Remembering Bob Ogle

He was a talented guy and a good friend. You can’t believe how delighted I was to find this color photograph taken back in 1957 at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. I had just gotten to know Bob Ogle and he would remain a friend and colleague until his untimely passing some years later. Sadly, we lost Bob while he was still doing his best work and was at the top of his game. The former Disney artist would in time become a writer, producer and an amazing story editor. Bob was the creator of a number of funny televisions shows you probably watched when you were a kid. There was little doubt Bob Ogle was a very talented guy.

We were still hard at work on Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty when I snapped this color photograph in our G-wing suite of offices. Bob had rejoined us in animation after a brief stint in the story department. He loved storytelling and was eager to continue with his passion. Sadly, jobs in Disney’s story department were few, so cutbacks happened often. Though disappointed, Bob took it all in stride. Artists were needed for the massive amount of work needed to be done on Sleeping Beauty, so Bob returned to the animation department. However, Bob Ogle never lost his desire to be a writer and had his heart set on a position in Disney’s story department. However, story positions were not easy to come by in the fifties and even if you did manage an occasional shot working in the coveted story department there was no guarantee the gig would last. Along with his writing ability, Bob Ogle was blessed with another talent. He was a gifted voice actor as well. Somehow, Bob had managed to convince a few of the Disney directors to allow him to do cartoon voices. They were not “scratch voices,” mind you. I’m talking about production tracks. Always looking for a bargain, Disney allowed Bob Ogle to voice a few minor characters for their television shows. Naturally, Bob was not compensated for his performance. He was simply paid his regular Disney salary for the extra time he put in. No matter. Bob was convinced he would be recognized eventually.

Sadly, that recognition never materialize at the Walt Disney Studios, so in the sixties Bob Ogle, like so many animation artists, made his way over to a new studio called, Hanna-Barbera. It was at H-B that Bob Ogle was finally given an opportunity to become a writer of Saturday Morning Television cartoons. In time, He became a story editor and guided us through a series of successful animated television shows. I was lucky to work with Bob on a number of Hanna-Barbera shows including, “The Flintstones.” Bob was always a delightful guy and very, very funny. However, the pressure of Saturday Morning Television was becoming relentless, and I feared the toll it was taking on a guy as sweet and nice as Bob Ogle. Some story editors were able to deal with the insane demands of the networks and the studios, and managed to roll with the punches. However, keep in mind these were killer schedules and I do not exaggerate when I say the demands of production and the networks in particular were probably designed to kill. 

Perhaps he was hoping to escape the insanity of network television executives, so Bob eventually made the move across town to DePatie-Freleng Studios. I would often visit Bob Ogle at his new digs and even met Bob’s new boss, the legendary but grumpy, Friz Freleng. On occasion, I managed to talk Bob into doing a funny voice for one of our animated cartoons. Ogle was nice enough to take time away from his big time animation job to voice a cartoon character for our little company. That’s the kind of guy he was. Always ready to do a friend a favor. It wasn’t about the money - it was about the animation friendships he had made.

I last saw Bob Ogle at a Glendale shopping mall not far from the Walt Disney Studio. He was the same fun, smiling guy as always, but I sensed the pressure of work was beginning to get to him. Yet, there was nothing about his manner that suggested any health problems. It truly came as a shock when we received word that Bob had suddenly suffered a massive stroke and passed away. To this day, I can still hear the funny voices Bob would do for us. I still remember his delightful, charming sense of humor. He was a talented gagman, writer, artist and voice actor. In many ways Bob Ogle was the essence of animation and the cartoon business is all the poorer without him.

It's 1957 and we're hard at work on Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Bob Ogle joined us after a stint in Disney's story department. Thankfully, there were more writing opportunities ahead.

It's 1957 and we're hard at work on Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Bob Ogle joined us after a stint in Disney's story department. Thankfully, there were more writing opportunities ahead.