Archive for January, 2011

My health with Tex Avery at the gym.

Posted in Out and about on January 21, 2011 by dorselanpher

In my book I mentioned that I try to get to the gym every other day. I do 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and then work out for 20 or 30 minutes on the free weights.

This morning I had just started my 30 minutes on the machine when a charming young lady jumped on the treadmill directly in front of me. She was very attractive and many years younger than I. She wore black skin tight pants and a black top to match. Being behind her provided me with an inspirational view for my exercise routine.

I had punched the machine’s buttons for my age, weight, time and speed, and it calculated my heart rate that I’m was to achieve, 94 beats per minute.

As my heart rate climbed to the calculated rate I soon reached my limit, but the young lady, no longer jogging on the treadmill, was now running at a good speed. I was keeping my senior citizen pace for a heart rate of 94 beats per minute but I couldn’t help but watch her. As George Harrison said, “Something in the way she moved”. I started seeing myself as if I was chasing her. She was in front of me running and I was behind her, well, not running, but I was keeping up. It was a Tex Avery cartoon! I was still “walking” my speedy senior citizen’s pace but she wasn’t getting away from me! What luck! I looked down at my machine and it showed my heart rate at 103 and climbing. My heart was speeding up to catch her. The more I watched her run the faster my heart was beating. It reached 107 beats per minute. How fast can a guy’s heart beat? Fortunately for me she slowed her pace to a jog. The bottom of her top was slipping up and the top of her bottoms was slipping down, so she had to slow her run to make adjustments.

Her wardrobe antics kept me from looking down at my heart rate indicator, not sure how high it got, and she finished her jog just in time for my heart to slow to a survivable speed. I thought maybe, being an old guy, that I had had enough exercise for the day. How much can a guy’s heart take?

As Rod Stewart sang in song, “This old heart of mine’s been broke a thousand times, yes it has.” But I didn’t break it today and I had a great workout.


A Jim Hill Media review

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2011 by dorselanpher

“Flyin’ Chunks” looks back at Dorse Lanpher’s 48 years at Disney & Don Bluth’s animation studios

Jim Hill
28 Dec 2010 11:06 PM
  • Dorse Lanpher has a real eye for detail. Which is just what you’d expect from one of the top effects artists in feature animation.

But as it turns out, Lanpher was able to use his eye for detail for more than just creating all those fire, water  and shadow effects that you’ve seen in  most Disney animated features from “Sleeping Beauty” all the way through to “Home on the Range.” Given that Dorse had a front row seat for an amazing amount of animation history during the 48 years that he worked in the industry, Lanpher was able to take all of his highly detailed memories and then channel them into an eminently entertaining & informative memoir, “Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Memoirs of a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars” (, October 2010).

Copyright 2010 All rights reserved

Want to know what it was like to spend a leisurely lunch hour on the Disney lot back in 1956? Dorse takes you there, to a time when  you could …

…  go to the sound stages and watch a live action production being filmed … Standing quietly in the dark, I’d watch all of the stagehands, electricians, actors and actresses while photographing a real movie scene. It was a super experience.

Sometimes I would find out where the Firehouse Five Plus Two was rehearsing … I would take my brown bag and sit in an audience of maybe two or three people. Ward Kimball, the band’s leader, always welcomed us, apparently glad to have fans listen … I will always remember Ward Kimball’s snappy outfits. He would wear bright colors and not be concerned with subtleties. He would wear a red shirt, yellow tie, blue pants with green suspenders and a nifty hat of any color or any combo of colors depending on the day. Ward Kimball, the only Disney artist Walt ever called a genius, started the band after he taught himself to play the trombone.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Those were good days. The Mickey Mouse Club was thriving and I would see the Mouseketeers and Annette Funicello bouncing around the studio. I would see Cliff Edwards driving his Nash, an automobile that ceased production years ago, on to the studio lot. His name was painted on his spare tire with a picture of Pinocchio in the center.

You want to know what it was like to work at Disney in the 1970s? Lanpher takes you there as well. To be specific, to the backlot. Where there was this …

… lovely Middle American neighborhood with curving streets and those Victorian styled homes. Some of our artists discovered that one of the houses (back there) had a swimming pool. So occasionally some of our more adventurous artists, working on the weekend, would take a break from their work on Pete’s Dragon and (go for)  a quick swim.

Red Buttons and Jim Dale on “Pete’s Dragon” Passamaquoddy set
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

(Speaking of) Pete’s Dragon, the studio built a huge outdoor set (for that film) which was very impressive. There was an enormous hole dug in the ground of the back lot and filled with water. Around the edge of the water they constructed a New England style fishing village as if the village sat at the edge of a harbor. It was very magical for it was totally believable. Very sad that a beautiful work of art like that was just bulldozed down after completion of the production.

Around (this same) time there was also a beautiful western set on the other side of the lot. It was a small western town with Zorro‘s large early Spanish style home as part of the set. That set was used for the Zorro series. Later the town and Zorro’s home were replaced by what was now called the Zorro Parking Structure. Shades of early Jonie Mitchell: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Lanpher did some really interesting things during his days at Disney. Like serving as a live-action reference model for “The Small One,” that animated holiday-themed featurette that Don Bluth directed just before he bolted from the Mouse Factory in 1979 to start his own animation studio. For this assignment, Dorse remembers borrowing …

A very Dorse Lampher-looking Joseph from “The Small One”
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

… costumes from Wardrobe and a pet pony from a neighbor of one of the animators, Heidi Guidel. I played Joseph, Vera Macaluso played the Virgin Mary and the pony played a burro.

Speaking of Don Bluth, Lanpher was one of those 13 “renegade artists” who left with Bluth to go work on such fondly-remembered animated features as “The Secret of NIMH,” “An American Tail” and “The Land Before Time.” Which perhaps explains why Don contributed an affectionate foreword to “Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck.”

Which brings me to one of those more interesting moments in Lanpher’s memoir. Which is when Dorse reveals that it was Don Bluth – rather than Richard Williams – that Steven Spielberg initially reached out to when he was looking for someone to handle the animated portions of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

To hear Lanpher tell this tale:

We were nearing the finish of An American Tail and we were again on the verge of financial ruin. Don Bluth had been contacted by Steven Spielberg about directing the animation for a live action-animation film starring Roger Rabbit. There was good buzz in the studio for a while. We were going to get hungry and we needed another picture to do. Working hard to finish An American Tail I didn’t notice the buzz had stopped. One day I asked Don what had happened to Roger Rabbit. He said “It’s been shelved.” End of story.

Well, not entirely. Dorse would eventually exit Bluth’s animation operation and return to the Mouse House. Where among his very first assignments was handling a lot of the effects animation on “Roger Rabbit.”

Copyright 1988 Disney Enterprises, Inc. / Amblin Entertainment. All rights reserved

From there, Lanpher was one of the hundreds of dedicated animators & artists that made Disney’s Second Golden Age of Animation happen. And in the wake of enormous successes like “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” the Studio spent lavishly on the films that followed. Take – for example – the over-the-top premiere that Disney staged in NYC for “Hercules.”

The street in front of the (New Amsterdam) theater had bleachers set up and thousands of people were treated to (a performance of the Main Street Electrical) parade. After the outdoor ceremonies we entered the theater and saw a screening of (“Hercules”).

The (party afterwards) was spectacular … buses carted us over to the World Trade Center for the party on the one-hundred and sixth floor of one of those really tall buildings. We were served Champagne while we waited for an elevator. John Tucker and I drank liberally to oil our nerves for a ride in an elevator the size of my living room which was going to take us up higher than all of the other building in New York … When we stepped out of the elevator the windows of the lobby were floor to ceiling so one could stand with your toes against the window and peer straight down on the city of New York. It was thrilling.

The Hades float from Disney’s Hercules Electrical Parade rolls up 42nd Street.
Photo by Jeff Lange. All rights reserved

Dorse doesn’t miss a trick with “Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck.” His amazing eye for detail, that little extra something that makes an anecdote that much more memorable (like how – at that “Hercules” after-party at the top of the World Trade Center – Lanpher was able to persuade “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston to sit in his lap and then pose for a picture. Which Dorse then included as one of this 200-page paperback’s illustrations) make this a very enjoyable read.

So if you’ve got some cash burning a hole in your pocket and are now looking a fun & informative book that’ll take you behind-the-scenes at both Don Bluth & Walt Disney Feature Animation studios … Well, you can’t possibly do better book than Dorse Lanpher’s memoir of ” … a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars.”

A time to read

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2011 by dorselanpher

Ron Lund, Dan Lunds dad, reads with Michele and my cousin Bill.





















A book is the original  external hard drive.  A device where  knowledge can be saved and referred to at one’s leisure. Pages filled with information which can be transported or collected and shelved for later study. A useful extension of the organic memory storage system, the brain.