Jan 19, 2006

Fred Moore, Art Babbitt and Larry Clemmons at the Disney Hyperion studio, 1932


Art Babbitt set up his camera to take a time-release photograph of himself(in the center), Fred Moore and their assistant, Larry Clemmons in their space at the Disney Hyperion studio, circa 1932
The New York Times runs a weekly series called "Possessed" where they allow various society doyennes and artist types to write an essay on a particular object they place above all others in their lives. This photograph would be one of mine. It's been with me since 1981, and it has pride of place at every studio I've worked. It hangs now in my office at Dreamworks.
Art Babbitt graciously allowed me to have a negative made from his original. Obviously for an animation artist and a Disney afficionado it's a fascinating picture; what first impressed me was the unbelievably cramped space these men had to share--and two of them were already important artists; that tells you something about the facilities at Disney's at this time. Yet for all the eventual splendor of the Burbank campus(the present site of Disney), most every animator seemed to miss these makeshift quarters, Art included. Crude as it was, they were engaged in making new discoveries on a daily basis.

Their expressions seem uniformly impassive at a glance, but a longer look shows the faint bemusement on Fred's face, the self-possession of Babbitt's, the slightly sullen posture of Larry there in the back, against the wall. This was the first photograph of Moore I'd seen that wasn't a posed studio publicity shot, drawing away in a suit and tie, hair oiled. Here he looks intently out at--the camera, sure, but also across the abyss of time, life and death, success and despair. And he's only 20 years old. Art is 24, Larry is 25.

They're good companions to have on one's wall.

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8 comments:

J said...

Wow great post Jenny. A very human nostalgia. Beautiful.
j

Jenny said...

Thanks, james--much appreciated!

btw you have a very nice-looking site there of your own--very elegant. : )

J said...

The website or the blog? Either way, I appreciate it very much. If you have any comments on the board stuff I'd love to hear 'em.
Thanks so much.
J

Jenny said...

I initially meant the personal, portfolio site of yours(love that intro page)--but then I remembered you are also Iron Scythe--great sketches there, man! I'm happy to have a link to it...so, both!

J said...

Thanks! I thought having a pencil as an intro to my site was a pretty appropriate first image, and I l-o-v-e tombow pencils. I'm really glad you like it. Hopefully the work holds up too. (wink). Once I'm done my new folio, I'll post it on that site too.
Thanks again Jenny.

Barry Johnson said...

Hey Jenny!
Sweeeeet blog.

Keep up the good work.

Jenny said...

Heeeey!
Great to have you pop over! Many's the time we've missed you around here. Many thanks for the kind words(and where's yours, btw--that I'd love to read!)?
-Jenny

Julie's Hoop said...

Hey that's my grandpa in the back there...what a cool guy he was. How I miss him so. Love that I get to still hear his voice when my kids watch The Rescuers...and the Jungle Book. Oh it's all about him. He was one cool cat!

Love this blog!