|Ken stops by Christmas Carol to supervise my model building|
|Vance Gerry sketch of Dick Lucas|
|Ghost of Christmas Past setting|
|John Lasseter and Mike Peraza check scene on moviola|
He was going to animate Scrooge hanging onto Jimminy with his tiny umbrella for the trip to the past and had just gone over the scene in storyboards next door with Burny. He was as excited as I was about various ways we might re-stage the scenes and after we brainstormed it for a bit, I roughed out some layouts and gave them to him to follow. I had really wanted to involve the audience in a roller-coaster ride over London rooftops. I did a few crazy tests that were kind of fun and full of potential but only one scene was actually cut into the reel and unfortunately what you see on film is our first only take of that action. John added some creative personality bits having Scrooge attempt to crawl ON TOP of the slippery umbrella during their flight which definitely added to the sequence. But oh If we could only go back and redo it with the resources and experience we have now, ... sigh.
|Example of Burny's care and attention to character|
One gag resulted with an early snow in our hallways at Disney. Yes, I said SNOW, and IN our hallway. You see at the same time as Christmas Carol, the studio was working on a futuristic film called "TRON". Well that crew was working incredibly long hours at the end of its production and during one late night escapade, a few Tronites entered our dark and deserted Christmas Carol hallways and emptied studio fire extinguishers into a few rooms and covered the hallway. The stuff looked like snow, if you were a bit tipsy, which is most likely what the "volunteer firemen" from TRON were that evening. Unfortunately you just couldn't make a decent snowman out of that sticky goop (I tried) so it didn't endear itself to the unlucky victims. Luckily my door and Burny's were locked but they had a hell of a blizzard in Mark Henn's room as well as a couple of others. The studio management was not laughing at our early White Christmas but most thought it was pretty hilarious.
|Warm watercolor, wrinkled paper and ink - Mike Peraza|
Luckily a co-worker and utterly amazing story guy, Vance Gerry used to drop by my room to check up on me as he had requested me for the story department when I first came to the studio based on my reel at Cal Arts which was more story boards than animation. He got really excited about the little pencil sketches I had mocked up for the title sequence and the next day brought over some beautiful little ink sketches in the same vein he had done for some little Dicken's books to show me. Let me explain that Vance had his own printing press in those days and would hand out these beautiful little hand made books of selected works by Dickens for Christmas presents, of which I'm lucky to have a complete set courtesy of Vance. Vance then gave me a very special edition he had done that was reserved for retirees. I won't go into much detail about it here except to mention the long dark stairway and the small paper bag. Those of you who know what I'm talking about are probably cracking up right now. Anyway Burny could hear us laughing next door and came over to see what we were doing and in no time, with Vance's support, Burny consented to let me do the title art. The only trouble doing titles I now faced was that the crew got wind of it and started coming down to see the pieces.
|A Couple of Crickets|
|1 of the unposed crew shots I snapped|
|One of the lost NBC "bumpers"|
|The Release Poster|
|SANTA (me) and our director (Burny) heading out.|