I’ve had a few people email me this morning asking me to check out this Tom Oreb artwork from Ward Kimball’s DISNEYLAND space episode MARS AND BEYOND. Cool as the artwork may be, it is definitely NOT Tom Oreb. I posted a correction on the Cartoon Retro forum yesterday evening, but judging from the emails I’m receiving, the misinformation is still spreading like wildfire. It’s actually a fairly common misconception about Oreb, and I made it a point to write in my forthcoming book on 1950s animation design that Oreb was never involved in the space specials. During the time of the space specials, Oreb was working in Disney’s TV commercial unit and also at John Sutherland Productions. The most obvious evidence that he didn’t work on them can be found simply by looking at the films. The designs are too cartoony to be Oreb designs and lack the powerful graphic quality that is ever-present in his work. The main designer of the cartoon sequence in MARS AND BEYOND was another forgotten genius, John Dunn. Dunn wasn’t so much a full-time designer as he was an incredibly funny storyman with an inherent talent for design. Ward Kimball once told me about Dunn: “You would ask him to do a page full of crazy looking dogs and it was very hard to pick the craziest.” I’m currently working on a piece about John Dunn that will be published in ANIMATION BLAST #9. As for the painter of these MARS AND BEYOND color keys, it’s unclear who the painter is — it could be Kimball, Dunn, one of the animators who could paint like Art Stevens, or somebody else — but one person we can rule out is Tom Oreb.
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