President Franklin D. Roosevelt called his Supreme Court the 'nine old men.' As a joke, Walt Disney named his earliest key animators by the same term. Here are the original 'Nine Old Men' of the Walt Disney Company:
Les Clark (1907 - 1979) The first of the 'nine old men,' Mr. Clark joined Walt Disney in 1927. His specialty was animating Mickey Mouse, starting with Steamboat Willie.
Marc Davis (1913 - 2000) Mr. Davis began working with Disney in 1935, during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He developed and animated many of the best-remembered characters, including Bambi, Thumper, and Cruella DeVil.
Ollie Johnston ( - ) Mr. Johnston graduated from Stanford University. In 1935, he was an animator for the Studio at the Walt Disney Company, where he worked on two dozen films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He retired in 1978, and was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989.
Milt Kahl (1909 - 1987) Like the other 'nine old men,' Mr. Kahl was an animator and started at Disney in 1934. He was a Directing Animator for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Ward Kimball (1914 - 2002) Mr. Kimball joined Disney in 1934, and is best remembered for his creation of Jiminy Cricket in the movie, Pinocchio.
Eric Larson (1905 - 1988) Mr. Larson began at Disney in 1933, animating most of the Disney classics including Snow White..., and Cinderella.
John Lounsbery (1911 - 1976) Mr. Lounsbery began his career at the Studio in 1935, working on the classic features starting with Snow White.
Wolfgang 'Woolie' Reitherman (1909 - 1985) Mr. Reitherman joined Disney in 1935, as an animator and director. He is best remembered as a director for Sleeping Beauty, and as the director fully in charge of The Sword in the Stone. He directed and produced all of Disney's animated features after the death of Walt Disney, until 1980.
Frank Thomas ( - ) Mr. Thomas was both an animator and author. As an animator, he joined the Studio in 1934 and worked on many early shorts. Later, working on the classics, he created memorable scenes, such as Bambi and Thumper on the ice, and the Lady and the Tramp moments where the couple are eating spaghetti.
#D2 - Soap and flypaper, 'Pluto', (c.1940s).
#D2 - Walt Disney Studio, PLUTO, 1940s. Soap and flypaper have bedeviled Pluto since the early 1930s, and in this original animation story drawing he seems plagued by both. It was created by a Disney artist in development of a scene in an animated cartoon of the 1940s. Drawn in red, blue, yellow and black pencil on an untrimmed story sheet, the art measures 5.50" x 8.00". In nice condition showing only a light crease at top, minor corner wear and a small spot of discoloration at upper left: FINE. This story drawing of Pluto hiccuping soap bubbles beside a stack of fly paper, appears on an untrimmed story sheet with two punch holes at the top.
#D6 - Orphan's Picnic (1936) 'Donald Duck'
#D6 - Walt Disney Studio, Donald Duck, 1936. This rough animation art drawing of a short-tempered Donald was created by a Disney animator in development of a scene in Orphan's Picnic (1936). This expressive original final animation drawing of the irascible Donald Duck was created by a Disney animator in production of the cartoon directed by Ben Sharpsteen, and a cel was made directly from it. Drawn in red and black pencil on an animation sheet trimmed to 5.00" x 3.75", the art measures 4.25" x 3.00". In very nice condition showing only small bits of darkened tape at corners: FINE condition.
#D7 - Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, 'Happy & Dopey', (1937).
#D7 - Walt Disney 'Happy & Dopey', 1937. This full sheet drawing from 'Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs' is rendered in graphite pencil. The animation art measures 7.00" X 6.00" and bears the circled number '175' at upper right.
#D4 - Pinocchio; Pleasure Island, 'Jiminy Cricket', (1940).
#D4 - Walt Disney Studio, Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, 1940. This lively and expressive animation drawing of Jiminy Cricket is from the scene on Pleasure Island animated by Ward Kimball in which he angrily tells Pinocchio: 'Go on laugh! Make a jackass out of yourself. I'm through! This is the end.' It is a final animation drawing created by a Disney animator in production of the animated feature, and a cel was made directly from it. Drawn in red, black and green pencil on an untrimmed animation sheet, the disney animation art measures 2.50" x 2.50". The studio's production number stamp also appears at lower right: 'Prod. 2003 / Seq. 8.5 / Scene 62. In excellent condition showing only light handling from the animation process itself: VERY FINE.
#D8 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 'Doc', (1937).
#D8 - Walt Disney 'Doc', 1937. This drawing is from 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' rendered in graphite and red pencil. The Sheet is untrimmed 12 field measuring 10.00" X 12.00" with original studio peg holes and numbers.
#D11 - Blame it on the Samba, 'Jose Carioca', (1948). (Disney's Melody Time)
#D11 - Walt Disney Studios 'Jose Carioca' original production drawing, Blame it on the Samba - Disney's Melody Time 1948. This animated feature 'Melody Time' drawing measures 3.25" X 5.50", full sheet, rendered in graphite pencil. The drawing depicts Jose Carioca with a cigar popping from his beak.
#D14 - The Country Cousin, 'Abner Mouse', (1936). (Silly Symphony)
#D14 - Walt Disney 'Abner Mouse', 1936. The Disney animation art drawing from 'The Country Cousin' a Walt Disney 'Silly Symphony' Cartoon Short is rendered in graphite and red pencil. The image area measures 6.00" X 6.00", bearing animators notes. Mouse Abner, THE COUNTRY COUSIN from Podunk, arrives in the big city to taste some of the high life enjoyed by his sophisticated cousin, Monty. Enjoying the viands of a banquet table - most especially the champagne - Abner is soon to encounter his first big city cat...
#D10 - Pinocchio, Stromboli (1940).
#D10 - Walt Disney Studio, Pinocchio Original Animation Drawing, 1940. This superb animation drawing of Stromboli, the voluble Italian puppeteer and one of the film's unforgettable villains, is from a scene supervised by Vladimir Tytla, Walt Disney's great animator of the 1930s and early 1940s. It is a final animation drawing created by a Disney animator in production of the animated feature, and a cel was made directly from it. Drawn in red and black pencil on an untrimmed animation sheet, the art measures 7" x 7 1/8". The animator wrote the number '31' at the bottom to indicate this drawing's place in the scene, and the Studio's stamp 2003, sequence 4.2, scene 3 appears at lower right indicating production, sequence and scene numbers. In addition, the animator note 'Head and Hands Ok' appear in the upper left in red pencil.
#D25 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 'Roger Rabbit', (1988).
#D25 - Walt Disney 'Roger Rabbit', 1988. The full sheet untrimmed drawing is rendered in graphite and red pencil, bearing number #2. The image area measures 3.75' X 3.50', bearing Disney stamp ' This material is property of WALT DISNEY PICTURES. It is unpublished and must not be taken from the studio, duplicated, or used in any manner except for production, without written permission from an authorized officer of the company'.
#D20 - The Little Mermaid, 'Ariel', (1989).
#D20 Walt Disney 'Ariel', 1989. This large-image rough drawing of Ariel was from 'The Little Mermaid'. Drawing is rendered in pencil on an untrimmed animation sheet. The art measures 10.00" X 7.00", which bears the number '31' at lower right. The drawing was re-numbered for the scene, and the number '25' is written below the '31' and crossed out.
#D31 - Three Orphan Kittens, 'Fluffy', (1935). (Silly Symphony)
#D31 - Walt Disney Studio, Three Orphan Kittens, 1935. This character study of Fluffy, one of the three kiteens in Disney's outstanding Silly Symphony cartoon was created by a Disney artist in development of the character or a scene in the animated film. Drawn in colored pencil on an untrimmed animation sheet, the art measures 2.00' x 4.00'. COA provided. Three orphan kittens are entering a society house in winter and ruin the furniture. But when they're caught by the maid, the young daughter of the house 'rescues' them from the cold out outside.
#D27 - The Sword In The Stone, 'Merlin' (1963).
#D27 - Walt Disney Studio, The Sword In The Stone, 1963. This rough animation drawing of Merlin, court wizard and mentor to the young King Arthur (Wart), was created by a Disney animator in development of a scene in the animated feature.
This is an animator's extreme drawing and likely the work of John Lounsbery. Drawn in pencil on an untrimmed animation sheet, the art measures 10' x 3 1/2'. COA provided.