AnimatorsDisney

You Won’t Believe How Long Burny Mattinson Has Worked at Disney

This afternoon at the Walt Disney Animation studio, they took some time off to celebrate this guy:

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That’s Burny Mattinson, and he started working at Disney sixty years ago today, making him the studio’s last active employee to have worked directly with Walt Disney. It’s amazing to think what a different place America was when Mattinson first started working at the company: Disneyland didn’t yet exist, WWII general Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, there had never been a Super Bowl, Elvis Presley was just graduating high school, black people still sat in the back of the bus in many parts of America, and we’d never traveled into outer space.

Starting in the mailroom, Mattinson worked as an inbetweener, assistant animator and clean-up artist on Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and 101 Dalmatians. He inbetweened on some of Fred Moore’s last animation and did clean-up on Marc Davis’ Maleficent. Later, he became a storyman on The Jungle Book and The Aristocats.

Mattinson made his directing debut on the featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol, before returning to do story on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tarzan, and the recent Winnie the Pooh feature, among others. Here’s a four-part podcast in which Mattinson discusses his career.

Everyone showed up this afternoon for the ceremony honoring Burny, including Ron Clements, Eric Goldberg, John Musker and John Lasseter:

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The Disney artists made a huge cake in Burny’s honor:

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and then devoured it:

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Then, they washed it down with Burny cupcakes:

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They celebrated him with artwork, like this piece by director Kevin Deters:

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And the county of Los Angeles (as well as the state of California) gave Burny official commendation…and managed to misspell Aristocats in the process, because, well, they’re the government:

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CONGRATULATIONS, BURNY, ON YOUR 60TH DISNEY ANNIVERSARY!

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