Coi soliti CLICK sferrati a rotulate, le immagini si in Golia, da Davide che sono (adesso).
L’immagine sotto è una tavola settimanale di Felix the Cat del 23 marzo 1941, che chiaramente non è di Otto Messmer e che dunque dovrebbe essere di Wetzel.
Come affermavo giorni fa, Ross Wetzel, classe 1917, se n’è andato lo scorso 16 aprile a Hilton Head (South Carolina), USA. Era nato a Chicago.
Il suo nome dirà poco ai più, ma i filologi del Fumetto Disney lo ricorderanno per la sua collaborazione con Floyd Gottfredson in un periodo particolare della sua attività, quando non aveva modo di disegganare le strisce con Pippo e Topolino in gita che… sembravano così diverse dalle altre. E che “sicuramente erano farina del sacco di un amimatore”, tutti dicevamo anni fa, ignorando l’identità di Wetzel.
Ne riporto sotto alcune vignette, per esemplificare. Sono tratte dalla striscia dell’11 maggio 1939.
Così Wetzel ricordava quel momento:
“One of my first assignments at Disney was with the comic strip department. Arthur Floyd Gottfredson drew the Mickey Mouse comic strip, I had always admired his work even before I started at Disney.
“It seemed that Floyd had gotten behind schedule and needed help. I drew four weeks of dailies and as I remember did four Sunday pages…I never realized how hard a comic strip artist worked until this experience. I liked doing this kind of work but realized that the important work at the studio was on the full-length features. Pinocchio was just going into production and I was anxious to get into that work”.
“They put me in with the now famous animator Ollie Johnston. I was his “clean-up” man. That meant that I would make his rough sketches clean and accurate.
It was quite a responsibility. He had a small staff of in-betweeners but because of the work I had done on the comic strip they had jumped me all the way to Ollie’s first assistant.
I didn’t realize what a break it was at the time.
Ollie was one of five or six animators who did the animation of the little wooden boy Pinocchio. This was my first exposure to a fine animator at work. He was very generous with his help. I learned many things from this very nice man… (I still hear from him after all these years)”.
Qualche altra nota sull’artista:
Ross Wetzel has lived the kind of life few could even dream up. As an animation artist for Disney, he was the one-time pen behind Mickey Mouse and worked on “Fantasia”, “Bambi” and “Pinocchio.”
He went on to work on iconic characters like Felix the Cat and Toucan Sam. At 92 years young, Wetzel could spend his days reflecting on his glorious past lives. Instead, the energetic artist is still feverishly drawing in his Sun City studio — a passion so large it takes up two houses on Padgett Drive.
His passion has a very pointed purpose these days. He creates little pieces of artwork that are turned into “hospilopes,” envelopes, cards and greeting boxes that benefit Hospice Care of the Lowcountry.
“There was a time when I thought my art was important. I worked for Disney, for King Features, for ad agencies like Young and Rubicam, big names. I created my own gallery. It was all very important,” Wetzel said.
“I had no idea what important truly was until I started working with Hospice. This is so much more important and meaningful.”
Inutile che aggiunga io dettagli sulla straordinaria attività di quest’altro artista rimasto all’ombra dalle attenzioni dei suoi potenziali fans.
Lo fa molto meglio sua figlia Susan, che ha scritta una sorta di piccolo e-book, scaricabile gratuitamente, in PDF, a questo link.
Ci sono immagini molto belle, un vero tributo d’amore di Susan per il padre.