Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dumbo Part 10

Another frustrating entry, due to the lack of credits in the second half.

While Woolie Reitherman and Fred Moore have long been credited for their work on Timothy, here we have Milt Neil doing an excellent job. His Timothy is more flexible than Reitherman's and also is timed more quickly. Is Neil responsible for Timothy whispering into the ringmaster's ear? The animation does not suffer compared to either Reitherman or Moore, so if it is Neil it is evidence of another great performer brushed under the carpet.

In particular, I'd love to know who animated Timothy in shot 30. The shape of the character under the sheet doesn't resemble Timothy at all; the body shape is different and the muzzle has disappeared. It's only at the end of the shot, when Timothy's rump and tail are visible, that the character's model is taken into account.

And what about Walt Kelly? Kelly, in his post-Disney comic book and comic strip work (Pogo being the most famous) was one of the greatest cartoonists of the 20th century. (For a look at his rare adventure strip Peter Wheat, go here.) Kelly's work at Disney had a major impact on his drawing style, yet his work at Disney has received relatively little attention because so few of his shots were known for certain. Here, Kelly animates the ringmaster in silhouette, but does he do the ringmaster in bed?

My impression, based on Kelly's animation in cartoons like The Nifty Nineties, is that Disney contributed to Kelly's development far more than Kelly contributed to Disney's, but without a comprehensive knowledge of Kelly's Disney work, that judgment has to remain tentative.

Once again, I have to praise Ed Brophy's voice work as Timothy. I would also point out that his reference to "your subconscious mind" is a fairly early reference to Freud in film. Hitchcock's Spellbound wasn't until 1946. Freud died in September of 1939, so it is possible that obituaries influenced this story point.


Steven Hartley said...

I always wanted to know who did the animation of Timothy, and him under the bed sheets is sort of strangely animated!

John V. said...

I suspect that the scenes of Timothy under the sheet were by an effects animator, like Dumbo hiding in the haystack in the previous sequence.

Didn't Freud use the term "unconscious" rather than "subconscious" or am I confusing him with someone else? Or is it a translation difference, maybe?

Zartok-35 said...

This musn't have been a fun entry for you.

Most of the Timothy shots in here look like Milt Neil. The 'watch clang' scenes look like Woolie. But, until someone gets some deeper documents, I guess we'll never know.

Eric Noble said...

Wonderful post, as always. It's very interesting how entire scenes can go uncredited.

David Nethery said...

Video on YouTube with some footage of Milt Neil teaching a class in animation and talking about his work at Disney (primarily about his work on Donald Duck) -


Steven Hartley said...

Huh, weird but Timothy under the bed sheets in scene 30, reminds me of Marvin the Martian in Looney Tunes or those Jawa people from Star Wars!

Could this have been influences?

Nicholas John Pozega said...

Mr Mayerson, i believe i have found out that one of the animators who worked on Timothy when he is speaking to the Ringmaster in his sleep is an unsung animator named Milt Niel. I figured it out via this blog post i just found (which i've provided a link to below):

Hope that helps!

Mark Mayerson said...

But where did this information come from? What studio record, interview, etc?