Sunday, July 02, 2006
Alice Meets the Cheshire Cat
Thanks to Hans Perk's documentation and Thad K.'s editing prowess, here's the sequence where Alice first meets the Cheshire Cat.
It's interesting to see how Don Lusk is relegated to long shots or shots with unimportant dialogue and Marc Davis takes all of the important Alice shots. I can't help but wonder how Lusk, a long time animator at the studio, felt about the shots he was given. Alice is a real drawing challenge. Her proportions have to be rock solid; her facial features are not connected to each other like cartoonier designs, so the animator really has to be accurate. Plus, she has the follow through elements of her hair and dress. Lusk suceeds at all of them but doesn't get the best acting opportunities.
The Animation Podcast with Burny Mattinson mentions that Marc Davis worked by animating every fourth drawing and that his inbetween spacings were always halves or halves of halves. Ken Harris at Warners also worked this way, and it requires the ability to visualize every frame in advance so that the frame that you draw is exactly four drawings ahead of your last key. My hat's off to animators who are capable of that.
Finally, there's John Lounsbery's Cheshire Cat. Lounsbery may be one of the nine old men, but he isn't celebrated like some of the others. He obviously has a talent for comedy and I could easily think that Ward Kimball, who does only the last shot of the cat, was responsible for it all. I think as more animator identifications from the features come out, we're going to be surprised by the skill of the lesser known of the nine. Their relative lack of fame may have more to do with their personalities and studio politics than with their animating abilities. I, for one, would love to know more scenes animated by Lounsbery.