World Magazine, Issue 2.5, August 1997
Phyllis Craig's Tribute Continues
I am writing this letter to you, and the Animation World Network, in order to express my feelings of joy at having known Phyllis Craig and my feelings of loss resulting from her recent passing.
I have recently returned from a business trip to the Pacific Rim and came to the realization that I missed your feature, and my opportunity, to express my thoughts about Phyllis. I felt compelled to write to you and take this opportunity to express those thoughts at this time.
To say that Phyllis Craig was one of the most genuine and caring persons I have ever known would surely overstate the obvious and understate the truth. And if I were to say that Phyllis loved everyone who touched her life as if they were her own family, I would be speaking from my own experience. To have had the privilege to call Phyllis `Mom' was one I am sure I share with many others who had this special relationship with her. For myself, this was particularly true as Phyllis and John Craig opened their home to me whenever I traveled to Los Angeles. Coming to L.A. was, in many ways, like coming home and seeing `Phyl' was always the highlight of `coming home.'
In the four years I shared with Phyl, I saw her through both happy and sad times. But regardless of whether times were good or bad, Phyllis' outlook was always bolstered by her beaming smile, optimistic attitude and a `typically Phyllis' limerick or cliché emphasizing the silver lining of any gray cloud on the horizon.
I have had difficulty coming to terms with the knowledge that I will not pick up my phone at Chromacolour and hear, "Hey kiddo." I will not see her face, share a piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie or catch a late movie with her and Craig.
Phyllis, I will miss our long talks, your wisdom and your guidance. I owe you so much, a debt of gratitude.
You honored me by traveling to Calgary to attend my wedding and add that indelible shine as only you could. I cry a tear of joy.
Well, `P. Craig,' life is a journey, not a destination, and now you have embarked on the next part of your journey. I will cherish the time we shared and look forward to the day when we meet once again.
"Get off the table Mabel, that dollar is for the beer."
Chromacolour North America Limited
Manager, Operations and Marketing
Phyllis' passion for the animation industry was paralleled only by her deep rooted desire to create opportunities for young talent to find employment in this exciting business. On September 12, 1994, the first day of the Bridges training program, Phyllis generously supported our efforts by contributing of her time and wisdom as the inaugural guest speaker. Phyllis instantly became a friend and support system to many of our trainees.
During our Animation 500 twelve hour marathons, Phyllis always rolled up her sleeves and participated. The following video interview excerpt from the first 500 reveals Phyllis' love for the animation business: "It [animation] kept me young. We've been working with interns and kids in our studio for several years. It's fun to be around neat people. I love what I do. Anything that's new and exciting I'm willing to go along with, which makes it more fun all the time".
Phyllis, thanks for your countless contributions. Your efforts serve as a model for us all.
The trainees, alumni and staff at the Bridges Institute of Visual Arts.
When I think of Phyllis Craig, I am reminded of a radiant light. Her example served as a beacon of illumination showing us all how to: love unconditionally, serve without hesitation, help all who come your way and advocate for youth and their abilities.
Phyllis lived richly and fully. But most of all, she inspired us all.
Everyone of us who had the pleasure of knowing her, has been blessed beyond measure. I count myself so very, very fortunate to have known and loved her.
Linda R. Crain, Ph.D.
Thank you all for continuing to honor Phyllis. It just goes to show there is no forgetting such a remarkable person.
Thank you again for sharing.
The Illusion of Life
About a year or two ago I was hanging around CalArts an awful lot. I spent about a year in the life drawing and other classrooms and a lot of time in the cubicles talking to friends and seeing what was going on in the character animation department. I was introduced to The Illusion of Life by, as most refer to them, "the two old men," obviously Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. I purchased the book and had them sign it at a presentation on the "old style" of Disney art. They revealed the keys to their success and what made Disney tick. This was not too long ago. Now, my real question is...in the suggested reading you listed the book as out of print. I know that the first edition is; but is it completely out of print now?
FYI - I now have classes with Glenn Vilppu at the American Animation Institute and he is publicizing your site. Without his voice I would never heard about your publication. GOOD JOB!
Well, we were just out of the loop on that one. Yep. You are right. The first edition is out of print but there has been a subsequent one that is on sale now at any of your favorite book stores. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have always heard (and known) that this book is one of the end all, be all, animation books to have. I have also always been told that it is impossible to obtain. It is great to see that The Illusion of Life will be on book shelves again so that everyone can own and enjoy it.
The July 1st issue was forwarded to me, and I was particularly interested in the news regarding Hayao Miyazaki's quitting the film directing game. This is surely not the end of his animation life, but it is certainly an end of an era. Just a few corrections to this news: Castle of Cagliostro was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, but it isn't a property of Tokuma Shoten, and as such isn't going to be distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. It is currently released through Streamline/Orion Home Video. The film was released originally in 1979, some five years before Hayao Miyazaki directed his first Tokuma-backed film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984). Also, Only Yesterday (Omoide Poroporo), and Pom Poko were directed by Isao Takahata, but from your notice, it could be presumed that they were also directed by Miyazaki. They are products of Studio Ghibli, and I believe Hayao Miyazaki was probably the executive producer for at least one of these films. However, Isao Takahata deserves some recognition, for he is a great director in his own right (*Pom Poko was an Academy Award nominee). I look forward to getting your newsletter in the near-future. Thank you for your time.
Talk to you later.
Thanks for the information! You definitely are an expert. As a result of your email, we corrected our News Flash as you will see in this issue's News section. We too hope that this is not the end of Miyazaki's animation career and that you will keep in touch and keep us in line.
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