Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mar 22: Birth of an "Old Man"

On this day in 1909, Milton Erwin Kahl - known better to Disney fans as Milt Kahl was born in San Francisco, California. Often considered the finest draftsman of the Disney animators, Kahl became on of Walt's "Nine Old Men."
It all started in June 1934 when Kahl applied to The Walt Disney Studios. He was hired to work as an assistant animator on such shorts as Mickey's Circus, Lonesome Ghosts, and The Ugly Duckling (which won an Academy Award). He went on to contribute to all the early classic features, in fact for many years the final look for the characters in Disney films were designed by Kahl. Because of his talent, he was often given the toughest of tasks at the studio (such as animating human characters).
In Snow White for example, he was responsible for the forest animals, the Prince, and the dwarfs dancing with Snow White. Kahl also contributed greatly to Pinocchio, Saludos Amigos, Melody Time, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty.
His final contribution (as a directing animator) was the 1977 release The Rescuers ... the same year he was given the Winsor McCay Award. After 40 years with the company, Milt Kahl retired. His departure ushered in a new era when Disney artists would no longer control animation film making. Kahl passed away in 1987, two years before he was inducted as a Disney Legend.

Clickl HERE for more March 22 Disney history.

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