Here’s a piece originally posted back in March, 2007.
- Let me share an image with you.
When Raggedy Ann & Andy was winding down, in 1977, Richard Williams asked me, over dinner, whether I would be interested in working in London on his feature, The Cobbler and the Thief. He had in mind one sequence which he said would be all mine. This was the film’s opening – a slow truck into the island where all the action of the film would take place.
This was a photostat of this island. The original drawing, Dick had said, was enormous. It was composed of many smaller segments that were pinned together on a wall in his studio. If you look closely you can see those dividers in this photostat. To give a better indication of the detail in this drawing, I’m posting, below, a second image of a small portion of it.
The idea of it exhilarated me. The conceit of the scene was that the entire city would be animated. Hundreds of moving elements. The piece would be done in parts and optically pasted together. (This was the age berfore computers.)
I believe Dick had said that Roy Naisbitt was involved with it, and that was something to get me going. I’d read about many of Dick’s staff and had already placed them on pedestals – including Roy’s work. I would not only get to meet them but work with them as well.
I decided not to take the job. I thought it would be better to remain friends with Dick than to continue working with him. That decision is something I don’t regret. It would have been fun to have been involved with that film, but so much has happened in my life by staying put, that I have no regrets.
The storyboard for the original cut of Dick’s film included these panels which led into the image of the animated city. A still of the city remained in the Miramax/Fred Calvert version, but that’s all.