Friday, March 22, 2024

Milt Kahl's Birthday

Today, March 22, is Milt Kahl's birthday. I have posted many tributes to Milt over the years, so here is something different.
As I pointed out before, Prince Phillip was his least enjoyable animation assignment. But as always he did a terrific job, the way he brought him to life with subtlety and humor. 
Years ago I was lucky enough to purchase all key drawings from a Phillip scene that ended up being cut from Sleeping Beauty. That scene has the Prince seated at the beginning, before he hears Aurora's singing in the forest. He gets up, walks screen left, then comes to a stop and looks to the right. He is trying to figure out where this beautiful voice is coming from. It might have been Milt's first production animation of the character, because the design looks different from the final version. As you can see in the first image, his face is a bit more stylized. 
Walt Disney asked for a change in the character design. Apparently Phillip did not look handsome enough in Milt's early version. 
The second image shows a few adjustments, particularly in the facial area. This look would become the final model, and I have thought that Milt drew this sketch as well. But in taking a closer look, I believe that somebody else did the "draw over". It is my educated guess that Marc Davis re-drew this Phillip pose.
There is an attempt to simplify the shoulders and the chest, and the line work reminds me of Marc's graphic style. 
As much as I prefer Phillip's final design, the first drawing is a masterpiece.
Then again all of Milt's drawings are.

Here is the link to my first first post on Milt Kahl years ago...:

Sunday, March 17, 2024

From Cruella to Disneyland

I remember years ago I just had to ask Marc Davis about his departure from Disney Animation after having animated the incredible character of Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians
At that time he was at the peak of his craft, why didn't he continue his animation career? 
It turned out Marc had high hopes for a future project he helped to develop called Chanticleer.
It's story was based on a French folktale in which a rooster believed that his own crowing in the morning made the sun rise every day. Included were plenty of other anthropomorphic animals like a fox, an owl, a mole etc.
When presented to a group of executives, including Walt Disney, Marc remembered one of the execs exclaiming: "You can't get a personality out of a chicken."
And apparently that was the end of the meeting. An alternate project, developed by Bill Peet, called The Sword in the Stone got the green light instead. 
Soon afterwards Walt asked Marc for help with Disneyland. Upcoming ideas for new rides needed a humorous touch, and Marc moved over to WED. 
In the end Marc felt very happy and challenged with this new assignment, but I can't help but wonder how Chanticleer might have turned out. I do know that Marc's friend Milt Kahl was leaning more toward The Sword in the Stone.

Here is my first post on Chanticleer from 2012:

Monday, March 4, 2024

Ward Kimball 110


Ward Kimball was born 110 years ago.
Here is another pic taken during my last visit to his house in 2002. At age 88 he was still curious, passionate and of course...funny. Disney was so lucky to have one animator among his crew who constantly thought outside of the box. 
Here are a few visual reminders if his genius.