Monday, 19 May 2008

Bill Justice "Jack And Old Mac"

I haven't written up any Walt Disney for some time. Here's a jazz number, Jack And Old Mac, made in 1956. Bill Justice directed and Al Coe, Bob Carlson and Jack Parr did the animating. Essentially it is two animated jazz numbers, This is the House that Jack Built being the first. Apart from the style of music, there's something about the backdrops to the simply drawn figures that smack of a different era. The violet, purple and indigo are not what I would have chosen and yet the the short swings along as letters transform to characters (or house) and the maiden milks the cow by pumping his tail. Old MacDonald (had a Band) has the same repetitious form of lyrics and the same singers though peculiarly the style is different, the farmyard animals being more realistically drawn and dancing their steps with gusto. This second half has a beatnik pounding his piano, drinking hard liqueur and smoking his pipe; there's also a neat little jive routine. Disney's world is full of these quirky pieces fitting into no particular category and giving a flavour of their age whilst proving to have a very long shelf life. In the informative Disney Legends site there is an interesting story about Bill Justice. When asked if he ever tired of drawing Micky Mouse, Bill replied, "Have you seen me draw Mickey upside down?" He then did so - effortlessly. Born in 1914 Bill lives with his wife Kim in Granada Hills, California. His Noah's Ark is another animation I intend to feature shortly.

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