Wednesday, March 11, 2015


When I finally landed a job in the animation industry, I ended up meeting and working with a lot of people who had created animated cartoons that I had grown up on. While not household names, they were very familiar to me from seeing their credits on various cartoon shorts or shows over the years. I ran into some of these people at Warner Bros Animation. People like Gerald Baldwin, who had worked on UPA and Jay Ward productions product and had created a sequence that I truly enjoyed from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. Art Leonardi, who worked as an animator on late 50's/Early 60's Warner Bros.Cartoons and became a jack of all trades with Friz Freleng on Pink Panther and Ant & The Aardvark cartoons. Tom Ray, a veteran animator from MGM and Warner Bros cartoons, would later work for Chuck Jones 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' and 'Horton Hears A Who!'. Of course, there were many others, some of which I was surprised were still alive and actively working in the animation industry.

People like Alex Lovy, a longtime Lantz Director, who later worked on Hanna Barbera cartoons, Norm McCabe, an animator and Director of Looney Tunes from the late 30's thru early 40's,
and Charlie Downs, who started at Disney and worked on many of Ward Kimball's projects at the studio.

When I was working for Don Bluth on The Troll In Central Park in the early 90's. The studio was going through a difficult time with Goldcrest, the movie company that was funding the Troll movie. Apparently, Goldcrest had a new management team and they weren't pleased with the Bluth product (more on that in a future post).
Fortunately, the Bluth unit in Burbank had a special projects division that had just completed the character animation for a ride at Universal Studios called The Fantastic World Of Hanna Barbera and was now embarking on a new project for a theme park attraction in Japan.
One day, I had noticed an older gentleman in a corner of the studio who was toiling away on color keys for the new project. I went to introduce myself and he told me his name was Walt Peregoy.
Peregoy, a superior talent, had painted backgrounds for Disney's Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmations, Sword In The Stone and had designed the backgrounds for Hanna Barbera's late 60's/Early 70's product.
He eventually returned to Disney to work on projects for EPCOT center.
It was pretty much known in the business, even back then, that Peregoy was a volatile individual and wasn't afraid to voice his opinion about things. I didn't care much about that; I was in awe of being in his company. Every other day I would drop by talk to him a bit and would salivate at his beautiful paintings. He was 64 years old at the time. I developed a friendship with Peregoy while working at Bluth studios and got to hear plenty about Walt Disney (not all good things either from Peregoy's perspective!).
It still strikes me as a surreal experience that I got to work side by side with people who made the cartoon films that I grew up on.
Above, is a film that was featured on the old Disney TV show called Four Artists Paint A Tree. Walt Disney introduces four of his artists; Walt Peregoy, Marc Davis, Eyvine Earle and Josh Meador. Years before I met Peregoy, I actually saw this film in High School. It's good stuff! Enjoy!

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