I’ve been remiss in not writing about one of my favorite animation-related books of recent times, It’s Kind of a Cute Story, the memoir of Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump written in collaboration with historian Jeff Heimbuch.The 192-page book does a fantastic job of capturing Crump’s colorful spirit and enthusiastic personality on the printed page. It’s a short read, but the combination of quirky stories and rare photos makes it fun to pick up and browse through over and over.
Crump began his career in 1952 like many artists at Disney did—in the lowly ranks of inbetweener. It’s a wonder he was hired in the first place. His only art education had been in high school, and he was later informed by the studio’s head of personnel that he had the worst portfolio of anyone who had ever applied for an animation job at the studio.
In his earliest days at the studio, he was paid so little that he had to work oddjobs on weekends, like making sewer manholes, just to earn enough for basic necessities. It also became clear early on that animation might not be the best creative outlet for Crump. His interests spread out in countless directions; among his artistic hobbies, he made Calder-esque hanging mobiles, painted funny pictures and sayings onto rocks, and created ‘doper’ posters.