Tuesday, January 24, 2012

They Made the Magic: Wilfred Jackson

Happy birthday to Wilfred Jackson born in 1906.  Jackson was a sequence director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  After joining Disney in 1928, he worked on Steamboat Willie and pioneered a method of pre-timing animation with sound.  He directed cartoons, some of which were honored with academy awards.  Jackson went on to produce and direct for the Disneyland TV show.  He retired from the Disney Company in 1961 and was posthumously named a Disney Legend in 1998.

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson said "Jaxon (Jackson's nickname) was easily the most creative of the directors, but he was also the most 'picky' and took a lot of kidding about his thoroughness." (Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life)

According the Jackson: "Walt was a better storyman than any of the storymen he could hire, he was a better director than any of the directors he could hire, but he wasn't a better animator than any of the animators he could hire.  At that point (Snow White and Pinocchio) the direction was very largely a matter of trying hard to get on the screen what you understood Walt to want on the screen." (Ghez, Didier.  Walt's People Volume 6)

Jackson also explained that Snow White was difficult for Walt.  In that Walt wasn't sure he could top it.  He wanted to avoid repeating himself but he wasn't sure he could do better than Snow White and Jackson suspected that was because the public would never be impacted the same way as it had been from Snow White.  (for more of this interview - Walt's People Volume 7)

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