The Dead Animators Society
(continued from page 3)

LC: What was your greatest achievement?

MF: As I look back I see more areas in which I did not achieve what I'd hoped to. For I was a visionary and had far more things going on in my head than ever came out on paper or in model. Yet whenever the going got rough I would close my outer doors and seek refuge in my head, ignoring everybody and everything else. So in that sense you could say -- and have said -- that I was not as effective a leader as I could have been. I had a disposition that was mostly unable to cope with stress or disagreements. When there was disharmony I tried to shut it out as quickly as possible. Thus I was "not at my post" in many cases when I should have been. You might say it was an experiment of sorts placing me, with my "fool's vision," into an office setting. And so, though I complained about it, I was most satisfied to have my brother, Dave, and my other brothers as well in key positions on my staff for I trusted them, and knew that by keeping it all in the family my position was secure. They were my buffers against taking the heat, since so much of the management of the establishment was placed upon their shoulders, taking it off mine. But even though I longed to create a harmonious environment we had conflicting egos my brothers and I, and my wife. We all wanted something slightly different. When my wife would start harping on why wasn't I doing like Disney I could hardly wait to finish dinner and get up from my seat to leave the room. For you see, I too wanted to be competitive, but I was under the thumb of Paramount and their patronizing attitude kept me in a sort of a ghetto. My power was limited, and ultimately if I wanted to do something it came down to their agreeing or not. I was more of an entrepreneur and should not have been tied to others for security. I traded my soul for that security of the rich uncle Paramount. Then my other problem was in my distaste for conflict I was not able to push forth my ideas regarding control of the studio (I'm enjoying watching you utilize this computer, it is my first chance to get up so close and see with my own "eyes"). So I ended up a figurehead, and I sought to compensate myself in the power that my name on every screen cartoon held. That is why I grabbed at this and appeared egotistical which annoyed my brothers so much through the years. It was just my way of keeping control over something I felt very much out of control with.

LC: But all the animators loved you and praised your work.

MF: Yes, but I never felt like their leader. I felt more like one of the bullpen, one of the kids hanging out at the art department. Inside I felt that but never let it show. So when I was demonstrating animation techniques to these men, it was only stuff that I had learned from having spent longer years in the business. Most of those guys could do things I never could have in one million years -- although I'm getting my chance now in this timeless experience! Sure they loved me for I was self-effacing and lovable. But it pains me to remember that I was unable to maintain control. I had people telling me what to do, you know. It's not like nobody ever advised me to do this or that, to increase my publicity campaigns and so forth. But the more I was harped upon, the more I receded from the intensity level of their voices and the less got done. I also felt, as you did, that it was unfair to have placed Miss Kane in that position. We all knew she was correct that we had stolen her Boop! But I became enflamed in the Paramount publicity machine and the aggravation over the suit. We were naive about matters such as "rights" in those days and felt we were honoring Miss Kane with our take-off. But I knew in my heart that we had done her a disservice.

LC: How are your brothers doing? How do you all get along now?

MF: They are all fine, and they want to say hello to you! Especially Lou, he loved you and the attention you provided him before his crossing over. Yes, yes, we have all sat down to some good pow-wows over our past disagreements and have come to some good understandings. They forgive me and I them. There are no more hard feelings. Each of us had certain lessons to learn for which the studio provided a classroom. Then almost independently, we all learned the lessons we needed to. We were all very close you understand, a very tight family with much love between us. This is why the tensions mounted as they did because we all, especially myself and Dave, wished to go our own ways to become independent of one another, and yet we were stuck together by a family bond. The closeness then became suffocating.

LC: What plans have you now?

MF: I am planning to be an observer of life for awhile. I want to watch scientific developments. When I become suitably accustomed to life on this side I'll be let in to the scientific discussions and workshops here which I am very excited about. Dave wants to return to earth life soon. He wants to go on the stage and become a physical comedian like Jim Carrey. He thinks he will take it to new levels and I feel he will. Only they're having trouble explaining to him that the future holds new avenues of expression in these directions and there may no longer be similar vehicles for slapstick comedians as there once were. They want him, instead, to settle down, to attend [spirit] classes and think about entering politics in your future, to become sort of a renegade politician and use the pulpit to espouse new ideas in an entertaining way. They think he can reach many folks who otherwise would be hoodwinked by your current brand of dour, angry politician. As a matter of fact, Dave and I may come back together again. We have much to work out and feel we can be successful partners this time, without the antagonism. We may come back as a husband and wife team like your Bill and Hillary, only funnier! That's a joke.

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