Walt and Ward. From Videographi magazine December 1986, Ward Kimball shared the following thoughts with writer John Rice: “In the Golden Age of animation, there was always a desire to do good animation. The problem has always been money. Animation has deteriorated because people aren’t putting money into it. The future for animation is computer generated graphics and effects. It fascinates me. In Pinocchio and Fantasia, we didn’t have the luxury of the computer. It all had to be done by hand so we were limited.
“Walt knew when someone wasn’t doing any work. He would come in to the offices on Saturdays and Sundays. He would look over people’s desks and see how things were coming. He might get an idea and then call the animator or director into his office on Monday morning but never admit that he’d been at their desk over the weekend.
“There are other types of geniuses out there today but never exactly like Walt. I consider Jim Henson a genius. But no one will be exactly like Walt. He came along with the right mind at the right time and he had the talent at just the right point in history. You can’t duplicate it. But why duplicate it? There are new things!”
Color Controversy. In the Minneapolis Star Tribune of July 16, 1982, animator Gary Goldman who was promoting the release of The Secret of NIMH (1982) stated, “When I first looked at Pinocchio as an adult, I said, ‘I can’t believe they did that. That is gorgeous’. My goodness, forty years have passed and we can’t do it as good as they did it in 1940. It’s because we lost the three-color process, sold it to China. That’s what Gone With the Wind was done with and that’s what Bambi and Pinocchio were done with.
“Each frame of film is shot three times. One with red, one with yellow and one with blue. Then they’re split and combined. It’s a dye process rather than a photography process. That’s why those old films look so vivid and rich. We’ve lost all that today.” Goldman said 1.5 million drawings were combined to get the 120,000 finished drawings shown on the screen.
Bluth Animation Philosophy. In the New York Times November 7, 1986, animator and director Don Bluth said, “Animation is really an enigma to most people. The characters you see on screen are actually symbols. A witch is drawn like a person, but she really represents something else. That is why animation is like poetry. It is symbolic communication. Through villains and witches, children come to understand that there is good and evil in the world and they must see that good wins and evil loses.
“The reason the Disney films are classics is that they are frightening. As long as they are rescued from the scary, the scary has a purpose. You want to show that evil can be overcome. If you take true villainy and water in down, you take away its meaning for the child. Steven (Spielberg) was very insistent that his son, Max who is one year old could watch (An American Tail 1986) without reprecussions.”
UPA Animation. Paul Etcheverry did an extensive interview with Bill Scott on his lengthy animation career on November 24, 1981. Here is an excerpt about limited animation: “I think Bill Melendez expressed it best. He was one of the finest UPA animators and knew the style as well as anyone and he said, ‘We put in no uneccessary drawings’. There wasn’t animation for animation’s sake. I recently saw Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951) again. I watched scene after scene where the animation tired you out. Everything was moving all the time. Great gusts and wafts of brilliant animation so that all the animation began to look the same after a while. We used to call Disney animation “wormy”. Everything seemed to be crawling and moving at once. So UPA had a policy of movement when it’s required but otherwise, not.”
Barbera Talks Jetsons the Movie. In USA Today, July 6, 1990, animation producer Joe Barbera talked about Jetsons: The Movie (1990). Barbera said, “Five or six minues of computer work was tremendously expensive but it gave us a real sense of movement. This isn’t a family of bears or alligators. This is a family of the future and people identify with them. That’s refreshing to some people who are sick of the car chases and weapons that shoot 4,000 bullets a minute. The original shows are still popular because it lets adults relive good childhood memories with their kids and makes people laugh at daily frustrations.
“George (O’Hanlon) was in a wheelchair and almost blind during production. We would read him the lines and O’Hanlon would repeat them in his George Jetson’s voice. His wife, Nancy, called one day and said, ‘You’re making him young again’. I knew he and Mel Blanc are now in cartoon fantasy heaven working on ideas together. George Jetson and Mr. Spacely – the two of them in a room yelling at each other.”
The Beatles History. In 1984, Chris Cuddington, a former animation director for Hanna-Barbera’s Australian studio wrote a reply to writer Christopher Cook about his questions about The Beatles animated television sereis.
Cuddington had directed four of the cartoons. “In 1965, a guy named Al Brodax got this bright idea to save money on the production side of The Beatles so he handed out great chunks of Beatles production to Australia, England and maybe Mexico and Canada as well.
“As far as Australian production is concerned, the main bulk of Beatles’ cartooning was done in a studio called Artransa. At that time, I was working as an animator in a small studio in Paddington Sydney which was called Graphik Animation. Artransa was having production problems, so they asked my studio to help out.
“It took about four weeks to animate each film and I enjoyed it immensely. The characters were easy to draw and the stories simple and uncomplicated, acting mostly as briding material between song sequences. I’m a fan of The Beatles’ early work –being more fresh and enthusiastic and having wider appeal than their later works. I’m sorry I didn’t get to animate more on The Beatles but other animation came along, i.e. Cool McCool and The Lone Ranger. Then I left the small studio in Paddington to go into more personally and financially beneficial things.”