Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beauty and the Beast

Next up was Beauty and the Beast... 

Here are some of the major players (right) who made Beauty and the Beast a classic: top far right is Glen Keane who designed and animated the Beast...to the left below Glen are directors, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Time would tell what a monumental achievement these guys pulled off. Middle left is producer Don Hahn who pulled it all together. To his right is Gaston, animated by Andreas Deja (I was a part of his unit). The bottom left is Lumiere, animated by Nik Ranieri and bottom right is James Baxter who brought movement to Belle.

Above is the Gaston unit gathered outside our quarters- a trailer on Flower Street in Glendale.

My thumbnails (right) of Gaston posing and firing his

more thumbnails of Glen's Beast and Andreas' Gaston (top left and bottom right) helped choreograph my the fight scenes between the two.

Once again thumbnails to the rescue as I animated the special effects of the spoons in the Be Our Guest song, patterned after the Busby Berkeley choreography of the 1930's musicals.

We got to see the movie with our families in the theater on Flower St. The premier  was held a few weeks earlier at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood...

followed by the wrap party at The Sheraton Universal.

Accolades began to come in for the film...

Best Picture at the Golden Globe Awards plus best song and score...

Then came the Academy Award nomination for best picture of the year. This is the monumental achievement that I mentioned earlier that Kirk and Gary pulled off . At the time there was no separate category for animated features. The B&B nomination was a first for an animated feature as it's competition was against live action films.

Big news headlines, Beauty and the Beast makes movie history. This historic moment was not well received by actors and movie purists who thought little of our craft.

The study of acting is a must by actor and animator as a convincing acting performance is sought by both.There are other similarities between what an actor does in his or her role and what an animator does with his character. 

Live action actors depend on make-up, voice overs, stunt doubles, special effects etc. to help them before the camera.

The actor puts on an act. The Beast is not acting the Beast, he is the Beast, Belle is Belle. The acting performances that were achieved by the animators on Beauty and the Beast were done with pencil on paper.The animator acts with his pencil.

The award that year went to Silence of the Lambs, but animation made history that will never be repeated.

A good caricature is always in proper taste?...me by Glen Keane

Glen and I did a lot of caricaturing of each other. It started when, together, we were moved from the second floor animation training rooms. Glen had come into the program about six months earlier and was already working on the Rescuers doing inbetweens and animating scenes for Ollie Johnston. I had just joined the ranks of Glen, Tad Stones, Randy Cartwright and a few others as permanent employees.
Glen and I were paired together in a corner office and the caricatures started to carom back and forth as we animated through the days,weeks, months and years.
I've got a stack that proper human beings should not have to lay eyes upon.


  1. The fantastic and unique Beauty and the Beast!
    I am so glad to have grown up in those years, seeing the epic film when I was 5 years old, was truly an incredible experience. Although it was recorded on a bad quality VHS, it always reminded me of the classic Disney films and the late 19th century children-books. The film maintained the classic Disney heritage of magical fairy tales, a way of telling stories that unfortunately has ended by today, even at the Disney company.
    Thank you for the enormous effort achieved during this film, it made history!
    Always wondered how the spoon scene was made, the synchronization is superb!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Glad to have been able to contribute to your positive image of animation as you grew up...I was one of hundreds of artist and crafts people who made it happen.

    1. Thanks to my upbringing + the solid values incorporated in those films, today I have a successful career. One thing those "old" Disney films taught me, is to never give up, and never forget my dreams!

      I will always be grateful to you, for sharing with everybody else your fantastic experience, and your art here on the blog, or in your fantastic book.

      Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Eric Larson and the other great animators probably were very proud of you and your generation!