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Tag Archives: Nine Old Men

August 4

August 4, 1985 – Nine Old Men Animator Ollie Johnston is Profiled on The Disney Family Album

“Just because they’re a bunch of mere pencil drawings, going through these routines and giving these performances, to me, that was real.”

On August 4, 1985, the fifteenth episode of the documentary series The Disney Family Album premiered on the Disney Channel. The series introduced those that had an impact on making Disney the company it became; this episode introduced Nine Old Men member Ollie Johnston, known for his work on animating Thumper from Bambi and the fairies from Sleeping Beauty. The episode focused on his career at Disney, when he started as an apprentice animator on Disney early short films, such as the Academy Award winning The Tortoise and the Hare, leading to his role as an animator and a directing animator on over 24 animated feature films. The episode also focused on his train hobby, one he shared with fellow animator Ward Kimball, as well as Walt Disney, and looked at the backyard railroad he built himself.

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July 19

July 19, 1989 – Ub Iwerks and the Nine Old Men are Honored as Disney Legends

“Collectively, they helped establish The Walt Disney Company…the impact of their work is immeasurable.”

On July 19, 1989, the Disney Legends Award Ceremony was held at the Walt Disney Studios. The focus of the ceremony were the animators that helped make the Walt Disney Company and Disney Animation: animator and Imagineer Ub Iwerks, and Nine Old Men animators Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Woolie Reitherman, and Frank Thomas. This group was considered the “Founders Circle” of the Walt Disney Company. Of those being honored, only Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, and Ward Kimball were alive to attend the ceremony.

April 9

April 9, 1978 – Ten Disney Animators are Honored by Delta Kappa Alpha

“This evening, we pay tribute to the achievements of Walt Disney Productions and the men who worked there. Delta Kappa Alpha is proud to present its Pioneer in Film Award to both the Disney Studio and the ten veteran animators who helped create many classics.”

On April 9, 1978, the 39th annual awards banquet for the Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity was held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. The fraternity was founded in 1937 and was dedicated “to the furthering of the film arts and to the promotion of better relations between the academic and practicing members of the industry, both theatrical and non-theatrical.” This banquet honored ten animators from Walt Disney Productions: members of the Nine Old Men (Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsbery, Marc Davis, Ward Kimball, Woolie Reitherman, Les Clark, Eric Larson, and Milt Kahl), and Ken Anderson.

May 10

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May 10, 2005 – Ollie Johnston Drives the Marie E. at Disneyland

On May 10, 2005, a special ceremony was held in Disneyland for animator and member of the Nine Old Men Ollie Johnston. Under the ruse of receiving a special honor for contributing to the Carolwood organization, Johnson was surprised to find that his locomotive, the Marie E., was on the Disneyland tracks to allow him one last ride. Johnson, along with Ward Kimball and Walt Disney, were train enthusiasts, but in his older age, Johnson had to sell his train as he was unable to operate it. Sold to none other than John Lasseter, Lasseter was able to find a way to bring it to the park in a special ceremony. Friends and family were gathered at Frontierland station to watch Johnson ride his beloved train one last time.

September 5

September 5, 1912 – Animator, Member of Disney’s Nine Old Men, and Disney Legend Frank Thomas is Born

Frank Thomas

“Frank was a giant in our field and he meant everything to me and to all of us who love the art of animation. Besides being one of the key guys to help elevate animation from a novelty to an incredible art form, he was so generous in passing along his knowledge and experiences to the generations that followed.” – John Lasseter

On September 5, 1912, Franklin Rosborough Thomas was born in Fresno, California. Thomas knew from an early age that he wanted to be an artist, and in his sophomore year at Fresno State, his interest expanded into animated films. After graduating from Stanford University, he honed his craft at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. After being told by a member of his rooming house that the Disney Studios had an opening, Thomas applied and joined on September 24, 1934 as employee number 224. His first assignment was the animated short film Mickey’s Elephant. In 1941, Thomas was picked to be part of a small goodwill tour of South America, which culminated in the animated feature films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. As a member of the Nine Old Men, Thomas served as a directing animator for several characters, as well as being well regarded for several of his animated sequences, including the dwarfs crying over Snow White’s body, and Bambi and Thumper’s ice skating scene. Thomas was also the pianist for the famed Disney Dixieland band Firehouse Five Plus Two. In 1978, Thomas retired from the Disney Studios, but still remained involved in the field of animation, co-writing several books with colleague and long-time friend Ollie Johnston, including one of the most important books in the study of animation: Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life. He, along with other members of the Nine Old Men, were honored as Disney Legends in 1989. In 2004, Thomas passed away at the age of 92.

April 27

April 27, 2009 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Hosts “Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangelo, A Centennial Celebration”

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“The evening will feature an insightful analysis of Kahl’s animation drawings, rare film interviews with Kahl himself, and clips of his work…”

On April 27, 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted a special event titled “Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangeo, a Centennial Celebration” at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Celebrating the life and works of Disney Legend and Nine Old Men member Milt Kahl, the event was hosted by animator Andreas Deja, and featured a panel of those that worked with or knew the man, including Kathryn Beaumont, Brad Bird, Ron Clements, John Musker, and Floyd Norman. The event featured clips of Kahl’s animation, interviews, and an in-depth analysis of Kahl’s work.

March 30

March 30, 1913 – Animator, Imagineer, Member of the Nine Old Men, and Disney Legend Marc Davis is Born

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“When I then came to the studio and met Marc Davis…he was the total opposite of Cruella de Vil in figure, but the sense of taste, that was a guy who really savored life, and you can see it in his animation.” – Animator Glen Keane

On March 30, 1913, Marc Fraser Davis was born in Bakersfield, California. After moving around several times due to his father’s job in oil fields, Davis enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute after high school, which was followed by enrollments in the California School of Fine Arts and the Otis Art Institute. In 1935, Davis was hired by Disney as an apprentice for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He soon rose through the animator ranks, working as a story sketch and character designer for Bambi and Victory Through Air Power. He continued to work on Disney animated features as a character designer, and is particularly known for creating the looks for Tinker Bell from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, among others. Davis was also an animator for several key short films, including Duck Pimples and Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. In the mid-50s, Davis began working for Walt Disney Imagineering, working as one of the original Imagineers on such attractions as it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Haunted Mansion. His wife and fellow Disney Legend Alice also worked with Disney park attractions, creating costumes for the audio-animatronic characters. In 1978, Davis retired after 43 years at Disney, but continued to work in a consulting role. He and Alice continued to support the California Institute of the Arts. In 1989, Davis was honored with the other Nine Old Men as Disney Legends. In 2000, Davis passed away at the age of 86.