Monday, December 9, 2013


  Like a lot of people this time of the year I was out in the garage retrieving the 'Christmas stuff'. Packed away in boxes, plastic tubs and canvas zip bags is all the "stuff" that my wife, LaVonne, will use to transform the inside of our home into a Christmas wonderland. If your garage is anything like mine, it is filled with other boxes, plastic tubs, canvas zip bags, bicycles, a lawn mower, furniture, books, tools etc. ....and a car or two. Searching through, re-arranging and looking through all this 'stuff' I stumble upon some boxes I haven't seen in years, in one instance, 38 years... 

My blog today is a detailed description of the inventory I found in those boxes of long ago.

A brochure welcoming me to the 'Disney family', explaining the rich history of Walt and the studio on my first day as a animation trainee...

Another brochure explaining all the departments and their functions, designed to help me navigate seamlessly through the work day...the back cover stating Good Luck in your new role...producing "The finest in family entertainment"!


The studio Disneyland Line newsletter, special edition, dated September 20, 1976.

The author is asking if  The Old Disney Magic can be recaptured by the nine new men (of animation?)...time has answered that question with the emergence of Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Mark Henn,Tony DeRosa, Bruce Smith, Dale Baer, Eric Goldberg, Nik Ranieri and the list could go on and on. Tim Burton, Brad Bird and a host of others also got their start in the animation trainee department.

 The article went into detail about the studios' history under Walt's leadership, past and present productions, some personal insights and the trainee department... a direct quote from the newsletter says, "There are so few women in cartoon work that such terms as story person or layout person have not yet evolved. But the team includes four women and two blacks, representations that were rare and unknown respectively, among the first generation at Disney's."...

This same article refers to the new generation of leadership who were to recapture the Old Disney Magic...left to right: Andy Gaskill, Don Bluth, John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman look at a test on a moviola.

Another Studio newsletter dated January 27, 1978 announcing Frank and Ollie's retirement, the main reason for starting the animation trainee department...

A Newsreel (on the right), dated April 7, 1978 announcing another animation veteran's retirement after 44 years...


On the back cover of this Newsreel is an announcement of six individuals (including me) who were promoted to 'full' animators, a month before my major surgery.

A copy of this July 28, 1978 Studio Newsreel reveals the animation trainee department, under Eric Larson, is still making news. 

A copy of the Disney Times newspaper, (this one dated June, 1979), got delivered to our home doorsteps monthly.


A copy of an Inter-Office Communication, dated April 11, 1979, concerning a proposed project that never got the 'green light'.  We were asked  what our level of enthusiasm was about working on this project...How unique is that?

 Another Newsreel dated February 22, 1985...the story dealt with the "temporary relocation of the Animation Department" to Flower Street in Glendale and how much more efficient the department would be, "we are all together, as one big family" and how 'happy' the animators were in their new surroundings.

  Before it was all over I had worked in three different buildings and a trailer in the Flower St. area...
Smiling animators, Mark Henn and Dave Block, at their desks...wonder what their expressions would have been had they known that it would be ten years before animation would 'go home'.
Wow, maybe I'll find even more treasures when it is time to take "Christmas" down for 2013.  Stay tuned, you never know what's lurking in all that "stuff" packed away in boxes, plastic tubs and canvas zip bags!
(All images are shown for encouragement and inspiration only.)


  1. Thank you Mr. Husband for sharing your memories.

    I have read several stories about that 1970's / 1980's, famous 8 weeks long animation trainee program at Disney. Can you share with us all the assignments and projects you had to accomplish in those 8 weeks? Just curious about it, and today's requirements are totally different, probably it wouldn't breach corporate secrets.

    Can you help me and other curious animation students / fans by answering my question? I know this requires a long answer, but it would be very appreciated.
    Wish you all the best!

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