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Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation Hardcover – 1 Mar 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Editions; 01 edition (1 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786864966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786864966
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 3.2 x 31.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,416,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Meet the Team Whose Combined Genius Defined the Art of Character Animation; A fantastic collector's edition for Disney fans everywhere! Think of your favourite moments and characters in Disney films from the thirties to the seventies and chances are most were animated by one of Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men". Through the span of their careers, these nine highly skilled animators, with widely differing artistic gifts, viewpoints, personalities and ambitions, exhibited an unparalleled loyalty to their employer. In this gorgeous full-sized gift book, noted film historian John Canemaker explores these men's artistic breakthroughs, failures, rivalries, and their individual relationships with each other and with Walt. This candid narrative of their lives and contributions to a very special form of artistic cinema illustrates why the work of the "Nine Old Men" will continue to be a significant source for study and inspiration for years to come.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
John Canemaker is an animation historian, animator and professor of film animation at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He is a very successful author with seven books (three just about Disney animation) and 100's of essays and articles to his name. Mr. Canemaker is also noted for several award-winning short films.

Mr. Canemaker begins the book with a look at the Nine Old Men's formative years: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Most of the Nine Old Men were hired at the Studios in the mid-1930's. Before them, were legendary men that were mentors and friends to the new artists. Vladmir Tytla, Grim Natwick, Norman Ferguson, Hamilton Luske and Fred Moore were put in charge of various departments and sections of Snow White. As time progressed, many of the Nine Old Men were mentored by these animation pioneers. For many reasons, the previously mentioned animators left Disney or found they could not keep up with the younger crowd. Mr. Canemaker touches on the influential animator's lives throughout the chapters on the Nine Old Men.

Disney's Nine Old Men:

Les Clark (November 17, 1907 - September 12, 1979)
joined Disney in 1927. His specialty was animating Mickey Mouse as he was the only one of the Nine Old Men to work on that character from its origins with Ub Iwerks. Les did many wonderful scenes throughout the years, animating up until Lady And The Tramp. He moved into directing and made many animated featurettes and shorts.

Wolfgang Reitherman (June 26, 1909 - May 22, 1985)
joined Disney in 1935 as an animator and director. He directed all the animated Disney films after Walt's death until his retirement. Some of his work includes the Crocodile (in Peter Pan), the Dragon (in Sleeping Beauty), and the Rat (in Lady And The Tramp).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
in good condition my son is happy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book on a Persistent Disney Myth 19 July 2014
By V - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Each chapter in this book is a mini biography on each of the nine old men, Walt Disney's personal favorite animators. The nine old men were: Les Clark, Eric Larson, Marc Davis, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Ward Kimball. Each of these men had a unique style and approach to animation. All of them were with Disney from the 1930's until their retirements (or deaths) in the 1970's. Each chapter talks about their early lives and families, how they came to Disney's, how they developed their style, their relationships with Walt and other animators, other accomplishments, and what they did after retirements.

There are a couple problems with the "Nine Old Men" myth. It has ignored other animators that also made significant contributions to Disney animation and in some cases more so. People like Norm Ferguson, Bill Tytla, Art Babbitt, Fred Moore, Ham Luske, David Hand, Ben Sharpsteen (just to name a few) are really the ones that laid the foundations for what Disney animation became. They dominated the studio all throughout the 1930's. True the nine old men came into the studio at that time, but most of them didn't come into their own until the production of Bambi. The former either moved into directing positions or left the studio. That's not to say that the nine old men don't deserve the celebration that they've received over the years. This was just a title that Walt gave to the directing animators in the early 1950s. However, soon after most of them started moving out of animation and into other arenas such as directing (in the case of Reitherman, Kimball, Larson (on and off), Lounsbery (in later years) and Clark) or Imagineering (Davis). Only Kahl, Thomas, Johnston remained consistent with animating their entire careers. There were very few films where all of these men were credited together as animators.

It's nice that there's a book that talks discusses John Lounsbery's career, because he isn't talked about as much as the other animators are.

Canemaker has written two other books about the storymen and sketch artists at the studio, much in the same fashion as this book. I'd like to see a book about the directors (such as Wilfred Jackson, Clyde Geronimi, Dave Hand, and Ben Sharpsteen).
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nine Lives 12 Jan. 2003
By J. D Suggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So much has been written and said about several of these nine legendary Disney animators that I very much doubted a lot of new ground was going to be broken, especially in a Hyperion release, but Canemaker rises to the task here, and then some. I was most interested in artists like Les Clark and Johnny Lounsbery, who have received less attention than some of the others. Canemaker not only brings them vividly to life with meticulous research, but he also manages to bring new information and fresh insight to all nine of his fascinating subjects. No matter how well you thought you knew the Nine Old Men and their work, there's plenty here for you. This book reveals the lives and personalities of these men, analyzes their contributions extraordinarily well, and also their working and personal relationships with each other, and presents great new visual material from their lives in and away from the studio. The Kimball stuff is a special treat.
Who could have imagined that Marc Davis' early life was as interesting as his work? Or that Kimball and Kahl were even crazier than you thought (and even more brilliant)? Ot that the master, Frank Thomas, actually struggled with his draftsmanship? Canemaker captures the promise of each of these men's pre-Disney careers and the spark in the work that caught Walt's attention is always evident. He also captures the human quirks that played a tremendous role in the golden age of the studio and often found its way onto the screen as well.
Much of this information and all of Canemaker's excellent insight would not have come to light without his diligent effort and research, and the result is a well-written, revealing, tasteful, and very visual masterpiece.
PS We lost the great, one-and-only Ward Kimball recently...only Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas are still with us now. God bless you both.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Old Disney Animation Prrocess 13 April 2009
By Nicholas A. Lujan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very nicely put together book. If you are into animation, this book is for you. Beautiful illustrations, there are some parts that drag a little bit. A good book for any person who wants to know how Disney put together their masterpeices.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivery was FAST & condition was amazing! 30 Aug. 2013
By LindaB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The seller mailed it to me the same day! I'd sent a message to the seller that it was a birthday surprise for our son who has autism - and who is obsessive about Walt Disney's Nine Old Men! I so much appreciated getting it right away - and the personal attention that the seller gave to this sale. The book was in AWESOME shape!! Our son treasures it! He was so surprised & delighted! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book was in great shape and my niece was so surprised I found it. I only wish the library name wasn't stamped all over it. 11 Jan. 2013
By James D. Pavluk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was in great shape and my niece was so surprised I found it. I only wish the library name wasn't stamped all over it, however that didn't seem to dampen her excitement about it.
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