Ward Kimball in Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

The studio’s clown

Ward Kimball entered the studio on April 1, 1934 hoping he would paint backgrounds but his caricatures got him a job animating. He started by inbetweening on Orphan’s Benefit and The Wise Little Hen. He then became Hamilton Luske’s assistant and began animating effects on The Tortoise and the Hare. The sequel of that short, Toby Tortoise Returns, was actually his idea! He did some character animation on Woodland Café.

In 1936, he was assigned to Snow White. In the finished film, he is mostly responsible for the animation of the vultures and apparently helped Hamilton Luske with some Snow White scenes after the scary forest moment, although none of these scenes were actually assigned to him on paper. But he notoriously worked on two sequences that were discarded before completion: The Lodge Meeting and The Soup sequence.

As he remembered later: “The soup and bed sequences were (…) halfway cleaned up. They cleaned them up later as a sort of demonstration sequence for a television show. They did a whole show on sequences that were never put into final product.”

Snow White is his second favorite film after Dumbo, in part because of their « airtight plot ».

He later became a director and a producer at the studio. His interviews are a delight to read because of his sense of humor, but he had a tendency to embellish his stories for a good word.

Snow White proved that a cartoon could have warmth and personality, because people would cry when Snow White would succumb to the poisoned apple, and they still do! And when she is laid out on that slab and the dwarfs slowly come and pay homage to her there, there is not a dry eye in the house.

Ward Kimball