Thursday, 20 May 2010

RE: WARD

Here are one or two mementos of my various encounters and correspondences with veteran animator and one of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men, WARD KIMBALL.

First, an inscription from my Disney autograph book by Kimball (using an inky thumb-print to create his face) along with his wife, who was a former Disney painter, Betty Kimball...

Ward Kimball - "Hello! Brian!"

Next, a couple of typically anarchic Kimball pieces: a revisionist Model Sheet for animators featuring misrepresentations of the Disney Studio's most famous character...

Ward Kimball - Unofficial Mickey Mice

...and some images of Jiminy Cricket as he was never seen in Pinocchio, by the man who designed and animated the character in the 1940 film...

Ward Kimball - Unofficial Jiminy Crickets

Finally, a raunchy cartoon which Kimball sent me in 2002, two years before his death, in which the artist depicts himself playing (rather suggestively) with a model railway - a reference to his life-long love of steam locomotives: a passion he shared with Walt Disney and which led to Kimball building the Grizzly Flats Railroad in his California backyard, using sets from Disney's 1948 film, So Dear To My Heart...

Ward Kimball - "Try this sometime!"


Ward Walrath Kimball (1914-2002) began his Disney career as an in-between artist on the 1934 short, The Wise Little Hen and worked on the first Disney feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs before going on to create numerous classic Disney characters including Pinocchio's diminutive conscience, Jiminy Cricket; the Crows in Dumbo; Bambi's love-interest, Faline; the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland; and Jaq and Gus, the mice in Cinderella, and their nemesis, Lucifer the Cat. He also animated the frenetic 'Three Caballeros' musical number from the Disney film of the same name.

In the mid-1950s, Kimball became a director and was responsible for the Academy Award-winning short,
Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom as well as three ground-breaking Disney television shows about outer space. His 1969 animated short, It's Tough To Be A Bird won an Academy Award. Subsequent publicity were adapted to read: It's Tough To Be A Bird - but it's great to win an Oscar!

Images uploaded from my Disney flickr Photo Album.

16 comments:

Chuck Munson said...

Well, I don't think anyone familiar with Ward Kimball would have doubted the presence of an irreverent streak in Ward's personality. Your three items certainly prove that in spades!

Brian Sibley said...

That's true, Chuck! :)

Andy J. Latham said...

Well making films one frame at a time is going to have some kind of effect on a person after a while!! :P

Brian Sibley said...

And, heaven knows, it did!!

Andy J. Latham said...

Not really related Brian, but I thought you might like this (although you might very well have seen it before already). Very sad, but it does make me feel somewhat defiant. I hope the studio can become a magical place once more.

Brian Sibley said...

Not sure what "this" is, Andy??

Andy J. Latham said...

Oh I am a fool! Here's the forgotten link!

Davelandweb said...

Brian - Just stumbled upon your blog. What a happy surprise - this Kimball stuff is brilliant!

Brian Sibley said...

Thanks, Davelandweb, your web-sites are an endlessly diverting inspiration!

Spokker said...

Good old Ward wasn't exactly doing rail fans any service with that last sketch... yikes.

Brian Sibley said...

Maybe not, but at least it's led me to discover your Red Sky Disney blog!

Spokker said...

I just graduated from college which means I'll be looking for a (real) job for the next two years so I'll be able to update the blog from now on ;)

Brian Sibley said...

Good luck and I'll be following you - just like that Disneyland security guard! Meantime, I've added your blog to my links. :)

Steven Hartley said...

I'm an admirer of Ward Kimball's work, I wish I had the privilege to meet all the Disney animators and artists, but I wasn't lucky enough or older enough to know them.

What's very funny is the model sheets of Mickey Mouse and Ward writes down "TOO-TU-TU".

Very funny man, and have you heard about two weeks ago, that Ward's wife; Betty Kimball passed away at aged 97, there's the link from Cartoon Brew.

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/disney/betty-kimball-rip.html

Brian Sibley said...

Ward was a wonderfully zany man who made a unique contribution to Disney's films. Betty was a delightful woman who shared (or, at least, tolerated) Ward's passion for steam railways, tin toys and all kinds of wacky entertainments.

Anonymous said...

Ward Kimball was a first class individual. My daughter had a Jiminy Cricket fixation when she was three; we sent Ward a picture of her at Halloween in a top hat & tails (trying to be Jiminy) and he sent back the distorted Mickey drawings and a hand pencil picture of Jiminy, which still hangs on her wall.