Friday, November 13, 2009

So Long Sally

Thanks to my friend, the noted animation historian Jim Korkis, I was alerted to this page. Sally Holmes was a Disney employee and when she left the studio, the artists she knew drew personalized farewells in her copy of the book on Fantasia.

Besides the fact that these drawings are great, they include work from lesser known Disney artists such as Cliff Nordberg (pictured above), Hal King, Jesse Marsh, Judge Whitaker, Marvin Woodward, George Kreisl as well as artists whose names weren't known to me. Of course, there are drawings by some of the heavyweights like Ward Kimball, Fred Moore, Eric Larson, Milt Kahl and Marc Davis.

Take a minute to look at some fun artwork and envy whoever it was who purchased the book recently on Ebay.


Brubaker said...

I find it interesting that alot of those sketches done for the female staffer are sexual. I'd say it reflects the "boy's club" mentality very well.

Despite the sexism, alot of those sketches are pretty good.

Pete Emslie said...

"Despite the sexism"? I like a lot of these sketches precisely because of the healthy dose of male machismo at play. The Bill Justice sketch of a sex-crazed Donald Duck is particularly fun, although I must admit that my favourite entry is the one of several pics of an inebriated Hal King in the Bacchus role. What a pleasure to see such brazen work unscathed by this silly political correctness we have today, where we all have to walk around on eggshells. Ugh!

It's quite interesting to see Ward Kimball's lecherous and wacky sketch of himself grappling Sally being turned around by Milt Kahl, with his own egotistical persona being the one sought after by Sally herself. Especially notable is Milt's tagline which seems to imply how little he thought of his fellow artists, particularly Kimball, whom he apparently loathed.

What an incredible collection of Disney legends' personal work all compiled in simple gift that was likely considered barely significant at the time. Lucky Sally!

Weirdo said...

Those are great. Beautiful sketches. Thanks for putting these up.

Steve Schnier said...

I agree with Pete Meslie on all his points. Oh, how I loathe to agree with Pete Emslie on anything. Sigh.

Pete Emslie said...


That's it Schnier, you've obviously become dyslexic from too many hours spent ogling scantily clad pics of Julie Newmar. (You sly rascal, you!)

Thad said...

What "eggshells"? I walk by crude illustrations of dripping genitals (and dirty prose) posted on walls on a daily basis. Then again, this in dorms and bars, not the workplace where such mentality doesn't belong. That said, the drawings are mostly great, though I'm not sure I'd think so if she was my wife.

David Nethery said...

Popular girl that Sally !
(lot of plaid skirt jokes in there)

Wow, what a treasure. Who won the eBay bid ?

David Nethery said...

I dunno, Pete (Meslie) , I don't think it was that Kahl "loathed" Kimball, but more like they had a friendly rivalry going in those days (sort of a Jack Benny - Fred Allen style "feud") . Maybe it turned into genuine dislike in later years, but to me the fact that Kahl chose Kimball's drawing to spoof speaks of some mutual (though grudging?) admiration.

Floyd Norman said...

I nearly spit out my wine when I saw the sketch by Cliff Nordberg. Cliff was a wonderful animator, but a very quiet, gentle little guy. This rather provocative sketch is a real surprise for anybody who knew Cliffy.

Pete Emslie said...

David - I could be wrong but I got the impression that Milt really didn't like Ward when I read Canemaker's book. He certainly didn't seem to have much respect for his talent as an animator due to Ward always getting to do the funny stuff, which Milt presumed to show a distinct limit to his ability. But maybe it was more of a friendly rivalry, as you suggest.

Floyd - I have a big request for you. Cliff Nordberg has always struck me as one of the greatest unsung talents at Disney, as I've long admired scenes and drawings attributed to him, yet I know absolutely nothing about the man. Since you knew him, would it be possible for you to write up some of your anecdotes and memories of Cliff from your Disney days, either on your own blog or on Jim Hill's? I'd really love to know more about this very talented guy who seems to have slipped through the cracks.

Robert said...

I'm afraid to ask... what was Sally Holmes job description at Disney? The book page says "artist" but that could mean anything.

Floyd Norman said...

This is for Pete Emslie-

Hey Pete, I'd love to write about Cliff Nordberg, and perhaps I'll do so on Jim Hill's site. Regretfully, it'll have to be pretty surface stuff because I know very little about Cliff's personal life. True, he was one heck of an animator, and I loved working on his stuff. Also true, he was a very quiet man - not aloof - just quiet. So, it was difficult to get to know him.

I will write about Cliff. I promise.

Jenny Lerew said...

Mark, this is fantastic(thanks to Jim Korkis, who found it)...I've done my own post just so that anyone reading my blog who's as remiss as I am in getting around the internet can get a look at it too.

Pete! I'd agree that relationships between the Nine Old changed over the years, but I truly have no doubt that Kimball and Kahl appreciated each other's talents at the time this was drawn(and probably later, too). It is a "tribute" of sorts and the self-referential line Milt added shows a wry and funny awareness of his rep...a guy who genuinely dislikes another artist wouldn't have done that, not in that way. I take it as all good-hearted fun.

This also reminds me of one birthday card I was given, drawn by the crew on my first animation job. It was a collection of 12 field-sized sketches bound between homemade covers...anyway, a certain BG layout artist drew a kind of earthy nude caricature, meant to be me. He was a talented artist( he drew realistic, serious studies of nudes all the time and I collected Elvgrens and other pinup art, and everyone knew it) and I'm sure it was meant in the nicest way, but when another artist saw that in the bunch, he said "WHAT? I'm not letting that go!" and proceeded to do a hilarious, devastating and also nude caricature-of the middle-aged layout artist.
So these kinds of one-ups have been going on forever. BTW the second artist was Bruce Timm, so this drawing-in color, no less-is the most accomplished and beautifully done drawing I literally can never show anyone but my closest friends. And never will!

Jesse Hamm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesse Hamm said...

What a find!

As a Marsh fan, I'm especially fond of the Jesse Marsh piece.

The Kahl pic is also fun. He was probably tired of remarks to the effect that "technicians like you can't muster the spirit of creative fun found in less 'correct' work" -- a complaint still made by critics who seem to resent Kahl's skills.

I'll agree with Charles Brubaker about the sexism. It's creepy that these were depictions of Sally herself (and she a married woman!). She must have endured a lot of leering and innuendo over the years.

(re-posted to fix link)

Anonymous said...

My uncle was Cliff Nordberg. He was married to my mom's sister, Olive. I grew up in Burbank right up the street from Disney Studios. I always remember Uncle Cliff with all of his pencils and papers spread out over his coffee table. Every Christmas, he would paint on a large mirror over our couch-a cute animation with my brothers and I with Santa. I was very close with the Nordberg family and grew up with his sons almost as brothers.