I was pouring over my files this morning and came across this photograph of Cedric the Entertainer and my twin daughters, Elaine and Jolaine. This picture was taken on the Walt Disney Studio lot some years ago. While they don’t exactly look like twins in this photograph, I’ll explain that twin number one was soon to provide me with another grand daughter, so that explains her somewhat fuller appearance.
I still don’t know how my daughters found Cedric the Entertainer but It’s appropriate this photograph was taken here on the Disney lot. You see, my life has always been affected by all things Disney. Back in the sixties, I spent a fair amount of my animation break time on stage two on the studio lot. A former animator, now a writer-director was busily creating a Disney live-action motion picture. David (Bud) Swift had returned to his Disney home to write and direct the movie, “Pollyana.” Once that film was completed, David moved on to project number two. It was a fun story about two twin sisters, and David titled his screenplay, “Bluejeans and Petticoats.” Hardly a provocative title, but not to worry. We eventually came up with a better one.
I confess, I took a special pride in seeing one of our own shooting a major Disney motion picture. As animation artists, we work in relative obscurity, but some reason we’re a good deal higher profile on a live-action project. Maybe it’s because animation remains a Hollywood step child and never regarded as important as live-action. No matter how much money animated films bring in, we’ve never had the status of our live-action counterpart. In any case, it was delightful being on set with the beautiful actress, Maureen O’Hara, and the talented, Haley Mills and Joanna Barnes. Actor, Brian Keith became a friend and would sometimes visit my D-Wing office in the Animation Building. I was big Brian Keith fan anyway, and was well aware of his famous dad, character actor, Robert Keith. The large family home was constructed on stage two and the set became a second home for me. I watched Bud film several funny scenes for the film and laughed when the attractive redhead tripped as she descended the stairs. Maureen O’Hara uttered some choice words as she regained her footing and her composure. Walking downstairs in heels is never an easy task, it would seem.
On one of the final days of filming, Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara had to do a love scene in the kitchen set. Miss O’Hara was quite tall, and director, Bud Swift decided she would be a lot cuter in the scene if she removed her shoes. If you remember the film, you’ll know that Bud’s suggestion was inspired. The film soon wrapped, and was eventually given a new and better title. I’m sure you all know, “The Parent Trap.”
But, wait! What the heck does this have to do with my two daughters, you might ask? Well, after spending several weeks on the set of “The Parent Trap,” I really believe David Swift’s and Walt Disney’s delightful motion picture had a profound affect on me. After watching the talented Haley Mills play the role of twin daughters it got me to thinking. What would it be like to be the father of twin daughters and how might it feel to trade places with actor, Brian Keith. For some reason I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I so adored this Walt Disney motion picture I wanted to do more than simply watch it - I wanted to live it. So, now you know the full story, boys and girls. The reason I’m the father of twin girls is really because I spent so much of my animation time on the set of Walt Disney’s charming and funny motion picture, “The Parent Trap.”