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Watch the Worst Milt Kahl Interview Ever

Imagine that you could interview Milt Kahl at the height of his powers and ask him anything you wanted. That’s the opportunity a little old lady in Dallas got in 1973. Andreas Deja recently posted the segment on his goodie-filled blog, and even by the low standards of local television, it’s a disaster.

Resembling a bad sketch-comedy routine, she asks Milt nonsensical things that only vaguely resemble questions like, “How far back do they go? Do they go back…what are some of the …Nutcracker?” and “Do you think it’s an inspired thing that they get these characters?” One gets the sense that Kahl would have decked the lady had the interview gone on a minute longer. In fact, I’d bet good money that the reason she’s wearing dark sunglasses indoors is that the last person she interviewed gave her a black eye for her utter lack of journalistic ability.

The saving grace is Milt doing his famous eyeglass-dangle at 1:15, not to mention that fabulous patchwork sports jacket.

  • A joke about violence against women? That interview wasn’t interesting at all and I’m no feminist, but really now.

    • Way to miscomprehend something. Her gender had absolutely nothing to do with my black eye comment. The riff was that she got it due to poor journalism.

    • Deaniac, are you implying that a more reasonable, acceptable thought process would be as follows?….

      “This lady is a goon. And does this faux-professionally. I can’t believe it. I can imagine one of her subjects being so fed up that they sock her in the eye. Hah, thats probably why she’s wearing glasses. Oh…wait a minute….she’s a female. If I think about a fool getting hit, that happens to be a woman….that means that I’m supporting violence against women. And thats not okay. Even stupid women. Violence is only okay against men. How dare I….”

      That seems a bit absurd.

    • shmeh

      Come on. Now its getting ridiculous. Not ever Amid post has something for you to complain about. Its almost like you’re complaining just to complain. Is someone not allowed to make a joke or post his own feelings about something?

      Is a journalist/blogwriter just supposed to place a link? If someone else made that comment in the comment box i dont think youd be jumping on it the same way.

  • She’s the female version of Dr. Steve Brule.

  • Daniel Z

    Oh my goodness, that sketch.


    That poor woman hadn’t a clue…. Some producer obviously just threw her to the “LION”

    Great clip! Thanks you for sharing! I’d never seen it before.

    Milt was simply the best! I’ve always found that the people I learn the most from are often the most intimidating and direct people. I would have so cherished a meeting the great Milt Kahl.

  • Mel

    Was the assistant Milt referred to who had been with him many years by 1973 Dave Michener? For some reason he was not mentioned by name. Milt usually demanded and got the finest assistant animator in the studio. For several years in the 1950s his assistant was Iwao Takamoto.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Does seem like a typical morning ‘news’ program of the day the way it was handled.

    Nearly relating to the event, and something I bothered to find in my collection were some newspaper clippings from several Dallas newspapers at the time of the gallery exhibit with Milt getting interviewed as well, thought I’d share if anyone’s interested.

  • Scout

    Her interview is pretty close to some modern animation direction or pretty much all producers notes.

  • Milt had many great assistants over the years including, John Freeman, Iwao Takamoto, Tom Ferriter and finally, Dave Michener. However, his long time key assistant was always, the late, great Stan Green.

  • Joel

    I think you’re being a little harsh about her, Amid. She simply seems like a local-television newswoman looking for a filler story and who doesn’t know anything about animation. She isn’t expected to know even the most basic information about the subject or have any idea of the potential of an interview with Milt Kahl. However, if the reporter was doing an interview for an animation magazine or a book and was expected to know at least a rudimentary amount about Milt Kahl, Disney, or even animation itself, then it would probably merit any lambasting it got.

  • I don’t think this interview’s nearly as bad as you had me believing. It’s obviously an interview to promote an art gallery (or Robin Hood) and the interviewer is doing the best with her layman’s understanding of animation. Kahl doesn’t seem to be too bothered by her questions, and for the most part, she lets him talk. She got some good information out of him and one heckuva nice drawing.

    You guys have to remember that this was before Finch’s “Art of Walt Disney” or any book by Frank and Ollie. No blogs, no “Backstage Disney”. In the early 70’s no one seemed to care that there were real artists and a regimented process behind animation. This show could have been a revelation to local listeners and a nice plug for the industry (when not much was happening) I think it’s quite fascinating.

    • Gerard de Souza

      It was an inexcusably bad interview. She has a tv show. Even if it was a cable access by an amateur broadcaster would it have killed her to read a few encyclopaedia articles in preparation? They had those. I know. I was a kid at the time.To write a few questions on an index card?
      It gives me the impression of apathy.

      • Gerard de Souza

        That is, Kahl did the heavy lifting (like a pro and a “gentleman”) providing answers to what she didn’t know how to ask but so much opportunity was missed even if basic questions about the process. I wouldn’t expect her to be a fan boy, just professional; do 10 minutes of homework.

      • Larry King interviews Jerry Seinfeld and doesn’t know if the show got canceled or not. THAT, my friend, is an inexcusably bad interview.
        This is a fluff-piece, and only cringe-inducing to people who think every Tom, Dick and Harry should have an insider’s appreciation of animation.
        And no, an encyclopedia wouldn’t have told her whether or not Kahl worked on Fantasia.

        • Gerard de Souza

          It was easy enough to understand the process. I said I would not expect her to be a fan boy. To a friend on face book who just shared this post, I said I thought it was an inexcusable interview if she were interviewing anyone.

      • Polecat

        There was no cable in 1973. We must be talking about a really small local broadcast station. Believe it or not, that makes a difference. I don’t think this woman or her producers would have known very much besides the national news and whatever was happening in Dallas at the time.

        • Gerard de Souza

          We had cable in Toronto.
          However, it was more an alternative to antenna.

    • Jeff Kurtti

      Studio Publicity at the time would have supplied extensive background information on Kahl himself and on the subject of Animation. When Eric Larson came to my Seattle movie theater in 1979, he was accompanied by Howard Green, who did advance and prep with everyone who talked with Eric.

  • Jennifer

    OMG, making something out of nothing again Amid.

  • Vic C.

    I don’t think she’s wearing sunglasses at all. They look like self-darkening Photogray lenses. I remember having a pair when I was a kid and they took FOREVER to clear once you got out of the sun.

    Still, she should have known to have a clear pair with her. Photogray only ever looked good on radio.

  • Gerard de Souza

    Oh to be a fly on the wall at the studio and hear what Kahl’s candid comments about the interview would have been!

  • Polecat

    All right now…She’s not a very appealing personality, and she doesn’t seem to know which questions to ask. But it’s not necessarily her fault. The producer of the show probably just threw the assignment at her and said, “Here’s Milt Kahl, he makes cartoons for Disney, I want footage of the interview on my desk by 5 o’clock.” Not punchworthy, just kind of flustered and inept. Can we move on now?

  • Sounds like typical breakfast TV interview- light and fluffy on the details. At least she didn’t ask the well-trodden lip-sync question… Oh , hang we got that one in the years to follow on every Disney TV special

  • It’s like listening to Peggy Hill fumble through a discussion about cartoons.

  • ali

    I think she’s wearing glasses because she must be drunk. she can’t finish a sentence

  • akira

    bad? maybe, but she still did more to promote him and his work than most journalists. are there some good Kahl interviews out there somewhere?

  • OtherDan

    Undeniably a bad interview, but also one of my favorites-like the audio Peregoy interview on the union blog. I’d much rather see these guys in real situations than the idealized versions you see in Disney DVD extras. It’s fun to see the volatile Milt have to deal with this woman’s fumbling questions.

  • Rubbish interview of course but lets take into account the subject matter. It’s hard to explain and mostly dull anyway (cue: upset animation people strenuously denying this). My girlfriend cannot understand why I even go on the internet to look at things like this site. I had the best reaction lately when asked what I do for a living. I said ‘I make cartoons’ and a complete stranger outside the pub said ‘I bet that’s tedious’. He was right. One man’s passion is another man’s tedious story.
    Imagine an interview with salvador dali in which he explains how he mixes his paints (massive yawn from everyone other than people who mix paints). Milt Kahl is a legend to US. His process is interesting to US. This woman is about as interested as 99% of her viewers. “Getting the most out of butterscotch coming up after these messages folks”… “Turn it up Hank!”

    I’d rather pat her on the head than punch her in the eye

    • Zoran Taylor

      The problem with taking this stance is that artists are perfectly capable of taking an interest in something that isn’t art. It’s called curiosity. Besides, I can’t remember the last time someone saw me drawing cartoons and didn’t want to ask me about it. I’m not bragging at all, that just happens.