Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XXI)

Welcome to the final sequence of Disney's No. 6 "Pastoral" Symphony adaptation. After this - the next segment will be Dance of the Hours. So, let's roll the cartoons and the commentaries.

In the previous sequence, there was a storm organised by Zeus, a powerful Greek God and Vulcan, who "plays darts with him", as to what Deems Taylor says. The storm has just finished, and the centaur blows the horn alarming the valley that the storm is finished and everyone can come out from hiding. All the centaurs enjoy the remaining part of the day until sunset arrives. It seems to me that all of the creatures, including Bacchus and the centaurs are making the most of their day until sunset arrives and the Goddesses arrive. Like the Goddess of the Rainbow, the Stars and Sleep.

There are quite a bit of specific animator casting here, but I'll explain that while I'm going through this paragraph. First, I should point out and it should be obvious that the animator who supervises the entire sequence is Don Towsley. He does most of the main animation here - from the cherubs and the donkeys to some of the centaurs, and even animates the God of the Sun, Apollo and his chariot. It's not hard to see that Towsley supervised the sequence here because he was the Supervising Animator of the sequence. From here, I think that each sequence was supervised differently by the directing animators: In the first sequence with the fauns and unicorns - Eric Larson and Don Towsley planned the entire sequence. In the second sequence with the centaurs and centaurettes - it's totally Fred Moore and Ollie Johnston. In the next sequence, the party sequence - it has Ward Kimball handling it and also some Eric Larson. The following sequence after that, has Art Babbitt who plans the entire Zeus and Vulcan shots with Fred Moore doing the Bacchus animation (or Jim Moore) - and the last sequence is supervised by Don Towsley with one shot of Bacchus by Ward Kimball.

A lot of animation casting here. A lot of the key scenes are probably the Goddesses here because they are controlling the day and that they affect the centaurs and creatures. For example, when the God of Sleep arrives - all the creatures in the valley are sleepy and they go to sleep. In the Goddess of the Rainbow, it gives the unicorns and cherubs lots of joy. Each of those goddesses here create an atmosphere here. Jack Campbell handles most of the goddesses - with Don Towsley doing Apollo - the God of the Sun, and George Rowley handling Diana - the Goddess of the Stars.

Before the draft was put on - I expected that Jack Campbell would animate a lot of centaurs and centaurettes - but he does some of that animation. Although, before the draft of the sequence was posted, I then decided that he probably handled the goddesses, and I was right. It wasn't a surprise that Jack Campbell did the centaurettes with their breasts showing (a strong use of rotoscope), but I'm pleased to see that he does the Goddesses - which are important in this sequence. I thought I read somewhere that Eric Larson was involved around those lines.

It's good to see a bit more of Don Lusk as he was animating one scene from before, handling the baby unicorns. But, the footage he animated was short - but he had little to animate because he was too busy animating the Arabian Goldfish in The Nutcracker Suite which is the sequence he will always be credited for. John Elliotte seems to handle most of the centaurs and centaurettes - and taking a look at it in the mosaic, the centaurs appear very little in this sequence, so John Elliotte was used here. John Sewall was used to animate one scene of the Centaurs and the fauns walking up to the sunset. Bill Justice handles some scenes of the Cherubs here - including one scene of the cupid splashing water on his feet and snuggling up to sleep in the clouds. Although, most of the cherubs are animated by Don Towsley who animates the shots with the cherub and the baby unicorn.

Berny Wolf seems to handle the fauns from early on in the sequence, but the fauns also appear very little in the sequence as well, as well as one scene by Walt Kelly who handles most of the fauns. Is shot 40 of the faun sitting in the rock a re-use or just animated similarly? I have to admit that in shot 16, with the faun looking out with drips of water landing on his nose that the animation is quite appealing here. I don't know why, but I felt that Wolfie was better off at animating the fauns than his centaur-centaurette animation. Although, in that shot it looks like their eyes are Asian of some sorts.

Very interesting that (again) numerous shots with effects animation in it - don't attribute names to effects animators. While, some scenes do. Is it probably because that the secretary wasn't much bothered with writing in all the names, or this could be an early draft? But the draft says "FINAL". It seems that there are a lot of Ham Luske sequences here that don't really bother to put too much details here - but what is good to see is that scenes with the characters and PAN along have it's own footage account - like if the scene was 15 feet and the character only appears 8 feet of that 15 foot scene - it's helpful information.

Here Ward Kimball animates that one shot of Bacchus pouring wine with rainbow reflections and drinks it. Comparing the shots that he and (Fred-Jim) Moore animated - Ward gives his animation a much more appealing taste to it - while the Moores don't seem to give it much thought on it.

At last, shot 55 is animated by a "Wetzel", although I wasn't sure who that could've been - but I assumed that it could well have been by Judge Whitaker - because "Wetzel" is Whitaker's real name. Although, it may seem unlikely for him to be turning up on Fantasia - because he probably couldn't animate that still. Albertopage lists him at the Disney Studios as early as 1939. There is also another possibility that the "Wetzel" could well be "Ross Wetzel" - but Alberto doesn't have any records of him animating at Disney. So, I'm going to keep it as it is. If someone has any records of a Ross Wetzel at Disney then please inform me.

I should also point out about the Art Direction. Here, the layouts look very stunning here and I like it a lot. From old Disney layouts, at this time - this was the most distinctive layout style in a Disney film ever. The backgrounds of the various colours (as I should've pointed out earlier on) was mainly credited to background painter Ray Huffine. Ray had used every colour that he knew to put into the backgrounds of this segment. Because Walt Disney said to his background painters that they could use any colour they wanted. Although, Ray thought of an idea while one lunch break and found poison berry jam in his sandwich made by Mrs. Huffine (not to kill him), and Ray was like "Ureka!". So instead of green leaves for the trees, he used red leaves - Ray had a lot of fun by mixing the colours he wanted. That's what Art is all about. If you think that Ray Huffine information was gibberish - then talk to John Culhane about that - he said it!

Well, that's my entire Pastoral Symphony mosaic completed. Despite the delays, hope you enjoyed it. Next up (one of my favourites), The Dance of the Hours!


Nancy Miles said...

Hi! Ross Wetzel did animate Pegasus in Fantasia. He worked at Disney from June 6, 1938 as a newcomer for 3 years until he left to draw Felix the Cat for King Features. He was an inbetweener under Ollie J. for Pinocchio. And did the Mickey comic strip off and on. He also worked in animation during WWII at the Hal Roach Unit. I am busy interviewing him and writing a paper on this period of his life. Also Walt Kelly worked on the Pegasus family along with everyone else you mentioned. Ross Wetzel ended up owning his own animation advertising studio in Chicago and did many commercials there. He is now 93 years old and still artistically active creating things to raise money for hospice! Great blog by the way!! Nancy Miles, Director, AHOF

Steven Hartley said...

Thanks for the great info, Nancy.