Vladimir Tytla
Scene 20

Once a New Yorker…

Vladimir “Bill” Tytla was hired by Walt Disney in 1934 as part of the group of already established artist for the east cost, when Snow White started production because he felt he needed experienced people for this unique endeavour. Coupled with the fact that Bill and his wife Adrienne only socialized with their wedding witnesses Joe Grant and his wife Jenny, made Bill a kind of loner in the Disney family. That explains in part his early departure, but in the years that he worked for the studio, he came up with some of the most memorable animation made at the time. Stromboli in Pinocchio, the Night of the Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia, and the title-character in Dumbo. And of course, many moments in Snow White, some of which, like the washing sequence, he animated almost on his own.

Passionate about art, he attended the Evening School of Industrial design, and soon got a job in animation studios with Raoul Barré, then Paul Terry while studying at the Arts Student League in New York and Paris, France where he learned about painting and sculpting. At Terrytoons, he met Arthur Babbitt who left for the Disney studio and was instrumental in getting his friend hired soon after that. Tytla worked on several shorts like The Cookie Carnival to test his abilities. As Arthur Babbit dated studio model Sandra Stark, his roommate Bill noticed her French friend Adrienne who also did a week’s modeling for the studio. He offered to drive her home and the two got married soon after that.

Bill was one of the first animator to work on Snow White, as he was asked to develop the character of Grumpy. He was the main animator of the character and also animated many dwarfs scenes. He animated almost the entirety of sequence 6A and did most of the Grumpy scenes on sequences 5B, 6B, etc. His scene in sequence 4B where the dwarfs walk by home was cut from the final print.

Although he was one of the best paid animator of the studio, Bill longed for his farm in Connecticut, and never felt satisfied with Walt Disney’s longtime habit of sparing his compliments. He probably felt unappreciated and when the strike broke out in 1941, his politically engaged wife and his friend Babbitt, convinced him to join, something that Adrienne later said she regretted, since it led to his eventually leaving the studio, which left him a broken man.

In 1943, he travels back East to the Terrytoons studio, and then to other studios, where he works on various productions, such as The Incredible Mr. Limpet. He died at the early age of 64.

Tytla was a wonderful artist and a sophisticated thinker, but somehow the vibrations between him and Walt were never too agreeable.

Ward Kimball

Other productions

Here are other Snow White related productions that Vladimir Tytla worked on.