One of the bonus features on the recently released Peter Pan Diamond Edition blu-ray is a documentary called Growing Up With Nine Old Men. As you may know, Walt Disney had nine main animators who worked on many of the classic Disney films. Because of their outstanding work for The Walt Disney Company, they have all been named Disney Legends. The documentary included on the blu-ray disc focuses on the Nine Old Men through the eyes of their children.
The children of the Nine Old Men had interesting lives growing up with their animator fathers. Ward Kimball’s children and Ollie Johnston’s children grew up with a large train layouts in their backyards, which they thought was completely normal. Many of the animators’ children thought their fathers had rather normal occupations, while their friends were amazed that their dads were animators for Walt Disney. While some of the children grew up to pursue non-artistic occupations, Les Clark’s daughter has found inspiration from her father’s work which she now implements into her own works of art.
The children of Walt’s Nine Old Men shared many other childhood stories including life lessons learned from their dads and stories illustrating the personalities of each animator. Some of the children shared a story about when they created a slingshot to shoot little cars down the hallway of the animation studios. One of the cars hit a door which was then opened from the other side by Walt himself.
The insights and stories shared by the children of Walt’s Nine Old Men make this documentary truly fantastic. They allow a glimpse into of the personal lives of each animator and their families. Growing Up With Nine Old Men is a must see for any Disney history fan!