RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Director

November 17

November 17, 2002 – The Animated Feature Treasure Planet Premieres at the Cinerama Dome Theater

“Everyone should be able to relate to Jim. He’s somebody that can’t figure out these things that are special about him, he can’t figure out how to make it work for him, and I think everyone’s been in that position; I know I have.” – Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, voice of Jim Hawkins in Treasure Planet

On November 17, 2002, 43rd animated feature film Treasure Planet had its world premiere at the Cinerama Dome Theater in Hollywood, California. Those involved with the film attended the premiere, including directors/writers Ron Clements and John Musker, songwriter John Rzeznik, animators Glen Keane and John Ripa, and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Hyde Pierce. Other celebrities that attended the premiere included Melissa Joan Hart, Daveigh Chase, and John Ripa. The film would go on to be generally released November 27, and was released in regular and IMAX formats simultaneously.

Advertisement

October 16

October 16, 1998 – Twenty-One New Inductees Are Named Disney Legends

“That’s a whole lot of legends!”

On October 16, 1998, twenty-one new Disney Legends were honored in a special ceremony at the new Disney Legends Plaza at the Walt Disney Studios. The plaza was also dedicated on this day, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company. The honorees were an eclectic mix of those individuals who had a lasting impact on the history and success of the Walt Disney Company, and ranged from actors to executives. Among those honored were Disney Company managing director for England and Europe, Cyril James; company treasurer, Don Escen; former chairman of the Oriental Land Company, Masatomo Takahashi; film editor, Lloyd Richardson; first Alice actress, Virginia Davis; animator Bill Tytla; animator and director Wilfred Jackson; actress Kathryn Beaumont; animator and director Ben Sharpsteen; director, writer, producer, and narrator Jim Algar; merchandising executive Kay Kamen; former president of Walt Disney Enterprises of Japan, Matsuo Yokoyama; documentary film makers Al and Elma Milotte; actress Gynis Johns; actress Hayley Mills; actor Kurt Russell; documentary film maker Paul Kenworthy; director and producer Larry Lansburgh; composer Buddy Baker; film editor Norman “Stormy” Palmer; and actor Dick Van Dyke. Of those honored, James, Tytla, Jackson, Sharpsteen, Algar, Kamen, and the Milottes were honored posthumously.

October 16

October 16, 2003 – Eleven Inductees are Honored as Disney Legends

“Today, the Walt Disney Company will celebrate, recognize and reward those who have contributed their creativity and imagination to the Disney heritage in the 2003 Disney Legends ceremony.”

On October 16, 2003, eleven members of Disney history were inducted as Disney Legends. Among those honored were comic publisher Al Taliaferro; Disney representative to New Zealand, Neil Beckett; actor Buddy Hackett; director Richard Fleischer; wife of Disney and supporter of the Disney Company, Edna Disney; advisor and trustee of the California Institute of the Arts, Harrison “Buzz” Price; former Vice President of Engineering, Design, and Production, Orlando Ferrante; composer and co-founder of Disneyland Records, Tutti Camarata; comic strip artist Floyd Gottfredson; voice actress for Cinderella, Ilene Woods; and last but not least, Lillian Disney, who performed many behind-the-scenes acts to keep the company, and her husband’s legacy, alive. Among the eleven honored, only five were alive at the time of the ceremony: Richard Fleischer, Harrison Price, Orlando Ferrante, Tutti Camarata, and Ilene Woods.

April 21

April 21, 1915 – Film Editor and Disney Legend Lloyd Richardson is Born

Lloyd Richardson

“Lloyd gave his all to the Disneyland series. His work was impeccable.” – Disney Legend Stormy Palmer

On April 21, 1915, Lloyd Richardson was born in Portland, Oregon. He attended the Los Angeles City College but, during the throes of the Depression, he dropped out to start working. He was able to score a job in traffic at the Disney Studios in 1937, and soon after joined the Editing Department, where he was able to flourish. Starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio, Richardson quickly learned the craft of film editing, and soon became an editor-at-large for a variety of projects, including foreign film editing that helped match foreign language tracks to the animation, and editing the training films by the studio during World War II. He continued to edit the animated features as he moved his skills to the True-Life Adventures series, eventually editing the Academy Award winning shorts Bear Country and The Vanishing Prairie. As the studio progressed into the television medium, Richardson moved into directing alongside editing, and eventually worked on over 50 different television projects. For his body of work, Richardson has won an American Cinema Editors Award for Chico, The Misunderstood Coyote, and an Academy Award with Ward Kimball for the short film It’s Tough to Be a Bird. He retired in 1980, after 40 years with the studio. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1998. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 86.

March 25

March 25, 1996 – John Lasseter is Awarded a Special Academy Award for Toy Story

John Lasseter Award

“Now we take you to the world of computer animation, where director John Lasseter has proved that a boy with a hard drive can go a long way.” – Presenter Robin Williams

On March 25, 1996, the 68th Academy Awards were held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. At this ceremony, John Lasseter was awarded a special Academy Award for the creation of the first fully computer-animated feature film, Toy Story, calling its creation a milestone in the achievement of motion pictures. The film had been a long time in the making, going back to Lasseter’s aspirations after starting at Disney decades earlier. Lasseter showed up on stage to receive the award, bringing with him a Woody and a Buzz Lightyear toy. Lasseter thanked the Academy for its longtime support of student filmmakers, as well as everyone at Pixar and Disney for their support and effort into making the film.

December 19

December 19, 1914 – Animator, Story Man, and Disney Legend Mel Shaw is Born

Mel Shaw

“Mel was on a short list of vanguard artists who would jump into a new film when it was still a blank piece of paper and with his stunning work he’d show us all the visual possibilities.” – Don Hahn

On December 19, 1914, Melvin Schwartzman (who would change his last name to Shaw) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to an opera singer mother and a lawyer father. He displayed great artistic talent at an early age, being selected for the Student Art League Society and winning a Procter & Gamble soap carving contest. In 1928, his family moved to Los Angeles, though he left at one point to try his hand at being a cowboy, despite winning a scholarship to an art institute. He soon returned to California, where he found a job at Pacific Titles creating title cards for silent films. Shaw’s first animation job came with the newly formed Harman-Ising Studios, where he took on several roles including animator, character designer, story man, and director. Shaw played polo in his spare time, where he met Walt Disney, who would invite him to join his studio. Shaw left Harman-Ising and joined Disney in 1937, where his first main project was the 1942 film Bambi. He left Disney during World War II, choosing to serve in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, working as a filmmaker and cartoonist. After the war, while not going back to Disney, he did work with the company through his new company, Allen-Shaw Productions (a partnership with former MGM Studios animator Bob Allen). He was asked back to Disney in 1974 to help transition animation from the old guard to the new, bringing his expertise to such films as The Great Mouse Detective and The Lion King. For his multitude of work for Disney, Shaw was honored as a Disney Legend in 2004. In 2012, at the age of 97, Shaw passed away.

January 24

January 24, 1906 – Animator, Director, and Disney Legend Wilfred Jackson is Born

vlcsnap-2015-01-24-19h41m54s120

“Jackson was easily the most creative of directors, but he was also the most ‘picky’ and took a lot of kidding about his thoroughness.” – Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

On January 24, 1906, Wilfred Jackson was born in Chicago, Illinois. After attending the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, he went to the Walt Disney Studios to ask for a job; although not officially hired by the Studio, he washed cels and assisted the animators. Jackson rose quickly through the studio ranks, and shortly after he arrived in the animation department, he created the method of synchronizing sound to the animation for the Mickey Mouse short film Steamboat Willie. It would take rival studios over a year to figure out how the trick was done. Jackson would go on to direct 35 short films, with three winning Academy Awards; he would also help direct segments of animated feature films, including the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment in Fantasia. As Disney entered television, Jackson moved into the new medium, directing 13 episodes of the Walt Disney anthology series. In 1965, Jackson retired from the Disney Studios. He passed away on August 7, 1988. In 1998, Jackson was honored as a Disney Legend in the field of animation.

August 10

August 10, 1914 – Director and Disney Legend Ken Annakin is Born

vlcsnap-2014-08-10-19h22m45s40

“Ken was an important part of the Disney legacy and made several memorable films for my Uncle Walt.” – Roy Disney

On August 10, 1914, Kenneth Cooper Annakin was born in Beverly, England. He began his career in films with the RAF Film Unit, working as a camera assistant to create propaganda films for the war effort after being injured in the blitz. In 1947, Annakin had his directorial debut with the feature film Holiday Camp, a comedy set at a summer holiday camp. This was then followed with the film Miranda, a comedy about a mermaid, which became a blockbuster in 1948; this film also starred fellow Disney Legend Glynis Johns, who would go to star in Annakin’s second film for Disney, The Sword and the Rose.

While working for England’s Pinewood Studios, he was approached by Disney to direct a series of films. After World War II, a policy was passed that money made in England during the war was not allowed to leave the country. To use these funds, Disney decided to create a series of live-action films, with Annakin directing a few of these later classics. The first film was The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, based on the classic legend. Annakin’s work for the studio was followed by the successful films The Sword and the Rose, Swiss Family Robinson, and Third Man on the Mountain. While working for Disney, Annakin picked up the technique of storyboarding, which had mainly been used only for animated features, but Annakin continued to use this long after his work with Disney. In 2002, Annakin was honored as a Disney Legend, the second director to receive this honor. The same year, Annakin was awarded with an Order of the British Empire, and an honorary degree from Hull University. He passed away on April 22, 2009, at the age of 94.

June 26

June 26, 1909 – Animator, Member of Disney’s Nine Old Men, Director, and Disney Legend Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman is Born

WolfgangReitherman

“I just felt [animation] was a twentieth century art form, probably the most unique of anything that had appeared on the art horizon for decades since perspective. I was just fascinated because you could move those things. You can’t move a painting.”

On June 26, 1909, Wolfgang Reitherman was born in Munich, Germany. His family moved to California when Reitherman was an infant. Fascinated with airplanes from a young age, he attended the Pasadena Junior College to study aircraft engineering, and later got a job at Douglas Aircraft as a draftsman. Reitherman changed his career path in 1931 to study his other passion of art, enrolling in the Chouinard Art Institute, studying watercolor. As fate would have it, Reitherman met an instructor who taught at the Disney Studios, and in 1933, Reitherman joined the company in the animation department. When World War II began, Reitherman served in the Air Force, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for his services in Africa, China, India, and the South Pacific. He returned to the studio after the war, and contributed to more than 30 Disney short films throughout his career, including Water Babies and Donald in Mathmagic Land. Reitherman also contributed to several feature animated films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Reitherman’s first foray into directing came with the animated feature film Sleeping Beauty. In 1961, Reitherman was named co-director of the film One Hundred and One Dalmatians alongside Hamilton Luske and Clyde Geronimi. In 1963, Reitherman was named the director of the film The Sword in the Stone, a first for an animator in the studio’s history. He would continue to serve as an animator of Disney features, which include The Jungle Book, The Arisocats, Robin Hood, and the cartoon feature Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. A trademark in Reitherman’s films was the reuse of animation, as evidenced in Robin Hood’s “Phoney King of England” scene, which borrowed heavily from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In 1981, Reitherman retired from the Disney Studios, having dedicated nearly 50 years of his life. Unfortunately, Reitherman died in a car accident on May 22, 1985, in Burbank, California. As a tribute to his life and his work at Disney, he was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989.

April 25

April 25, 1953 – Animator, Director, Producer, and Screenwriter Ron Clements is Born

vlcsnap-2013-04-25-04h54m53s68

“I think John [Musker] and Ron [Clements] are really great storytellers. They understood the essence of a great Disney animated movie.” – Jeffrey Katzenberg

On April 25, 1953, Ronald Francis Clements was born in Sioux City, Iowa. He began his animation career at Hanna-Barbera; soon after starting there, he was accepted into the Disney Talent Development Program, working under legendary animator Frank Thomas. He began full employment at Disney in 1977, working as a character animator on the films The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon. Clements would then become the animation supervisor on the 1981 film The Fox and Hound, with future collaborator John Musker working under him as a character animator. Clements and Musker would then pair up as story artists on the film The Black Cauldron in 1985. In 1986, the two would make their directorial debut on the film The Great Mouse Detective.

In 1985, there was what was called a “gong” show, which was a way to call for story ideas from the staff. Clements brought forth the idea The Little Mermaid, writing a two page treatment for the story. At first, Clements’ idea was “gonged” because a sequel to the hit film Splash was in development, but the next day, Jeffrey Katzenberg told Clements that he liked the treatment, and the studio was willing to go forward and create the film. Clements and Musker then wrote and directed The Little Mermaid, which became a huge success for the studio, revitalizing the animation department. Clements and Musker would repeat their success in 1992 with Aladdin, which they both wrote, directed, and produced. The two would then direct the modest success Hercules in 1997. In 2002, the pair directed Treasure Planet, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but it was a commercial failure. The two were reunited as directors for the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog.