Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Tribute to Burny Mattinson

Mattinson is one of the few remaining Disney artists that worked with Walt Disney on the animation of Disney creations we know and love. He began his career working in the mailroom at Disney at the age of 18 with no formal art training. Soon he was working as an in-betweener on Lady and the Tramp and shortly after became an assistant animator on Sleeping Beauty. He worked on other movies such as 101 Dalmatians, The Sword and the Stone, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and Robin Hood.

He got his big break however, as key animator of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.
Mattinson states that his biggest challenge on this project was to make Winnie and his friends exactly as they had in the previous two movies. This not only meant modeling them correctly, but giving them the characteristics, features, movements, and life that the characters had previously. I find this very interesting because you never think much about everything that goes into maintaining certain characters throughout multiple movies, but the minute something is off or doesn't feel right about a character audiences know really well, it can easily ruin the movie and you often wonder why the creators didn't do something to fix that.

After Pooh, Mattinson went on to direct Mickey's Christmas Carol in 1983 that was nominated for an Academy Award as well as write, produce, and direct The Great Mouse Detective (one of my favorite Disney movies) in 1984.

Interestingly enough however, Mattinson is primarily remembered for his work on the original Winnie the Pooh featurettes because he is the only crew member left to have worked with Walt Disney and the "Nine Old Men." In a sense, he has almost become the Pooh guru and as long as he is alive, I doubt the cartoon will be reopened again without him. This is fortunate because Winnie the Pooh is one of few childrens' stories that truly has become timeless, kids still love it now just as much as children did when the first movie was release in 1964.

Below, Mattinson addresses his work on Winnie the Pooh, how he feels about the other characters he created, and what it was like to work with Walt Disney

For more information on Mattinson, visit this website with an exclusive interview of Mattinson by Animated Views.

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