Walt Disney was one of the first pioneers of animation. His timeless creations are still loved by an innumerable amount of fans, especially the classic 101 Dalmatians. This charming film premiered in 1961 and for the first time ever the title is available on Blu-ray and Digital Edition!
One of the highlights of my blogging career was meeting Disney Legend Floyd Norman, the animator on Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians and the Sword and the Stone. Floyd, a legend who worked side by side with Walt Disney, gave me some background on the film.
Here are some behind the scenes facts about 101 Dalmatians and Floyd:
101 Dalmatians is the first animation that did not involve
hand-inking. Xerox had come out with a table top copier allowing
artist’s drawings to be transferred to sheets of acetate thus removing the
inking process. Even with the Xerox advancement, artists still did do some work by hand. Can you imagine drawing all those puppies by hand??
Actress Lisa Davis was selected by Walt Disney to read for the part
of Cruella De Vil. Walt wanted Cruella to be zany with a strange
accent. Lisa thought that Walt brought her in for the wrong part and
didn’t know how to tell him that he made a mistake, “I don’t feel like Cruella at all. I feel like Anita.” Walt Disney reserved the roles for her.
Walt Disney brought in litters of litters of dalmatian puppies for Lisa Davis to sit and play. She shared, “Now how good is that when you get to be surrounded by puppies, so I would get to know the feeling of Dalmatian puppies”.
101 Dalmatians was produced at a much smaller budget than Sleeping Beauty. The film was produced in around two years compared to Sleeping Beauty which took five to six years to complete. They wrapped up the film in the Spring of 1960 and released in 1961.
“As a kid watching Disney films, reading Disney books, Disney was just a part of me, it was in my DNA. To come here was a magical opportunity.” – Floyd Norman
Animator Floyd Norman began working in 1953 straight out of high school. He applied for an animation job and was quickly told “kid, go to school and learn something.” He followed that advice and attended the Art Center College of Disney in Pasadena, CA. By his third year of college, he was hired by Walt Disney Studios. He began as an apprentice, but quickly moved up the ranks. In less than a year, he was hired full time as an animator to work on the Mickey Mouse Club. Norman’s first feature animated film was Sleeping Beauty.
Floyd’s favorite Disney project was The Jungle Book. It was the only film he worked with Walt Disney on so that makes it special to him. He was selected by Walt Disney to work as a story artist on The Jungle Book. Floyd couldn’t offer much of an opinion about the title switch. “Once Walt Disney made a decision you didn’t offer an opinion. There was only one answer to give to Walt and it was yes,” says Floyd. “I had never worked as a story artist on a feature film in my life. On my first day upstairs, I began work on The Jungle Book.”
Mickey is one of his favorite characters to draw, as well as, write stories. He wrote Mickey Mouse adventures for comic books throughout the 1980s.
Not everyone got to meet Walt Disney. The one area that Walt focused on was the story department. That meant if you were in story you got to be in meetings with him. Floyd realized this was an incredible opportunity. “I learned form the master.. The Jungle Book was his final film. he passed away in December 1966 shortly after we finished the film.”
Diane Disney Miller requested Floyd’s help at the Disney Family Museum. There are so many rumors and stories about Walt Disney. His daughter sought to create a museum that told the true stories about her dad’s talents.
“Animation is a lot like having fun. The work we do here is all about playing. We make kids laugh and adults smile. Being able to bring that kind of joy to audiences, there’s nothing better than that.” – Flloyd Norman
* I attended an all expense paid trip in Los Angeles hosted by Disney and ABC Family!