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Brice Mack, RIP

Brice MackAnimation Magazine reports that background painter Brice Mack passed away on January 2 at the age of 90. His backgrounds appeared in Disney films such as Fantasia, Song of the South, Melody Time, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Lady and the Tramp. In 1954, Mack started a commercial studio with Milt Schaffer called Era Productions. I’ve seen only a few stills from the studio’s output though I wish some reels of the studio’s work would turn up. A lot of Mack’s friends from Disney, including Virgil Partch, Ward Kimball and Tom Oreb, moonlighted on the studio’s commercials.

The Animation Magazine article offers plenty of other details about Mack’s career including this fascinating tidbit:

Along with cartoonist pals Dick Shaw and Virgil Partch, Mack threw notorious parties, once aboard a train car loaded onto a barge in route to Catalina Island. Another time, they put wheels on a character boat and drove it Las Vegas, where a crane lowered it into the pool at the Sands hotel. In 1961, they partied on the last Red Car ride from Los Angeles to Long Beach while animator Ward Kimball played with his Dixieland jazz band, The Firehouse Five Plus Two.

Mack is survived by his wife Ginni, three sons (Kevin, Brice and Greg) and grandsons Jon, Ray and Danny.

  • I regret I never knew Mr. Mack, but I had heard about his parties from the Disney old timers.

    I gotta say one thing. Those old guys really knew how to party. Can you imagine anything like that happening today?

  • Brad Constantine

    RIP Brice.
    90 aint too shabby!!

    Wow, What a resume…The pinnacle of the golden age. I’d love to see some pics from one of those parties.

  • Bobby D.

    Sounds like we lost a heck of a guy…the sort of guy who really knew how to have fun, in what is supposed to be a fun business…something I often need to remind myself of…Vegas in a boat anyone! Thanks for the article.

  • Mr.Norman, could I hear some more about said parties?

  • B. Baker

    Uh, let me get this straight… according to the Animation Magazine obituary, Brice Mack, famed painter of backgrounds for SNOW WHITE, FANTASIA and a host of other great Disney features and shorts, is apparently the SAME Brice Mack who directed the 1978 AIP horror movie JENNIFER?

    Incredible. Can this be?

  • Joe

    Someone’s got their Macks crossed. So much for research!

    Brice Harvey Mack was born in the Philippines, the son of Harriet Cochrane and Brice Mack. His father was a Navy man, which might explain where the younger Brice was born. The family spent time in Washington state as well as Norfolk, Virginia. Brice had made his way back to the west coast in the mid-1930s when he landed a job at Disney. He was in Washington DC for at least part of WW2 working for the government. Apparently longevity runs in the family, his father lived to 95.

  • Hey Vincent, there are some wonderful stories I could tell about the Disney parties. And, there were many. However, I don’t want the company lawyers coming after me.

  • Joe

    I did some additional checking and Brice apparently served in the Navy during WW2.

  • I’m thrilled to see folks discussing my dad and I wanted to clear any questions about his history.

    My Father, Brice Mack served as a navigator in the air transport command in WW2, not the Navy. His Father, also named Brice Mack, was in the Navy in WW1 and WW2. To make matters more confusing, my brother, also named Brice Mack was in the film business too and worked as a camera operator.

    It was my father who was a Disney background painter and writer and yes, also directed the horror film “Jennifer” in addition to other films and many commercials. All the facts in the Animation Magazine obituary are correct. Thanks again for all the kind words.

  • B. Baker

    Kevin Mack:

    I am sorry for your loss. Your father was clearly a remarkable man. In fact, learning that he did indeed direct JENNIFER makes him seem all the more remarkable to me. [My initial post failed to note that I think JENNIFER is among the more interesting low-budget horror films of the late ’70s; it has a certain style, and a fine performance from young lead Lisa Pelikan.] A fellow of many talents. My condolences to you and your family.