James Thurber's Many Moons

I’ve worked on many projects in my long career at Walt Disney Studios. Some development ideas result in a completed film and some unfortunately do not. However, many of the ideas presented show enormous potential and could indeed become a feature animated motion picture. However, ours is a very expensive medium with budgets in the hundreds of millions. Not everything presented will receive a go ahead and it will fall by the wayside or end up on a shelf. I invite you to take a look at a sketch from one of the projects that never made it to completion.

Returning from Pixar in the late nineties, I was invited by director, Hendel Butoy to storyboard on a film segment he was developing for the feature film, “Fantasia 2000” or “Fantasia Continued.” It seems the film had a number of titles while in production. Anyway, this delightful piece was based on a charming story written by James Thurber. Titled, “Many Moons,” it was the story of a young princess who requested the moon. You can read James Thurber’s book if you want to know how it turns out.

Story boarding had already begun on the segment, and I was able to gathered up several boards created by the talented Jim Capobianco. I think Jim had already migrated to Pixar Animation Studios by that time, so Hendel asked me to jump in and finish storyboarding the segment. Eventually, I pitched the sequence to Hendel Butoy and oddly enough the pitch took place in the hallway of our large animation facility then called, “Feature Animation Northside.” Pleased with my pitch, Hendel made a surprising request. “Would I be willing to record the narration for the piece?” Apparently, the director liked the sound of my voice, so I ended up on the soundtrack of this delightful little story as well. The Disney animation bosses wanted the option of a woman's voice as well as a man. Fortunately, we found the perfect woman for the job. Surprisingly enough, she was an artist as well. She was also the wife of the amazing master animator, Eric Goldberg.

Needless to say, “Many Moons” never moved into production and the segment was not included in “Fantasia 2000.” Even though it was scrapped, I continue to believe the James Thurber children’s book would make a delightful traditional animated film. Perhaps Disney will dig it out and produce "Many Moons" one day. I don't think it's a bad idea. After all, they've done much worse.