Friday, January 12, 2024

Eric Larson Pics

Over the years I have talked about Eric Larson quite a bit. Eric was heading up Disney's animation training program during the 1970s and for part of the 1980s. He was also the person who hired me to join Walt Disney Productions (which sounds soo much better than the Walt Disney Company.)
I still feel so lucky that I  knocked on Disney's door at the perfect time. A group of young newly trained animators had just left the studio, and there was a need for replacements. What lucky timing!
Eric Larson trained and helped kickstart careers of so many animators from my generation. Quite a few went on to become leaders in the industry. 
When I recently finished my film MUSHKA I thought I better dedicate the film to someone, who played a major role in my animated career. Eric was the first one who came to mind. Without his trust in me I would not have had the dream career at Disney. 

The photo above shows Eric drawing Fantasia characters as part of a backdrop for the 1941 film The Reluctant Dragon. 
The following photo shows him next to Don Lusk, a young animator who helped Eric with characters like Figaro and Cleo for Pinocchio. 

Eric working on Lady & the Tramp. As I mentioned before, Milt Kahl thought Eric's animation of Peg was a high point in the movie.

The training program during the late 1970s. There is Phil Nibbelink on the left, Eric, and Michael Cedeno. In the back are effects animator Mauro Maressa, Bruce Morris and Darrel van Citters.
Not sure who is directly behind Eric.

It is just in retrospect that myself and all the other trainees from way back realize just how important Eric was to all of us. He of course taught us the proper mechanics of animation, but even more importantly the Disney philosophy for entertainment and how to communicate with an audience.  How to search for that extra sparkle that makes a character come off as unique and interesting.

Eric is the godfather of Sybil Byrnes, Milt Kahl's daughter.