film. Most people had never met each other. Everyone had worked from home, and the voice talents were recorded separately at my home studio. We invited a few guests of honor as well.  

Before the screening I introduced the artists individually. Actor Tanner Beard, who voiced the Father, turned around and shook hands with his on-screen animated daughter Helena Aviv Perez (Sarah) for the first time. It was such a funny but beautiful moment.

This was the venue for our screening and reception. 

Of course we had to give out goodie bags for all of the guests. They included a copy of the Jungle Book catalogue as well as.... some MUSHKA merchandise. 

Voice actors Josh Goldman (Alex), Tanner Beard (Father) and Helena Aviv Perez (Sarah).

Disney royalty Kathryn Beaumont and MUSHKA singer extraordinaire Holly Sedillos. Unfortunately Richard Sherman wasn't available that evening.

Don Hahn and Rick Farmiloe. 

On the left, filmmakers Ted Thomas and his wife Kuniko. On the far right my storyboard partner (Layout artist and scene planer) Matthieu Saghezchi. 

Head of character opaquing and character color Ambrosio Garcia. 

Animator and good friend Andreas Wessel-Therhorn. Andreas animated critical scenes with the three villains. 

Cortney DiPaola animated a ton of lovely scenes with Sarah. 

On the far left my amazing screenwriter Mayka (Michael McKinney), then Roger Viloria, coproducer  and head of all postproduction...and my dear partner. Next to him is composer Fabrizio Mancinelli, who worked closely with Richard Sherman. Fabrizio gave me a film score I could only have dreamt of!!

And Natalie Franscioni-Karp painted the vast majority of the backgrounds. I am in such awe of her talent and her commitment. 

On the right is Steve Gordon. I go waaaaayy back with Steve to the Black Cauldron. He animated the most complicated action scene on MUSHKA. At the time it seemed impossible to do from a technical point of view.

Kathy Beaumont with another Disney voice legend Bruce Reitherman. 

It was an emotional night to say the least. I will always be grateful to our small but kick-ass crew, who helped me to get this story to the screen. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

More Jungle Book Material

It is always interesting to see where you can find never before seen artwork and photos from Disney films. In recent years French publisher Hachette developed Disney character booklets (just under 30 pages) combined with dimensional figurines. The books are full of behind the scenes infos and visuals. 

This one is just about Mowgli and Kaa. 

A cel from a Frank Thomas scene and a Ken Anderson sketch.

Milt Kahl's animation drawings and a story sketch by Bill Peet. 

This photo cracks me up. Milt is pinning Ollie down on Woolie's director's desk. In all my research for the JUNGLE BOOK exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum I had not come across this specific "Outtake photo". I have no idea where Hachette found it...
The next pic below is the standard version from this particular photo shoot. 

More cool behind the scenes material.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Pinocchio Ruffs

These are not properly scanned images, but I had them as photo files for a while. Remarkable rough animation drawings from a film many still consider to be the best animated Disney film ever.

First up Ollie Johnston, who animated the first scene of Pinocchio coming alive. Ollie must have felt some kind of pressure because of such an important moment in the movie. How would this marionette move and behave with human emotions?

Bill Tytla of course animated all personality scences with Stromboli. Here he freaks out over a fake coin. It's been said before, Tytla set new standards for personality animation. 

Fred Moore's character was Lampwick. I always think of a young Mickey Rooney when watching the acting and movement. Gorgeous drawings.

Milt Kahl animated most of Pinocchio's transformation scenes. But this one is by Ollie Johnston. Lampwick is horrified as he discovers his own transformation into a donkey. Here he is backing Pinoke against a wall, begging for help.

Pinocchio discovers his donkey tale. One of Milt's best scenes in the film. It's a juxtaposition: A cute animated character experiencing a horrific moment.

Milt's rough drawings of Pinocchio as a real boy. Not sure who asked for his hands to be drawn smaller in size...probably Walt. Milt admitted years later that he was tired at this point in production and didn't give his best. Still...beautiful acting and motion.