The stork delivers a baby elephant to Mrs Jumbo, veteran of the circus, but the newborn is ridiculed because of his truly enormous ears and dubbed “Dumbo”. Dumbo is relegated to the circus’ clown acts; it is up to his only friend, a mouse, to assist Dumbo to achieve his full potential. —IMDb
Animator Norm Ferguson, affectionately called “Fergy” by his friends at The Walt Disney Studios, was never inhibited by anatomy and drawing rules. An instinctive artist, he drew what felt right, often surprising his peers with the unlikely results.
As animator Fred Moore once said, “Fergy doesn’t know that you can’t raise the eyebrows above the head circle, so he goes ahead and does it and it gives a great effect.”
Fellow Disney Legend Marc Davis summed up Fergy’s contributions when he said, “Norm Ferguson was a sharp performer and a showman.”
Fergy’s sense of showmanship stemmed from the old vaudeville comedians, who he loved to watch perform during his formative years in New York City. Their influence on him surfaced in the famous flypaper sequence, which Fergy animated in the 1934 Disney short “Playful Pluto.” The memorable 65-second sequence, which begins with Pluto sitting on a sheet of flypaper and leads to a string of hilarious gags as he attempts to free… read more
Walt Disney first came to rely upon Wilfred Jackson’s genius and sense of perfection, the year Mickey Mouse was born, 1928. At that time, Walt had conceived the notion of marrying music and animation during what was the age of silent movies. Then a new kid in the Studio’s animation department, Wilfred devised a method of synchronizing animation with music, by using a metronome to mark time that could then be converted to a music track. The innovation, which was featured in Mickey Mouse’s debut film “Steamboat Willie,” revolutionized the entertainment medium and competing studios spent more than a year trying to figure out Disney’s production “secret.”
Walt quickly promoted “Jaxon,” as he was called, from animator to director. And as Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston wrote in their book, “Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life,” — "Jaxon was easily the most creative of the directors, but he was also the most “picky” and took a lot of kidding about his thoroughness."
Born… read more
Jack Ryan Kinney (March 29, 1909 – February 9, 1992) was an American animator, director and producer of animated shorts.
Jack Kinney attended John Muir Junior High School in Los Angeles, California (1925), and attended John C. Fremont High School (1926 – 1928) there with Roy Williams. Both Fremont football players, they would later be hired by Walt Disney in 1930 to work at the Walt Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue. Often referring to himself as Kinney’s best friend, Williams would go on to star as the “Big Mooseketeer” with head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd on the classic 1950s television program, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1955 – 1958).
Kinney began his long career in cartoons at the Walt Disney Studios in 1931 as an animator on several shorts, including Santa’s Workshop (released on December 10, 1932), The Band Concert (released on February 23, 1935), and Moose Hunters (released on April 17, 1937). He then became a director of cartoons at Disney… read more
When Ben Sharpsteen joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1929, he quickly became Walt´s right-hand man in animated and live-action film production. As Walt once wrote, “Concerning Ben Sharpsteen and his contributions to the development of the Disney organization, I want to say he played a very important part.”
Born in Tacoma, Washington, on November 4, 1895, Ben was raised in Alameda, California. He studied agriculture at the University of California at Davis and in 1917, joined the U.S. Marines serving in World War I.
A gifted artist, after the war he won a job with the Hearst International Film Service, working on such early animated series as “Happy Hooligan.” He went on to work as an animator at the Paramount Studio, Jefferson Films and the Max Fleischer Studio in New York.
A mutual friend recommended Ben to Walt Disney, who sent a letter inviting him to visit the Studio in Los Angeles. The day Ben arrived, Walt showed his prospective employee Mickey Mouse cartoons… read more