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HEAR Ward Kimball's intro at  '78 Annie Awards (mp3 file, 1+ mb) LISTEN to Dick Huemer's speech accepting Annie (mp3 file, 968 kb)

Vintage Audio! Canadian Radio Visits Cartoon Studio (1948) mp3


***Disney's at War: Newly discovered news items***


C O N T E N T S : (click the blue links, not the color splotches)

WARD KIMBALL's introduction at 1978 Annie Awards (this page)

GRIM NATWICK's Memoria (Animation Page 2)

DICK HUEMER's recollections about his career (Animation Page 3)

JOE ADAMSON's interview concerning the Fleischers (Anim. P. 4)




DISNEY'S IN WARTIME (WWII) (Animation Page 7)

FILMOGRAPHY & bio from Disney's (Animation Page 5)

OBITUARY from Daily Variety (Animation Page 6)

  Charles Mintz Studio, 1930s(Animation Page 8a)
  Albert Hurter gallery (Animation Page 8b)
  Who wrote "Baby Weems"? (Animation Page 9)
  Did Popeye typify scurvy? (Medical page 10)
  Christmas card gallery (Animation Page XM03)

WARD KIMBALL's Introduction of Dick Huemer at the Annie Awards, October 1978

When a person is called on to introduce one of the great legendary characters of the animated cartoon industry like the next recipient for the Annie Award, the temptation is to kind of go through the old cliches like, "I take great pleasure in presenting--", "I'm proud to give you--," "It's a thrill--" and so forth. Now those openings are really all right, but for tonight's guest, I really think we should use the word "joy," because this is the way I feel about having the honor of presenting this award. Now I'm talking about Dick Huemer, of course. And now you people sitting out there, you young people, you're going to see really the grand old man of animation. Now this is once in a lifetime. Dick's hard to get out of the house!

I know we have other old timers' clubs like the Nine Old Men at Disney's of which I am supposed to be a member, but nothing in our antiquity compares to the longevity of Dick Huemer in the animation business. To give you sort of a time frame, before I was even born, Dick was doing animation flip books, and when I was but two years old, he was already a full-fledged animator working for Raoul Barre, doing "Mutt and Jeff" feature film--cartoons. And for the next 18 years, he just did about everything. He was a jack-of-all-trades in New York. He even had a

comic strip in one of the New York papers. He worked for all of them. Besides Barre, he worked for the Fleischer brothers, he worked for Charlie Mintz, and he finally came out and started working for Walt Disney.

Now it wasn't until the mid thirties that I started working there, and my first job was to learn inbetweening, so they put me down in sort of a basement room at the old Hyperion Studio, which was called the bull pen. But they didn't warn me of some of the hazards of that room, because every

Scrappy character
day at quarter to twelve and at quarter to five, all the animators from the floor above would come stampeding down this wooden stairway, all scrambling for the exit. And nothing I could do but watch. Of course then I didn't know an animator from a janitor, and in those days there wasn't too much difference.

But one person began to stand out. I began to notice him. He was a dapper little guy, who had kind of a ruddy complexion, wore a pork-pie hat dipped at a rakish angle with a little shaving brush up here, had a very New York cosmopolitan mustache, and he wore very tweedy suits. You know those things where they have those little horse hairs sticking out of the shoulders. And from the back it looks like he put on the coat without taking the coat hanger out. Now the next thing I noticed was that you only saw about one inch of his fingers out the bottom of his coat. But the most outstanding thing about him was that he never moved his arms when he walked! I mean really all of us, you know, when we walk, we swing our arms-- Not this guy. And I was fascinated, because here he would come (mimics Dick's walk). It began to worry me. I stopped one of the assistants, Tom Oreb, and I said, "What's with this guy? He walks and doesn't move his arms." He said, "Shhh. That's Dick Huemer. He doesn't have any elbows."

Anyway, about six months later, I got kicked upstairs to work as Ham Luske's assistant, and fortunately Dick Huemer was in the next room. And we were subjected to daily vocal barrages from that room, from Dick's room. Everything from quotations from Shakespeare, arias from operas, even chic French quotations, and what I like best of all, when he'd rip his film on the movieola, he'd always lapse into a guttural Webber and Fields dialogue. And this intrigued me and so I started thinking of excuses to go in there. I guess I wanted to find out if he really did have elbows or not. So I'd go in there and start talking, and every time I'd walk in there, he'd always say the same thing, "Well if it isn't Kid Warmball." That's all he ever said when I came into the room, "Well if it isn't Kid Warmball." But he was a delight to talk to, because he would tell me about the old days in the studios and all the old methods they used to achieve animated cartoons, and I just sopped this up. What a wonderful conversationalist. He could talk on any subject--art, music, history. He could tell you exactly how many English bow men that Henry the Fifth had at the Battle of Ashincourt. No kidding. He could talk about medicine. He was the first guy to tell me about cholesterol. I never heard that before.

Dick Huemer was a jack of all trades. He was an animator, and I loved his animation. It was always funny. Remember the Duck in "The Band Concert" with those goddamn whistles? He was a director. He was a story man. And he was a very important sequence story man on FANTASIA. In fact, we owe it most to Dick Huemer for the fact that Walt Disney was weaned away from John Phillips Souza and introduced to the classics! Walt learned all about Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky through Dick Huemer's tutelage.

Well, I'll have to admit that I spent a couple of days last week going up and down Hollywood Boulevard into those para-military shops trying to find a second-hand purple heart, because I really wanted to give this to Dick along with the Annie tonight, because of all the people that deserve it, all of the things he had to put up with, all of the stupid Sammy Glicks that we had at Disney's from time to time, he weathered the storm. And he really deserves it. Now what carried him through was his wonderful sense of humor. He always made you feel good. He was a joy to be around. And so I think it's time to--I should say like the opening, it's a great pleasure, it's a great thrill, it's a great honor to bring the real grand old man of animation up here, who still has all his elbows, Hume Dicker!

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