May 6, 2009

Kahl Conversation

A short time ago the motion picture Academy had a tribute to Milt Kahl that sounds like it was quite an evening--if you managed to get in (many ticket holders didn't, due to a snafu of some sort).

I wasn't there, unfortunately, but the ensuing mention of it on Michael Barrier's blog and the comments that followed are well worth reading, even though I find I don't entirely agree with anyone's opinions. But that's what makes a horse race. I only just discovered it and suggest you have a read here.

The screen cap above is from a scene near and dear to me and the friend I first watched it with back in the early 80s: the brilliant animator captured in the act of drawing. Talk about intensity.

We watched this episode of the "Disney Family Album" series on Kahl with a lot of awe and a wee bit of fear. Actually, the shots of Kahl relaxing outdoors somewhere up in the beautiful Bay area sunshine were charming, but nonetheless there seemed some undercurrent of coiled tension, of his just barely tolerating the process of being interviewed. Having also heard once-in-a-lifetime stories about working with Milt from his colleague Dale Oliver involving the breaking of Bakelite and other forms of studio equipment might have colored our view. Imagine handing this man some cleanups!

But make no mistake: we were in total thrall to the man's artistic skill. I would have "suffered" working around him gladly for the experience-and it was clear that Oliver and others had relished it and wouldn't have traded it for anything. Such is the spell of genius. I'll bet it didn't hurt that he also appeared to have had a terrific sense of humor. Here's to "Miltie-pie".

Oh, Miltie-pie, if I should die,
Please bury me in 3C-12.

Then I'll know why, but never cry,
About the pictures that they shelve.

I'll gaze upon, what's going on,
And get it straight from Walt—

And then I'll see who's blaming me,
When it is not my fault!

I'll get firsthand, the things they've planned
That animators never know.

See color shots, hear story plots,
Gee, I can hardly wait to go.

Yes, I like Forest Lawn, but when I'm gone,
You know where I'd rather be. . . .

I don't mean heaven, or 3C-11,
It's 3C-12 for me.

-attributed to Milt Kahl & Frank Thomas

1 comment:

Floyd Norman said...

As scary as Milt could be on occasion, he was actually a joy to work for. Heck, even a guy like me managed to put in two years on "Sword in the Stone" assisting Kahl and live to tell the tale.

You would have done just fine, Jenny.