Aug 1, 2006

Disney Animation Building, circa 1984; last one out turns out the lights.

The employee directory for D wing in the old feature animation building on the Disney lot in Burbank. A fabled area where, yes, Fred Moore once sat, along with Ward Kimball and many other immortals of animation. This was the last thing a sentimental assistant removed as they were leaving the Feature Animation building forever for the converted buildings on Flower Street in Glendale(and where, starting with "The Little Mermaid", Disney FA went on to have a renaissance of creativity and energy). It was posted in a display holder at the head of each wing's hallway. I'll bet this stirs memories for some readers.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my lord. I might have been the last one to turn out the lights that terrible Friday evening. I visited the Animation Building that last day. Actually, I was across in the Roy O. Disney Building, so our little group remained on the Disney lot. But I can't tell you how awful it was to see animation "evicted" from their home.

Disney Publishing finally got booted off the lot some years later, finally making the Walt Disney Studio totally free of artists. Such were the indignities that characterized the Eisner management.

Anonymous said...


Yes, that stirs some memories. I've worked with every one of those folks, except for Barbara, but not in that particular building (much to my regret ... I was a couple of years too late to get to work in the "real" Animation Building , the one that Walt built).

I hear they're building a new Animation Bldg. on the site of the old "Hart-Dannon" building at the corner of Flower St. and Rodier (now called "Circle 7") where such movies as The Rescuer's Down Under, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Pocahontas were made.

Actually , I was sort of hoping the new Disney Feature Animation leadership under Lasseter and Catmull would move the animation staff back into the historic Animation Building on the main lot at 500 S. Buena Vista , which would be a nice sentimental/symbolic move, but I suppose somewhat impractical for any future expansion and probably the ol' 20th century wiring in the place isn't quite up to what is needed for today's computer dependent workflow, but it sure would have been a grand sight to see the "Animation" building full of of animators again.

It's funny, when they move to the new building there will then be 3 different buildings on Disney property that have ANIMATION in big letters over the front door , but don't have any animators inside : 1.)the original 1940 -to- 1984 era building, 2.)the "Hat" building on Riverside , and 3.)the Animation Building on the "Disney-MGM Studios" theme park backlot in Orlando.
(with the various warehouses and trailers of the mid-80's to mid-90's era where the renaissance happened just a memory)

Rusty Mills said...

When I first trained at Disney I was sitting in the room with George Sukara in the old animation building. now I'm back at Disney and one of the handful of artists that actually work on the lot though now we are in the Frank G Wells building which is where the back lot was in those days. I haven't heard anything about them building any new animation buildings in Glendale though they are building two large buildings to house other areas of the Disney corporation on Flower St.
I believe the old animation building is up to date wireling wise since there are live action production offices in there which use networking.
It sure would be nice to see animation use that building again.

Anonymous said...

Whoever shot those directories should be commended for preserving some special Disney history. Darn! Why didn't I think of that?

I remember walking through the deserted wings once animation had been kicked out. It was like walking through a battle field, only without the bodies. What an awful end to Walt's golden era.

Even though it's still new, I'd like to bulldoze that ugly ass Eisner building.

Hans Perk said...

Sit here thumbing through a 1963 Studio directory - and find:
305 NORMAN, Floyd ..... 1D-1

Interesting how rooms were re-occupied - with Walt Stanchfield in Milt's old office, and Tom Ferriter and Mike Gabriel in Frank and Ollie's old rooms. Wonder what and if they thought about that...

Rusty Mills said...

I remember during breaks and lunchtime Jesus would pick up his guitar and start play some gorgeous classical music. Poor guy was stuck cleaning up cauldron born on the Black Cauldron yet had a talent for playing classical guitar.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

Retta Davidson's maiden name was Retta Scott- the first female animator at Disney(on Bambi). She finished her carreer at Disney;s around this time as a cleanup artist. She spent time in between her carreer at Disney's in the 40's and the late 70's freelancing for other studios- mostly in cleanup.
Your website is great-

Bert Klein

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to go about updating an entry on IMDB?

They have two separate listings for Retta Scott and Retta Davidson , with no hint that these are the same person. The IMDB for Retta Scott only credits her as an animator on Bambi and on The Plague Dogs (1982) , but I've read that she also worked on Fantasia, Dumbo and Wind in the Willows segment of Icabod & Mr. Toad, as well as some Donald Duck shorts in 1942 . Also, there is a discrepancy on IMBD for date of birth and date of death in the Retta Davidson entry; IMDB lists date of birth as 1 November 1921 and date of death as 12 June, 1998 , Del Mar, California, while the Disney Legends web page lists Retta Scott's date of birth as Februrary 23, 1916 and date of death as
August 26, 1990,Foster City, CA.

Disney Legends page also says she joined Disney in 1938 in the Story Dept. on Bambi, before transitioning to Animation Dept. , so the IMDB entry should also list that information.

Scott Wright said...

Wow, look at the names I've worked with here at DreamWorks...small, small world.

Anonymous said...

The halls were filled with actual animation art, not reproductions. I sat in 1-F-1 with Brian Clift. The building was great, and the atmosphere on the lot was pretty exciting. On The Black Cauldron, I was responsible for the famous pan cell disaster.
Great memories...then the new management came in. Yikes!