In my book CARTOON MODERN, I mention briefly the story of what happened when legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright visited the Disney Studios in 1939. Wright had brought along a Russian animated film, THE TALE OF CZAR DURANDAI, and screened it for the artists to inspire them to think more modern.
Never did I imagine that a transcript existed of Wright’s discussion with the Disney artists. Historian Didier Ghez has uncovered the transcript and posted the first five pages of it on his Disney Books blog. He says the rest of the transcript will be posted soon. The discussion in this first part takes place primarily between Wright and storyman T. Hee, who would work at UPA for much of the 1950s. Studio composer Leigh Harline is also present and chimes in briefly. Wright’s unwavering dedication to being progressive and modern must have been quite a jolt to the Disney artists; John Hubley said he was greatly inspired by Wright’s visit to the studio and it’s easy to see why after reading this transcript.