Animated Stars Illuminate Frank & Ollie
Lastly, Maltin interviewed Frank and Ollie live on stage about their influences and experiences. The two were drawn together at Stanford University in California where they drew cartoons for the university magazine. They wound up together at the Disney Studio in the 1930s under the tutelage of animator Fred Moore. Frank said he noticed that Moore always drew the nose a little bit to one side so he would correct it and then Moore would yell at him for ruining the drawing. Frank said Moore often redid his drawings overnight and then would just shrug it off in the morning when Frank would ask him what was wrong. Milt Kahn was a big influence as well and they admired the work of Bill Tytla for the strong feeling he displayed in his work.
Frank said Walt Disney was never one to give praise much, at least not directly, but Disney did actually compliment him. "He didn't mean to I'm sure, but it slipped out," said Frank. Frank will never forget the day that Disney yelled across the parking lot as they were leaving, "Hey, I heard you have the best scene in the picture." Frank gained a reputation for tackling some difficult pieces. When the SNOW WHITE crew was discussing her death scene where she's stretched out with the dwarfs surrounding her, Frank remembers the storyman said no one could animate that. Then Disney said, "give it to Frank, we can talk him into anything." Ollie recounted how they always tried to maintain a sense of realism. When the huntsman was supposed to take Snow White out into the woods and kill her but can't bring himself to do it, they were going to have her fall off a cliff. Ollie recounts a storyman injecting, "You can't have her fall off of there, it would kill her."
Maltin and others throughout the evening commended their incredible acting talents, and thanked them for showing them how important it is to create a true character. One clip showed one of their many training exercises at Cal Arts about how to establish a character. Frank said he was not happy with most current actors as movies seem to rely more on submitting their characters to physical stunts. "Nowadays,"" said Frank, "you're not a good actor unless you can duck a bunch of dynamite falling on you."
While retired for some time from animating, Frank and Ollie have been busy teaching, coaching and writing books. Ollie said he regrets they can't get around the way they used to both men were brought onto the stage in wheelchairs yet nowadays they find themselves reaching people in England and all over the world via the Internet. Maltin congratulated them for joining the new century with their very own Website, www.frankanollie.com, which features two characters icons they created for it. "I can't get out much now," Ollie confessed, "so I imagine a lot of it and have found another way to get around," via the Web.