46. Retta Scott

I know that somewhere the ghost of Retta Davidson is very offended by this post. Well I can say I love Davidson’s work too but there’s only so much room and I have to go with the first. Retta Scott was the first woman ever to be an animator.  Her time as an animator from 1939 to 1946 paved the way not only for women as animators but also the way for minorities as well. Before her all animators were white men. Since Scott’s career was very brief in comparison with most people in this countdown this post will be more about her significance than her style and contributions.

 Retta Scott was a fine draftsman who could make very dynamic drawings of animals. Walt Disney was so impressed by her talent he assigned Eric Larson to mentor her. Eric helped her some with the timing but she did all the animation herself of the hunting dogs in Bambi. The scene is very terrifying and has real strength to it. Although not listed in the credits Scott also animated on the Pastoral Role segment in Fantasia, the weasels in Wind and the Willows, and possibly even some additional animation in Dumbo.

Retta wasn’t just the first female animator but she proved that women could do something more than ink and paint.  After her stint as an animator many women held jobs in many departments of the process. Also a little while later African-Americans and other minorities began making their stamp on the art form. Animation is blind to gender and color, much of that being due to Retta Scott.

Scott’s Work

Fantasia(1940)- Animator(uncredited) on fawns and cupids in Pastoral Role

Dumbo(1941)- Additional Animator(uncredited)

Bambi(1942)- Animator on Hunting Dogs

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad(1949)- Animator(uncredited) on Wessels in Wind and the Willows segment


4 Responses to “46. Retta Scott”

  1. Laverne Harding was hired by Lantz in 1936. But still.
    And I love how incredibly and ironically virile her work is.

    (No credit for the dog animation she supervised on ‘The Plague Dogs’? Come on, some people did good work outside the mouse house!)

  2. Dann Scott Marceau Says:

    Aunt Retta was my grandmothers younger sister, the ability to create has not left the family. I recieved my middle name from their father, my great grandfather William Ernest Scott who told aunt Retta….”art is a mans job”. Dann SCOTT Marceau.

  3. Brad Bird supposedly got his first break working under Retta Scott in ‘Plague Dogs.’ Wonder what that was like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: