Sunday, June 18, 2017

An Ollie Johnston Masterpiece

One of the greatest acting/comedy scenes in Disney Animation.
That's actor Don Barclay as Mr. Smee pretending to give Captain Hook a shave. Of course Smee doesn't realize that he is actually shaving the rear of a seagull.
Ollie took great advantage of the comic possibilities. The staging is hilarious, I have no idea how he came up with Smee's exaggerated poses during this dialogue scene. And his face shows amazing flexibility and range. I love the nervous acting as he adjusts his glasses and pulls on his hat when realizing that Hook's head is missing. This is definitely a scene worth studying frame by frame, the timing is ingenious as well.

Ollie had Milt Kahl go over some of these expressions. I do have a few of those sketches and will show them on my next post.


  1. Those exaggerated head movements are probably attributed to Ollie's mentor, Fred Moore. I always thought Ollie was his best protégé.

  2. Hi Andreas, apologies for hijacking your comments section, but I wanted to contact you with an animation teaching proposal. I have an old email address for you, but it's not working anymore. If you could contact me at andylatham82 [at] hotmail [dot] com I'd really appreciate it. Thanks! :)

  3. A few weeks back I posted a link to some old concept sketches or storyboards I found on lost media forums that showed a seagull making a nest and laying an egg on Captain Hook's head. I think maybe this is related to those sketches or at least a similar scene?
    If you have more drawings I would love to see them. I love connecting the dots between concept drawings and final art.

    Thanks so much

    1. Do you mind sharing that link again?
      Correct me if wrong, but I believe the seagull in this sequence was actually animated by Ham Luske, one of Disney's most underrated animators. In the full sequence, Ham Luske got almost as much expression out of the seagull as Ollie got out of Smee, especially when the seagull wakes up. Two artistic geniuses collaborating on one of the movie's funniest scenes.

      Ham Luske was an artistic genius who is sadly under appreciated now. He for some reason got stuck with animating a lot of bird characters, like Jenny Wren, the peculiar penguins, and this nesting seagull. He also worked on Snow White the character.

      If you have some, I would love to see Ham Luske work. Thanks!

    2. Here is the link again:

      I didn't know Ham Luske also worked on this part. Thanks for the info.

  4. "Captain? Oh, dear! I never shaved him this close before!"