Milt and his Mastiffs

Isn't this cool? Nice frame and matte provided by our pal, Ken Shue. A very nice job if I may say so myself. This original Disney art never looked better.

This is an original Xeroxed and painted cel from Walt Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone.” This scene is significant  because it was animated by one of Walt's top animators, Milt Kahl. It was also a scene I had a hand in as well. I was assisting Kahl back in the early sixties and this was one of the scenes I worked on.

You’ll notice the paint is beginning to dry and crack. This was the sixties and we had not yet changed over to vinyl based paints. The amazing paint developed in Disney’s paint lab had many virtues, but permanence was not one of them. After photography the paint would harden and begin to chip off the cel. Keep in mind these images were never intended to last.

Directing animator, Milt Kahl animated the Mastiffs as they fought over food scraps in Sir Ector's castle. Being one of Milt’s follow up guys, I did the clean-ups and the in-betweens. Once the scene was completed it was sent straight to camera. I would not return the scene to Milt Kahl. The Master animator would not see the scene until it was delivered to his office the next day.

Eventually Disney veteran, Johnny Bond delivered film loop and scene to Milt Kahl. Of course, the animator immediately threaded the scene onto his Moviola for a first look. All of us in D-wing waited patiently for what was to follow. God help you if you heard Milt Kahl cussing and yelling from his office. However, should you hear a chuckle or maybe even a laugh, you could breathe a sigh of relief because you had been blessed by the gods.

I counted my blessings each time a scene I cleaned up met the Master Animator’s approval. Milt Kahl was not an easy man to please and there were no excuses for poor draftsmanship. I worked hard on Milt’s scenes because there was no way you’d ever get anything past him.

Once again, Disney made no attempt to save this material when it had been photographed. Once the scene was on film the original animation cels were thrown into the studio dumpster and that’s exactly where I found these amazing painted cels.

 

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