my friend jenny

10 12 2008


just found in my notes from 1994 a funny story JOE GRANT and BERNIE MATHINSON told me. it must have been in the fifties, bernie’s wife had read PAUL GALLICO’S story MY FRIEND JENNY. she liked it a lot and recommended it to FRANCK THOMAS, OLLIE JOHNSTON and MILT KAHL, three of the top animators in the disney studio. the three of them recommended the story to WALT himself, result – disney bought the rights!
immediately they started thinking about an animated version. the disneyland TV show was very big in those days, so, they thought to introduce the story in one of the shows. BILL PEET, top story man, got the job to prepare the show – CATS -.
walt was supposed to do the introduction and he had to have a real cat next to him – of course. bill peet brought his own cat. she apparently didn’t like walt and bit him.
that was the end of cat-movies in the studio. until – ARISTOCATS. and that didn’t do well!
the reason we talked about it was, that nothing ever changed. executives of more recent times had their problems with certain animals and reacted the same way.




2 responses

11 12 2008
Nancy Beiman

Joe was also working on Paul Gallico’s novel THE ABANDONED for years.
Disney had some other cat stories in development over the years, notably FRAIDY CAT, but they were never produced. I dunno, maybe cats are still not popular.

11 12 2008

nancy, MY FRIEND JENNY and THE ABANDONED are the same story. I worked with joe
on the story for a short while. he wanted it to take place during the san franzisco
earthquake in 1904. unfortunately the executives at that time had different ideas.
there are a lot of incredible stories written by PAUL GALLICO. my absolute favorite

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