My Rough Cricket Sketch

In a way I guess you could call it animation time travel. I remember this scene like it was yesterday, but it all took place back in early 1956. That's correct, boys and girls. This is an actual drawing from my first official animation scene at Walt Disney Productions sketched in pencil back in my youth.

You see, I had just completed my training period at the Disney Studio and I was now ready to actually work on real production projects. Lucky for me I was assigned to a wonderful, gregarious artist whose name was Rolly Crump. Crump was assisting animator, Bob Carlson and Carlson was animating the opening title song for the Jiminy Cricket Encyclopedia Series. Of course, this animated segment was being created for The Mickey Mouse Club, Disney's new daily show on the ABC Television Network. You can imagine how I felt when I picked up my first scene. The drawing below is from that scene. It's not a copy, it's the real deal. A sketch I made back in 1956. You'll notice that Rolly liked to rough with a light grey pencil. I used the same pencil to sketch my in-betweens. Once the “ruffs” were approved we cleaned up the drawings using a Blackwing or a 2B pencil. It would appear the animation drawings for television required a thicker line. Of course, the completed animation was inked and painted in color. Television was in black&white in those days, but the always wise, Walt Disney knew that one day all television would be in color.

This pencil sketch looks to be in remarkably good condition considering I made the drawing back in early 1956. It's a little piece of Disney history and might even be worth something if it hadn't been done by me. It's simply a discarded sketch and a reminder of a Disney Studio that no longer exists. Back then, the creative enterprise known as Walt Disney Productions was an amazing studio with talented artists dominating the low level structures on the Burbank lot. Today, you'd be hard pressed to even find an artist at the Disney Company. Like an endangered species they grow fewer and fewer with each passing decade. Sketches like these serve as a reminder of what once was, and probably never will be again.