A View of Sixties Disney

It would appear that there are fans and friends out there who know more about the 1961 Walt Disney Studio than I do. That’s all well and good. In any case, let me provide another inside look at sixties Disney and what was going on at the time I took these photographs. The year, oddly enough, happens to be 1961. The same year we received a visit from a very interesting English woman whose name was - P.L. Travers.

The feature film, “101 Damatians” had wrapped and we were now hard at work on “The Sword in the Stone.” I had moved my office from A-wing down to D-wing where I would join Stan Green and his clean-up team on the new animated motion picture. I made this move with some trepidation, knowing I would be charged with clean-up work on scenes animated by the Master, Milt Kahl. I had worked with Kahl briefly on “Sleeping Beauty” back in the fifties. However, that was a very different Walt Disney Studio. I never once saw Milt Kahl while on “Sleeping Beauty.” Animators were considered royalty at the Disney studio. Imagine the importance of a Directing Animator.

I love these black&white photographs taken in the sixties. The young man at the drawing board is animation artist, Marshall Horton. Sadly, Horton passed away of cancer while in his early thirties. He was a sweet kid who deserved better. That’s animator, Dave Michener at the F-wing coffee machine. It’s hard to believe we put up with that awful dreck that passed for coffee but Starbucks was still decades away. The nephew of the famous novelist, Dave Michener would eventually become a Disney director. His last feature film was “The Great Mouse Detective” where he shared directing credits with two new kids who would go on to become pretty good directors in their own right. Their names? Ron Clements and John Musker.

I kept my camera handy during those days and I wish I had taken more photographs. Yet, I was still able to document some of the early sixties and provide some insight on the Walt Disney Studio of the time. Soon, we would be wrapping up “The Sword in the Stone” and preparing for our next animation assignment. A film the Old Maestro was very excited about. A little film entitled, “Mary Poppins.”

Young animation artist, Marshall Horton photographed in his D-wing office. Animator, Dave Michener grabs a morning coffee from the machine in 1F-1 down the hallway of the Animation Building. These photos were taken in 1961.

Young animation artist, Marshall Horton photographed in his D-wing office. Animator, Dave Michener grabs a morning coffee from the machine in 1F-1 down the hallway of the Animation Building. These photos were taken in 1961.