Michael BarrierMichaelBarrier.com - Exploring the World of Animated Films and Comic Art - banner by Michael Sporn
Home  |  Capsules  |  Commentary  |  Essays  |  Funnyworld Revisited  |  Interviews  |  Books  |  Links  |  Bio  |  Feedback
   
MichaelBarrier.com Exploring the World of Animation and Comic Art

FEEDBACK

Interviews

From Steve Worth, a producer at John Kricfalusi's Spumco studio: I just saw your interview with Art Babbitt. Great stuff. Art didn't particularly mellow in his last few years. He could still get his dander up for Jules Engel claiming the Mushroom Dance [in Fantasia]! But the interesting thing about Art was that he was principled. He didn't hold irrational grudges like so many other people I've met in animation. His passion was very logical and focused. Someone at the Afternoon of Remembrance held after he died described him as being so principled that he was the sort of person who would go to the mat over a ten-cent overcharge on his electric bill. That was the perfect description of Art.

The flip side to that was that as soon as the wrong was corrected to Art's satisfaction, he let it go. Roy's letter to him came completely out of the blue. Art kept it in his briefcase and took it with him everywhere, showing it to anyone who asked him about Walt. To him, it was the proof of the recognition that he had been cheated out of for so many years of Disney "corporate history." I got a chance to talk with Art a lot at FilmFair. He was perfectly willing to call Walt a bastard for the way he let Lessing handle the strike, but he also praised him for the way he made films. His grudge was all about what he believed was right and wrong. It wasn't a personal thing.

One interesting example of Art's ability to be honest about his own personal grudges was when I asked him about Country Cousin. He mentioned that "Walt's boy" animated some of the scenes that he didn't have time to get to. He was referring to Les Clark, "Walt's Finisher." I asked him whether the scenes were inferior to his own. Art scowled for a moment... He really wanted to say something bad, but he knew that it wouldn't be true. He finally said, "No. Les Clark did a fine job. I couldn't have done any better." I learned a lot about Art as a person by hanging out with him. He wasn't different inside than he was on the surface, but the reasons he was the way he was just weren't always apparent to others.

[Posted 7/17/04]

Home  |  Capsules  |  Commentary  |  Essays  |  Funnyworld Revisited  |  Interviews  |  Books  |  Links  |  Bio  |  Feedback