Ho cominciato a sentir parlare di Del Connell quando qll’inizio degli anni Ottanta il nostro amico comune Klaus Strzyz, di ritorno da un tour fumettistico in California che decretava la fine della sua carriera di insegnante universitario, tornava con delle audiocassette zeppe di interviste condotte con alcuni fra i più eccezionali cartoonist di funny animals (e non), da Carl Barks a Jack Bradbury, da Tony Strobl ad Art Babbitt… E fra questi c’era, appunto, anche Del Connell.
In un libro quasi autoprodotto, Klaus avrebbe pubblicato la foto del grande sceneggiatore che apre, oltre trent’anni dopo, questo post.
Poi… qualche passo di cosa è accaduto, qualche notizia sulla lunga carriera del silenzioso creatore, papà di Super Pippo compare in questo recente post, e anche in un altro, entrambi legati alla recente premiazione svoltasi alla Convention di San Diego del luglio scorso.
Del Connell ci ha lasciato venerdì scorso, lo stesso giorno di Francisco Solano Lopez.
Ma l’attenzione degli operatori del settore è particolarmente fioca sotto Ferragosto, così non si sono letti in giro particolari obituaries.
Oggi, il buon Michele (lettore fedele) ci ha segnalato questo Foru, Pirate 4×4.com, dove il nipote di Del, Lex, scrive, in data di venerdì scorso: My “Grandpa” Passed Away This Morning.
Scrive, a caldo:
he passed this morning. its been pretty difficult for me. it was REALLY hard when my mom called me about 20 minutes ago. i hate listening to my mom cry he was such a good figure to look up to, and i hope the time i was able to spend with him when i was younger, was sufficient to say that he showed me morals and integrity for which i stand for now.
watching him draw when i was younger, watching pre production cartoons and productions that were never released to the public with him (with that annoying editing bar at the bottom of the screen ), wrecking on the mini bike with me in front of him as we smashed into a ditch… memories go on and on, and his pictures, drawings and sketches of me, and the whole walt disney gang drawn around my parents house will honor how talented and unselfish he was.
Rest in peace Grandpa. ill see you on the flip side.
DEL CONNELL – Career chronology
Disney storyman and artist.
Western Publishing Company comic book writer and editor.
Mickey Mouse newspaper strip writer.
• June 7, 1918 born at Sixteen Mile Stand, Cincinnati, Ohio
• 1919 – family moved to Los Angeles, CA. Grew up in Monterey Park with one brother and two sisters.
• Attended South Pasadena High School and then Pasadena Junior College as an art student.
• 1938 – won a poster contest promoting eyesight care. Grand prize: $15.
• 1939 – heard Walt Disney Studios on Hyperion Ave. was hiring artists. Passed their drawing test and was hired into the Character Model Dept., headed by Joe Grant (the beginning of a 66-year friendship).
• Immediately began creating characters and writing stories for the studio.
• Sculpted animation models for “Dumbo,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Fantasia,” and “The Reluctant Dragon.”
• Created, wrote, and storyboarded the short “The Pelican and the Snipe,” later released as a short in 1944, narrated by Sterling Holloway.
• Was assigned by Walt Disney to adapt Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” (with storyman Bill Peet) for a feature film. They worked together on the project for one full year, making dozens of storyboard presentations to Walt, but before they were able to finish…
• March 1941 – Del received draft notice and in July went to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
• Oct 23, 1941 – With other east coast Disney employee/soldiers, attended the premiere of “Dumbo” at the Broadway theater in New York City.
• 1941-1945 – stationed in Panama, where he went up in blimps to draw detailed aerial maps of the Panama Canal. Continued to create/write/draw all during the war. Corresponded with his brother Marvin Connell (who was also an excellent artist/cartoonist and was later an art director for MGM) while Marvin was a combat photographer for Patton’s U.S, Third Army in Europe.
• 1942 – Created the character and wrote the short “The Cold-Blooded Penguin” which he sent to Walt Disney from Panama. Walt purchased it for $500 and sent Del a signed “thank you” cel with the check. It eventually became the beginning of the Walt Disney Studios feature film “The Three Caballeros,” voiced by Sterling Holloway.
NOTA DI CARTOONIST GLOBALE:
Quella sopra è la cel che Walt Disney spedì, con la dedica, a Del. Si tratta dell’idea di base che, oltre a funzionare per questo pinguino, Pablo, avrebbe fatto da base per la creazione da parte di Walter Lantz del pinguino Frigo (il originale Chilly Willy, ne abbiamo parlato tante volte).
Ironicamente, una volta alla Western, sarebbe toccato proprio a Del fare da editor ai fumetti di Chilly Willy, disegnati da Vivie Risto.
Fine della nota.
• Nov. 1945 – returned from WWII to a studio having financial difficulties. Worked under Joe Grant once again.
• Briefly worked on an un-produced feature based on “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” which had previously been animated as a 1933 Silly Symphony short at the studio.
• Jan 1949 – Reassigned to “Alice and Wonderland” with Bill Peet and others.
• 1950-1954 – freelance writer for Western Publishing Company and Disney.
• 1951 – “Alice in Wonderland” released. Del credited as a writer with Bill Peet (as well as with several others who joined the project after the war).
• 1953 – Wrote story adaptation (with Winston Hibler and Ted Sears, and later story work by Bill Peet) for the short “Ben and Me,” voiced by Sterling Holloway.
• 1954 – As an assignment via Western Publishing Company, Del wrote and sketched the very earliest drafts of Disneyland’s first guest brochure (original drafts and copies available).
• 1954-1987 – For over 30 years at Western Publishing Company, wrote and/or edited thousands of stories for comic books for various studios including Disney, Warner Bros., Walter Lantz, Hanna-Barbera and MGM. During that time, he originated dozens of original characters and stories for comic books.
• Created April, May, and June – Daisy Duck’s nieces (the complement of Donald’s and Mickey’s nephews).
• Created the characters “Super Goof” and “Mighty Knight.” Del made the original Super Goof drawings, then Paul Murry took over the drawing of Del’s scripts.
• 1962 – Created the characters and story for the comic book “Space Family Robinson,” which was later licensed for television from Western Publishing Company by producer Irwin Allen and became the show “Lost in Space.”
• Wrote “The Adventures of Peter Wheat” after Walt Kelly (“Pogo”) stopped.
• Originated “Wacky Witch” which became a comic book series.
• Originated “The Close Shaves of Pauline Peril” which became a comic book series.
• Was editor-in-chief of the west coast office of Western Publishing Company’s comic book division. Always felt he was working with the most talented artists and writers in the business: Vic Lockman, Carl Barks, Walt Kelly, John Stanley, Paul Murry, Chase Craig, Don Christensen, Dan Spiegle, and of course, Mark Evanier, whose first script that was sold to Western was based on one of Dell’s characters: Super Goof.
• 1968-1989 – Following in the footsteps of Manuel “Gonzie” Gonzales and Floyd Gottfredson, wrote the Mickey Mouse daily and Sunday newspaper strip for 20+ years.
• 1986 – Del donated most of his original pencil drawings and proof sheets of his Mickey Mouse daily and Sunday comic newspaper strip, and other miscellaneous art, to the UCLA Special Collections at the Charles E. Young Research Library (collection 1518).
• 1988-2009 – Dedicated an immense amount of time to a new project called “The Historables” – a children’s property that teaches children about history. He designed over 20 characters and wrote dozens of stories for the property, which is now being developed by Base Camp Films as a children’s interactive internet property and television show.
© Disney per i personaggi di Alice, Super Goof e altri.