Interview: Blaine Gibson (Disney animation starting in 1939)

Blaine Gibson began his Disney career in animation in 1939, and worked on some of Disney’s early classic features, animated shorts and even military films during World War II. Eventually Blaine began sculpting for Disney, creating the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, Abraham Lincoln for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all the president before Barrack Obama for Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Mark Twain and others for the American Adventure in Epcot, and much more. Blaine also sculpted the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

Blaine Gibson (left), Blaine Gibson, Shani Wolf, Scott Wolf, Harriet Burns (right)
Blaine Gibson (left), On the Disney Studios lot, Blaine Gibson, Shani Wolf, Scott Wolf, Harriet Burns (right)


1:11 Blaine Gibson’s start in Disney animation; His first drawing

5:26 Learning that he got a job for Disney while chopping wood in 1939

9:44 At the Disney studio on Hyperion Avenue; Beginning in “traffic”; Listening to the Philadelphia Symphony recording for “Fantasia”; Exploring the Disney Studios

12:35 Getting into production as an in-betweener; Working on his first scene in the Pluto short “Bone Trouble”; Fantasia, Pinocchio and Bambi

14:26 In-betweeners/assistant animators/breakdown men and about the animation process; working for Ken Hultgren on Bambi; Art classes at the Disney Studios, and instructor Rico Lebrun

17:57 Walt’s goals in animation; Believability – not real, but believable

26:56 Sculpting, starting at five years old; The thrill of drawing; Effects animation; World War II films; Becoming assistant to great animator Frank Thomas