Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The End Of An Era: RIP Ollie Johnston (1912-2008)

"The Jungle Book" was a landmark movie in many ways. It was the last movie that was in production under Walt, and was finished and released after his death.The future of Disney Animation rested on the success or failure of that movie.

It was also the pinnacle of Ollie Johnston's and Frank Thomas' work as character animators.They took Mowgli and Balloo where no animated character had gone before.
And one more thing...it was the first movie I remember seeing in the theaters as a child at the age of around 5-6.

You would understand when I say that the world has a little less magic today.

Very rarely am I so inspired by people whom i don't really know personally.Who are not my family & friends.There are very few exceptions, and Ollie Johnston was one of them.
To say he was a legend, is an understatement.It's like growing up in the times of Picasso /Da Vinchi or Michaelangelo...who's works and lives would give birth to an art-form that you spend your inspire you to pursue their arts to begin with.

So how does one express the feeling of passing away of such a master/pioneer.This isn't a new feeling for me because in the last decade we have witnessed the demise of some of the greatest minds and pioneers in the art of animation (arguably the last TRUE art form to be born).But the passing of Ollie is a lot worse.Why? Because he was the last one.We are done here. The dinosaurs are finally extinct.He was last of the legendary Nine Old Men.There are simply no more.

Don't get me wrong, there are geniuses out there..but everyone at the end of the are just students of the generation that Ollie represented.
Walt Disney along with his brilliant animators created the animation and elevated it to the art form that it is today.

Here is a 3 part "Disney Family Album" featuring Ollie Johnston.

Ollie's personal contributions are not limited to the work he did for the big screen. He with his equal partner in crime ,Frank Thomas (who expired a few years earlier), found ways to share their wealth of knowledge and wisdom through various formats.A must for any fan/admirer of the arts in general and animation in particular.

One of the best documentaries ever, something that inspires me every time I see it ( I see it at least 2-3 times a year), Frank & Ollie
The bible of animation.If there is only ONE book you ever need to understand animation , it would be this one. Aptly titled, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation

Though I never had the opportunity to meet him or any of them personally, I feel honored to have lived in the same day and age as these masters.
Am very sad today , but I feel very thankful too because I JUST don't know what would I do without animation in my life. So,thanks Ollie for giving me my passion. You will be missed!

1 comment:

  1. that is a sad news for the animaton wold , truly The End Of An Era