Sunday, October 31, 2010

Remembering a Legend: Ollie Johnston

Disney Legend Ollie Johnston was born today in 1912.

A master of personality animation, Johnston grew up in Northern California, studied art at Stanford and later attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. In those early days, animation interested him, but he was never truly inspired by its potential until he saw Disney's 1934 Pluto cartoon Playful Pluto.

The flypaper sequence in Playful Pluto is an animation landmark for being the best earliest example of a cartoon character demonstrating a thought process. It was drawn by Norm Ferguson, a gifted Disney artist who went on to be a supervising animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio. He was also an animation director on such films as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Johnston joined Disney in 1935 and had a career at the studio that spanned over 40 years. He was one of Walt's "Nine Old Men," the core group of animators who created virtually all of Disney's animated feature films from the 1930s to the 1970s. Among Johnston's most notable characters were Thumper (Bambi), Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Mr. Smee (Peter Pan), Baloo (The Jungle Book), Prince John (Robin Hood) and Sir Hiss (Robin Hood).
Johnston forged a lifelong friendship with fellow animator Frank Thomas. Together they wrote several books, including what is considered to be the bible of modern animation, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation.
Johnston passed away on April 14, 2008 at the age of 95. He was Disney's last surviving "Old Man."
Video clips are from the 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie© Disney. 

No comments:

Post a Comment