"Get a good idea, and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it's done, and done right." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Giant of an Imagination

Inspiration lends itself to imagination, and out of imagination one's truest loves are revealed.  This is true of any creative person, and in this case, it's true of a good friend of mine.

Jesus "Chu" Rivera lives three doors down from me, yet it took nearly five years for our kindred spirits to strike up a friendship.  It was our aimless talent at spouting out movie quotations that caught each other's attention by accident.  The Shining (1980) is a particular favorite film of ours to quote, and it wouldn't be out of the question for Chu to cry out "Wendy!" from around a corner.  From a distance, one could easily dismiss Chu as a motor head - whose interests don't extend beyond the hood of an old truck.  But in his presence, one will discover a man of God, who has a giant of a heart, and I'm proud to call him my friend.

Those who enter Chu's basement realm will find themselves entering a time machine.  There one will discover that Godzilla has walked and Kong has roared.  Batman lurks in the shadows and Christine's engine seemingly purrs from the walls.  Various treasures of varying sizes adorn and fill every square inch, from miniature Popeyes to hovering zeppelins, vintage bicycles to a 1950s truck, an electric guitar to a booth from a 50s diner, and that doesn't begin to scratch the surface.  The reassuring colors of Coca Cola emanate from the room along with the depthless voice of Johnny Cash.  Chu's alarm clock to the world on summer mornings is the rev of his Indian motorcycle, which he has been known to ride donning an authentic Indiana Jones' jacket and matching Fedora.  But, he'd give it all away to spare his most prized possession - his Iron Giant.

"When I was a child…I grew up watching Star Blazers while the world watched Bugs Bunny and Fred Flintstone," Chu shared.  "And that TV show – the sci-fi aspect of it – it attracted me, and I loved that style of cartooning and the story that was behind it."  Chu's unique taste in animation at a young age was coupled with his love for his father's time as well.  "I love the 50s due to my father – he’s a hero to me - and anything associated with my dad – including that era – stuck in my life."  Chu continued by adding, "I always liked the Space Age...it was an age of discovery.  It was like Columbus all over again." 

It's no wonder Chu gravitated to
The Iron Giant (1999) upon its video release in late 1999.  The VHS cover of the film alone was probably enough to churn his loves within.  "I bought the movie, I took it home, and I was so awestruck by the story, and the soul that they gave this machine, and the relationship that little boy had with that robot.  It was great!"

It didn't stop there.  From inspiration came imagination, and from imagination Chu's love for the film was extended.

"Prior to my discovering this movie [The Iron Giant], I’d always been a toy collector, and I always thought that my toys would come to life at night (he laughs)...just like in the movie Toy Story (1995), years before that even came out...so, maybe a month after I saw the movie [The Iron Giant], I started getting a nagging feeling to build him.  I said, 'I can build him – I have enough knowledge in me, with machines, and imagination, and enough patience, that I can build this thing and see it through.'  I knew it was going to be tough, it wasn’t going to be easy.  Where was I going to get bits and pieces for this thing?  Every single piece on this project was hand-built by myself, except for the calves.  The calves I had to get something real sturdy, so I bought some cylinders that were good for the project.  But everything else that’s on this is hand built from scratch; cut; riveted; whatever...I must have 125 hours on the head.  The head is solid stainless steel.  Anyone who’s ever worked with stainless steel knows that it’s not easy to shape; it’s not easy to grind; it’s not easy to drill.  It’s a material that is very difficult to work with...no welding was done in its creativity.  It’s all been bolted or riveted together...
I knew that if I was patient, that the-end-result was going to be beautiful."

"As I was building this robot, I poured my heart and soul into it.  And upon completion of it, and watching it, and as it went along, and watching the way it ended up being, I learned to love it…when I created him, it feels as if I created a life."  Chu's young daughter sees life in its eyes as well to this day.  Chu shared, "She walks by and says hello to it as if it was alive." 

It took Chu two years to complete his very own Iron Giant, and near its completion, an opportunity to share it with the world came knocking.  On the weekend of March 24, 2001, Chu exhibited his creation at the East Coast Hobby Show at the Expo Center in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.  Of the hundreds of exhibitors, Chu's Iron Giant came in first place.  For Chu, however, winning wasn't the icing on the cake.

"Within minutes of setting him up on the table, there was a father…who had his son on his shoulders.  And the little boy must have been three or four years old.  And this little boy, at the top of his lungs, yelled at his father, 'Daddy!  Daddy!  The Iron Giant!'  That moment was special because that little boy reminded me of
me when I first saw the movie, because that little boy is still inside of me."

Since the 2001 exhibit, Chu has found himself asking, "Where’s he going to end up long after I’m gone?"  In answer to his own question:  "My hope is, someday, to have him displayed somewhere where children can go and see him and enjoy looking at it; become acquainted with the movie; and who knows what it will inspire
them to do?" 

When asked what he would say to Brad Bird if given the chance, Chu said, "My hat’s off to you.  You hit a homerun with this project that you and your team came up with, and I thank you for sharing that imagination with the world."

For those lucky enough to be welcomed into Chu's home, don't be surprised if his Iron Giant is the first thing he introduces you to.  For him, it personifies not only his love for Brad Bird's film, but everything Chu stands for.

"If you watch the movie closely, when he [the Iron Giant] was met with aggression, he reacted with aggression.  If you notice carefully, the attention and love that little boy, in his innocence, showed this machine...you know that this story is based on love and respect for other life; even though he was a robot.  The little boy didn’t see him as such.  He saw him as something that was alive and that could learn how to get along with others and not be what he was designed to be; which was a weapon of mass destruction.  If you surround yourself with the right people, you can change for the better, and that little boy proved it with this robot."

I think it's a lesson, in today's world, that many of us could learn from.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Snowy Truth

This post attempts to shed some light on the magic that went on behind a scene in One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) that caught my eye as a kid. It's the segment when Cruella De Vil's car skids off the road into a snowy ravine. When viewing it on VHS as a youngster, I noticed an unusual change in the snow's texture and animation.  It appears gritty, and moves and rests awkwardly on the background.  This is especially evident when De Vil accelerates up the snowy embankment. 

To begin, animated films during Walt Disney's lifetime were put together in a way that is very different from today. Computers have changed everything, and the process of incorporating animation, color, background, and sound into a feature length animated film has greatly reduced the production time on a film.

In the olden days, Mickey Mouse was first drawn by animators onto animation paper in a series of very subtle positional changes. When an animator stacked and flipped those drawings together, Mickey seemingly moved before their eyes. It took twenty four drawings (or frames) to fill one second of film.  If you do the math, about 11,500 drawings were created for an eight minute cartoon.

The animators' drawings were then traced onto clear celluloid paper with ink, and painted with vibrant colors by hand (from the late 1920s to the late 1950s, this was a job for the women of the Walt Disney Studio).  Once the celluloid paintings were dry, each was photographed, one-at-a-time, over painted backgrounds - in perfect sequence - using an animation camera.  Not only were the short cartoons made this way, but so were full-length movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and Sleeping Beauty (1959)The production time and expense for each varied, but could be quite extensive.  For a visual explanation of this process, I encourage viewers to watch the following segment from the 1938 production, How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made:

During the making of Sleeping Beauty in the 1950s, Ub Iwerks (the animator who drew the first
Mickey Mouse cartoons in the 1920s) improved upon the animation process by developing a new machine. Rather than tracing every drawing in ink by hand, the machine copied the animator's work directly onto the celluloid sheets.  It was coined the Xerox process, and although it was minimally used on Sleeping Beauty, and on the entire animated short, Goliath II (1960), One Hundred and One Dalmatians was the first full-length animated film to use it exclusively. 
Ub Iwerks

Animators at the Walt Disney Studio valued the Xerox process because their drawings were no longer lost in translation, and presented in their truest form.  Layout artists (artists responsible for staging a scene) also took advantage of this process to film the scene of Cruella De Vil's car stuck in the snow. These artists posited:  If drawings of Dalmatian puppies can now be copied directly onto celluloid, why can't a photographed model of De Vil's car be copied as well?

The team of artists began by building a small cardboard model of the car with every linear and curved edge of the body outlined in heavy black lines.  These lines, essentially, acted as the pencil lines you would see on a drawing. The remaining surfaces of the car were white, much like the areas of an animated character that would be colored later. This is what the actual model of the car looked like:

The car was then photographed in a series of hundreds of subtle positional changes using the stop-motion animation technique (the technique used for the 1960s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special and The Nightmare Before Christmas).  The photos the layout artists took, essentially, became the animated "drawings." Each photo (or frame) was then copied, one-at-a-time, onto celluloid sheets using the Xerox process. From there, the white areas of the car's body (now transparent on celluloid) were colorfully painted by hand.  Once the painted celluloid copies of the drawings dried, they were filmed, one-at-a-time, over painted backgrounds just like in the Mickey Mouse cartoons.  

But, what about the snow?

As you can see in the archived photos below, every time the layout artists inched the model car forward through the faux snow, a picture was taken. The snow looks disjointed in the finished scene because it was painted over in white (with existing black specking from the Xerox process for contrast) on the celluloid copies of the photographs.

Now, let's watch the scene as it appears from the 1:02-1:15 time marks of the video below (try to visualize the cardboard model car as it appears in the photos above instead of what you see in the final, colorful product):

Disney animator, Floyd Norman, who worked on this sequence of the film, sheds even more light on the magic behind its creation in a posting on his blog HERE.

In the end, we may be left with a scene that is inferior to the technological advances of today's age, but it was a product of its time. A scene of this caliber was considered new and exciting for its time, and it worked. As awkward as it may look today, I can't help but gain a greater appreciation for a time period in Disney Animation when effects were made by hand.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"He is Very Happy"

On November 25, 1938, one of Walt Disney’s most celebrated animated shorts made it to the big screen. The film is the Oscar winning, Ferdinand the Bull. This posting not only celebrates the brilliance of this classic cartoon, but an artistic force that helped bring Munro Leaf’s timeless 1936 story (and Robert Lawson’s beloved illustrations) to visual life.

Our story begins in 1934 with a young man named Ken Anderson, who at the time was laid off from the art department at MGM as a result of the Great Depression. With the chance that the studio might hire him back, Anderson recalled that he “confidently got married,” and spent his first month of marriage living on the beach, surviving on canned beans. Needless to say, Anderson desperately needed a job, and history would not regret the day he walked through Disney’s doors. Like all greenhorns at the Disney Studio, Anderson started off as an "inbetweener," and quickly moved his way up the ladder. His animated contributions can be seen in a couple of the Silly Symphonies shorts, including The Goddess of Spring, and most notably, a challenging scene in Three Orphan Kittens. In the latter, Walt Disney wanted Anderson to develop a scene where a kitten scurries across the floor of a house while the background pans in sync with the animation. Anderson stated that “it [the animation] jittered like crazy," however, the implementation of perspective in this 1935 classic was successfully achieved.  The scene can be viewed at the 5:13 time mark in the following video:

When it was decided that Disney would adapt The Story of Ferdinand into an animated short, Anderson was assigned to art director; a role that he had just proven his worth on for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Ferdinand the Bull (the name Disney adapted it to) is a true product of the Disney name, because it not only combined the talents that brought Snow White to life, but it also furthered the advancement of animation through the use of color and light.  With Anderson's arrival at the Disney Studio, came a wealth of experience and architectural knowledge (the knowledge Disney was aware of when preparing the scene for Three Orphan Kittens). In fact, prior to being hired, Anderson was a “recipient of an architectural fellowship in Europe," where he particularly fell in love with the country of Spain. This experience ended up being a stroke of luck for Anderson since Leaf’s classic tale takes place in the very country that stole Anderson's heart. Ken Anderson knew from the very beginning that Spain needed to be presented in its true and natural form.

In a televised episode of The Disney Family Album, Anderson shared some of the conditions set by Walt Disney when creating backgrounds for animated films. For starters, Disney absolutely “hated” the idea of using purple in the backgrounds of his work. Anderson stressed that Walt had a keen eye for ensuring that animated characters were not overpowered by backgrounds, so tinted colors were used as a safeguard. Anderson explains that the tinted colors were applied to long sheets of paper that could be rolled, or pulled, in a given direction within each frame to provide a character with a sense of movement from one place to the next. It worked very well, and Anderson speculates in his TV appearance that it was quite economical, but he was ready to take it one step further with Ferdinand. Anderson believed there was only one way to bring Spain to life, and that was through painted backgrounds. It was this train of thought that particularly worried fellow members of the Disney staff.
In his interview with Don Peri, Anderson shared, “I knew that the way they were used to handling things in shorts that it [the background] would just be a tint (Peri, 2008).” Despite Walt’s wishes, and pleadings from the head of the art department at the time, Anderson decided he would paint the backgrounds, and he found support in the supremely talented background painter, Claude Coats, and “a guy named Art Riley (Peri, 2008).” Anderson continued:
It was over his [Walt’s] dead body that we got as much color into it as we did, and it was still poopy. It was nowhere near what we were trying to do, but in order to not make the head background man mad and still do what we thought we needed to do – we weren’t really thinking so much of pleasing Walt as doing the best thing we knew we should (Peri, 2008).
The ideas that Ken Anderson and Claude Coats brought to life were rather revolutionary in the field of animation at that time. Never before had reflective light, or in Ferdinand’s case, the way the hot surface of Spain’s earth seems to glow from the intensity of the sun, been used in an animated film. Their work exuded the heat of Spain with the use of under lit shadows and hot colors. The timing to experiment was perfect considering Disney was away on a trip to Europe. The question was, would he like it? To Anderson and Coats' great surprise, Walt loved it!

When you compare Robert Lawson’s illustrations from the original book to Anderson and Coat’s lush backgrounds, they compliment each other very well. Both stories open on a castle in Spain, and close with a scene of Ferdinand contently sitting under his tree; not to mention under a beautifully painted sunset sky in Disney’s version, with swirls of purple!  After its release to theaters in November of 1938, Life magazine wrote:
To Robert Lawson’s celebrated drawings have been added Walt Disney’s sly and cock-eyed genius and a hilariously purring sound track by Radio Announcer Don Wilson. What emerges from this combination is a completely charming creature with a benign white nose who threatens to supplant Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Lone Ranger’s Silver as the most beloved animal of the movies (Grant, 1993).
A variety of factors and talented individuals made this assessment of Disney’s version more than true, but one must especially tip his hat to Ken Anderson. Much like the flowers that awaited Ferdinand’s triumphant return to the countryside at the story's end, the beautiful art that awaited Walt Disney’s return from Europe echoes the feeling both would feel in the final line of Munro Leaf's beloved story: “He is very happy."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Discovering Harry Holt

(Originally published on August 28, 2011)

Up until about two weeks ago, the origin of this sketch was a complete mystery to me. It entered my possession over a year ago while scouring a local flea market for Disney treasures. The vendor that presented it to me was someone I looked forward to seeing on my weekly visits. For him, I was a returning customer, and to thank me he included this sketch among a group of purchased Disney figurines at no additional charge. I was instantly impressed with the fine detail and artistry of this sketch, and had a feeling that an actual Disney artist may have brought it to life. A year later, I would soon find out that this drawing was just one part of a story filled with discovery.

After the sketch was brought home, I immediately started to "Google" the artist's name found on the lower right-hand corner. The challenge for me, however, was trying to figure out the correct spelling. Even after a first glance, it appeared to me that the artist's name was Harry Hoth. I looked, and looked, and found nothing. Perhaps he wasn't a Disney artist, and was someone local who simply had a talent at sketching cartoon scenes? I must admit that I may have given up too quickly, and the sketch was soon buried in a drawer containing various Disney related articles.

We now fast forward one year (approximately one month ago from this article's posting to be exact) to a phone call that I had with Disney artist and friend, Ron Dias. Our conversation centered around work Ron was doing for Disney right around the release of The Jungle Book in 1967. I love listening to Ron's experiences with animation and art, and this story in particular immediately sent a spark through my brain; a spark that was trying to connect with some memory that I just couldn't put my finger on.

Ron was contacted by a Disney artist named Harry Holt, who at the time created sculptures for Disneyland attractions. The project that they would soon collaborate on would result in a line of postcards that featured 3D hologram scenes from animated classics such as: Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and The Jungle Book. The process was unique, but to describe it simply, Holt created the character molds that were featured and Ron painted them, along with the background elements. The following images shared by Ron shed some light on the process to two of these Disney postcard scenes:

Peter Pan


Now, when Ron was describing these postcards to me, I did not have the images above in my possession; with the exception of one! The image directly above of Geppetto's workshop is a scan of the actual hologram postcard that I had discovered and purchased at the very same flea market. When I bought this postcard, I was not familiar with Ron nor the history behind the postcard's creation. The postcard came with a nice little plastic frame and has been on display among my Disney collection for some time now. When I told Ron that I had a hologram postcard similar to one that he worked on (especially a scene from Pinocchio), he became very excited and requested a color copy of it. With all of this said, it made for a lovely little story come full circle, however, there was one more piece to the puzzle.

As I listened to Ron on the phone, the mention of Harry Holt's name triggered the little spark in my brain that I noted earlier. Why did that name seem so familiar? Along with Ron sharing his experiences working with Holt, he also mentioned that Holt personalized sketches for Walt Disney World guests in the late 1980s. That was it! That was when I realized that the sketch that I had buried away was an actual Harry Holt drawing from Walt Disney World in 1989. I had been misspelling his name the whole time. I was not only tickled about the sketch's origin, but also because Ron had worked with Holt to create a postcard that I had also obtained at the very same flea market. It's truly a small world after all!

So, who was Harry Holt and how did he become affiliated with Walt Disney? To learn more, I highly recommend hunting down the March/April 1989 release of Storyboard magazine. It contains images (on the front cover too) and a full interview with Harry Holt by David Lesjak. In the interview, Holt explains his early experiences at Hyperion and his contributions to Disney's finest animated classics, such as: Snow White and Pinocchio. Their conversation also touches upon the war years and Holt's eventual employment at WED Enterprises, where he spent nearly the last half of his Disney tenure sculpting models for the theme parks. To conclude this post, here are more images of various other Disney hologram postcards created by Harry Holt and Ron Dias. Thank you Ron for sharing these lost treasures!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tinkering With a Dream

(Originally published on March 27, 2010)

Bringing life to imagination has been synonymous with the name Walt Disney for the last 85 years.  No one formula can reproduce the art and richness of his studio’s work.  His never-ending curiosity kept his artists on their feet, and in some instances, initially left them in the dark.  Walt’s mind ran constantly in motion, and it wouldn’t be unusual for him to attempt the creation of two ideas at once.
"Project Little Man"

After World War II, many have assumed that Disney lost interest in animation.  This is a more than reasonable assumption considering the effect the war had on the Studio.  During those four years, Disney was forced to shelf many of his animated projects; several that had even made it through the preliminary stages.  In exchange, his creative forces were instead spent on making training and propaganda films for the United States military.  Despite all this, to say that Disney lost complete interest in animation doesn’t seem like a fair assessment to me.  The war indeed had a draining effect on him personally and professionally, yet he came out with his creativity intact and his curiosity yearning to be satisfied.  Disney still played a very active part in his films, but his animators’ skills and expertise had gained his trust, and deep down Walt probably knew his future films were in good hands.  The new ideas he was gathering would eventually take his studio to the next level, and animation, or in other words, the way things moved, was still at the forefront of Walt’s mind.

In Michael Broggie’s wonderful book focusing on Walt’s love for trains, he does an incredible job of highlighting Disney’s inner passion for collecting mechanized and miniature toys; especially during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.  During his many trips to Europe, Disney sought out local toy and antique shops in search of these scaled-down treasures (Broggie, 1997).  In actuality, the gears inside those toys were not the only ones in motion.  Walt’s return from across seas often led straight to his studio’s machine shop located directly behind the studio’s Ink and Paint building, to consult with two of his first Imagineers, Roger Broggie and Wathel Rogers.  The roles they played were pinnacle to Disney understanding how these toys moved and what made them tick.  On one such occasion, Walt had purchased a mechanical-talking bird while on a trip to New Orleans and handed it over to his master machinists.  Roger Broggie recalled, “That was the bird in the cage.  He wanted Sam Slyfield [head of the] Sound Department and myself to take a look at it and, and find out how it works (Kurtti, 2008).”  To be a fly on the wall while Broggie and Slyfield disassembled that bird and explained its source of movement and sound to Walt would have been magical.  Though they didn’t realize it at the time, Walt was already dreaming of what he could do with this newly acquired information.
It’s important to understand that Walt not only collected these tiny treasures, but he was rather skilled at crafting them himself in his free time.  In late 1949, Disney literally converted his Southern California backyard into his own personal scaled-down railroad; train and all!  The caboose to his 1/8th scaled train, lovingly christened with the name “Lilly Belle” after his wife, was built and designed solely by Disney.  When Walt wasn’t working on his Carolwood Pacific Railroad, the new official name of his backyard paradise, he also spent time constructing miniatures and dioramas.  One such project by Walt reproduced the cozy and warm inner cabin belonging to Granny Kincaid from Disney’s 1949 classic, So Dear to My Heart.  In Bob Thomas' biography on Walt Disney, Disney Legend Ken Anderson recalls the time when Walt told him about this idea: 

 "I’m [Walt] tired of having everybody else around here do the drawing and painting:  I’m going to do something creative myself.  I’m going to put you on my personal payroll, and I want you to draw twenty-four scenes of life in an old Western town.  Then I’ll carve the figures and make the scenes in miniature.  When we get enough of them made, we’ll send them out as a traveling exhibit (Thomas, 1976)."

Walt Disney's Granny Kincaid miniature display.
The traveling attraction, which at the time was coined “Disneylandia”, never came true, but Walt’s miniature Kincaid cabin was successfully put on exhibit at the Festival of California-Living in 1952 (Barrier, 2007).  “The next step was to build a kindly looking 1/8th scale grandmother who would be animated to rock back-and-forth in her chair knitting” shares Michael Broggie in his Walt Disney's Railroad Story (Broggie, 1997). Even though this feature never reached fruition, the germ was spreading.    

A phone call to the late actor and dancer Buddy Ebsen (famously known for his appearances in Disney’s Davy Crockett and The Beverly Hillbillies series) was a pinnacle moment for Walt.  Sourced from Katherine and Richard Greene’s Inside the Dream:  The Personal Story of Walt Disney, the following dialogue is Ebsen’s recollection of the phone call and the experience that came after:

"After I got out of the service, I needed a job.  Out of the blue I got a call from Walt Disney, who invited me to his studio for lunch.  He took me to a small workroom, where some folks were fiddling around with a little wooden man that had wires coming out of his bottom and was connected to a wheel with cams on it.  As the wheel turned, the little man’s arms and legs moved.  Walt looked at me and said, 'I want you to do a corny soft-shoe dance for us, which we’re going to photograph.'  So while they photographed me dancing they rigged cams and wires in such a way that the little man moved as I moved.  Meanwhile, Walt was off to the side showing me how he wanted me to move by doing little steps and telling me to repeat the steps.  This became the beginning of Audio-Animatronics (Greene, & Greene, 2001)."

As described by master Imagineer Martin A. Sklar, “In simplest terms, Audio-Animatronics combines and synchronizes sound and animation with the electronics of the space age (Sklar, 1969).”  Walt ran with the information he acquired from “Project Little Man”, and went on to create WED Enterprises around 1952.  The talented artists and craftsmen who went on to work for WED became responsible for bringing Walt’s dream of Disneyland to physical life.  From the theme park’s 1955 opening on, Walt’s new team applied their new knowledge and skill to create legendary Disneyland attractions utilizing the invention of Audio-Animatronics.  The most famous (several that had been showcased at the 1964 New York World’s Fair) became Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, “it’s a small world”, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Haunted Mansion.    

Even though technology has come a long way since the space age, and the name WED Enterprises has been changed to Walt Disney Imagineering, it’s still important to remember the past.  Walt Disney was a man who was always looking to the future, but he never forgot what the past had taught him.  I’d like to think he would be thrilled with the new technology his Audio-Animatronics paved the way for.  The mysterious Yeti that lurks in the dark caverns of EPCOT’s Expedition Everest I’m sure would have brought a smile to his face.  To think it was all started with a man’s interest in a little toy bird.

Walt Disney directs Buddy Ebsen on "Project Little Man."