An Era Has Passed

On an old blog I wrote about the passing of Luciano Pavarotti, his music was a favorite of my father’s and was in the background of most of my youth. Even as a head banger in the eighties I would venture into my room for a moment of serenity and listen to his incredible voice singing from La Boheme, Tosca and the like. I often feel that ties to those days are disappearing at a rate of speed unfathomable. I do not cling to the past but there are so many things that we should recognize as formative and seemingly indelible that in the end must past and they catch me off guard. Pavarotti was one, we have now lost another.

Oliver Martin Johnston, (October 31, 1912 – April 14, 2008, was the last living member of Disney’s Nine Old Men. Along with his lifelong friend Frank Thomas (1912-2004) and the 7 other members of that august group, Ollie was responsible for the developing the core of the animation world. Those men inspired me to become an animator and I owe so much of my skill and understanding to them. In a documentary on the friendship and work of Frank and Ollie, as Johnston was known, Historian John Culhane speaks about their abilities; “For the first time, moving drawings had become… moving.” These men poured their heart and souls into the medium and everything we enjoy about animation today owes itself to these pioneers. I am deeply saddened by the passing of the last. They will all be missed.

Anyone who wishes to become an animator should study these men.

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