How Involved Was Walt Disney in the Classic Disney Animated Films?

November 6, 2014 9:11 PM

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During the earlier Disney animated shorts and animated feature films made before 1943 (these would be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi) Walt Disney was a very hands-on film producer, directly involved in every aspect of the production process and concerned with the most minute details in the animation. He also essentially served as the head of story (despite whoever was credited as the head writers or heads of stories in the film credits), providing the story frameworks for all of the films save for Dumbo (which Dick Huemer and Joe Grant outlined themselves) and actively participating in most, if not all, of the story meetings. As Ms. Thompson relates, Disney was often at the studio very late at night, looking over people's work and suggesting edits to be fixed in the morning (Disney would sometimes remain at the studio late enough to where he'd sleep in his office) .

Disney's time and attention were reduced from 1941 forward by a number of events -- a bitter union strike in mid-1941, the military's takeover of much of the Disney studios from late 1941 to 1945 to primarily produce military training and strategy films, and the studio's expansion into live-action f...

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