Fred Moore

Joakim Gunnarsson ebay.megton at
Sat Mars 20 13:13:23 CET 2004


Hittade den här storyn på nätet. Tänkte att den kunde vara av intresse för listans medlemmar. Den kastar nytt ljus över hur Fred Moore egentligen dog...


my freddie story
 My first job in animation was working for Gus Jeckyl at FilmFair studios. Gus was Moore's assistant at Disney, and was like a little brother to him... He lived in the trailer with Freddie and was his best friend. One day when I was driving Jeckyl to the airport, I asked him about how Freddie died. Gus asked what I knew about it and I told him I heard he was drunk and got in a car accident. Jeckyl told me that what I had been told was a baldfaced lie.

Moore did NOT injure himself by "hitting his head on a car while drunk". He was getting out of his parked car (I think it was on San Fernando Road) and a drunk driver sideswiped him. (Moore was sober at the time.) He was taken to the hospital, but he had no insurance or money to pay for the treatment. The doctors told him that they wanted to do more tests, but that would cost money. They would give him the day to try to line up cash, but if he couldn't find any, they would have to discharge him the next morning. Moore and Jeckyl got on the phone and called all of Fred's old friends at Disney to ask to borrow money to help pay for his treatment, but everyone turned their back on him. Jeckyl said that one after another of Freddie's friends told him "Freddie just wants the money to get drunk again..." The hospital finally discharged Moore when it became clear he had no way to pay his bills. He was sent home in a taxi, and died on his front doorstep with his house key in his hand from internal bleeding.

The next day, one major animator who had refused to give Freddie a dime for his hospital bill moaned and cried loudly over the "great loss". In between sobs, he made a point of whispering to everyone, "You know of course that Freddie was drunk when he got in the accident..." It was a lie designed to make the whole thing Freddie's fault, and deflect any responsibility from from Freddie's "old friends" for turning their back on him. This same animator made sure that the lie that "Freddie couldn't keep up" got into print, so history would repeat it forever. it won't take too many guesses to figure out who I'm talking about. His nickname at the studio was "the velvet knife".

Jeckyl told me he would never forgive that guy for doing that to Freddie. Moore had a serious alcohol problem. Everyone knew that. He had always drunk heavily. But his problem was used for political advantage by certain artists who had a vested interest in promoting a certain direction for the films. And it was used to propogate a lie about how Fred Moore died that exists to this day.

The Disney books are all written from the viewpoint of the artists who started as assistants on Snow White. The artists who worked on the earlier films... Moore, Clark, Babbitt, Ferguson, etc... are ALWAYS given short shrift or criticized for being poor draftsmen. It just isn't true. I have seen astonishing animation by Clark (the scene where Mickey brings the broom to life in Fantasia is just one example.) I negotiated the donation of a major scene by Ferguson from Puppy Love to ASIFA-Hollywood. If you hold it in your hand and flip it, you see the work of a genius. Babbitt proved himself time and time again to be a superb draftsman and great analytical animator. And no one, not even his bitterest enemies can deny Moore's gift.

Back in the early 40s, there was a schism between the "unschooled" cartoony style animators who rallied around Moore, and the "Milt Kahl / Chouinard" group of artists. Snow White and Pinocchio reflected the dominance of the former, while Bambi marked the debut of the latter. The war and the strike caused Disney to undergo severe cutbacks. People were afraid for their jobs, and a lot of backbiting was going on between the two factions. The Chouinard group ended up eclipsing the earlier artists, but the battle wasn't fully won until The Illusion of Life was published. Had it been written by the artist Walt personally tapped to write it, Les Clark, it would most likely have told an entirely different story about the development of Disney animation through the 20s and 30s. You certainly wouldn't have seen Clark's landmark scene from Ugly Duckling held up as "charming but primitive" when compared to the (awful) remake of the same cartoon animated by one of the Kahl school. You certainly would have seen a lot more attention paid to underappreciated animators like Iwerks, Ferguson and Moore.

See ya

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