The new film Waking Sleeping Beauty is an incredible look at the animation dept at Disney from 1984 to 1994. It easily became one of the best films I saw all year, and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in animation. My guest directed the film, and shared so much in coming on the podcast. Enjoy!
Download the episode here or listen to it by pushing the play button above.
Index of significant people whose names Don and I mention in the interview:
“Nine Old Men”
The original key Walt Disney animators, many of whom became mentors for the next generation of animators like Brad Bird, Tim Burton, John Lasseter, and the entire class at CalArts. Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman, Frank Thomas.
Source: HallowHill.com (http://www.hollowhill.com/gm/library/9oldmen.htm)
Director, The Lion King.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0021249/)
Lyricist/Producer, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. Howard worked with composer Alan Menken to create many memorable and Academy-award-winning songs. Before working at Disney, Howard and Alan wrote a New York stage musical adaptation of a 1960s cult film Little Shop of Horrors. Howard died in 1991 of AIDS.
Source: Disney Legends (http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Howard+Ashman); Waking Sleeping Beauty
Studio chairman at Disney (and later founder of Dreamworks Animation). Drove the animators at Disney to their limits and polarized many. After Frank Wells’ death, Jeffrey left Disney when Michael Eisner would not immediately appoint him to fill the now vacant position. Upon leaving Disney, he was approached by Microsoft to create a studio for them (can you imagine that? Apple vs Microsoft, Pixar vs Microsoft Animation), but instead, he founded DreamWorks animation with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.
Source: fastcompany.com (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/141/the-redemption-of-an-ogre.html); Waking Sleeping Beauty
Animator at Disney, responsible for animating such characters as Ariel, the Beast, and Pocahontas. Also a very significant creative force behind Tangled. Glen was the original director of that film, before he stepped down after a heart attack in 2008, but he continued to guide the production. Fun fact: Glen is the son of Bill Keane, creator of the Family Circus cartoon strips.
Source: Den of Geek (http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/686747/disney_legend_glen_keane_interview_tangled_computer_animation_his_heart_attack_and_ollie_johnston.html)Kimball, Ward
see “Nine Old Men.”Kroyer, Bill
Disney animator, one of the first to make the leap to computer animation in Trop (1982). Now Bill is the Senior Animation Director at Rhythm and Hues Studios.
Source: Rhythm and Hues Commercials (http://www.rhythm.com/commercial/animation_directors_bill_bio.shtml)
see “Nine Old Men.”
Animator at Disney, later became a founder of Pixar Animation Studios, director of Toy Story and most of the original Pixar shorts.
see “Nine Old Men.”
Visual effects animator at Disney who worked on almost every major hand-drawn feature from Disney Animation from Beauty and the Beast to 2011′s Winnie the Pooh. Also directed the documentary Dream On Silly Dreamer
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0526153/)
Producer, The Lion King.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0564138/)
Composer, almost every Disney musical of the 1990s, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Hunchback of Notre Dame. Has won more Academy awards than any other living composer in Oscar history. Most recently wrote the songs and the score for Tangled.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0579678/)Miller, Rob
Disney CEO predating Michael Eisner. Rob married Walt’s daughter Diane and worked closely with Walt in many film and other projects. Even though his accomplishments include starting Touchstone, greenlighting Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, creating The Disney Channel, and initiating the first attempts at Disney in computer animation, Miller was seen as the cause of the destruction of the company, and when Michael Eisner and Frank Wells came to replace him, they were seen as saviors (ironically, this attitude was repeated when Bob Iger was seen in a similar light as he replaced Michael 21 years later).
Source: Mouse Planet (http://www.mouseplanet.com/8170/Ron_Miller_and_Touchstone)Musker, John
Director at Disney, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog
Influential story artist whose vision can be found throughout all the early Pixar feature films. Joe also voiced Heimlich the caterpillar, and Wheezy the penguin. Cars is dedicated to him, as it was the last film he worked on before his tragic automobile accident.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0710020/)
Animator at Disney starting in the 1970s. Jerry directed The Brave Little Toaster.
Source: Cartoon Brew (http://www.cartoonbrew.com/disney/jerry-rees-website.html)
Reitherman, Wolfgang “Woolie”
see “Nine Old Men.”
Sound designer at Pixar, also directed the short film Lifted. Gary’s first feature film (as a director) was going to be Newt, before Pixar canceled it. Gary has been a sound designer for many non-Pixar films as well, including Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, and Terminator 2.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0003977/)
Started at Disney in 1985 as studio president and head of the feature-film animation unit. In 2001, he left Disney animation to form his own Broadway production company, after working significantly on the theatrical productions Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
Source: New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/21/business/chairman-of-disney-s-studios-resigns-to-return-to-broadway.html?ref=peterschneider)Scribner, George
Animator, The Black Cauldron. Also worked on Smurfs and directed Oliver & Company.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0780117/)Selick, Henry
Director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach for Disney. After Disney decided not to make stop-motion films, Selick directed Coraline with Focus Features. In 2010, Selick was invited by John Lasseter to sign a contract with Disney/Pixar, to make stop-motion features. Selick agreed and now lives in the Bay Area
Source: Variety (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118017140?refCatId=13)
Sherman, Robert and Richard
Brothers who wrote the songs for many Disney films, such as The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0792567/)
Musician brought on to write the songs for The Emperor’s New Groove before it was changed to be a comedy and was still a darker dramatic film.
Source: The Emperor’s New Groove Special Edition DVD
Wife of Sting. Directed the unreleased documentary about Disney, The Sweatbox.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0836548/)
see “Nine Old Men.”
Director, Beauty and the Beast.
Source: IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0873779/)
President and Chief Operating Officer of Disney (1984-1994). He was recruited from Warner Bros. by Roy E. Disney along with Michael Eisner as Chairman and CEO. In Waking Sleeping Beauty, Don says that Frank was an important character in keeping the egos of Roy Disney, Michael Eisner, and Jeffrey Katzenberg in balance. When he died in a helicopter crash in 1994, his absence caused the tension among those men to boil to its breaking point.
Source: The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/05/obituaries/frank-wells-disney-s-president-is-killed-in-a-copter-crash-at-62.html); Waking Sleeping Beauty