Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ollie Johnston (October 31, 1912-April 14, 2008)

Any animator worth his salt owns at least one copy of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston's The Illusion of Life. The book offers the wisdom Ollie collected over the forty-three years he worked at Disney, creating some of the world's most memorable characters (including two of my personal favorites, Merlin and Baloo). More importantly, The Illusion of Life reveals the importance of fellowship, and learning from your peers. Over the years, the names Frank and Ollie have become almost inseparable. These two embody the golden age of classical animation and, for me, childhood in general.
My favorite animated scene of all-time is their squirrel sequence from Sword in the Stone. Within a few minutes (and hundreds of Ollie's gorgeous drawings), we are taught about having the faith to leap, the courage to fail, and we are introduced to the most powerful force on Earth...even more powerful than gravity.
At Frank Thomas's request, the sequence was played at Frank's memorial. So here it is again for old Ollie. Frank and Ollie's squirrel sequence
And for those of you unfamiliar of the man that helped invent animation, here's his story.
Thanks for the magic, Ollie!

Addendum 4.18.08
Disney's Farewell to Ollie
The Disney Company on Ollie Johnston
Brad Bird on Ollie Johnston

1 comment:

Mike Caracappa said...

Thanks for sharing Austin. It's such a wonderful sequence...and so heartbreaking.

Here's to Ollie J.!

"I'm an old man. An old HUUUMAA-!!"