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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Disney's Nine Old Men Question

   
Author Topic: Disney's Nine Old Men Question
Paburrows
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So I've been reading the Neal Gabler Walt Disney Biography and I just got to the point where it talks about Disney creating his new Animation Board or the Nine Old Men. We all know that they were great and the cream of the crop at the time, but why is it that we don't hear much about some of the other great Disney artists?What about Norn Ferguson and Fred Moore or other great artists?

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bigshot
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Some of the old men were highly critical of the artists from that earlier generation. You can see this bias in Illusion of Life. It was a political thing.

See ya
Steve

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tstevens
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Freddie Moore is easilly one of the great legends of animation and in some circles you'll find that he gets more press than any of the "nine" (check out Jennie Lerew's website and you'll find a trove of his work).

The guys who really deserve credit were guys like Cliff Norberg, Hal Ambro, Rudy Larriva, Hal King, and on, and on.

You have to consider that the infamous nine old men were almost all life long Disney employees in a period when most people (like today) went from studio to studio.

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Graphiteman
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Not to take away from their talent historically, but The 9 Old Men always struck me as "Walt's favorites" especailly when there were so many talented contemporaries.
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Paburrows
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Yeah it says in the Gabler book that at the time that Walt had created the nine old men that the studio style had changed a lot. So while Moore & Ferguson while still excelent artists, their style stayed the same. Which pushed them out of Walt's favored status.

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Mr. Fun
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The Walt Disney studio of year's past was no different than most organizations. Politics is often as important as talent. "The Nine Old Men" tag was pretty much created accidentally. However, savvy young animators took that advantage and ran with it.

We see the same thing in today's studios where a certain select group "appear" to be doing everything. Nothing has really changed.

Disney had a stable of awesome animators such as Cliff Nordberg, Hank Tannus, Hal Ambro, John Sibley, Amby Paliwoda, and many others you've probably never heard of.

No doubt, the Nine Old Men were great. However, I was around back then and I watched those guys wheel and deal. This is not a criticism, by the way. I have enormous respect for those old guys.

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Animation Co-op
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The Nine Old Men were incredibly talented individuals. They also did not participate in the Disney strike of 1941.

The great Bill Tytla DID stand up for the strike, and is not one of The Nine. [grouse]

The great Ward Kimball DID NOT stand up for the strike, and IS one of The Nine.

Said Ward in retrospect: "I was quite liberal, yet I didn't go out on strike. But I knew something had to be done. And I agree to this day that it was a good thing that it happened." [Roll Eyes]

Your spine: use it or lose it! [Wink]

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Mr. Fun
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You bring up some good points. I've had the opportunity to speak with those on both sides of the strike. Each side had valid points. Tough spot to be in back in the forties if you loved your job.

The old man had a big thing for loyalty. He rewarded those he considered loyal employees, and many talented individuals were eventually shown the door. Some even came around when I was there with a hope of burying the past. As for as Walt was concerned, they were history.

The strike is still a sad chapter in Disney history.

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Mr.U
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Please don't forget Art Babbitt. He too was on the picket line and was almost erased from Disney history.
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Greg B
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I love these topics.

I've been a rebel all my life. Can't wait for a chance to stand up. In New York being a stand up guy means alot and goes long for generations.

In regard to the Disney Strike and the aftermath it shows that in some cases standing up may not mean a beneficial employment future. I've seen that in the news business first hand and was just discussing it with some old colleagues.

Unions only work with people who are going to stand up heck or high water. Sometimes they get too powerful and defeat the purpose of having a union. In other cases the union that sees both sides of the issue but still and foremost puts it's members first stands strongest.

I remember when President Reagan back in the 80's fought with the unions. People felt like he was turning his back on the people who voted him in.

In the end the bottom line is can you live with yourself. Do you have your own integrity?

Only you have to live with you in the end.

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Lee Crowe
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THANK YOU Mr. U and Animation Co-op for remembering the strike and Art Babbitt!!! Dang straight that's why some of the greats are not on that elite list. Also, a bunch of them left Disney after the strike to help start UPA...and then left the country after the McCarthy hearings...and Fred Moore died young whilst driving under the influence...Don't drink and drive or be a commie sympathizer, kids!

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Floyd Bishop
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Fred Moore wasn't driving his car, his wife was, and they were hit by another driver.

I just wanted to pop in to say that, as it's a myth that has gone on for far too long, and only helps paint a poor picture of a brilliant artist taken too soon.

Read more about the death of Fred Moore.

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Floyd Bishop
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Paburrows
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Man, we are so blessed by the combined knowledge, history and experience of those that contribute to Animation Nation!

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ApeLad
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Thanks Floyd! I knew someone would set that straight. No slight against you, Lee. It's a story that's been passed around too long. Tell your friends.
The true story would make an excellent documentary---maybe even an American Masters episode.

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C W Oberleitner
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I interviewed Neal Gabler for our podcast this past summer. He had nothing but praise for Fred Moore and called him one of the greatest animators of all time.

The podcast is still up on the site at

http://www.o-meon.com/podcasts/2007/07-25_Neal_Gabler/07-25_Neal_Gabler.htm

And, if I recall correctly he also gives a fair amount of credit to Art Babbitt's contribution to the field of animation as well as the Disney Studio.

To learn more about many of the great artists - other than the nine old men - who contributed to the Disney legacy check out Tom Sito's book on the history of the animation union(s).

Tom's book also has one of the most detailed accounts of the Disney strike I've ever read.

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Patty B
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Is there anything known about his daughters or perhaps grand kids and any artistic abilities?

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Patty B
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^^^^^^Ooops
I mean Fred Moore.

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Lee Crowe
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Oh...well, I heard that story about Fred Moore from Deitrich Friesen in 1981 at Sheridan. Mr. Friesen was at Disney in the fifties, so I kinda figured he was a reliable source....either way Freddy was a great animation innovator while he was here!

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Kahuna
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The term "9 Old Men" was a take-off on what the members of the U.S. Supreme Court were often referred to as. It was Walt's playful term that acknowledged that he was not solely responsible for the magic that became known as Disney. It came out of a certain time when some of the other great artists may not have been at the studio any more. It was kind of a tongue-in-cheek reference and was never any "official" grand designation. The term has reached somewhat of an iconic or legendary status to our generation in part due to Frank'n'Ollie's landmark book, "The Illusion of Life." Many other artists are mentioned with great respect in that book, as well.
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Charles
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I met four of the 9 old men face to face. Handshakes with all 4, brief exchange with 3 of them and an extended visit with 1 at the Disney studio. That visit was one of the most disappointing experiences in my career. I'd go so far as to call the encounter traumatic. Turned me off to pursuing Disney as a place I wanted to work at. Really killed it and left me with quite an unfavorable impression of the animation legend I had met with. Maybe he was having a bad day. Whatever the reason for the way he was, I'll never forget it.

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tstevens
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Steve Worth (aka Bigshot) told one of the more detailed accounts of Moore's death on a discussion here. I think that was atleast a year ago. If I recall correctly, he got it directly from Moores assistant.

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mojodesign
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Charles, you can't just pop up and say something like that without elaborating! I'm completely intrigued now! But it shows good form on your part not to go into detail. I understand if you want to keep it to yourself [bawling]

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mojodesign
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P.S. It is unfortunate btw to have been so disillusioned with such a great artist. Sorry you went through that. I would hate it if that happened to me and one of my heroes.

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