Thursday, January 25, 2007

Freeze Frame: Animated Animators - Part Two

The 1941 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Nifty Nineties makes subtle, and not so subtle references to numerous Disney Studio staffers of the time period. Now famous animator/writer/producer/director and Nine Old Men alumnus Ward Kimball literally takes center stage with fellow animator Fred Moore in the short’s vaudeville show sequence.

As “Fred and Ward-Two Clever Boys from Illinois,” the two tell jokes and perform pratfalls for an audience that includes Mickey and Minnie. According to an animators draft provided by Jenny Lerew to Mark Mayerson for his Mayerson on Animation blog, Kimball in fact animated himself and Moore in the sequence.


The Nifty Nineties references other studio personnel in the same scene via a number of advertisements on the theater’s curtain.


Walter D.’s Hats That Please -- Okay, that one’s pretty obvious.

Wilfred Jaxon Feed and Fuel -- Veteran animation director Wilfred Jackson.

Riley’s Livery Stable -- Nifty Nineties director Riley Thompson.

Prof. Churchill Pianos Tuned -- Composer Frank Churchill.

Clark’s Confectionary -- Animator Les Clark.

Gen. J. Sharpsteen Dentist -- Studio veteran Ben Sharpsteen.

R. B. Martch Guns -- Animator Bob Martch

T. Hee Shoes -- Storyman T. Hee.

Happy Herb Undertaker, Palms Read - C. Payzant, M. Flanigan Coffee, M. Nelson Fancy Goods, and Breezy Allen’s Haberdashery are the other ads on the curtain. So far in my research, I haven’t found anyone who has been able to identify any individuals associated with those particular names.

[EDIT: Jeff Kurtti provided some additional identifications via the comments section that I wanted to include here as well:

Charles Payzant was a watercolor artist who served as art director on the Night on Bald Mountain segment of Fantasia and on Dumbo. Happy Herb may refer to Herb Ryman, who was an art director on the Pastoral Symphony segment of Fantasia and on Dumbo. Mary Flanigan ran a coffee and snack shop at Hyperion and then at the Burbank Studio.

Thanks Jeff!]

[EDIT #2: Are Myklebust provided some corrections to to my transcribing (from a blurry screen capture) which I have made, and also provided the following identifications:

M. Nelson Fancy Goods -- background artist Myron F. Nelson.

"Breezy" Allen's Haberdashery -- animator Paul Allen.

And one ad I did not previously list:

C.E. Philippi Fishing Eqpt. -- layout artist Charles Phillipi.

Thanks Are!]

In a comment on Mark Mayerson’s aforementioned post about The Nifty Nineties, Michael Barrier identified the drunk man in the “Father Dear Father” part of the vaudeville show as a caricature of company vet Dick Huemer.

3 comments:

Jeff Kurtti said...

Charles Payzant was a watercolor artist who served as art director on the Night on Bald Mountain segment of Fantasia and on Dumbo.

Happy Herb may refer to Herb Ryman, who was an art director on the Pastoral Symphony segment of Fantasia and on Dumbo.

Mary Flanigan ran a coffee and snack shop at Hyperion and then at the Burbank Studio.

Tinker Bell said...

To double check, because I never knew for certain, did Fred and Ward voice their characters, too? Ward sounds like Ward, but I haven't any idea what Fred sounds like.

Jeff Pepper said...

Michael Barrier said:

"I think that Kimball and Moore provided the voices for their caricatures, although I'm sure only of Kimball."

This is in the comments section of the Mark Mayerson article I referenced in the post.