It was a joy to arrive at work in the morning at Disney in those days. It was like a second home to most of us and we enjoyed the comradery of good friends who were all working towards creating something special. My wife Patty was an effects animator on the film (just off her duties on Cauldron) and created things from exploding feather pillows, menacing shadows to soap bubbles for Basil.
She was the first female to make full animator at Disney since Retta Scott in the early 1940's. Joan Lunden from Good Morning America flew out to the Disney Animation where she interviewed Patty from her office in the animation building. It was great working on the same production because we both were understanding when the other had to work late on a scene or two to get it out for the production. Rob Minkoff, future director of "Lion King" was new to the animation department and would hang out in the corner of my room releasing a constant stream of doodles of Basil, Dawson and other character designs. His designs would be combined with those of others like Matt O"Callahan, Glen Keane and many others. In animation, there is always quite a few people contributing to the final result through a lot of stages. Then of course you don't truly know if the design works until the animator breathes life into the form with his stack of drawings and with the added element of the voice. Bruce Morris was another Cal Arts alumni who was excellent in multiple areas, one of which was story development. He fleshed out Basil's motives and also came up with a Victorian twist to an elaborate mouse trap that would put Rube Goldberg to shame. The crew list could go on and on and I apologize for omitting anyone but I fear this will never get posted if I don't draw a line somewhere.
|A few of the endless designs and angles I did as concept art for Basil's flat|
|A corner of my old office at the Disney Studio|
(This photo courtesy of the company newsletter)
I pinned the pastels and charcoals I had done next to the plotted line drawings and they were forgotten, for a while. At least until a visitor came in one afternoon, Roy Disney. He was showing Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg around the studio and came in to see what was up in our wing. During the tour, Roy was looking over my corner intensely and smiled, "Glad to see we're putting some computer images into the mix." After they left, I was given the go ahead to put the computer graphics into production. I remember John Musker's grin as he left the room was almost as big as mine.