Disney animators star in San Francisco exhibit

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many of the faces in The Walt Disney Family Museum's newest exhibit are familiar to generations, from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to "Bambi." But the faces of the talented animators who created them have largely remained hidden behind the screen.

Curator Don Hahn says Walt Disney himself referred to them as the Nine Old Men, after a reference to the Supreme Court.

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"They were these animators who were just at the top of their craft, and it was Walt's go to guys for kind of the best in animation," he says.

Some like Ward Kimball, were characters who could have come from central casting, while others left the attention and bright lights to their animated creations.

"And if you know Disney's core movies like "Dumbo," "Pinocchio," "Cinderella," and "Alice in Wonderland," and all those movies, the lead animators on those shows were the Nine Old Men," Hahn points out.

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The exhibition of the same name opens this Thursday and runs through early January. Hans says it's a chance to walk back through the decades, to the moments when the magic came alive.

"It's kind of one stop shopping for the history of animation. These are the guys who start out at Disney when they were kids just out of art school, and ended up developing this amazing art form we know as Disney Animation," says Hahn.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7 News. For information on the Nine Old Men exhibit, click here.

Written and produced by Timothy Didion
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