Last month I had a chance to to visit the Animation Research Library (ARL), formerly known as the Studio Morgue. The ARL is entrusted to conserve and protect the artistic heritage of Walt Disney Animation Studios and to ensure the ability of the Walt Disney Company to utilize the collection, “in-house,” as a resource of creative inspiration, brand enhancement, and product development.
I was so excited to meet JB Kaufman, film historian and author of several books including PINCOCCHIO The Making of the Disney Epic (see giveaway below!). My daughter’s class had put together some questions for him that I asked during our group interview. All things Disney just make me feel like a kid again!!
It was such a wonderful experience listening to , Manager at ARL talk about the lasting legacy of PINOCCHIO and other characters and see artwork for PINOCCHIO. We also got an inside look at the evolution of artwork from initial concept to final animated form.
We also had a tour of the ARL, the “working” facility and learn how the artwork is preserved, digitized and housed. These are the original artwork used in such classics as Snow White, Cinderella and new releases such as FROZEN. The Animation Research Library is the leading authority on The Walt Disney Animation Studios’ artistic legacy.
They preserve and share a collection of approximately 65 million pieces of animation artwork, created over an almost 90 year history. Representing most of Disney’s animated shorts, featurettes, and full-length features, their diverse collection includes animation drawings, conceptual design artwork, backgrounds, layouts, cels, story sketches, exposure sheets, model sheets and maquettes. The ARL is the proud guardian of the world’s largest archive of animation art.
These vaults house millions of original artwork, stills, etc., that are truly priceless! Our tour guide explained that their goal at ARL is to preserve this original art for years to come. They hold these treasures in the esteem that they should be! Great work ARL team!
Interview with J.B. Kaufman
J.B.Kaufman is a film historian and author who has written and lectured on Disney animation, American sheet film, and related topics. His books include Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic, The Fairest One of All, and South of the Border with Disney; and he is coauthor, with Russell Merritt, of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies and the award-winning Walt in Wonderland.
We had a chance to sit down with Mr. Kaufman and one of the first questions came from my daughter’s fourth grade class. The teacher spoke to the class about Walt Disney movies and asked them to come up with questions for Mr. Kaufman as he is an expert on all things Disney. They wanted to know what inspired him to write PINOCCHIO: The Making of the Disney Epic.
J.B.Kaufman: “Well, I loved the film and it represented the height of artistic work at Walt Disney Studios at that time.”
PINOCCHIO was the second movie that came out of Walt Disney Studios (after Snow White). He went on to say that short of being Walt Disney (his dream) he wanted to work at Disney Studios and has done so for over 30 years now. He never had a chance to meet Walt Disney but that he heard from others who had that he demanded a lot from himself and others, but that he was able to get them to do things they didn’t even know they could do. We spoke about how this made him a good boss!
When asked about the scene in PINOCCHIO for Pleasure Island, he said that Walt Disney really pushed for that to be a bit dark. If you remember the earlier Disney movies there is a lot of this more dark material. We joked that Walt had a thing about killing off the moms in his movies. But the scene adds so much to this classic movie don’t you think?
Be sure to check out Disney’s timeless tale that debuted on January 31st and includes hours of new and classic bonus features. Some of the bonus features includes Walt himself talking about the making of “Pinocchio” through archival recordings and interviews. And check out our review of PINOCCHIO that includes some fun printables.
Visit the Animation Research Library on Facebook.
To celebrate all things Disney, I purchased J.B. Kaufman’s PINOCCHIO: The Making of the Disney Epic hardcover book (which is AMAZING) to hand out for a giveaway! Good Luck lovely dandelion moms!