Action Analysis &Animation &Animation Artifacts &Disney &Tytla 13 Sep 2012 05:48 am

Tytla’s Terry-Disney Style

- Bill Tytla is probably the finest animator who has graced the history of the medium. He was a brilliant actor who dominates most of the classic early films of Disney work. Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Fantasia are all appreciably greater films because of his work. In studying this master’s work frame by frame you can see a real elasticity to the character, one that is not apparent in the motion of those same characters. There’s true emotion in the acting of these characters, and it’s apparent that he uses that elasticity to get the performances he seeks.

There’s something else there: Tytla’s roots were in Terrytoons: I have no doubt you can take the guy out of Terrytoons, but it seems you can’t take the Terrytoons out of the guy.

Let’s look at some of the drawings from some of the scenes I posted here in the past.

Where better to start than with those gorgeous dwarfs from Snow White. Here’s a scene I posted where all seven are animated on the same level as they carry Grumpy to the wash basin. If he won’t clean himself, then the other six will do the job for him. Take a look at some of the distorted characters in this scene, then run the QT movie. Look for the distortion in the motion.

As for the drawing, like all other Tytla’s scenes it’s beautiful. But tell me you can’t find the Terrytoons hidden behind that beautiful Connie Rasinski-like line.



Flipping over to Stromboli, from Pinocchio, we find animation almost as broad as many Terrytoons, the difference is that Tytla’s drawing that roundness and those enormous gestures on purpose. He knows what he’s doing and is looking to capture the broad immigrant gestures of those Southern European countries. Stromboli goes in and out of distorted drawings, as I made clear in a past post.





A strip by “Paul Terry”as starring his 1930s character, Barker Bill.
Borrowed from Mark Kausler’s blog It’s the Cat.

from the Terry short, The Tempermental Lion

The Laughing Gauchito was a short that was, no doubt, going to be part of The Three Caballeros. Tytla, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston had all animated for the short before Disney, himself, cancelled the production.

Here are three drawings from the film, and they are all beautiful extremes from the scene. (Tytla marked his extremes with an “A” to the right of the number, or at other times with an “X” in the upper right.) The beautiful roundness does not come at the expense of his drawings. Below the Laughing Gauchito we see a cartoon drawing by Carlo Vinci from a 1930′s Terrytoons short.




A Terrytoons drawing by Terry artist Carlo Vinci from a mid ’30s short.
borrowed from Animation Resources

Here’s a scene Bill Tytla did for a Harman-Ising cartoon. He was the supervising animator, and the lack of Disney becomes evident in the drawings. The animation is closer to a Terry short than what he did at Disney’s. The movement feels muddy in that actual cartoon. I’m sure it was his own animation trying to blend with the style of Harman’s work.




Another beautiful Carlo Vinci drawing from a 30′s Terry short.
borrowed from Animation Resources

And here’s a drawing out of a Little Lulu cartoon. I’s not a film directed by Tytla, and is not a good drawing. But Tytla’s influence on all the Lulu shorts at Paramount at the time can’t be denied. It certainly looks more Terrytoon than Paramount. This is not even a good Terry drawing – though its for a Paramount cartoon.

Back at Disney, Tytla animated Willie the Giant from the Mickey short, The Brave Little Tailor. This character, like Stromboli, owes a lot to Terrytoons. I felt this when I first saw the short as a child, and I still think it true. The same, I think, is also true of the same Giant character when he appears in Mickey and the Beanstalk, which Tytla obviously didn’t animate but would have handled if he’d stayed at the studio.




Another Carlo Vinci sketch.
borrowed from Animation Resources

This following, last drawing is a Tytla drawing I own. I know Tytla did it. He gave it to Grim Natwick who gave it to Tissa David who gave it to me. It’s a gem.

10 Responses to “Tytla’s Terry-Disney Style”

  1. on 13 Sep 2012 at 9:52 am 1.John said …

    In regards to Famous, Tytla directed a 1949 Herman the Mouse short “Campus Capers”, which really shows its Terrytoons influences, as all the other mice besides the hero look as if they just took Metro North down to midtown Manhattan from New Rochelle after appearing as extras in the latest Mighty Mouse picture (which answers the never-asked question “What would the characters in a Mighty Mouse cartoon look like if they had slightly better and smoother animation?” It’s certainly not Disney level, but it’s still better-looking overall than what was coming out of Terry’s studio)

  2. on 14 Sep 2012 at 12:50 am 2.Liim Lsan said …

    It’s funny to think that ‘The Brave Little Tailor’ takes inspiration from Terry, and then Terry ripped it off… (“The Two Headed Giant?”)

    OH MY GOD! That cartoon with the starving wolf was Bill Tytla’s animation? I don’t even remember what that cartoon was called, but as a kid I remember seeing it and thinking how it looked better than life with movement and everything – god – anybody in the comments section help a brother out? What was it called?

  3. on 14 Sep 2012 at 3:43 am 3.Michael said …

    Hi Liim,

    Go here to read a complete post about The Hungry Wolf.

  4. on 14 Sep 2012 at 7:24 am 4.Mark Mayerson said …

    A great piece, Michael. But how much was Tytla responsible for forming the Terrytoon style? Certainly if you look at the 1920s Terry cartoons, they’re very angular in design. It’s possible that rather than Tytla carrying the Terry style with him that he was the Terry style and the rest of the Terry studio was aping him.

  5. on 14 Sep 2012 at 9:04 am 5.Thad said …

    I like the root idea of this post: that, yes, “you can take the man out of Terrytoons but you can’t take the Terrytoons out of him.” Yet as a lot of the illustrations that aren’t by Tytla show, a lot of those guys could technically draw as well as him. It’s all a matter of environment or the substance beneath the work. To what level could these other guys have gone had the cards been in their favor?

    BTW, that TEMPERAMENTAL LION model sheet is really from a much later Terry short, THE LYIN’ LION.

  6. on 14 Sep 2012 at 1:35 pm 6.Michael said …

    Mark, you could be right, but I always gave the style to Connie Rasinski. Wasn’t he there the longest? Carlo Vinci was also a brilliant artist who made the style soar.

  7. on 14 Sep 2012 at 3:33 pm 7.Mark Mayerson said …

    Michael, I have to admit that I don’t know when Rasinski arrived at Terrytoons relative to Tytla. Rasinski was 3 years younger than Tytla, but that isn’t enough to determine who was there first.

  8. on 14 Sep 2012 at 4:52 pm 8.Michael said …

    Hi Mark,

    I learned from Before Mickey that Tytla originally arrived at the studio in 1928. There was no word on when Rasinski arrived at the studio. However, Mike Barrier’s Hollywood Cartoons tell sus that in 1942, “When Tytla first came to the Terrytoons studio, Gentilella recalled, “Terry didn’t seem to have a picture ready for him for a while, so he was animating for Mannie Davis and Connie [Rasinski] and Ed [Donnelly].” Nothing about the early years.

    Unfortunately, all my books are in storage at the moment and I have to depend on Google Quotes.

  9. on 14 Sep 2012 at 8:05 pm 9.Thad said …

    Michael and Mark:
    Terrytoons are beyond my knowledge, but Charlie Judkins has researched this neglected studio more seriously than I have. Here’s what he had to say regarding Connie Rasinski:

    “He was Frank Moser’s assistant starting with “College Capers”, which was released Dec 1930 but probably made around September/ October 1930. I’d imagine that’s around the time he started, unless he was working as an office boy or something before that. He became Tytla’s assistant starting with “Clowning” ( released April ’31), and was promoted to animator starting with “Fireman’s Bride” (May ’31). He was a newspaper cartoonist in NY from 1927 – 1930, prior to that he studied under Norman Rockwell.”

  10. on 14 Sep 2012 at 11:52 pm 10.Michael said …

    Many thanks, Thad, and Charlie Judkins, too. Great information. Maybe Mark is right, Tytla may have been one of the ones to set that Terrytoons style. He had to take it with him.

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

eXTReMe Tracker
click for free hit counter

hit counter