Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fred Moore's 100th Birthday!

I have a great post coming, but it will appear here soon...

Happy Birthday Fred!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Disney Bulletin - January 17, 1939

Turn the Clock Back 72 Years

Another Disney Bulletin offering a peek into the goings-on at Disney's Hyperion Avenue studio. There is a mention of Mary Flanigan, jokingly listed as "Apple Mary" who was offici
ally a stenographer or receptionist, but also ran a small side-business within the studio selling cigarettes, gum and other treats. Lower on the first page is a brief but informative biography of Joe Grant apparently written by Dorothy Ann Blank who had earlier worked on Snow White in the story department.

In column two is a list of artists who were there for animation tryouts. The only name here which stands out is Hawley Pratt, a who later went on to fame as a layout artist with Warner Bros. cartoons and director with DePatie-Freleng. Readers may find one or more names they recognize.

Further down is the mention of a Co
nrad Buff art exhibit at the Colonial Tea Room nearby. This Conrad Buff is not the Academy Award winning editor, nor his father the architect, but his grandfather the artist. Also below are listings for screenings and club meetings and a short list of artists whose gags were accepted for use in upcoming Donald Duck strips.

An outline for submissions to The Bulletin starts off the second and final page. Notable cost-cutting measures arise in a section titled, "Is Your Number Here?," where employees are asked to point out phone numbers they have called and step forward to pay for the charges. Beyond that is a list of new books in the studio library. Rounding out the issue is one simple classified ad from the great Roy Williams who is attempting to sell a brown suede jacket.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rollin "Ham" Hamilton's 110th Birthday!

Rollin Clare* Hamilton was born 110 years ago today in South Dakota. His parents were William Clarence Hamilton and the former Ella Stevens, both natives of Iowa.

Two years earlier his older brother, Louis had been born in Iowa, but shortly after that, the young family was on the move to South Dakota where William worked as a druggist. His work had the family on the move every few years throughout the area.

In the first two decades of the new century they lived in Edgeley, Grafton and Grand Forks, North Dakota as well as Casper, Wyoming.
In 1906 the family grew once again when they welcomed Irene Martha. By 1922 the family had made the move to Los Angeles, California.

In February, 1924, the twenty-five year old Hamilton was the first outside animator hired at the Disney Bros. Studio. He immediately began working on what would be the fifth of the Alice Comedies, Alice's Spooky Adventure. Later in 1924 Disney hired his younger sister Irene as an inker.

Rollin would remain animating with Disney throughout the remaining Alice shorts and all of the Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoons until early May 1928 when he was among those who exited the studio when Charles Mintz took over physical production of the Oswald cartoons.

Mintz, with the studio headed by his brother-in-law George Winkler would only produce the Oswalds for about a year. In April 1929 Universal who distributed the shorts and owned the character took over production themselves. Their new cartoon studio was on the lot and run by New York transplant, Walter Lantz.

Hamilton, who had become close with Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising during the years they spent together at Disney's and the Winkler studio, joined them when they struck out on their own after earlier failed attempts. Success came when they sold the idea of a cartoon series to Warner Bros. The series, starring a new character Bosko, would be produced by Leon Schlesinger.

Rollin stayed animating for the Warner Bros. cartoons even after Harman and Ising ended their production of the shorts a few years later. Schlesinger took over and physical production was moved to a Looney Tunes studio on a corner of Warner Bros. Sunset Blvd. lot.

Hamilton's last known credits were on some Looney Tunes shorts directed by Tex Avery in 1938.

On June 1, 1952 Rollin Hamilton suffered a heart attack and passed away two days later at the age of fifty-two. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

* Most records have his middle name spelled as "Clare," but has also been found listed as "Claire."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tyrus Wong is 98 today!

I just wanted to point out that a major force responsible for the look of Disney's Bambi celebrates his birthday today. He was born in China and moved with his father to Southern California before he was ten years old.

An accomplished artist, he was an art director for live action films for the greater part of his career. Wong also worked designing greeting cards for a time as well.

In recent years he can be found on the beach in Santa Monica the fourth Saturday of most any month flying his amazing handmade kites. He is generally accompanied by a crowd of family and friends. The photo at right was taken two years ago on his birthday weekend kite flying trip.

He didn't seem to have made it there this weekend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sound Finds Steamboat Willie

Eighty years ago today Walt Disney supervised the recording of the soundtrack for the Mickey Mouse short, Steamboat Willie. The recording took place in New York City under the baton of conductor Carl Edouarde.

Today is the anniversary of the successful second recording. The first had occurred two weeks earlier in a late-night session the result of which would ultimately be deemed unusable.

The recording system used was Pat Powers' Cinephone System. Cinephone was a not-so-subtle copy of the Phonofilm system that had been developed by Lee DeForest.

Steamboat Willie would premiere to the world six weeks hence at the Colony Theater in New York. This sound cartoon would go on to solidify Mickey Mouse in the popular culture and boost the fortunes of Walt Disney and his studio.