Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ward Kimball

Here's a piece of art that Ward Kimball did especially for me.....
Actually it's the envelope that he mailed me for directions to his house. I should have it framed.
Long story short, I was a huge Ward Kimball fan back in the early 70's (still am), having loved all his work from the old Disney TV show. His name kept popping up on things I liked and I figured that he was the genius behind those films. Sure enough he was.
When I was 16, I was asked if I'd like to appear on an ABC television show called Kids Are People Too. The show would have a segment focusing on Mickey Mouses' 50th Birthday, and I would be the aspiring animator/Disney buff and Ward Kimball would be the Guest Disney Animator. I was more excited about meeting Ward than doing the coast to coast TV show. Unfortunately, my part of the segment was cut well before taping and I was crushed.

Fast forward about ten years, working on the Bakshi Mighty Mouse show in LA, I was invited to Ward Kimball's annual railroad steam up by a friend of the family (yes, he had full sized Trains in his backyard...more on that later) ...and I was all geared up to go, when I was stricken by acute tonsilitis. I was laid up in bed for over a week. So, I missed that second opportunity. Other near misses would occur between 1988 and 1994, when finally, I decided that I was going to contact Mr. Kimball and invite him out to lunch. I managed to get his number and gave him a call. Obviously, he didn't know who I was and he wanted me to send him a letter on official Warner Bros. Animation stationary so that he knew I was on the up and up.
About a week later, he calls me at home and leaves a message on my answering machine asking me to call him back. While dialing, I'm thinking of places we could meet for lunch, but during the conversation, Ward suggests meeting at his house.
With four others from Warner Bros., we spent six hours with Ward, talking to him about his career, his paintings, his trains, toys and his jazz band, The Firehouse Five Plus Two. It was an amazing day to say the least....after a long fifteen year wait.

Above left to right, Phil Mosness, Joey Banaskiewicz, Ward, Brian Mitchell and Kexx Singleton.
Cynthia Petrovic is behind the camera.

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