January 5, 1913 – Animator, Writer, Director, and Disney Legend Jack Hannah is Born
“He was a character, but he was like a father figure to me, because he really took care of me, not only in just showing me the tricks of the trade, and about Donald, and…Disney animation…he was a kind of rough and tumble kind of guy.” Tony Anselmo, current voice of Donald Duck
On January 5, 1913, Jack Hannah was born in Nogales, Arizona. In 1931, Hannah moved to Los Angeles, California, studying art at the Art Guild Academy; in 1933, he submitted his portfolio to the Walt Disney Studios, and was hired as an in-betweener and a clean-up artist. His first short film with an animator credit was Gulliver Mickey, and he was also a key animator for the Academy Award-winning short film The Old Mill. His introduction to Donald Duck was the short film Modern Inventions; Hannah would soon be associated with the “Gable of the [Disney] stable.” Hannah moved to the story department in 1939, writing many of the Donald Duck stories. For 27 short films, Hannah worked with Carl Barks, the Donald Duck comic book artist, to help shape the character of Donald in films, including Donald Gets Drafted and Donald’s Vacation. In 1943, he became a director of the short films, introducing new antagonists for Donald, including Chip and Dale. Hannah also introduced Donald to the new medium of television, which includes A Day in the Life of Donald Duck and At Home with Donald Duck.
Although Hannah retired in1959, he was asked in 1975 to help develop a new class at the Disney-founded California Institute of the Arts, the Character Animation programs. In 1992, Hannah was honored as a Disney Legend, credited with developing the personality of Donald Duck in the animated short subjects. He and Carl Barks are considered the “fathers” of Donald Duck. Hannah passed away at age 81 in Burbank, California in 1994.