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The Nuke the Fridge crew had a chance to cover the press day for Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Diamond Edition Blu-ray’s release and what a magical day at Disney’s studio it was.

The day started early with a panel that included legends such as Lisa Davis (Voice of “Anita,”) Mimi Gibson ( “Voice of “Lucky,”) and Floyd Norman (Animator.)  Before they were introduced, we were shown many of the special features that are included in the epic Blu-ray. After that, the Q&A panel began (You can read the transcript below) and the feeling of being in the same room with people that worked directly with Walt Disney was surreal. The cast has many first hand experiences with Disney. If that wasn’t amazing enough we took a trip to the Ink and Paint department on the Walt Disney Studios Lot and learned a bit on how to paint animation cels for 101 Dalmatians. My contribution to the franchise ended up looking terrible (see the picture below,) but I tried.

Check out the following images and read the transcript, we think you’ll enjoy it. I know I did!

 101 Dalmatians Diamond Edition’ Q&A PANEL TRANSCRIPT
from February 6, 2015

INTERVIEWER:
Kevin Kernan

INTERVIEWEES:
Lisa Davis (Female – Voice of “Anita”)
Mimi Gibson (Female – “Voice of “Lucky”)
Floyd Norman (Male – Animator)

EMCEE

From “101 Dalmatians,” the voice of Anita, the lovely Lisa Davis.

LISA DAVIS (VOICE OF “ANITA”)
Hi.

EMCEE
Good morning. Hi, it’s good to see you again. (Pause) And you didn’t see her in the documentary, but she is here to speak with you about “101 Dalmatians,” the voice of Lucky the dog, the one with the little horseshoe, Mimi Gibson. Hi.

MIMI GIBSON (VOICE OF “LUCKY”)

Hi.

EMCEE
How are you?

MIMI GIBSON
Good.

EMCEE
And you heard from him in all these documentaries, and we talked about him a lot in the making of “The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt,” the legendary animator, Floyd Norman. Hey, buddy. How are you? Good to see you.

FLOYD NORMAN (ANIMATOR)
Good to see you.

EMCEE
And our moderator today is from the Walt Disney Studio archives, Kevin Kernan. Good to see you, too.

KEVIN KERNAN (WALT DISNEY ARCHIVIST)
So thank you all very much for being here today. Let’s give another round of applause to our guests. This is very special occasion. So I thought it would be best to start by going down the line and having each of you just talk about how you got involved with the film. Why don’t we start with you, Lisa?

LISA DAVIS
Okay. Well, I was born in London, England. And when I was very, very young, Walt Disney actually brought me to America to do the original test shots for “Alice in Wonderland,” because his first concept for Alice was that he would have a live Alice and animate around her. But he changed his mind and he sent me back to England, so I was a very disappointed 12-year-old, heartbroken. I came back to America at about 15 and worked under contract to MGM, and that was a time when the studios were really taking a nosedive. Not the Disney Studio, but MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox.

And I wound up making some really dreadful movies; terrible, terrible movies – some of which we filmed actually in as little as seven days. One of the worst was called “Queen of Outer Space.” This was a truly terrible movie. It’s so bad that it’s become good. Today it’s become a cult classic. Anyway, Zsa Zsa Gabor was the star of this epic and because I was co-starring with her in the movie, I spent a lot time with her. And I learned to imitate her, not very kindly but I could imitate her very well.

Anyway, when Mr. Disney first conceived of doing Cruella, he thought that maybe it would be funny if she had an accent. So they called me into the studio to audition for the part of Cruella De Vil, which I was terribly, terribly wrong for. Betty Lou Gerson, who played Cruella, was fantastic but I was definitely not right at all. But I was actually reading the script with Walt Disney, and he was reading the part of Anita and I was struggling to read the part of Cruella. And I thought to myself, “Oh my, dear me, this is so wrong. But how do I tell Walt Disney he’s wrong?”  Not an easy task.

But I got brave enough and I said, “Excuse me, sir. As we are reading this, I realize that I am much more Anita than Cruella.” And he said, “Well, would you like to read Anita?” And I said I’d love to. So we switched. He played Cruella and I read Anita, and that’s how I became Anita. And that’s really why I’m here today so many years later, ’cause I was brave enough to tell Mr. Disney that he was wrong.

KEVIN KERNAN
Very nice, Lisa.  Mimi, how about you?

MIMI GIBSON
Well, I was a working actress. I was a kid actor. And, as Lisa said, I was also in many bad movies. One is “The Monster That Challenged the World.”

LISA DAVIS
Oh, yes. Yes.

MIMI GIBSON
Yes, it’s got a fan club. Anyway, a bunch of us kids all went on interviews to work on the movie. And when you’re a kid actor in Hollywood, what do you want to do? You want to do a Disney animated movie. That’s number one on the list. And so to find out that they’re having interviews for puppies, oh my God. You know, what more could you want and I felt very, very happy and lucky to get the part of one of the puppies.
And we all auditioned one at a time and we all did all the voices. So we didn’t know who we were going to be and it was just hilarious. And then I would go to Disneyland and they used to have a storefront that was called The Art of Animation. It was right off Main Street on the way to Tomorrowland. And you remember that, Floyd?

FLOYD NORMAN
I do.

MIMI GIBSON
Yes. So it was sort of like a store but it was off Main Street and you could buy (animation) cels and flipbooks. When you walked up the stairs there was a clip of “101 Dalmatians,” and the first puppy’s voice you heard was mine. (laugh) And kids at school would come back from Disneyland and they’d say, “We heard you at Disneyland.” And then they’d say, “And you were a dog.” (laugh) and then they’d laugh. Well, I loved it. It was great. So that’s my story.

KEVIN KERNAN
Do you remember the very first time you came onto the studio lot?

MIMI GIBSON
No.

LISA DAVIS
Oh, I do because when you were working on some of these dreadful movies, at other little, dumpy studios, you know, tucked away in Hollywood somewhere, to come to this lot was to come to the Rolls-Royce of studios. It was so magical to be here and see the names of the streets, so I clearly remember my feelings of joy walking onto this lot and to my audition. And I used to love also to go to the wonderful commissary. And Mr. Disney would actually come to the commissary.
He would come. You remember that, Floyd? He would sit in the commissary.

FLOYD NORMAN
Yes, I do.

LISA DAVIS
Yeah, he would come. I was married and my husband adored Walt Disney. He was like God to him. The first time my husband came to the studio and went to the commissary with me, I said, “that’s Walt Disney over there.” And he said, “Oh my God, do you think I could say hello; do you think he’d shake my hand?” This was really big stuff to him. I said, “Yes, I think he would.” And my husband walked up to Walt and asked if he could shake his hand and he agreed. For the rest of his life he never forgot that he met the great Walt Disney.
This studio where we are today was producing beautiful, beautiful movies at that time. And the rest of the studios weren’t. They really weren’t because they were in a great decline. But to come here, it was magic. And yes, I remember it well.

KEVIN KERNAN
All right, Floyd. How did you get involved with the project?

FLOYD NORMAN
That’s an easy one. I was already here. (laugh) We had just completed “Sleeping Beauty.” The year was 1959. Those of us who would survive the tragic layoff after “Sleeping Beauty” were scheduled to go onto a film called “The Sword In The Stone.” We knew that because Bill Pete, the writer, and story artist, was busily developing it. That was going to be our next feature film.

But things can suddenly change here at the Disney studio. And Walt Disney said, “Wait a minute, hold up, hold up, got another movie here, it’s about dogs. I think I want to do this movie next.” So Bill Pete was told to put down his pencil and get to work on adapting a wonderful novel by Dodie Smith called the “101 Dalmatians.”

Bill Pete, who was our premiere story man, adapted, wrote the screenplay, and darn near storyboarded the entire film by himself. And before you knew it, we were into production on “101 Dalmatians.” After working on “Sleeping Beauty” for about five to six years, it was like a breath of fresh air to jump onto a more contemporary film, like “Dalmatians.” So we were all delighted to be a part of this new Disney film. And I’ll tell you, it was really fun to work on.

KEVIN KERNAN
With the introduction of the Xerox process, how did your group of artists first react to that? What was the feeling around the animation building when you realized you were going to go with the Xerox?

FLOYD NORMAN
Well, it’s interesting because producing “Sleeping Beauty,” was such a labor-intensive project. We had around 600 artists. Now, keep in mind, back in those days animated films were made by hand, no technology. It was a handmade product. We drew it with pencil and paper. The inkers inked on sheets of acetate with ink and painted the cells with paint. Took forever to do it and cost a lot of money.

With the advent of the Xerox photocopy process we were suddenly able to transfer our drawings onto sheets of acetate. That was a great timesaver, cutting down time production, and consequently saving lots of money, making animation at Disney viable again. Because the big concern was, as Walt’s brother, Roy O. Disney said, that we couldn’t afford to keep making these films; they just simply cost too much money. And Xerox, this new technology, enabled all animation to continue at the Disney studio. And that was a very big deal. That was very important.

KEVIN KERNAN
Also, could you talk a little about Ken Anderson and Walt Peregoy’s leadership on this film? How did the artists react to each of them, separately or together?

FLOYD NORMAN
Well, our production designers, Ken Anderson, and our character designer, Tom Orb, and Walt Peregoy, our color stylist, were all well-respected as artists from other Disney films. They had to come up with a fresh contemporary style for “Dalmatians.” And they were influenced a good deal by the British artist Ronald Cyril. Ken was able to create color backgrounds using gouache, and laying a Xerox over the top of this painting to give this kind of sketchy different look to the film.

And so, the drawings immediately looked totally different from what we had been doing. It was a fresh look. It was a contemporary look. The use of color was bold and different from things we had done before. Walt Peregoy brought a new design sensibility to this film. So we were all very excited about it. I can’t think of an artist here at Disney who wasn’t excited about what we were doing on “Dalmatians,” because it was such a break from the past, such a change from the European fairy tales we had been doing.. Now all of a sudden, we have this new, bold, contemporary look. And it was like a breath of fresh air here the Disney Studios.

KEVIN KERNAN
Living in the era essentially of what you’re watching on the screen.

FLOYD NORMAN
Yes, exactly.

KEVIN KERNAN
It’s interesting.

FLOYD NORMAN
Yes, right.

KEVIN KERNAN
Lisa and Mimi, did you ever get tours of the animation building or see the Xerox process in action? Were you curious? Did you get to explore the studio at all while you’re here?

LISA DAVIS
I got to explore the studio to see the process in action. Yes, I did. I loved exploring the studio. And not only that, Mr. Disney was very, very kind to me, extremely kind. I have a very dear friend. Her name is Kathy Beaumont. Kathy wound up being the voice of Alice and, of course, Wendy in “Peter Pan.” We both have very tender memories of Mr. Disney. And I do remember him showing me some of the designs for “It’s A Small World” at Disneyland, a miniature version of it, and how excited he was about that and to share it. But I did not see this Xerox process.

KEVIN KERNAN
There was a lot going on at the studio at that point in time, obviously early work for the World’s Fair and things like that. Do you have any favorite memories that maybe aren’t related to the film, but from that era, from being there that you remember?

LISA DAVIS
I was pregnant. (laugh) I had a baby during the making of this film. And I would come and literally record one line at a time. It took me a long, long time. They’d bring me in because the type of contract that they signed me to was for a lot of work over a long period of time, so that meant that they had what we call ‘second call on my services.’ So if I was working in another studio, which many times I was, I was doing shows then like “the Beverly Hillbillies,” “Perry Mason,” “the Bob Cummings Show,” a lot of little half-hour shows.

I’d be working on some show and they’d send the car for me and bring me here to the studio. And I would come in and they showed me the storyboard and it was literally one line, like, “It’s teatime, Roger. It’s teatime, darling.” (laugh) And I would do that 50 times, until they heard one take that they liked, which meant it could go on and on. But I was very hungry and I guess my baby was very hungry, too. And the microphones were very, very strong. And eventually they would tell me to go and get something to eat, because they could hear the gurgling in my tummy!  So that’s a little side story.
And you know the miracle of all of this is that my baby grew up and loved “101 Dalmatians.” That baby now has a grandchild and my grandchild has now had a baby, too, which makes me a great grandmother. And all of them are totally in love with “101 Dalmatians.”  I never realized on that day that I auditioned for this movie what it would mean all these years later and the importance it would have in my life. I could never have known that so many years later I would be sitting here, as I am here today, still talking about this incredible job.

It was the most wonderful job I ever had. And I’m terribly proud of it. This new Blu-ray version is beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful. And once again, another group of children will see it and become enchanted. And I must tell you quite honestly when I see it, it still makes me cry. As many times as I’ve seen it, when the puppies are out in the snow and lost and they’re trying to find their way home, I still worry that they’re not going to make it. (laugh) and I know they are. I definitely know they are. Yes, what a wonderful experience to have had. I feel very fortunate.

KEVIN KERNAN
Mimi, how has the legacy of the film been for you? How has it impacted your life?

MIMI GIBSON
Well, as I’ve said many times, I can’t keep any copies of “101 Dalmatians” at home because the minute anybody finds out I have it, they just really want it so very much that I have to give it to them. (laugh) But as you can tell, my dogs eat out of “101 Dalmatians” bowls. I have a “101 Dalmatians” snack jar for my dogs. And every kid I’ve ever met is just thrilled, just thinks that that is the best thing ever. When we did the film, we were just hired as a group. We were, you know, studio-taught and then went to work. The studio teacher had to monitor our time individually so that we weren’t overworked for doing the voices.

But we didn’t get to see any of the cartooning or any of that. That would’ve been fun. I think we would’ve liked it very much. But it was a job.

KEVIN KERNAN
So, Floyd, from your perspective, how do you see the legacy of the film, from being part of it then, compared to today? Do you see it changing at all?

FLOYD NORMAN
Well, it’s amazing. When you work on Disney animated films, you kind of forget how important they can be to people. Some films just take on a life of their own and they never grow old. And I’m amazed that I’ll talk to people who will watch a film that I worked on 20, 30, 40 years ago, and I’ve pretty much forgotten that motion picture, and yet for a lot of people, its new. It’s a fresh film.
These films were special to guys like me because they were the films we worked on with Walt Disney. Keep in mind that I was here for only four or five films: “Sleeping Beauty,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Sword In The Stone,” “Mary Poppins,” and “The Jungle Book.” But we lost Walt after “The Jungle Book.” So I was only with Walt Disney on those films. But the films we did under his leadership are especially important. They’re very special to us because we had Walt’s guidance and leadership on those motion pictures. So they’re very, very special.
We lost Rod Taylor, the voice of Pongo, only about a month or so ago. And weeks ago, we lost Walt Peregoy, our art director on “101 Dalmatians.” And so I look around and there’s very few of us left. Very few of us around to share this amazing motion picture, so there’s quite a legacy here. And it’s just so delightful to know that they are still enjoying this film after so many years.
I look back on this film made in 1959 and I see a lot of kids, a lot of people weren’t even born yet when we started on this film. And yet it lives on today. It’s like a brand-new Disney motion picture for those who haven’t seen it. And for those who did see it as kids, they love to revisit this film because it has so many good memories. So I’m just grateful that I was a part of it and could do my part in adding to the Disney Magic.

KEVIN KERNAN
It definitely is a timeless story. I think that helps…

FLOYD NORMAN
Yeah, it really is.

KEVIN KERNAN
…I think that makes it possible for us be able to re-release it several times over the years.

FLOYD NORMAN
That’s right.

KEVIN KERNAN
The last question I would ask before we open it up for audience questions: do either of you have a favorite memory of Walt from during the production or during your career with Disney?

LISA DAVIS
Just my original meeting with him…

KEVIN KERNAN
Okay.

LISA DAVIS
…That time when we were reading lines with each other. And I don’t know why he was actually doing that because I think that was out of the norm for him. I don’t think that he got so involved in casting. So that was very, very unusual to actually be sitting across from him. And I just have tender memories of him as a kind, kind man.

KEVIN KERNAN
Floyd, maybe you can speak to this — the image of Walt being a little like a bumblebee, flying all over the place pollinating different locations.

FLOYD NORMAN
Yes, very true. Walt was everywhere. And he didn’t travel with an entourage. He moved about by himself and he was all over the studio. And I mean all over the studio lot, not just the executive offices but outside in the wood shop, and the carpenter shop, out in the machine shop, on the soundstages. He was everywhere, even watching the gardener plant flowers. Walt was everywhere. So you’re right. (laugh) This was his studio. This was his kingdom and he was the king.

KEVIN KERNAN
And it was his playground to an extent, as well.

FLOYD NORMAN
Oh, of course; the world’s biggest playground.

KEVIN KERNAN
So looking back on your whole career, do you have one defining memory of Walt that guides you every day or that sticks with you, Floyd?

FLOYD NORMAN
Well, one memory of Walt. Well, I can talk all day about Walt Disney. He was an exceptional leader. He was a visionary. He was just an amazing man and yet he was a gentleman. He was a Midwesterner, a simple farm boy who was also a genius, as Ward Campbell put it. He was a tough boss, no doubt about that. He was demanding. I might add that I was probably a little bit intimidated by him. After all, his name was Walt Disney. He ran the studio. He was my boss. But you know what? He wasn’t really that scary.
I’ve had some tough bosses and Walt was one of the toughest, but he was also a gentleman. He was also very kind and understanding. I’ve never had a bad memory about Walt Disney. In my ten years at the studio before we lost him (I started here in 1956; Walt passed away in 1966), I don’t have a bad word to say about him. He was just a great man, great boss. And what I learned from him was to do your best. He was all about quality. He was all about not taking shortcuts, not about being good enough. For Walt it was excellence and quality, top quality.
That’s what the name Disney meant. It meant the best and that’s what I learned from him. And that’s what I try to tell the kids that I work with here, try to pass that on: do your best. You don’t have to be perfect, but you give it your all, because that’s what Walt Disney would have expected of you.

KEVIN KERNAN
I think that’s a legacy that everyone at the company today still is very proud of.

FLOYD NORMAN
You bet.

LISA DAVIS
(Lisa Adds Her Memory Too): He would come in and listen and I could tell that he approved of what was happening. We had this very, very big studio that I would come to and all the storyboards were in there, and they would just pick one and they’d say this is what we’re going to do today. And yes, he would pop in and visit. He never made any corrections directly to me. But maybe he privately told somebody else how maybe I should’ve done something a little bit differently.

What Floyd was saying, you know, the thing was is that perfection is what was demanded. And that’s why it was so lovely to work here because when you were doing these other dreadful movies that took seven days, Whether you got the line right or wrong they’d say put in the can, it’ll do, that’s fine. And they were terrible. You know? So to come here and do one line so many different ways to get it right and to deal with perfection was wonderful. And yes, that is what he asked for, perfection or as close to it as you could possibly get.

KEVIN KERNAN
So I think now we can open up to questions, if anyone has any.

LISA DAVIS
Yes.

MIMI GIBSON
No. (laugh)

MALE IN AUDIENCE
(unintelligible – Question about changing technology)

FLOYD NORMAN
I would say the technology has changed considerably, considering what we did in 1959 moving over to the Xerox photocopy process, and what happened in the ’80s when we began to color our films using the computer, and on up into the ’90s when the whole process became digital. The one thing that has remained consistent is Disney storytelling. That’s been the one thing that hasn’t changed. And those of us who worked with Walt, we tried to pass that on.
When I left here in 1997, to move up north to Pixar, I think part of the reason they wanted me at Pixar was to bring what I’ve learned from Walt Disney; Disney storytelling, what we often called Disney Visual Storytelling. Because, first of all, our films are visual and so that’s a key. But with Disney, films embody the warmth, the heart, the humor, and the tears on occasion. That’s all Disney. That’s what I learned from Walt and that’s what I try to pass on.
So that’s been the one constant in this whole process. And I’m sure our technology is going to continue to evolve. It always has. It always will. But hopefully the one thing that will remain consistent is the Disney storytelling, and that’s the magic that we can’t afford to lose. That’s what makes these films work. The technology, you know, whether it’s hand drawn or done on a computer that really doesn’t matter. I mean the process doesn’t matter. But what’s in the film, the content of the film, what resonates with the audience in that film, that’s what’s got to work and that’s what Disney storytelling is all about.

LISA DAVIS
You know, I would like to say that on “101 Dalmatians,” the author Dodie Smith, wrote many, many letters back and forth to Walt Disney. And those letters are in the archive. And she was very, very adamant about the story line, much the way Ms. Travis was, if you saw “Saving Mr. Banks.”
She was very, very particular. When this movie was released, we made a featurette called “Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney.” It’s the letters that she wrote to him. We don’t have the letters he wrote to her because they went to England, of course. But her letters to Walt are here. And she was very particular about how she wanted the story to be. But she did want it changed, much the way Ms. Travers did want “Mary Poppins” changed. So the story was very, very important. Yes.

MALE
(unintelligible – Question about animation of the animals)

FLOYD NORMAN
Well, back then I was just a kid in my early 20’s, so I had not yet become a Disney animator. I was an animation assistant. But I could tell you that our animators and, boy, we had the best, you know, the nine old men were still working. They were still animating and naturally they referenced a lot of animal material. They studied dogs. We actually had Dalmatians brought it to the studios so the animators could study them. So yeah, that visual reference is very important and our animators were meticulous about doing the job.
They were the best in the business. I mean, these guys were at the top of their game. They had been with the studio many years, since the 1930s or ’40s, so had been doing this job long time. So we have the finest animators and they were so careful to get things just right.

KEVIN KERNAN
There are a few publicity photos in the archives of dogs on the lot.

FLOYD NORMAN
That’s right.

KEVIN KERNAN
I think Lisa might know about that.

LISA DAVIS
Ah, yes. What they did with me, which was so fantastic, was for about three months before they even started the picture, they would bring me in a couple of times a week just to play with puppies.

MIMI GIBSON
Oh, boy. (laugh)

LISA DAVIS
I would sit in a little bungalow which is over near where the gift shop is now, and they’d bring in five or six puppies and I’d spend all day playing with puppies. I mean, how good can that be? You know, isn’t that wonderful? And there are lots of pictures of me.

MALE
What did Walt look for when he hired animators?

FLOYD NORMAN
Number one was being a good artist. That’s really what Disney was all about; it was the art. Back in those days, you couldn’t go to an animation school to learn animation because there weren’t any. I know it’s hard to believe, but no schools taught animation. I think for a lot of people, they didn’t even know what animation was. It was kind of a voodoo or black magic. It was just magic that Disney did.
So what we would do as young art students is to go to art school and learn how to draw because that’s what the Disney artist is concerned about: learn how to draw, learn how to be a good artist. Then you would come to Disney, if you were lucky enough to be chosen, and then you would learn to animate here. This is where I learned how to animate and naturally I learned from the best: Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Mark Davis, Ward Kimball, they were all here.
They were our mentors. So schooling, as I say, my schooling really began here at this Disney studio. My art school time was just the foundation, but I really began to learn animation and Disney animation right here at Disney. And then, of course, my education continued because years later I would learn storytelling from Walt Disney himself.

FEMALE
I understand you played Lucky. That’s so great because everyone remembers Lucky.

LISA DAVIS
Yes, Lucky is the most popular.

MIMI GIBSON
Mickey Maga, who did Patch, had a really cute voice, too. But yes, Lucky always stood out. Everybody loved Lucky the best. Little kids always wanted to be Lucky. So it was an honor to be Lucky. It was lucky! (laugh)

MALE
Have you ever owned a Dalmatian?

MIMI GIBSON
I live up north next to a big, big dog town.  I had gone into a restaurant where dogs are allowed, and there was a Dalmatian there. I got to talking to the woman who had the Dalmatian and because I’m kind of a low-key person, they just seemed too active for me. She also told me they shed like crazy.

MIMI GIBSON
And there I was in black pants standing next to this dog! I looked down and I was full of dog hair. And that did it.  No Dalmatians for me!! (laugh)

LISA DAVIS
You know the rescue organizations don’t like it when this movie is released .because people go out and get Dalmatians.  And Dalmatians are incredibly hard dogs to own.
They’re rambunctious and they’re hard to train. We had one when we did this Lucky dog event here, and it was crazy. He was flying all over the lot. He was chasing the squirrels. (laugh) He didn’t want to be inside doing what we were doing. I have dogs, too, but I’ve never had a Dalmatian. The closest I have come is a beautiful Swarovski Crystal pin…

MIMI GIBSON
I have that, too.

LISA DAVIS
…It is so beautiful. It’s the most beautiful pin and that works just beautifully.
MIMI GIBSON
Yes, that’s fun.

LISA DAVIS
But no, they don’t like it because people wind up taking them and then can’t keep them because they’re very hard dogs to own, I guess.

MIMI GIBSON
Well, they were raised as to work; they were evolved into carriage dogs. And so they should be able to run for miles and they do. But who nowadays does that? So unless you’re an active runner, they’re hard dogs to keep. (laugh)

KEVIN KERNAN
I think one interesting thing about “101 Dalmatians,” is the variety of breeds of dogs that you see in the film.
And it’s astounding the detail that you see on these animated dogs.
…on my street, and I swear to you this is the truth, I have a woman who walks an Afghan hound. And you know in the movie when Pongo is looking for a suitable mate for Roger, there’s like four different dogs that parade by and one of them is an Afghan hound. And the owner of the Afghan hound has the same hair as the ears on the Afghan hound. And I swear, on my street there’s this woman who walks an Afghan and she’s got the same long droopy hair her dog has, too! Amazing! (laugh)
Personally, I think that it’s one of the most interesting sequences in the film because it’s showing the world of dogs. And in “The Lady and the Tramp” everything is from a dog’s perspective. But this time you’re seeing the whole world and you’re seeing all the different breeds that are out there.

KEVIN KERNAN
Actually, Floyd, that leads me to a question. When you were doing research on the animals, do you remember how much thought and study went into deciding to choose this dog over that dog to include specific traits?

FLOYD NORMAN
Oh, I’m sure the animators and the art director, Willie Reitherman, did a lot of research on dogs. Naturally I was just a kid in those days so I wasn’t privy to all of that stuff going on upstairs with the big shots because I was just a kid learning animation. But I do know they paid a good deal of attention to their animal research.
Even I went to the library and searched out photographs of Dalmatians, because I was preparing myself, as well. Even though I was not going to animate, I would be just an assistant animator, you still have to know your dog anatomy. You’ve got to know what you’re drawing, so I did the research on my own.
That opening sequence is remarkable. That was animated, by the way, by Blaine Gibson, an incredible animator. He animated those dogs and that very mellow opening sequence. Isn’t it wonderful the way the film opens? Unlike a lot of films that have this slap, bam opening, “Dalmatians” opens slowly. It’s a very mellow, laid-back opening, and we just ease into the story gently.
And I love that about the film. It was so different from anything we had done previously. And I love that stuff by Blaine, where we see the women walking their dogs down the street and Pongo is watching. Beautiful stuff. But you can bet that Blaine and the other animators did their research. They knew those dogs, you know. They knew what they were doing.

KEVIN KERNAN
Okay. Well, how about a hand for our panelists? (applause) Thank you all very much for sitting in.

Tape #: DISNY002
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