Lonely toymaker Geppetto has his wishes answered when the Blue Fairy arrives to bring his wooden puppet Pinocchio to life. Before becoming a real boy, however, Pinocchio must prove he’s worthy as he sets off on an adventure with his whistling sidekick and conscience, Jiminy Cricket. From Stromboli’s circus to Pleasure Island, Pinocchio is tested by many temptations, but slowly learns how to navigate right from wrong. With a few mishaps along the way, Geppetto’s “little woodenhead” finally gets it right, proving that when you wish upon a star dreams really can come true! –disney.go.com
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
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
“T.” (Thornton) Hee (March 1911 – 30 October 1988) was an American animator, director, and teacher. He taught character design and caricature. He is always credited as T. Hee.
Hee worked at Leon Schlesinger Productions from 1935-36 as a character designer. He designed many of the celebrity caricatures used in The Coo Coo Nut Grove (1936) and The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos (1937). A 1936 Christmas card that he drew, featuring caricatures of the Schlesinger animators, was used to design the gremlins in the 1944 animated short Russian Rhapsody.
Hee joined The Walt Disney Company around 1937. He is most recognized for directing the Dance of the Hours segment of Fantasia. He left after the strike, but returned to work there twice, from 1940 to 1946, and again from 1958 to 1961. Hee also worked for United Productions of America (1951 to 1958) and Terrytoons (1961 to 1963).
Hee was one of the co-founders, along with Jack Hannah, of the Character Animation program at the… 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
Ham Luske, a business major, with no formal art education, was the first animator cast by Walt Disney on his daring new project, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the Studio’s first full-length animated feature film. In a memo dated late 1935, Walt wrote, “From now on Ham Luske is definitely assigned to Snow White.”
As the film’s supervising animator, Ham was responsible for the most difficult character of all – Snow White. The audience had to believe in her for the picture to be a success, which led to the use of such groundbreaking techniques as live-action reference films. Ham adeptly directed live-action model (actress Margie Bell) on film, which artists then referred to as they brought the character to life.
Animator and fellow Disney Legend Ollie Johnston recalled, “Ham’s careful planning and shooting of the live-action footage, always with the idea in mind of how it would be used in animation, resulted in a very convincing character.” So much so that Snow White… read more