A couple of weeks ago, I posted images from the personal Christmas cards of veteran Disney artist, John Hench. Today, I am posting some more seasonal greetings, this time from one of Disney's legendary 'Nine Old Men', Marc Davis and his Disney-designer wife, Alice Davis.
Marc began his career at the studio as an apprentice animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and went on to become one of Disney's leading draughtsmen, animating such memorable characters as Thumper in Bambi, Brer Rabbit in Song of the South, the eponymous Cinderella and Alice (in Wonderland), Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, Aurora and Melificent in Sleeping Beauty and the gloriously funny (and monstrous) Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians.
Marc also worked on the creation of many Disneyland attractions including the Enchanted Tiki Room, The Jungle Cruise, It's A Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. Alice Davis' work for the Disney studio included researching and designing the costumes for Small World and Pirates as well as contributions to two other attractions: Carousel of Progress and Flight to the Moon.
I first met Marc and Alice in 1986, when I was working on a BBC radio series on the Disney company entitled, Ain't No Mickey Mouse Business. With my producer, Malcolm Prince, I visited the Davis' home where – a fantastic treat when you are living in hotel and diners – we were given a wonderful home-cooked meal and were then allowed to see examples of Marc's 'serious' art: amazing drawings and paintings of the people and culture of New Guinea.
It was the first of a number of get-togethers in Los Angeles and London and we exchanged Christmas cards from that year through to Marc's death. Every one had a personal message on the reverse, often detailing the various exploits they were getting up to in what was a lively period for all the veteran Disney animators as, for the first time in their careers with the Mouse Factory, they began taking centre stage and started sharing their memories and recollections of working on the Disney classics with a new generation of Disney fans.
On a later visit to Chez Davis, I mentioned how much I enjoyed getting their cards and Marc went off and came back with a handful of early cards that I hadn't received. Here they all are for your enjoyment. As you will see, they feature not just Marc and Alice but also a number of their 'four-legged friends' (whose arrivals and departures are chronicled) along with references to their globe-trotting for Disney and their ambitious plans for remodeling of their home which went on for some time.
Above all they are a small insight into the private life of one of Disney's Old Masters and a couple whose friendship it was a joy and privilege to share.
Top and Tail - Dinosaur fossil, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA Photo © Brian Sibley, 2009