The Life and Times of Ward Kimball

The Life and Times of Ward Kimball : Maverick of Disney Animation

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Besides Walt Disney, no one seemed more key to the development of animation at the Disney Studios than Ward Kimball (1914-2002). Kimball was Disney's friend and confidant.

In this engaging, cradle-to-grave biography, award-winning author Todd James Pierce explores the life of Ward Kimball, a lead Disney animator who worked on characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter. Through unpublished excerpts from Kimball's personal writing, material from unpublished interviews, and new information based on interviews conducted by the author, Pierce defines the life of perhaps the most influential animator of the twentieth century.

As well as contributing to classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio, from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, Kimball established a highly graphic, idiosyncratic approach to animation alongside the studio's more recognizable storybook realism. In effect, Ward Kimball became the only animator to run his own in-studio production team largely outside of Walt Disney's direction. In the 1950s and 1960s, he emerged as a director and producer of his own animation, while remaining inside Disney's studio.

Through Kimball, the studio developed a series of nonfiction animation programs in the 1950s that members of Congress pointed to as paving the way for NASA. The studio also allowed Kimball's work to abandon some ties to conventional animation, looking instead to high art and graphic design as a means of creating new animated forms, which resulted in films that received multiple Academy Award nominations and two awards.

Throughout his life, Kimball was a maverick animator, an artist who helped define the field of American animation, and a visionary who sought to expand the influence of animated films.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 589.67g
  • Jackson, United States
  • English
  • 1496820967
  • 9781496820969
  • 67,452

Review quote

I've never read a better, more detailed account of the tensions and day-to-day reality of the bitter studio strike of 1941. Ward tried to rise above it, while his pal Walt Kelly simply stopped showing up for work rather than deal with it. This is a superb biography, essential reading for anyone who values Disney history.--https: // In straightforward, objective prose, Pierce reconstructs the emergent America in which Kimball was born, grew up, and, through unsurpassed mastery of his pencil yoked to a delicate balance of subservience and friendship, ascended to a position of influence with one of the 20th century's most powerful influencers. While he documents Kimball's life and times panoramically, Pierce shows keen appreciation of Kimball's very complex art, generally focusing on the development of creative solutions to technical and aesthetic problems.--James Earp "Witness " The Life and Times of Ward Kimball is an immensely readable biography, packed with detailed information and displaying obvious passion for its subject. Pierce's passion for Kimball and his work is palpable, and yet he never falls into the trap of presenting Kimball as a maligned auteur. Instead, he takes pains to show how Disney worked as a studio, with a productive tension between the management and the artists, and a focus on collaborative work.--John A. Riley "Fantasy/Animation " Any Disney fan will have a truer understanding of Walt's world after experiencing this book.--Tim Baldwin "AMUSEMENT TODAY "
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About Todd James Pierce

Todd James Pierce, Orcutt, California, is professor of literature at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Pierce is the author of four previous books, including Newsworld, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park, the latter published by University Press of Mississippi. His work has appeared in over seventy magazines and journals, including the Harvard Review, the Georgia Review, and the North American Review.
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Rating details

19 ratings
4.63 out of 5 stars
5 74% (14)
4 16% (3)
3 11% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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