Disney Animators Vs. Producers Disney Animators Vs. Producers

Disney Animators Vs. Producers

This video from 1980 is not what you think. It’s a game of volleyball played between the Disney execs and animation artists of the time, including Chris Buck, Tim Burton, Mike Gabriel and Darrell van Citters. Video was shot by animator Randy Cartwright and the play-by-play is by John Musker, whose contempt for Disney management of the time is barely restrained. This line by Musker had me chuckling: “Ron Miller tries to save it and the ball bounces off his head. The rest is self explanatory.” It’s a delightful piece of cartoon history.

(via Blackwing Diaries)

  • adam perry

    love how they call tim burton “the batman” and he has a batman shirt on. some foreshadowing? thanks for sharing this!

  • Paul N

    Tim Burton playing volleyball certainly has to be one of the signs of the apocalypse…

  • The Producer’s matching shirts are commentary enough.

  • Chuck R.

    I’m not getting the contemptuous tone that Amid’s picking up, but I did notice that Tim Burton is sporting a shirt with Beetlejuice-striped sleeves —8 years before Michael Keaton did! Foreshadowing indeed. I wonder if he’s got a Jack Skellington keychain in his pocket as well.

  • Alex

    I think homer Simpson has something to say about these 80s animators:


  • Notice: the suits are in uniform, animators not. It’s like one of those stories where a rag tag band of underdogs take on the better trained, better equiped snotty rich kids… and win.

  • I like how they mention that Burton is working on The Black Cauldron, which was the project that he would eventually leave after a feud to make his own films.
    This is an interesting piece of history for animation buffs, as well as a fun volleyball game.

  • jordan reichek

    wowzee, wowzee, woo-woo! it’s like the lil’ rascals vs. the rich prep school monsters. that was great…thanks for posting!

  • It’s a little sad to see the back lot in the background there. That western street has been replaced by a multi level parking structure — affectionately known as the Zorro lot (where I am sure the ghost of Guy Williams scratches Z’s into the paint of a multitude of expensive cars.

    Anyway, it was a fun game to watch. Thanx for posting!

  • Ken Bruce

    Well, it’s a little nitpicky here, but Harry Sabin is shooting sound 8mm, not video.

    And I wonder what happened to that patch of ground at the Studio. My bet is it’s now a row of offices for Disney executives.

  • Tom Pope

    The same Kevin Corcoran from “Old Yeller”, etc, etc?!! Wowzee wowzee indeed!

  • Ken: Randy Cartwright (who put this on youtube and gave me the okay okay to post it to my page) tells me that it’s he, not Harry Sabin, who had the camera and shot this. I think Sabin is playing in the game. And yes, it was shot in good old super 8.
    I was wondering about that patch of ground, too…nice glimpse of the old backlot back there.

  • Wilbert

    I think Sabin is the guy in the foreground with the yellow blue striped polo taking photo’s.

  • Brad Bird

    That patch of ground was actually where they would shoot little inserts for the nature films, as it really looked like you were out in the country from certain angles. The street to the right of that (north of Ink & Paint) was the old neighborhood where they would film anything involving Wholesomeville, USA (things like “Sammy the Way Out Seal” and its ilk. The Volleyball area is now the north gate entrance and the scary dwarf building.

  • Mike Gabriel

    You are right, Wilbert,Harry Sabin is the guy in the front with the blue and yellow striped shirt and the camera. The location of the volleyball court was basically in the area that is now the Disney Legend courtyard, right in front of the Michael Eisner building, you know, the one with Dopey at the top.

  • I remember those days. I wasn’t an employee at the time (having been fired by Duckwall) but, I was a regular visitor to the lot. I do remember Ron Miller enjoying participating in sports like this.

    Man, seems like ages ago. Now, even the kids have gray hair.

  • Mike Gabriel

    After the game, the losers, I mean the producers, were big enough to take us down to what used to be the best burger joint in Burbank, Don’s Place. The old outdoor patio setting, ice cold beers and me sitting across from Ron Miller wondering what it must be like to be that tall and powerful. I always think back on that afternoon when I think of Ron and hope he is content with the life he now leads.

  • I have many huge and fond memories from those days. Johnny O’Musker’s narration remnded me of one: One day I wandered into an empty room in the Animation Bldg where Burton had put up all his concept drawings for the Fair Folk from “Black Cauldron”. They were the meanest and funniest elves ever. Elves with three foot tongues with nodes at the end of them that looked like little birds’ nests. A sequence of drawings would show how a little bluebird would fly in and sit in the fake nest, whereupon the elf would roll up its tongue and eat the bird. And the WHOLE ROOM was covered with this stuff. It was like I had stumbled into some twisted alternate Disney universe, and it was great. This was the kind of stuff the animation dept. honchos routinely trashed until (non-volleyballer) Tom Wilhite became head of production and began bringing the work by Burton, Gabriel, Lasseter Musker, Clements, Ranft, et al to light. Thank you for the post, and to Bill Kallay, for bringing it to my attention.

  • Susana

    wow! Tim Burton in his younger years!

    funny clip! haha