Thursday, October 25, 2012

They Made the Magic: Bill Tytla

Grim Natwick wrote of trying to write about Bill Tytla for Cartoonist PROfiles "How does one start to write about a superb artistic talent?"  Natwick points out that Tytla was not one of the Nine Old Men - he taught the Nine Old Men.
Valdimir "Bill" Tytla was born October 25, 1904 in New York.  He dropped out of high school and went to Paris to study.  It was there that Paul Terry contacted him and by 1923 Tytla he joined Terry in New York.  In New York he met Ted Sears and Ben Sharpsteen.  In 1934 Tytla joined the Disney Studios where is first few assignments were working on Clarabelle Cow in Mickey's Fire Brigade and The Cookie Carnival among others.  Tytla said that the working conditions at the studios were terrific and that Walt Disney was miles ahead of the competition in all fields.
Tytla was responsible for many of the dwarfs but is perhaps remembered most for the way he animated Grumpy living up to his name  Natwick said that the scene where Grumpy is given a bath was an "impossible" scene to animate because of the difficult drawings and complicated staging, but Tytla accomplished it with "the determination of an artist with an undaunted spirit and the best mustache in the Studio." (Walt's People, Volume 7).  Tyla said of the time:
"Freddy Moore and I were responsible for the dwarfs.  There were seven of them, all the same size, and only one who didn't have hair on his face.  Each one was a separate color.  We animated all seven of them at once.  On Snow White, Walt always gave us directions.  We were all walking on tiptoes on that one.  We didn't know what to expect.  We were all full of kinds of emotions." (Walt's People Vol.1)
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson said of Tytla: "Fill was powerful, muscular, high-strung and sensitive, with tremendous ego.  Everything was 'feelings' with him.  Whatever he animated had the inner feelings of his characters expressed through very strong acting."
After the success of Snow White, Tytla became one of the highest paid animators in the studio.  He went on to work on Stromboli in Pinocchio, Socerer Mickey and Chernabog in Fantasia, and Dumbo (modeling the character on his own son).  He returned to the shorts department to work on the Giant in the Brave Little Talior.
Tytla joined Disney playing polo and bought a horse.  During one game, Bill's horse tripped and fell on him, injuring his pelvis; an injury he never fully recovered from.
In 1941, Tytla joined the strike at the Disney Studios.  I. Kelin remembered that Tytla didn't have a problem with the Disney Studios and suspected he joined the strike out of loyalty to his friend Art Babbit.  He returned after but things were never the smae, not getting the strong characters he once did.  He worked on Saludos Amigos and some of the war films but left in 1943.
Tytla worked for Paul Terry, Paramount, Tempo Productions and then tried his own production company where he animated shorts and directed commercials.
Bill Tytla died in 1968 and was named a Disney legend in 1998.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Finding Snow White at Mickey''s Halloween Party

This October I made the trip to Disneyland to check out Mickey's Halloween Party.  I attended on a Tuesday night early in the month, so it wasn't too crowded.  I entered the park earlier in the day and checked in for the party at a mobile station in Frontierland.  There, I was given a wrist band and a trick or treat bag.  There were four things that happen that are special to the Halloween party:

Trick or Treating
All over the park there are trick or treat stations.  The locations have the traditional candy (brand names like Reeses, Kit Kat, Whoppers...) along with some healthier option (apples, raisins, dried fruit...)

Character Meet and Greets
The park map shows that all around the park there are characters. I did see Jack Skellington's location in New Orleans Square and the princesses in the small world plaza.  I couldn't find the villain's location though (didn't really look that hard).

Well, parade is not the correct work - on the map, it's a cavalcade - it's got a few floats, but mostly it just characters walking around.  Many of the characters are in costume - Stitch as James Dean and the Country Bears as Ballerinas.  The Princesses (Snow White, Belle, and Tianna) were not in costume.

This was the thing I was looking forward to the most.  I remember one year, they did Halloween themed fireworks that was for anyone in the park that day and it included lasers to the music of Space Mountain as well as Haunted Mansion segments.  Well, this was not the fireworks shown.  Don't get me wrong, they were fun, loved the zero flying across the sky.  However, it wasn't as impressive as I was hoping.

So, what Snow White related things are there?  Basically, nothing special.  You can meet Snow White. She is in her traditional outfit but standing in front of a Halloween backdrop.  I don't know if the queen or hag were characters.  The park map indicated that you can meet villains - but does not list who.  Snow White was in the parade - just walking but I suspect she may not always be.  It is just a princess segment that can have whichever princesses are available.  Finally, you can hear the magic mirror at the very start of the fireworks.  And that's it for Snow White.  I think the Queen and Hag get better placement in the advertising for Halloween time.

Overall, it was fun.  I really enjoyed the creative costumes you saw all around the park.  I think it's a great event to come to with your kids for trick or treating.  Plus most of the attractions are open and the lines on attractions are short - there is so much else to do, sometimes the line for candy was longer than the lines for attractions.  For more information click here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

They Made the Magic: Scotty Mattraw

Scotty Mattraw was born on October 19, 1880 in New York.  A character actor, Mattraw appeared in may movies from the silent pictures to 1940.  Some of his pictures included The Thief of Bagdad, Babes in Toyland (1934), Wee Willie Winkie, and Grapes of Wrath.  Mattraw provided the voice of Bashful for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Mattraw died November 9, 1946.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

They Made the Magic: Hamilton Luske

Hamilton S. Luske was born October 16, 1903.  After attending the University of California Berkley, he went to work as animator for a paper in Oakland.
In 1931, Luske joined the Disney Studios.  His animation attracted the attention of Mae West who was so impressed with the Jenny Wren character modeled after her, she personally wrote to Walt.  He skills as an animator who could analyze a character moved him along the company quickly.

Walt Disney personally assigned Luske to the daunting task of animating Snow White herself.  In fact, Walt wrote a memo in 1935 stating that "From now on Ham Luske is definitely assigned to Snow White."
Luske went on to be a director for the studio working on many classics including Mary Poppins.  He also went to work on TV projects at Disneyland and Walt Disney Presents.
Ham Luske died in 1968 became a Disney Legend in 1999. For more information read the 50 most influential animators blog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

They Made the Magic: Art Babbitt

Born October 8, 1907, Babbit grew up in Iowa after leaving Nebraska early on.  Art Babbit began his career in animation in 1924.  He joined Paul Terry Studio in 1929, however he was so impressed with the Disney Silly Symphony The Skeleton Dance, he applied in 1932.  He worked on a variety of shorts and became instrumental in developing Goofy.  Babbit also helped establish the studio classes for animators taught by Don Graham.

Babbit moved over to animated features where he worked on the character development for Dopey and was the supervisor on the scene where the Queen becomes the Hag on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs..  Babbit said of the scene: "You may have read that a lot of rotoscoping was done, but I have proof that I didn't rotoscope my Queen.  Live action was taken of an actress who acted out the parts.  I studied the live action on a Moviola, got it firmly into my brain, then put it away and never touched it again." Walt's People Volume 3.  Babbit was one of the highest paid Disney animator at the time.  He also worked on Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo. Babbit took legal action against the Disney Studios in 1942 because Babbit wasn't paid a bonus for Pinocchio.  In fact he was not payed a bonus for Snow White either.  According to Michael Barrier, there were two animators not payed bonuses (Dick Lundy being the other).  Babbit lost the suit as no one was paid for Pinocchio as the film ultimately lost money.

In 1941 Babbit led a strike against Disney that greatly effected Walt Disney and his studio.  He was hired back for a short time from 1943 to 1947.  In 1949 Babbit joined the UPA where he introduced the character of Mr. Magoo.  He stayed with UPA until 1952 and then in 1966 (until 1975) Babbit was in charged of Hanna-Barbera's commercial department.  Babbit continued his career working on projects with Grim Natwick and teaching in London.

Art was married three times; first to Margie Belcher, the live action model for Snow White, Dina Gottliebovca, and Barbara Perry.

Art Babbit was induced as a Disney Legend in 2007.  For more information read Animation World's extensive article, or check out the Art Babbit Blog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

They Made the Magic: Riley Thomson

Note: sometimes Riley's last name is spelled Thompson including on a Disney short: Dude Duck.  Riley was born on October 5, 1912.  He began his career with Warner Brothers in 1935, and moved to Disney in 1936.  He worked on Silly Symphonies as an animator and worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Fantasia.  He moved to the story department after Fantasia and directed some well known Mickey shorts including Nifty Nineties.  In 1950's he moved into comics and worked for Western Publishing.  There he drew mainly Disney characters but also drew some Woody Woodpecker shorts.  In 1957 he went to work for Walter Lunz Productions back in the filed of animation until 1959.  Riley passed away in 1960.