|A color rough I did as a suggestion during the series|
Michael Webster, was an animation veteran from Quartet Films, Hanna Barbera, Murakami Wolf Films, Leo Burnett Advertising and Rankin Bass but when he answered the call to join Disney Studios, animation history was in the making. In 1984, CEO Michael Eisner created the Walt Disney Television Animation division and placed Michael Webster in charge to oversee the production of its programing with help from Production Manager Olivia Miner. Apparently Michael Eisner's son had one heck of a sweet tooth for a specific candy and so "Gummi Bears" was quickly put into development before he got a tummy ache. The small but extremely talented staff included Producer Art Vitello, Layout Ed Wexler and BG Painter Gary Eggleston and Thom Enriquez doing storyboards. This crew was really sharp. The studio asked me to help out with the launch so I did some promotional art under Art's able supervision to be used in spots like TV Guide and Disney veteran Ken Anderson whom the studio also roped in contributed his usual great design eye for Gummi Glen. Of the two early series that the fledgling department produced, "Adventures of the Gummi Bears" and "Wuzzles", only Gummi Bears became a success and subsequently aired on NBC for four seasons.
|1 of over 600 key layouts I designed|
Two years sped by and I was working for Ross and Jan Bagdasarian on their first full length animated feature, "The Chipmunk Adventure" when I got a call from a friend at Disney TV Animation. They were doing a pitch for a new show called, "Fluppy Dogs". I worked on it because the person who was in charge was Brad Landreth, one of the nicest people in animation. I also did it for the money which was very good. Unfortunately the plot was a little insipid, they were "not actual dogs, they just looked like dogs" and because of that, they were escorted to a dog pound. These "dog-like" creatures used a "fluppy crystal key" to open inter-dimensional doorways to their lame adventures. Umm... yeah, that was the setup. It wasn't Brad's fault, not mind either, just another less than terrific idea for an animated series donated by the suit factory. Oh yeah, almost forgot, they were each a different color, like Teletubbies or any other the other endless parade of rainbow hued character gangs substituted for children's programming.
|"Back to the Klondike" key setup|
I did some concept art and storyboarded the opening sequence that was used as presentation art to help greenlight the project. Fortunately for the children of the world this stinker bombed and was never heard of again, at least not in our inter-dimensional portal.
I kept working on the chipmunk feature doing boards and concepts alongside my good friend and amazing artist Dan Haskett when I was once again contacted by Disney TV. They were going to do a new series based on Carl Barks' famous creation Uncle Scrooge. They were still "negotiating" with the main studio whether Donald could be a part of it but the nephews were on board already. Yes, Disney was and is very protective of its stars. Maybe they had seen Fluppy Dogs? Nevertheless, being a comic book collector and fan, I had also met Carl a few years earlier (Great guy!) and I was ecstatic at the possibilities of putting his genius on the screen. My "Fluppy" friend Brad was heading it up as Art Director and when they asked if I was interested, I couldn't quack YES fast enough. The artwork posted here I didn't know I even had as I thought I had thrown out most of that stuff many years ago. My wife Patty found the ones that are shown here in some boxes filled with animation memories in our garage and looking back, I'm glad I didn't toss them.