Sixties Disney

It's time for more Disney history and this time around we find ourselves in B-Wing in the Animation Building. It's the early sixties and the animation crew has finally wrapped up another Disney feature length motion picture. Plus, we did the job in record time with a crew that was less than half the creative team it took to produce Sleeping Beauty. Walt Disney had shown his brother, Roy that it was possible to continue producing animation while reducing its cost.

Anyway, let's get back to our animation team in B-Wing. The man seated in the chair is animator, Fred Kopeitz. I think the guy in the foreground is assistant animator, Harry (Bud) Hester but we can't really see him that well. The artist with his hand under his chin is animator, Ed Parks. Ed worked mainly in effects and I remember first meeting him after he had returned from an “outside job” over at Paramount. Ed had been borrowed from the Disney organization by producer, director, C.B. DeMille for his biblical epic, The Ten Commandments. This was long before the advent of digital special effects and movie miracles had to be created pretty much by hand. The burning bush Moses spoke to in the film was animated by Ed Parks. Of course, Ed created a number of other “miracles” for the motion picture and it was all done with pencil and paper. Parks seemed most pleased with his “finger of God” animation on the stone tablets. Clearly, these Disney animators were among the best in the business.

By this time, I was shooting photographs with a 35mm Kodak camera. I had moved up a bit from my Polaroid Land Camera and I knew my next prize would be the coveted Nikon. I'm pleased that I have these photographs of the Walt Disney Studio in years past. My only regret is not taking more photographs. Plus, I never scored photos of Walt or even the Nine Old Men because I was just a kid and too intimidated to ask. In any event, a fair number of these old photographs can be seen in my new book, Animated Life. If you want to know how it felt to work at the Walt Disney Studios in the fifties and sixties perhaps you'll want to take a look.

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