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Ward Kimball

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For the Disneyland Railroad locomotive named after Ward Kimball, see Ward Kimball (locomotive).

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Ward Kimball
Background information
Born Ward Walrath Kimball
March 4, 1914
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died July 8, 2002 (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Cause of death
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Alternate names
Occupation(s) Animator
Years active 1935-1980
Spouse(s)
Partner(s)
Children
Walt-Disney-Animators-Ward-Kimball-walt-disney-characters-22959610-650-776
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Ward Walrath Kimball (March 4, 1914 - July 8, 2002) was an animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios from 1934 to 1972, and was also one of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men.

Career

While Kimball was a brilliant draftsman, he preferred to work on comical characters rather than realistic human designs. Animating came easily to him and he was constantly looking to do things differently. Because of this, Walt Disney called Ward a genius in the book The Story of Walt Disney. While there were many talented animators at Disney, Ward's efforts stand out as unique.

Kimball created several classic Disney characters, including the Crows in Dumbo; Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland; the Mice, Lucifer the Cat and Bruno the Dog from Cinderella; and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio. He also animated the famous "Three Caballeros" musical number from the Disney film of the same name.

In 1953, Kimball became a director and was responsible for the Academy Award-winning short Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, and three Disney television shows about outer space that put the United States into the space program. He received an Academy Award for the short animated cartoon It's Tough to Be a Bird.

Ward Kimball was profiled by the Academy Award-winning producer Jerry Fairbanks in his Paramount Pictures film short series Unusual Occupations. This 35mm Magnacolor film short was released theatrically in 1944 and focused on Kimball's backyard railroad and full-sized locomotive.

Kimball was also a jazz trombonist. He founded and led the seven-piece Dixieland band Firehouse Five Plus Two, in which he played trombone. The band made at least 13 LP records and toured clubs, college campuses and jazz festivals from the 1940s to early 1970s. Kimball once said that Walt Disney permitted the second career as long as it did not interfere with his animation work.

Kimball continued to work at Disney up until the early 1970s, working on the Disney anthology television series, being one of the writers for Babes in Toyland, creating animation for Mary Poppins, directing the animation for Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and working on titles for feature films such as The Adventures Of Bullwhip Griffin and Million Dollar Duck. His last staff work for Disney was producing and directing the Disney TV show The Mouse Factory. He continued to do various projects on his own, even returning to Disney to do some publicity tours. Additionally, Kimball worked on an attraction for Disney's EPCOT Center called World of Motion.

Kimball also produced two editions of a volume titled Art Afterpieces,[1] in which he revised various well-known works of art, such as putting Mona Lisa's hair up in curlers, showing Whistler's Mother watching TV, and adding a Communist flag and Russian boots to Pinkie.

While his only two acting appearances on film were an uncredited role as a jazz musician (with his fellow members of the Firehouse Five Plus Two) in Hit Parade of 1951 and as an IRS Chief in Mike Jittlov's The Wizard of Speed and Time, Kimball also served as host of Disney's Man and the Moon episode of the Disney Space television series of 1956. He also appeared as himself in an episode of the popular TV show You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx on March 18, 1954. As of 2010 the episode is available in a DVD box-set from Amazon.

According to Neal Gabler's biography of Disney, Ward was a key figure in the dissemination of the urban legend that Walt Disney had instructed that his body be preserved by cryonics after his death.

Amid Amidi has written a biography of Kimball, Full Steam Ahead: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball, slated for publication in the fall of 2012

Characters animated by Kimball

Kimball

A model sheet depicting Casey Junior's engineer from Dumbo, modeled after Ward Kimball's likeness.

Disney Director

Death

Kimball died in 2002 in Los Angeles, California of complications from pneumonia at age 88. In 2005, the Disneyland Railroad named their newly acquired Engine №5 the "Ward Kimball" in his memory.

Grizzly Flats Railroad

Along with his employer and friend Walt Disney, and fellow mate Ollie Johnston, Kimball also collected old railroad ephemera. Kimball was an avid railway enthusiast and donated his 3 ft (914 mm) gauge collection to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California. A full-sized steam locomotive, - which Kimball ran on his private 3-acre (12,000 m2) backyard railroad known as "Grizzly Flats Railroad" in San Gabriel, California - bears some of his original artwork on the headlamp and cab, and is on permanent display at the museum.[5]

In addition to the full-size equipment, Kimball was also an avid collector of model trains.

Kimball is also credited with helping Walt Disney for the inspiration to install the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland. Inspiration for the Disneyland Railroad also partly came from Walt's own personal 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge, live steam backyard Carolwood Pacific Railroad -- also partly built by Ward. Kimball's Grizzly Flats train station was the model for the Disneyland Frontierland Train Station. Engine #5 of the Disneyland Railroad is called Ward Kimball.

Kimball's talents are also evident in the reproduction steam locomotives built for the National Park Service at the Golden Spike site at Promontory, Utah. Kimball helped match colors with an engine at the Smithsonian Institution and painted the artwork for the replicas of the Union Pacific No. 119 and Central Pacific Jupiter built by O'Connor Engineering Laboratories for the Park Service.[7]

In recognition to his love of railroading and support of the Orange Empire Railway Museum, the Perris Transit Center, where OERM historic trains travel to, is dedicated to Mr. Kimball. In a rare deviation from their usually tight copyright policy, Disney permitted the city to decorate the transit center with Kimball's artwork. The center is currently served by Riverside Transit Agency buses, with train service projected to begin in 2011 as part of the Metrolink Perris Valley Line.

Gallery


Walt Disney Animation Studios - Transparent Logo

In the Past
Disney's Nine Old Men: Milt Kahl | Frank Thomas | Ollie Johnston | Les Clark | John Lounsbery | Marc Davis | Ward Kimball | Eric Larson | Wolfgang Reitherman

Animators: Bill Tytla | Art Babbitt | Preston Blair | Ed Love | Fred Moore | Shamus Culhane | Cy Young | Don Lusk | Norman Ferguson | Hal King | Jack Hannah | Jack Kinney | Cliff Nordberg | Bob Carlson | Hal Ambro | Ken O'Brien | Judge Whitaker | Eric Cleworth | Harvey Toombs | Marvin Woodward | Bill Justice | Jerry Hathcock | Hugh Fraser | Clair Weeks | Don Bluth | Berny Wolf | Don Towsley | Norman Tate | John Bradbury | Lynn Karp | Charles A. Nichols | Art Palmer | Joshua Meador | Don Tobin | Robert Martsch | George Rowley | John McManus | Don Patterson | John Elliotte | Phil Duncan | George Kreisel | John Freeman | Jack Campbell | Ed Aardal | Blaine Gibson | Ken Hultgren | Fred Kopietz | George Nicholas | Bob Youngquist | John Kennedy | Henry Tanous | Dick Lucas | John Sibley | John Ewing | Walt Stanchfield | Fred Hellmich | Blaine Gibson | Julius Svendsen | Bill Keil | Andy Paliwoda

Visual Development, Layout, Background Artists and Character Designers: Gustaf Tenggren | Mary Blair | David Hall | Joe Grant | Campbell Grant | Mel Shaw | Claude Coats | Don DaGradi | John Hench | Art Riley | Eyvind Earle | Thelma Witmer | Al Dempster | Dick Anthony | Don Griffith | Ralph Hulett | Ray Huffine | Art Landy | Brice Mack | Al Zinnen | Ken O'Connor | Charles Philippi | McLaren Stewart | Tom Codrick | Hugh Hennesy | Lance Nolley | Thor Putnam | Albert Hurter | John Miller | Martin Provensen | John Walbridge | Dick Kelsey | Kay Nielsen | Terrell Stapp | John Hubley | Merle Cox | Ray Huffine | Mac Stewart | Jimi Trout | Basil Davidovich | Jack Hubler | Erni Nordli | Victor Haboush | Homer Jonas | Ray Aragon | Frank Artimage | Walt Peregoy | Bill Layne | Fil Mottola | Richard H. Thomas | Dale Barnhart | Anthony Rizzo | Sylvia Roemer

Storyboard Artists and Writers: Ted Sears | Bill Peet | Ralph Wright | Erdman Penner | Winston Hibler | Joe Rinaldi | Milt Banta | Bill Cottrell | Webb Smith | Aurelius Battaglia | Otto Englander | Joseph Sabo | Dick Huemer | Tom Oreb | Del Connell | Floyd Norman

Directors: Clyde Geronimi | Hamilton Luske | Wilfred Jackson | Bill Roberts | Jack Kinney | Ben Sharpsteen | Art Stevens | Ted Berman | Richard Rich

Producers: Walt Disney | Winston Hibler | Ron Miller | Joe Hale | Ken Anderson

In the Renaissance, the Present and the Revival
Directors: Ron Clements | John Musker | Rob Minkoff | Roger Allers | Chris Buck | Chris Williams | George Scribner | Jennifer Lee | Rich Moore | Don Hall | Gary Trousdale | Kirk Wise

Producers: Peter Del Vecho | Don Hahn | Clark Spencer

Executive Producers: John Lasseter

Supervising Animators: Glen Keane | Andreas Deja | Randy Haycock | Alex Kupershmidt | Anthony DeRosa | Eric Goldberg | Mark Henn | John Pomeroy | T. Daniel Hofstedt | Tony Bancroft | Tom Bancroft | Tony Fucile | Russ Edmonds | Duncan Marjoribanks | Ruben Aquino | Nik Ranieri | Ron Husband | Rick Farmiloe

Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Paul Felix | Andy Gaskill | Dean DeBlois | Lorna Cook | Bill Schwab | Lisa Keene | Claire Keane | Chen Yi-Chang | Vance Gerry | Brittney Lee


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