london 1989

10 02 2009

in 1989 DISNEY started another ‘london adventure’. probably after the good experience with european artists in london on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT two years earlier, disney choose JILL and DICK PURDUM as the directors for an animated adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. dick and jill had an animation commercial-studio in the westend. their own work commitments did not allow them to leave london immediately to work on the project in L.A., so they all decided to move some of the disney artists for a few months to london to work on a story-reel of the project. some european artists were added to the team.


there was DON HAHN, the producer. ANDREAS DEJA and GLEN KEANE from animation, TOM SITO story, JEAN GILMORE visual development, DEREK GOGOL from london for production design, MICHAEL DUDOC DE WITT from london as well for storyboard, and me for storyboard, color and design.




we worked all in the purdum studio early fall of 1989. I will always keep these weeks in my memory as one of the best work experiences. to be in such a creative environment with all these high caliber artists and especially with JILL and DICK as the ‘parents’ of the project, and DON HAHN with his unmatched humour. all of us were so committed that we worked 14, 16 hours a day. I remember that I did not get anything of the london sightseeing. we just worked like crazy. and we finished in a very short time a story reel in FULL COLOR, about 50 min. long – the first act. it was not a typical disney movie, more a european version. but we all believed in it.



well, they didn’t in L.A., and probably because they felt so bad to throw all our work in the trash, they decided to send us to the LOIRE-area in france, where BEAUTY AND THE BEAST might have happened in one of those beautiful castles. our trip lasted four days, – maybe twenty castles, lots of driving, even more historic anecdotes from ‘historian’ TOM SITO, and a lot of fun.



good memories from twenty years ago now!



2 responses

10 02 2009
Nancy Beiman

A 50-minute long first act?
And 16-18 hour days?

Are you sure about that last bit?

from hans –
maybe it was a little bit too long just for the first act.
but it was not final anyway. and the worktime was 14 – 16
hours usually. nobody asked for the time. I spent several nights sleeping in the studio.
and I did not look at it as work, not once!

28 02 2009

I was lucky enough to work at Purdums immediately after I left college in 2000 and loved every minute of it – there were some amazingly talented people working there and I just felt amazed and honoured to be woking with them as an assitant. Jill and Dick nurtured a real family mentality which I have rarely seen replicated since, and the desire to produce high quality work was really inspiring. It was such a shame when they shut in 2002 – one of the last truly great 2D London animation studios vanished forever and the void still hasn’t been filled.
On another note – Jill kindly gave me an animation desk they didn’t need for me to use at home – from looking at the top photo and other ones Hans has posted years before – the desk I was given looks AMAZINGLY exactly like the one Glen Keane is using LOL! Just maybe I’ve got Glen’s old desk sat in my flat?!?! Sadly if this is so, none of his magic has rubbed off onto me….!
Great to see these photos Hans!

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