Ward Kimball's Final Farewell

Ward Kimball's Final Farewell

One of Walt Disney's legendary Nine Old Men, Ward Kimball was truly a one-of-a-kind talent. Our animation columnist Jim Korkis spoke with Kimball in 1996 about this career, his relationship with Walt himself, and being a mentor to a new generation of animators.

Editor's note: This interview was originally published in Hogan's Alley #11.

Ward Walrath Kimball was born on March 4, 1914, in Minneapolis, Minn. In 1934, he joined the Disney Studios staff as an inbetweener and quickly rose in the ranks to become a full-fledged animator, working on scenes in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that were dropped before the film was released. In August 1936, he married Betty Lawyer, who was working in the ink and paint department. They had three children (John, Kelly and Chloe) and eventually five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Kimball passed away at the age of 88 on July 8, 2002, of natural causes. During those eight decades, he crammed in at least eight lifetimes of achievements.

Kimball designed and animated Jiminy Cricket for Pinocchio, the crows in Dumbo, the title song from The Three Caballeros, Lucifer the cat from Cinderella and the mad tea party scene from Alice as well as the Cheshire Cat, among other animation credits too numerous to mention.

He directed the first Disney 3-D cartoon (Melody), won Oscars for directing the first cartoon in Cinemascope: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953) as well as It’s Tough to Be a Bird (1970), produced the classic Outer Space trilogy programs for the Disneyland television show (released on DVD last year) and produced and directed the syndicated television series The Mouse Factory.

Kimball also published a popular book of humorous art parodies titled Art Afterpieces, helped design and create The World of Motion attraction for EPCOT Center, formed the well-known and respected Dixieland jazz group (consisting of fellow Disney animators like Frank Thomas) called The Firehouse Five Plus Two, whose albums are currently available on CD, collected toys and miniature trains in addition to his full-size railroad, the Grizzly Flats Railroad, which began operation in the backyard of his San Gabriel home in 1938 with a 64,000-pound coal burning locomotive, a wooden passenger car and more than 900 feet of track. (In 1992, he donated part of his ever-growing railroad to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California.)

Walt and Ward, all aboard!

Walt Disney once described Ward as the only genius at the Disney Studios. Ever the iconoclast, Kimball doubted the sincerity of that remark and preferred to believe that Walt said it fully realizing the ribbing and guff Ward would have to endure as a result of the comment. “Walt was a hard guy to get close to,” Ward remarked in an earlier interview, “He was a workoholic. His career was his whole life. I think I was as good a friend as he ever had.”

Kimball visited Walt Disney World in April 1996 with Michael Broggie (author of Walt Disney’s Railroad Story) to make arrangements for the abandoned trains of the now-defunct Fort Wilderness Railroad to go to private collections where they could be restored.

Unknown to Kimball, the real reason for his arranged visit was the dedication of a Walt Disney World Railroad train to be named after him. On April 24, several select Disney cast members—including me—gathered at the roundhouse behind the Magic Kingdom. Kimball temporarily exchanged his Opening Crew EPCOT baseball cap for a railroad cap and climbed into the cab of the engine for some publicity photos. Then we boarded the train and Michael Broggie and Ward switched off as engineer for an inaugural run around the Magic Kingdom.

That night I had the opportunity to sit down with Kimball and ask him to share a few stories that, despite his many interviews, he had never revealed. Despite the years, he still resembled a prankish pixie and retained his mischievous attitude with no hesitation to speak his mind.

Jim Korkis: I suppose it’s always best to start at the beginning. How did you start at the Disney Studio?

Ward Kimball: I joined the studio in 1934. I drove up from Santa Barbara with my portfolio. See, I was a smart kid. I knew that if I attempted to join some art college or get an art job in New York, I would need a portfolio. So I filled up a big black portfolio with life drawings and various sketches. I took it to the Disney Studios and the secretary didn’t know what to do with it so she told me to come back in a couple of days. I said I could only afford the gas to drive up to the Los Angeles area this time, because we were in the Depression. The secretary sent the portfolio to the story department and they had never seen a portfolio before either, so they called in Walt himself.

Some Kimball train sketches.

Walt saw a sketch that I had done based on the Edgar Allan Poe story King Pest, where I had drawn a tall, thin man running and a short, fat man running. Walt liked it so I was hired. I wanted to be a background painter and I thought that was the job I was applying for. I was very disappointed when I showed up Monday morning and was ushered into a windowless room and told I was not going to be a background painter but was going to be an inbetweener.

Ben Sharpsteen was in charge and, when I walked in, Sharpsteen didn’t turn around for quite a while and then looked at me and said, “I thought you’d be older.” I eventually got to like the challenge of inbetweening. I was working with Ham Luske. Luske was picking up bonus money when he cleaned up and corrected his scenes. Luske would get the notes from the animation critique on his work and then hand them to me to clean up and correct his work. I remember one segment was the swaying flowers in Tortoise and Hare and a spinning sign from the same film. I did the work and Luske collected the bonus money for the work. The other guys told me I should squawk about it but I was having fun meeting the challenge of inbetweening between extremes and I was learning how to animate. Finally, at Christmas, Luske gave me a set of golf clubs. And I absolutely hate golf. I can’t stand the game.

Korkis: How does it feel to be one of the legendary Nine Old Men?

Kimball: Walt hated the idea of getting old. He was on the average about 12 years older than the rest of us and that’s probably the real reason he called us the Nine Old Men, because of the age thing. It brought us up to his level. On his sixtieth birthday, he stormed into his office and his secretary offered him congratulations. And he grumbled, “What for? The first S.O.B. who comes into my office to congratulate me, I’m going to fire on the spot!”

Shortly afterwards, Ollie Wallace, who did the music for Dumbo among other things and who was something of an extrovert, burst into Walt’s office and proclaimed, “Congratulations! You’re now a member of the club!”

Walt looked over his glasses and said very slowly, “I told my secretary that the first S.O.B. who comes in here to congratulate me, I was going to fire on the spot. But in your case, Ollie, I’m going to rescind that order because you’re so much older than me.”

You have to remember when I came to the studio in 1934, we were all in our early 20s. I was only 20 and Walt was in his early 30s. We had youthful exuberance and a lot of fun. We went out of our way to invent gags and new story ideas, even on projects we weren’t concerned with. I guess it’s about time that new young people take over. Time for a set of New Nine Old Men.

A Jiminy Cricket model sheet by Kimball.

Korkis: Many people remember you as the animator responsible for Disney’s version of Jiminy Cricket.

Kimball: I hated the cricket. What I learned from Pinocchio is you can never have a bug or an insect as a hero or the lead in an animated film. It was Walt who wanted Jiminy Cricket as the glue to hold the whole story of Pinocchio together. I got sick of drawing that oval head looking in every direction. His coat I borrowed from the man on the Johnny Walker scotch bottle. In the back it curves and splits in the middle so it resembles cricket wings.

Korkis: Who is one of your favorite classic Disney animators and why?

Kimball: Norm Ferguson. Especially for his work with Pluto and the fly-paper scene and for his animation of the Old Witch in Snow White. They gave him live-action reference to study. They brought in an old actor from the stage play The Drunkard. But he found that tracing those drawings made the whole thing seem sluggish, so he just tossed it away and drew it all in that wonderful loose style of his and it’s just amazing.

Korkis: You were the youngest full-fledged animator on staff during Snow White. At that time did you think it would be such a major success?

Kimball: Snow White is a good example of what I think was the real secret of Walt. He didn’t do the stuff with his tongue in cheek. When he did Flowers and Trees, which had a tragic ending, he was sincere. He believed in it. And when he did Snow White—here are these gross cartoon figures, nothing like you’d see in real life, all the animals acting like people—he was completely serious. And to this day, the picture makes people cry when Snow White dies. I was at the premiere in 1937 and the people were so moved at the end of the film that some people put on dark glasses as they left the theater so people couldn’t see they had been crying. Betty and I sat behind Clark Gable and Carol Lombard and he got upset when Snow White was poisoned. He started to sniffle and borrowed a handkerchief. That type of reaction is hard to get with a cartoon because, after all, you are exaggerating and caricaturing and the tendency is to do a put on. Not Walt! I think that was the key to his secret.

Korkis: Your wife, Betty, was in the ink and paint department at this time, right?

Kimball: Yes, but she also did some movement modeling for Snow White. Not many people remember that. Later she was promoted to where she picked the color for scenes and characters, and when we had our first kid she left the studio.

Korkis: You’ve told me that at the premiere there was a segment that got a reaction that really surprised you.

Kimball: This is an example of Walt’s genius in timing. In the scene where Sneezy blows Dopey up in the air when he is dancing, Walt insisted that instead of showing where Dopey went immediately, to cut back to a reaction shot of Snow White laughing and then the dwarves and finally Dopey up in the rafter wiggling his ears. On the night of the premiere, that scene got the biggest laugh.

Korkis: Didn’t you teach some of the training classes at Disney?

Kimball: I had a lot of fun teaching life drawing and action analysis. In those days, sometimes the only models I could get to pose nude were strippers. One time during a life drawing class I had this stripper go through her routine and then I’d blow a whistle. She would freeze stock still for the students to draw her. Then I’d blow the whistle again for her to continue and so on. Another time I had a stripper pose totally nude for key drawings to be done in seven minutes. Then I’d have her come back and do those same poses wearing nothing but a slip. Finally, I’d have her come back and repeat the poses dressed in a nun’s habit. All that training is important so you can understand the difference between how a bear walks [Kimball demonstrates with elbows out] and a butterfly moves [Kimball demonstrates with elbows close to his body and arms turned out]. I remember one day Walt modeling the walk of Baloo the bear in Jungle Book in an impromptu way in a hall at the studio for some animators, and the final version you see on the screen is exactly as Walt modeled it.

Korkis: So you feel live-action reference is vitally important?

Kimball: But not to the extent of making it . . . well, earthbound, for lack of a better word. The great thing about animation is that you can make the characters do anything you want. They’ll do anything you can draw. But in life, you are limited by what a person can do. Whereas if you draw a person, you can put him anywhere. You can make him do somersaults, dig clear through the earth. One of the last pictures I worked on was Bedknobs and Broomsticks, where we mixed animal soccer players with real people in what I thought was a very convincing way. But because of the use of real people that was limited . . . if only by the laws of gravity.

Korkis: I think a good example of that type of exaggeration is that song from The Three Caballeros you worked on with Donald and Panchito and Jose singing the title song.

Kimball: It’s one of my favorite sequences. The song was put in at the last minute because Walt felt there needed to be a song. I was given no direction so I came up with the staging myself, making them do literally whatever they were singing. I went to one of the sound guys and had him extend the last note by 15–20 seconds so I could do the bit where they try to dampen that last note. It gave the whole thing a real touch.

Korkis: Any fond memories of Fantasia?

A Bacchus model sheet by Kimball.

Kimball: My favorite scene in Fantasia is the “Dance of the Hours” with the hippos and alligators. I wish I had worked on that. Instead I got stuck working on the “Pastoral Symphony” with Bacchus chasing the centaurettes. I hated those candy box colors in the scene. Oh, I just remembered. I also like the “Night on Bald Mountain.” Artistically, it was probably our greatest effort. And at the same time it came out it was a bomb. Walt felt pretty bad about it. He thought he was going to bring a little culture to the American people and the world. It did get rediscovered later. Kids ask me if we were on some drugs when we made the picture and I say, “No, we were just trained that way. We thought that way. The strongest drug we had was an occasional martini.”

Korkis: I don’t think many people know you briefly experimented with drugs.

Kimball: In the ’60s, I experimented with mescaline and peyote and was involved with a study being run by UCLA at that time on the effects of those drugs. One time I had this very bad trip where I thought I was falling and couldn’t grab hold of anything. All I really remember about it is that I think I was close to dying and I kept telling my wife not to call a doctor.

Korkis: It seems to me that the biggest problem for animators was not drug abuse but alcohol abuse, like Fred Moore among others.

Kimball: He’d start drinking around noon, and by two o’clock he was fairly drunk and would swagger into a room asking, “Who would like a punch in the nose?” He also had the habit of taking off his coat and tossing it onto a coat rack. One day, I stole a saw and sawed the coat rack in three places and put it back together with transparent tape. The next time he tossed his coat, the entire pole fell apart. Somebody complained that he was getting so drunk he couldn’t finish his animation on The Reluctant Dragon, so I’d come back in the evenings and finish up some scenes for him.

Korkis:But in those days, it was quite common for men to drink a lot of alcohol. Even Walt drank.

Some of Kimball's developmental material from It's Tough to Be a Bird.

Kimball: On that trip I took with Walt to the Chicago Railroad show, on the train every evening about four or five, Walt would pull out a flask of whiskey and offer me a drink. I didn’t care for the taste of whiskey but you couldn’t say “no” to Walt. So I took it and nursed the shot and as soon as I finished, Walt would fill it up again and I started looking around desperately for some place to dump it.

Korkis: Didn’t one of Walt’s brothers have a little drinking problem?

Kimball: You’re probably thinking of Ray. He drank fairly heavily but I bought insurance from him. He was an insurance salesman. Ray would visit the studio and the story department wouldn’t let him come in with his big cigar. So he would leave it on the sill of a window. While he was inside, one of the story guys would snip the cigar in half or down to a little stub. Ray would come out and be puzzled about what happened to his cigar. This happened all the time and he never seem to catch wise.

One day, I went over to get a copy of my insurance policy and he wouldn’t let me into his apartment. I had to plead that I had an appointment and just wanted a copy of my policy. He finally opened the door and it was pitch black inside. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw that all around the place were those horseshoe flower wreaths that people put on graves. Apparently, he thought they were pretty and was going up to Forest Lawn and stealing them to use as decorations. On one wall was a bulletin board with yellowed newspaper clippings saying, “Walt Disney does this . . .” and “Walt Disney announces that . . .” etc. But I got the feeling they were there not because he was proud of his brother but jealous of Walt.

Korkis: Animators often put themselves in their work. Which character that you worked on do you feel most resembles you?

Kimball: Lucifer the cat from Cinderella.

Korkis: You think you’re like an evil cat?

Kimball: You know, Walt Disney hated cats because they wouldn’t do what he told them. Walt needed to dominate. Maybe that’s why he always put up a wall between himself and others. Walt never really liked cats—anything in the cat family. Dogs you could train and tell ’em exactly what to do. Walt didn’t like cats because you could never control them. Somebody once said that all the despots of history—Napoleon, Henry VIII, Disney—never liked cats because they wouldn’t conform to their wishes. He really didn’t like interviews for the same reason. I suppose he was a little afraid or something that he might say the wrong thing. Walt wanted to be in control of the situation.

Korkis: So like a cat, you wouldn’t always do what Walt wanted?

Kimball: Walt was stubborn. Once he got something in his head, that was it. I remember one time when he got really mad at me. I was working on the script for Babes in Toyland because if the picture was not put into production soon, the studio would lose the rights to do the story. So while Walt was over in Europe, somebody in the publicity department—to guarantee that the other studios knew Disney was doing the film—put a full-page ad in the trades that read, “Congratulations to Ward Kimball as he starts direction on Disney’s Babes in Toyland.” Well, Walt had wanted me to direct, but when he got back from Europe and saw the notice he thought I was pushing myself. So he removed me from the picture. I went in and pointed out that it was the publicity department that had done it, and I even named the names of the guys involved. But Walt was stubborn and that was it.

Korkis: It seems to me you weren’t always the innocent party. I think you probably stirred up Walt occasionally on purpose.

Kimball: Walt would often call me up in the middle of the night with an idea or something to discuss and he’d always say, “Ward, this is Walt.” And I would always respond, “Walt WHO?” Then he’d get upset and yell, “Walt DISNEY for Chrissake!” I told him, “Well, I know a lot of Walts.”

Korkis: You did have a reputation as a prankster at the studio.

Kimball: When we moved into the new Burbank studio, there were very few bathroom stalls that were operating. So one day I went down to a thrift store and bought 12 pairs of shoes and some pants and took some wooden doweling to support the pants and shoes and got to the studio very early one morning. I rigged up all of these in the stalls—even the women’s stalls—and locked the stall doors. Then I went to sleep at my desk where an hour or two later I was awakened by people pounding on the stall doors and yelling. Apparently, they looked under the stalls and saw the shoes and pants but it never occurred to any of them to look from above. Eventually the gag was discovered.

Korkis: The version I heard involved the use of cels.

Kimball: That was another time. We took some cel material. Remember, it was transparent. And we covered the top of the toilet bowl with it and then put down the lid. The women never suspected when they sat down to use the facilities until it was too late.

Korkis: And these type of pranks continued even at home, right?

Kimball: You mean the one about our neighbors across the street, who were very strict Southern Baptists? One day, they got all dressed up in their finery to come over and visit. They were even bringing over a cake. I spotted them and told my whole family to strip. So when I opened the door, the entire Ward family is standing there stark naked.

A humorous Mickey Mouse model sheet Ward created.

Korkis: Wasn’t there an incident involving a gorilla suit at Christmas?

Kimball: I used to dress up as Santa for my kids at Christmas. We made quite a ceremony out of it, where someone on the roof would pound on the roof and yell, “Now Dancer, now Prancer . . .” and all the kids would storm into the living room just in time to see me at the chimney with my back turned toward them. I would then turn around dressed as Santa and hand out presents.

This got to be such a big deal that other neighborhood moms started coming by and pretty soon there was a whole gang of kids and parents. So one way I put a stop to this was by giving out condoms to the men one Christmas as presents.

Years later when my daughter Chloe was old enough, Betty complained that it was a shame that Chloe had missed out on all this. So under duress I agreed to do it one more time. But I always liked twists so this time, instead of a Santa costume, I rented a gorilla outfit and drove home wearing it.

Bill Peet, the storyman, told the other animators that he was going to phone the police and tell them he was a local animal handler and that a gorilla had escaped and was in the vicinity of my home. But Peet on the way home apparently got roaring drunk and forgot all about it, and when he did get home, his wife turned on the sprinklers to try and sober him up before he came into the house.

Well, at the Kimball home, there was the sound of reindeer on the roof. The kids rushed in and I turned around in the gorilla costume with arms raised and growling. It scared Chloe and even today she doesn’t like me to tell the story. The dog got upset at me, too, and chased me out of the house and there I am panting and sweating in a neighbor’s house where I peel off the costume.

Korkis:I assume Walt didn’t fully appreciate this independent spirit.

Kimball: One time he really hurt my feelings. He called me into his office and said, “Ward, you are not a team player.” That comment really stung because, even though I was an independent spirit, I had worked so hard to try and work within the system. When new kids like Glen Keane came into Disney, they’d come over to my house a couple of times to complain about the work at Disney. I told them that in my day we complained about the very same things and the same treatment. But I also said you can’t accomplish anything by grumbling, that you had to do your work and eventually you could find ways of getting what you wanted. In the early days, they had sort of a bonus system where you were either given money or a nod from Walt or a smile as a reward. It was vital to the studio at the time. That enthusiasm at the studio was lacking when I retired. You hardly saw another person working in the building, in that big corporate structure.

Korkis:How did you handle the stress you were obviously under?

Kimball: If I got really angry or frustrated, I’d go over to Griffith Park and lie on the grass near the merry-go-round. I’d put a newspaper over my face and just listen to the music.

Korkis: On a happier note, you truly seemed to enjoy working on that outer-space trilogy for the Disneyland TV show.

Kimball: I thought it looked bad to have the credits read “Produced, Directed and Written by Ward Kimball,” so I tossed over the writing credit to the guy who had done some dry research for the pieces. What a mistake! Walt believed that this guy had actually written everything and dragged him along to other projects.

Werner Von Braun, who collaborated with us on the pictures, made sure we had everything as right as we could get it. When we landed on the moon, he called me long distance and said, “Well, Ward, they’re following our script!” Actually, all his calculations were right on the button.

A crazy thing I just remembered. We used that piece of film by George Méliès [director of A Trip to the Moon] where the chorus girls in their white tights are pushing this big rocket into the cannon to be fired to the moon. Well, right after this was shown on TV in the middle ’50s, I got a telephone call from Méliès’ granddaughter, who was then an elderly woman living in Alhambra, just three miles away from my house. She congratulated me on the show and told me that she was one of the chorus girls who pushed the shell into the cannon.

Korkis: Did you enjoy doing The Mouse Factory?

Kimball: I loved it. But many folks at the studio felt I was desecrating Disney. Including Wilfred Jackson, whom I truly respect. But, yeah, I had a lot of fun doing The Mouse Factory and directing it.

Korkis: You had to get your Director’s Guild card to do all this.

Kimball: I do have a Director’s Guild card, but I have never voted in any of the Academy Awards even though I’m eligible. In fact, when it comes to political elections, I haven’t voted since Upton Sinclair ran. I feel it is useless to vote when I see all the corruption from whomever got in.

And when I was at the studio, you never got the Oscar while Walt was still alive. The Oscar went to his collection. That’s why he had dozens of them. But after he died, if you won an Oscar you’d get to keep it. The year Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom won in 1953, there were six Disney nominations. Since there was a chance we’d win multiple Oscars, they said it would look good if Walt himself marched up more than once. It would make a good show. And it did. Four times. Second time I had a cartoon win an Oscar was for It’s Tough to Be a Bird in 1970. Part cartoon and part live action. In my acceptance speech, I acknowledged all the help of the people at the studio and I also extended my condolences to the unfortunate sea gulls in Santa Barbara caught at that time in the oil spill. A lot of people at the studio were put out because I’d said that. Because, after all, one of the sponsors of our weekly television show was Gulf Oil.

Korkis: Walt, of course, was highly conservative in his later years in regards to politics.

Kimball: One time Walt and I got into a big fight over politics. Walt wanted the staff to donate money to Nixon’s campaign and I vehemently refused. Walt didn’t like that and in fact did not call me back to his bedside when he was dying where he supposedly gave directions to his underlings about how he wanted things to go after his death. I was in Paris and was getting ready to leave the next morning when I got a phone call telling me Walt was dead. Even though I expected it would happen, I was so stunned that I lay awake in my bed, stiff as a board with my mind racing about what would happen at the Disney Studio.

Korkis: Weren’t you the one to start the rumor that Walt was frozen?

Kimball: [Pause] I always tell people that if anyone was going to be cryogenically frozen, doesn’t it seem like something Walt would be interested in? He was always interested in the “new” thing. He was that type of personality. Nobody really knew what Walt was thinking. That was the problem after he passed away. Nobody could really truthfully pass judgment on whether it was Disney, because when Walt was alive he was always disputing their decisions and telling them they were wrong. So how can they be right after he’s gone?

Korkis: Didn’t you teach Walt how to drive a full-size train on the Grizzly Flats?

Kimball: I told him, “Just pull this and open the throttle,” but I made sure I stood very close to the air brakes. Once I finally convinced him to do it, the look of joy on his face was like a young boy’s at Christmas.

Korkis:Of course, he had that miniature railroad around his house.

Kimball: When Roger Broggie couldn’t come over to run Walt’s train for parties, Walt called me. One time I was running it when Salvador Dali was there. I remember him sitting very regally on the train with a translucent cane while I drove him around the property.

At parties, Walt would tell his guests to check their watches because every day at 7 p.m., they would be able to hear the coyotes come down and howl. And sure enough, every time at 7, the guests would hear howls. Walt had a speaker system set up where he played some of the dog sounds from Lady and the Tramp.

Walt also had a huge soda fountain and full-service bar in his backyard. He loved getting behind it and making huge, rich concoctions. He had tons of different flavors and never made the same creation twice. He never asked people what they wanted. He just went ahead and made them something. I’ve been told Walt had an ulterior motive for the train and soda fountain. When his daughters started dating, he hoped it would lure the young men to the house rather than having them take the girls away somewhere where he couldn’t keep his eyes on them.

Korkis: I know Walt was a fan of Chaplin. Was Chaplin also a favorite of yours?

Kimball: My favorite comedian was Buster Keaton. Through a friend I got his phone number and talked with him. I really admired Keaton’s timing. I don’t know if he was thrilled to talk to me but I was thrilled to talk to him.

Walt had a tremendous amount of respect for Chaplin. Walt in private was just as fine an actor as Chaplin. In fact, in my opinion, I think he was a better actor than Chaplin. When Walt was acting out a scene or showing how a character might react, like in those Snow White story meetings we had where he’d get up and take all the parts of the dwarves, he was really great. He’d have us laughing so hard. Not just because he was the boss but because he was genuinely funny. I keep remembering him doing the dwarves. He was completely unself-conscious when he was showing us how to do something. But, of course, he’d never do it in public. If you asked him, he’d be very embarrassed. Both he and Chaplin understood the basic humor of any situation. Walt had that great sixth sense of timing of what might be funny and what might not.

Korkis: How come your name isn’t on a Main Street window at Disneyland?

Kimball: You know, the studio borrowed my books on architecture. I used to go to used book stores and pick up tons of books on all sorts of subjects for my personal library. Anyway, they used all my books for reference for Disneyland but they never put my name on a window.

Korkis: What do you think of the new animated films?

Kimball: The new animated films are phenomenal. But even the ones from Disney have problems with story. The motivations of the characters. The tightness of the story. It’s just not there. I wish we had had computers to play with when we were working on some of our films. It would have solved some problems. Not what you expected me to say, was it?

Korkis: No, Ward, you are still full of surprises.

Jim Korkis is an internationally recognized animation historian who has written several books and many articles on the subject. Currently, he teaches animation at the Disney Institute in Florida. His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Disney Company.

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