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“101 Dalmatians” Color Stylist Walt Peregoy Speaks

Walt Peregoy

Walt Peregoy is best known as the color stylist of 101 Dalmatians and headed the background department at Hanna-Barbera in the late-1960s. The Animation Guild‘s business rep and intrepid interviewer Steve Hulett spoke recently with the 85-year-old Peregoy and their conversation can be heard below. If you’ve ever heard Walt speak before, then you know what to expect, but if you haven’t, be forewarned that there’s a lot of swearing and everyone he talks about is either a son of a bitch, a buttboy, a white supremacist or a motherf**r. Unlike Charlie Sheen though, Walt’s rants are actually pretty entertaining.

Part 1 ( link to MP3 file)

Part 2 ( link to MP3 file)

Above, left to right: Thelma Witmer, Eyvind Earle, Frank Armitage, Walt Peregoy. Below, a 101 Dalmatians key by Walt Peregoy to cleanse the palette.
Walt Peregoy

  • Karim

    Listened to it from the TAG blog while jogging, probably one of the most entertaining podcast (alongside with Tim Walker,Robert Alvarez and Dan Haskett). It boosts confidence and shows that people in this Industry can have a say and be and themselves no matter how you are. Rare kind but definitely appreciated.

    But at what price nowadays?

    In my opinion, the things that where lacking in this ITW are the more technical and creative stuffs that I love to hear from these veterans. Like how he approached color and composition, the artists that inspired him,etc. If I was in the US I’d have a blast going to the exhibition.

    Thanks Cartoon Brew for linking his work.

    • Erik

      while jogging?? i don’t see how you could keep a steady pace with that geezer speaking his mind. latest when he drops his signature “son of a bitch” i’d have to stop and laugh if i were you. this interview made my day. what a guy

  • JD

    It’s great to hear an honest opinion of someone’s experiences in the industry. Walt makes observations about people at work that most people probably think about, but don’t speak openly.

    I can see he really felt for the underdog artists. Of course he can relate, but he’ll call out the talent when he sees it.

    Under the rough exterior are hands that create beauty. The frustration lasts a lifetime, but the art lives on.

  • jaktheparrot

    That was very… frank. :)

    Interestingly, Walt mentions the anti-Semitism.

  • Wow. Very candid. Thanks for posting.He is one of my favorites. It would seem he is brilliant with the brush AND the tongue.

    • Kevin B

      OBOY :( Rephrase that. I only listened to a snipet when i wrote the above.

      He is still a genius with the brush, but it seems he is entering a state of alzheimers. (There is an anger state.Personality traits that were maybe subtle become overblown.) Kinda sad. I am sure he was probably a rabble rouser , but the filter seems to have totally deteriorated.

  • Jorge Garrido

    So THAT’S why kids today think Walt Disney was a jew-hating, hitler-loving racist!

    The kids love them some Walt Peregoy, I’ll tell you that much, Amid.

  • eeteed

    This man is spot on.

    It doesn’t matter how much talent you have. Nepotism and cronyism rule the roost in the cartoon/animation biz.

  • JG

    Holy fucking shit! (sorry, can’t help it.) This made my month. So many good points. His strength of character shines through the work. Now I understand how he got to do the mindblowing pieces he did.

  • Joe Horne

    …is this an animation challange???? doooont push me……

  • Although entertaining I believe the slights he talks about were probably a result of his having no filter.

    Clearly a great talent, he was his own worst enemy.

  • Scarabim

    He may have been a good artist. Pity he fails in the “class” department…

  • Fascinating interview. So open and honest.

    I love the guys work but didn’t know much about him.

  • Wow. What a product of the time.
    Great interview. If you didn’t know that he was talking about animation/art – you’d think he was a back-ally auto mechanic.

  • Speaking of class, the legendary Disney studio was just as full of ego, infighting and ass kissing as the studios are today. This is nothing new. Walt Peregoy just had the balls to say things that nobody else in the cartoon business would ever dare say.

  • Harold Harris

    This is so amazing! I’d just finished watching “Waking Sleeping Beauty”, “Walt and El Groupo” and “The Boys, The Sherman Brothers” and THIS is just so refreshing to hear. Sounds like a mash-up of every coffee break conversation I’ve ever had. Someone animate some of this dial… WOW! totally made my day.

  • He’s a giant of modern color and design. I can see (and hear) why he didn’t get the credit he deserves…being that blunt and honest doesn’t sit well with some people. But, it’s very refreshing to hear. Thanks for posting the interview.

  • Richard B.

    We are all products of our time. As Miles Davis said, “…the shit rubs off on you whether you like it or not.”

  • jordan reichek

    spicy. i think i need to have a cigarette after that….and i don’t smoke!

  • Walt talks like he paints, and paints like he talks. How many artists in history, especially those who were recognized, can claim as much? I’m lucky to call him a friend.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    He may be brutally honest, if not entirely true, at least honest about his feelings. But did the guy every really like anybody? He went through life and no one touched his life positively?
    As I tell my kids, if you have problems with everyone, you are the common denominator of those relationships; maybe you’re the problem.
    This guy is a bitter angry curmudgeon with no mental filter and I am unimpressed. Yes his art will live on and he was talented in that arena.
    We’ve got to stop glossing over our historic artistic heroes frailities. It enables revisionism the way we could enable their behaviour if we knew them personally.

    • Revisionism is what he was addressing. As Walt might say, “pull your head out of your ass!”-just kidding. But, seriously he was bitter because he wasn’t treated with respect. If you look at his work and believe what he said, then you should understand that he was pissed off that people who didn’t deserve admiration were getting it, while unsung heros were treated as second class. At 85-whatever years old he can finally say what he likely held back. We should be thankful that the revisionists didn’t win. As for his language regarding women or gays, I won’t defend the bastard. But, he comes from a different time.

    • Scarabim

      I hear that. Some people here are calling him “honest”, but that’s an interesting word for his rants. He’s honest, as you say, about his feelings, about expressing them, but that sure doesn’t mean what he says is true.

      Oh, so he didn’t get his due in life? Well, hell, he made a living as an artist, didn’t he? And at one of the most renowned and celebrated studios on the planet? Boo hoo. The poor blighter. :/

  • Rufus

    It’s not hard to see why he wasn’t accepted into the community with such bitter attitude. He’s done great work, but he’s acting like a jerk. And he constantly insults the recorder’s father, too. What the hell?

    • Jason

      You obviously haven’t known many old people.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Most elders I knew were like this.

  • Brad Constantine

    I remember talking to Chuck Jones once at a gallery show and he said “the best part of being this old and around this long, is that I get the last word on everything, true or not”. Unfortunately, I feel the same about Peregoy. He is an amazing Artist who comes across as a bitter, and often mean spirited guy who feels he deserves more credit,fame,and financial reward than he got. He was obviously disappointed that the Dalmations style didn’t go over with Walt. I personally don’t enjoy hearing artists tear down other artists,(especially ones who are dead and can’t defend themselves)but,his insights into the nature of the animation business still ring true today. It’s who you know as much as what you know. Truth be told, all of the artists at Disney were talented,and there were many great artists on Dalmations and Sleeping Beauty,and Paul Bunyan that he doesn’t give credit to. Guys like Joe Hale and Homer Jonas for example,who did great layouts and were just as bold. The work will speak for itself in the end. Let’s hope Mr.Peregoy will be content with that, and that he got in the last word…true or not.

  • Jason

    Walt makes no mention of Don Griffith, by all accounts a fine layout artist at Disney. Wonder if he ever worked with him?

  • Justin

    I love the 101 Dalmations key at the bottom of the post, any chance you guys have a link to a higher-res image? It’d be great to have as a desktop background.

    • Walt was always very nice to me… he was a good friend of my dad, Homer Jonas Jr. I expect his “white trash artist” attitude was magnified by all the rich kids that get into the art business via expensive schooling… my dad went to Art Center via the GI bill, no doubt Walt jibed him for that :) Of course my dad was from Eagle Rock, not Alhambra… so he was from, as he often stated during my formative years, “Down in the Boondocks”…. lol…
      Good to hear Walt exposing some of the dirty sides of the business…. I am truly sorry that I was unable to participate in the Academy gathering for Sleeping Beauty. That came too soon after my first wife’s passing, and I was unable to cope. I would have loved to see Walt there.. he was always crusty.. he liked the fact that I never went to art school… fuck em he would say, and I am ever so happy and fortunate to have had success following his advice. Walt’s work was in combination with my dad’s layouts on 101 Dalmations… and I think both he and my dad collaborated on style. Both shared in the disappointment Walt Disney had about the new styles in 101 Dalmations and Paul Bunyan.
      It was nice to hear him say the same things my dad said about Eyand Earle. Dale Barnhart was a peach of a guy, and I still have some of his artwork. I have some color keys for 101 Damnations.. maybe they are Walt’s and not my dad’s.. hmmm…
      I hope that I can see Walt sometime and hear him cuss out folks in person. he wanted me to go to work at Disney’s after my dad passed in 1979, with no art school in me… he told me then about his background… he was very positive then. Still his talent is not hidden from view, we all see it over and over as the next generation gets to adore 101 Dalmations again and again.

      • Your dad’s layouts? Wow…Who does not love the layout of 101 Dalmations? That’s so awesome. Do you think “The Illusionist” was heavily influenced by your dad’s work? I do.

  • Emm

    Another old Cartoonbrew post (untagged) with a link to a collection of Peregoy’s color keys for 101 Dalmations.

  • Professor Widebottom

    Walt Peregoy , the salty tongued Charles Bukowski of the background painting dept. I also enjoyed this, although I think his blinding ego often blurs the line of credibility. Man, the more I read, listen and review the stories of the artists of that era, the more its evident that they are zealous to elbow others aside. Old grudges never die, they just warp the mind. Obviously Walt was a valuable talent with an amazing amount of work in his wake and that’s what was illuminating here.

  • Holy Shit! That was quite an interview. I love that he spoke his mind. Interestingly, Jungle Book and 101 Dalmations were the most inspiring movies to me as a kid. And Walt didn’t like them. Mr. Peregoy, if you happen to read this, thanks for telling it like it is. All those people you spoke highly of were the ones I most respected. Good stuff!

  • I loved every second of each recording. Man, what a character!

  • This is AMAZING!!! I love how everyone criticizes his personality …that’s what makes Peregoy the artist he is. You can’t be an honest artist and not be opinionated. Colorful opinions, colorful art…you can’t separate the two. Most artist, and I mean real production people not people who moved into positions of directing, are pretty similar with their disgust with the industry. If you give your life to a thankless profession and don’t sound like Peregoy I think that is more troubling.

  • You could say that it’s safe to say that Walt Peregoy was the new “Mary Blair” on ‘Dalmatians’ – except Walt Disney unfortunately liked the style of the film.

  • joecab

    Oh man I love this guy! No BS, that’s for sure.

  • Ah, the Golden Age at the Happiest Place on Earth.

  • It might interest you to know that Walt Disney eventually “warmed up” to Peregoy’s color styling and recognized how good it was. That’s seldom spoken of. Disney was known to be irascible and crotchety at times, but he knew good stuff when he saw it.

    And, as I said before, Peregoy was not the only Disney artist to rail against the crap that goes on in the industry. Walt has no fear, and makes his opinions known.

    • OtherDan

      Did Disney recognize his art once 101 Dalmations was well received? Or, prior? I wonder what he didn’t like about it in the first place. Mr. Norman, do you know if Walt was pleased with “The Jungle Book”? In that interview, I got the impression that either Peregoy was of the same ilk as Kahl, or he was emulating him somehow by being (that) pompous.

      • Scarabim

        I hope Mr. Norman won’t mind if I offer some insight into why Walt Disney didn’t initially like the look of 101 Dalmations. Apparently, he didn’t like the Xerox process that replaced most of the Ink and Paint department. I remember reading that Walt didn’t like “lines” in animation – that is, hard black outlines that delineate a character and make it look flatter. He liked outlines with color – like the soft brown line that surrounds Lady in Lady and the Tramp. A more “painterly” line, if you will. I think I have to agree with him; I think that animation with that type of line is much more beautiful. While I like the clean, modern look of Dalmations, which I think helped the film succeed (in a way its tepid storyline did not), I have to wonder how much more lush a movie like The Jungle Book would have looked if it had been rendered by the old Ink and Paint department. It could have been amazing…

  • Tom

    Disney animation was a series of tubes! In part 3 does he explain how he became Senator of Alaska?

  • Joshy B

    More people like this in the industry today please. Blunt, confrontational and not afraid to say what he thinks. If only more people had the guts and the self respect to do the same.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Just got through nearly 10 minutes of this, and I can tell I love this guy! I would want him as my teacher!

  • Mark Whiting

    Walt, you’re my new hero.

    And God bless Ray Aragon and Victor Haboush.

  • This guy is now my hero ^_^