“I am in no sense of the word a great artist, not even a great animator,” Walt Disney once said. “I have always had [people] working for me whose skills were greater than my own.” In celebration of Walt’s great animators, D23 presents its 2017 Gold Member Gift: Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men.”
Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Frank Thomas; this core group of animators earned their nickname from none other than Walt himself. Though the “Nine Old Men” is in reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s terming the U.S. Supreme Court justices, as in “nine old men, all too aged to recognize a new idea,” these animators were truly innovators—recognizing and putting into action new ideas, and bringing personalities to life through a craft that they helped create and continued to develop throughout their careers. The “Nine Old Men” are responsible for countless Disney characters, including Peter Pan (Milt Kahl), Maleficent (Marc Davis), and Jiminy Cricket (Ward Kimball).
D23 worked with the Walt Disney Archives and Disney Animation Research Library to curate 23 artifacts that honor the careers and legacies of the “Nine Old Men.” Included in the array of treasures are a behind-the-scenes studio production report marking Disney’s entry into weekly television, including episodes spotlighting the animators, a pinback button saluting Eric Larson on his 50th anniversary at Disney, the distinctive program from the 1989 ceremony inducting the “Nine Old Men” as Disney Legends, and faithfully replicated animation drawings actually penciled by the iconic animators. The gift is housed in a beautiful keepsake, a book-like box, perfect for display or safekeeping on your Disney bookshelf.
The gift, exclusively for D23 Gold Members, is available for Gold Members who join in or renew for 2017. For more information on membership, click here. Stay tuned––we’ll be taking a closer look at the wonderful work of these great animators in 2017.