Searle and Disney

Ronald Searle and Walt

No particular reason that I’m posting this photo other than I’ve never seen it before and figured it’d be fun to share with everybody. Walt, of course, is instantly recognizable, but the other guy is somebody who I often refer to as the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century, Ronald Searle. The pic is from July 1957. I’m not entirely sure but it appears that they’re on the Zorro set. Click on it for bigger version.


  • Bugsmer

    This is certainly an unusual photo of Walt, Amid. I’ve never seen it before either.

  • http://www.frankrause.com Fran Krause

    What happens in the basement of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle STAYS in the basement of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    This looks like a jail house on one of Disney’s live-action sets. Walt made a lot of westerns back in the fifties and sixties, and it seems there was always a jail.

    The animation artists did pretty much the same thing. We took photos of each other “locked” behind bars. Looks like the “Old Man” enjoyed the gag as well.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    Didn’t Leon Schlesinger use to keep this photo in his WB’s office? ;-)

  • Kyle Maloney

    “please Eisner, don’t make a bunch of crappy sequels to my beloved masterpieces and ruin my reputation, I’ll do anything!”

  • http://www.brigetteb.blogspot.com brigette b

    Weird…I’ve never seen an actual photo of Ronald Searle before. I always pictured him all bumpy and smeary and inky like his drawings.

    He looks pretty normal though!

  • John A

    So THIS is where they’ve been keeping Walt for all these years.

  • Tom Pope

    That’s the kookiest durn picture of Walt I’ve ever seen.

  • Chuck R.

    Ronald Searle looks less comfortable behind bars than Walt. Maybe that’s because of his years spent as a POW of the Japanese?
    Interesting pic.

  • Jason

    “Please, Mike, don’t let my company and theme parks get infested with those moth-eaten Muppets. Please don’t invite in the Japanese-born plague that is the Power Rangers. Please don’t buy crap and put my name on it. And please please please don’t build California Adventure!!!”

    You know, when I wrote that stuff above, I meant it to be kind of funny…but somehow, after reading it…I think I’m gonna cry…

  • Alfons Moline

    Speaking of Ronald Searle, now that we have recently lost Bill Melendez, does anybody remember the obscure 1975 Searle-designed feature DICK DEADEYE OR DUTY DONE, based on Gilbert and Sullivan´s pirate-themed operettas and made at Melendez´studio in London? (well, not that obscure -at least it has been issued on Region 2 DVD in the U.K.)

  • OM

    “…Honest! We were only joking about being Nazi sympathizers! C’mon, even FDR got the joke!”

  • zavkram

    “…I really think Michael Eisner should be here instead of me!!!”

  • Robert Schaad

    The Perpetua link is fantastic. As was the recent exhibit of Searle’s work at the Forbes Building in nyc.

    One more for the captioneers:
    Pleez…let us out and we’ll collaborate!”

  • AdrianC

    I wonder what the story is behind this meeting of the minds.

    Did these two ever collaborate on anything?

  • ed

    AdrianC: Searle was visiting Disney whilst working with Bill Melendez on a film called ‘Energetically Yours’ – created in Searle’s unique style. Apparently Searle ‘didn’t get on too well with Disney’ himself,
    (maybe this is why he doesn’t look too happy?!) but got on well with the animators, especially Ward Kimball with whom he kept in touch with. Searle later returned to Disney and helped influence the look and art direction for 101 Dalmatians.

  • http://mattjonezanimation.blogspot.com Matt Jones

    This is fantastic! Where did you find it Amid?

  • amid

    Matt: It’s a publicity pic. I’d scanned it in last year and forgot I had it.

    Ed: What is your source that Searle returned to Disney to work on 101 Dalmatians? As far as I’m aware, he didn’t work on that film in any capacity, not even on a consulting basis. The look of the film is strongly influenced by his work, but that was the doing of the likes of Ken Anderson and Tom Oreb who admired Searle’s work.

  • ed

    Hey Amid
    Sorry I wasn’t 100% clear – he didn’t specifically work on 101 Dalmatians but, according to the Russel Davies biography published by Chris Beetles;

    “…most of effort went into persuading California-trained animators to step out of their tradition a little and adopt a looser, Searle-ish line. The resulting film, a history of energy called ‘Energetically Yours’, eventually won eleven assorted awards. Some of the wisdom Ronald aquired in negotiating a compromise Anglo-American ‘feel’ in the animation was later passed on by him, privately, to the Disney team who achieved their own version of the same effect in 101 Dalmatians.’

    So whilst it isn’t listed anywhere, according to the offically endorsed biography of Ronald Searle, he did at some stage meet with the Disney artists – as you point out probably Anderson and Oreb – whilst 101 was in pre/production.