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Glen Keane, Disney's greatest modern animator, calls it quits on Disney!

Hey folks, Harry here...   I wouldn't classify this as SAD NEWS.  More like it's a shame.   I love the history of Disney Animation - and if we have any single old school pencil and paper animator that has worked in the modern history of Disney Classic 2D Animation, whose character work, design and nuance of performance could be held up with a degree of truthful admirable comparison to the great Disney animators of the classic era...  it would be Glen Keane.

Glen didn't start his animation career at Disney, he was a Layout Artist on LASSIE'S RESCUE RANGERS, MY FAVORITE MARTIANS and the classic animated STAR TREK series - which some folks like myself & Merrick love equally to the original classic STAR TREK - and that is in no small part due to the layout work of Glen Keane.

Then he got started on his long & storied career at Walt Disney Animation.  Working on Penny and Bernard in THE RESCUERS, then upon Elliot on PETE'S DRAGON.   He was the supervising animator on that ferocious Bear in THE FOX AND THE HOUND.  

Then on MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL he animated Willie The Giant as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  He did character designing on Gurgi & Eilonwy in THE BLACK CAULDRON, but then really did awesome work animating the rat-personification of Vincent Price as Professor Ratigan for THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE.   

Everything changed when he designed and animated Ariel for THE LITTLE MERMAID.  I have his work hanging in our bedroom.   Little Mermaid is Yoko's favorite Disney Animated film and it's a wonder.   The personality and life he embued Ariel with is just amazing.  The emotion in her eyes, The excitement and giddiness that he put into her.   I've been playing DRAW SOMETHING for the last few days and when I had to do ARIEL, I'm afraid my drawing suffered greatly by comparison.

Then he animated THE BEAST in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.   Wow.  If you've seen the work in progress of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - you've seen Glen at his full awesome powers as an artist and animator.   He owned the character.   It was also around this time that Jeffrey Katzenberg started publicizing the animators in the PR campaigns and Glen became the star animator for Disney Animation.

As a result, he drew Aladdin in ALADDIN.   I also had to draw this character on DRAW SOMETHING and it was miserably done.   Glen's was perfect.  I always thought his Aladdin looked a bit like Tom Cruise.

My favorite work of his though.   For pure animation wow.   It's his TARZAN. I have seen just about every ounce of his work on TARZAN in pencil animation form and it's breathtaking.  Had somebody drop kicked the stupid out of that film, it could have been the best thing Disney had done.  Certainly Glen's work on TARZAN was the stand-out.

Since then though...  Disney hasn't really known what to do with Glen.  PIXAR rose - and the 2D department at Disney had nothing but stupid running it.  

TANGLED was to be Glen's baby - back when it was called RAPUNZEL.  It got nasty behind the scenes and Glen was no longer in charge of the production.  The resulting film was fun, but definitely far from being a classic.

If I were a Billionaire - I'd meet with Glen Keane and create the 21st Century Animation Studio.  A repository for 2D animators and artists...  and I'd let Glen animate his dreams for us.  It'd be the right thing to do.  "From the man that brought you ARIEL, ALADDIN, THE BEAST, POCAHONTAS & TARZAN comes..." the next thing I'm buying a ticket to.   

Personally, I feel DISNEY should do an ABC Special about Glen's career and wishing him well.  It'd be the classy thing to do.  However, here's a playlist of Glen Keane's work - Enjoy it and dream of what he'll do next!!!

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