What a difference a lifetime makes. Jane Baer and I began our journey as students at Art Center College of Design before moving on to Walt Disney Studios in the fifties. At Art Center we were still in our teens and eager to make the next step. By the time we arrived at Disney we were almost grownups well into our early twenties. After the completion of “Sleeping Beauty” we traveled separate paths before ending up back at the Mouse House working on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” If you’ll pardon me using the word, “old,” I’ll wager this amazing woman is my oldest pal in the animation business. We’ve traveled the same road from the fifties to present day and its been a journey filled with the kind of joy only animation can bring. Doubt that? You don’t see many women and men our age with smiles on their faces.
I won’t tell you everything about my good friend here. Actually, that would probably require a book. I will say that Jane married one of the Disney guys I once worked for. The amazingly talented Iwao Takamoto proposed to Jane back in the fifties and they eventually married. Better yet, I even worked with their son, Michael at Hanna-Barbera back in the eighties. Like his talented parents, it was only natural Michael Takamoto would become an artist as well. In time, I returned to the Walt Disney Studios just in time to be involved on the live-action, animated feature film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” When it became evident that the Richard Williams Studio in London would not be able to deliver all the animated footage in time, another studio was set up in nearby Glendale to complete the animation on the film. That studio was run by Jane and a young animator named Dale Baer. Oddly enough, I had assisted Dale Baer in the seventies on the Disney film, “Robin Hood,” so here we have another surprising connection. Dale was a Disney animator and Jane’s second husband. Once the “Roger” work was completed Jane and Dale decided to continue on as an animation production company and so Baer Animation was created. Led by this dynamic duo, the firm produced many animated television commercials. As expected, the client was often the Walt Disney Company.
All these events took place many years ago, and today we’re remembering that glorious past as we film Jane’s interview at a Hollywood studio. The interview is for an amazing documentary that is currently being produced. However, we’ll talk more about that later.