Oct 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ollie! With love and thanks for everything

Thanks to an alert by John Canemaker, I know that today, Halloween 2007, is Ollie Johnston's 95th birthday.

Really, what can be said about a man on such a day when he's lived so long that he's influenced millions--both professionally and personally--and it's all been said before, often by people who knew him well, worked with him and love him dearly?
It's a tough one. I met Ollie just once at his home many years ago, shortly before "Illusion Of Life" was published. I saw him speak at festivals and animation events; mostly I know him through his animation, which has always entertained and touched me, and always, always expertly fooled me into completely and utterly believing his drawings were alive.

Happy Birthday, Master Animator!

It's hard to find an image of Ollie alone in a shot--of course, for virtually all of his working life he's most often pictured with his dearest friend, the late Frank Thomas, as above. From David Nethery's blog I swiped the other shot of Ollie at his desk at the very beginnings of his illustrious career. Three guesses who's giving some guidance while Ollie looks on.

Oct 21, 2007

Fred Moore and family-previously unpublished

Here's a wonderful photograph: Disney animator Fred Moore, his first wife Virginia (for the record, his second wife was also named Virginia) and one of their two daughters, probably taken about 1938 or so.

Of course all we animation fans love the glimpse into the private, candid life of a legendary Disney animator, but as someone else (someone not in the business) pointed out upon seeing it: "it's great to see these kinds of images of people from seventy years ago. It's so vivid and casual-it's as if you're in the moment with them and makes you see them as real people, not caricatures, not just names on the credits or in a book." Indeed. The scene looks strikingly contemporary--the young Mrs. Moore could easily be my mom 30 years later, Fred one of my friends in the story department mugging with their own babies.

When's this insouciant artist going to get his own book? Until then, I'm grateful to be able to pass this happy snap along to Diary readers.

Oct 17, 2007

The return of the Carthay Circle

Here's some good news for lovers of animation and film history-and theme parks that could most certainly be a lot better:

Disney's California Adventure will be vastly rehabbed, including a reproduction of the long-demolished Carthay Circle theater.

From the article:
"Favorite California Adventure attractions -- including the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, one of several added in an effort to address criticism that the park had too few blockbuster rides -- won't be dismantled. A host of new attractions will include several based on Pixar animated films such as "Cars" and "Toy Story."
The entrance plaza will be redesigned and iconic structures reminiscent of old-time Hollywood will be added, including a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre."

The Carthay was where "Snow White" had its lavish Hollywood premiere; in a generous gesture--considering that A list stars like Marlene Dietrich and Shirley Temple were crowding the theatre for the unveiling of Walt's 'folly'--Disney had arranged for all his key artists to be invited to the black tie occasion.
Years later, several of them recounted what it felt like to be there with the creme de la creme of the movie business going nuts over the film they'd slaved on for the longest couple of years of their lives: incredible.

What a neat idea to do this. I can only imagine who came up with it. Thanks, whoever you are.

Oct 7, 2007

One Moment Please...

Miss Mary Pickford catches up on her correspondence, circa 1917

I just wanted to note that in choosing a new template for the Diaries, I've inadvertently wiped out all my links. This after sagely counseling someone else that it was possible to put it all right again/not lose links. Uh, yikes. Well, I did save a text file with all the raw linkage so as soon as I'm on that computer I'll do my best to restore the good stuff.

The thing I like about this differently-written template is the ability to organize posts by tags(although I'm chagrined at all the tags being represented at right; there are quite a few that aren't that important). Now the "Fred Moore" and "story" posts can be accessed easily, instead of by searching.

So, just an FYI. More anon.