40. The Assistant Animator Part 2
Milt Kahl was a man with a short temper and had no toleration for anything short of perfection. He was notorious for screaming and cursing at anyone who made a mistake in their work. Even animators who he was no better than were sharply criticized by him. Few had the guts to put up with Milt’s temper and behavior as well as his many demands when it came to animation. If one man completely had the guts, it was Stan Green.
Stan Green was born in approximately 1921, making him Kahl’s junior by around 12 years. His father John Green was an orchestra conductor. A native ofOregon, Green would go on to serve in the military in World War 2. Years later his colleagues at Disney wouldn’t believe he was a war hero because of his sweet, mild character (a big contrast with the cold and manipulative Kahl.) The battles Green fought in included the D-Day invasion and theBattleof the Bulge. After the war was over and Stan got married he came to the Disney studio around 1950 to become the assistant of Milt Kahl. Among Milt’s other assistants was Iwao Takamoto, later the creator of Scooby Doo. Kahl was by now a veteran of the Disney studio and a top animator. He was known for his superb draftsmanship, skills in visualizing a scene in his head, and expertise in the technique side of the medium. Many of the other animators with the notable exceptions of Marc Davis and Ward Kimball went to him to get advice on their drawings. Except for Davis, Kimball, and John Lounsbery most of the other animators had trouble following Milt’s drawing style.
The 50s was a decade with Milt Kahl in his prime (I personally say he peaked from 1945 to 1957 but that’s just me.) Among his roles included Alice and the Dodo inA licei n Wonderland, Peter and Wendy in Peter Pan, Tramp in Lady and the Tramp, and Prince Phillip in Sleeping Beauty. By Beauty Green was Kahl’s head assistant and had responsibility over all his other assistants. Perhaps Stan’s experience in the military made him patient and capable of taking Milt’s heavy demands. Milt structured his scenes in a way that was very hard to follow. The movement was very complex and it was being done on complicated threes instead of organic fours. However he drew very cleanly and not much clean-up was needed to make his drawings look beautiful. Milt’s crew was not small either so Stan Green had a lot of work to do. Among his assistants after Green’s arrival were Dave Michener, later the co-director of Great Mouse Detective, and Floyd Norman, one of the first African-Americans to work in animation and later an accomplished story man for Disney as well as other studios. Many people remember Stan as being very social, knowing many famous people, and enjoying going to baseball games.
After working as Kahl’s head assistant on Dalmatians and Sword in the Stone Green left Disney in 1963 for Ed Graham Studios. Among the other projects he worked on after leaving included the TV-series Long Ranger and Fat Albert. In 1971 Stan Green returned to Disney to work again as Milt Kahl’s head assistant with even more authority than before. However now Kahl was becoming very angry about both the studios films as well as the management. He began to close his door and to isolate himself from the rest of the animators. Even old friends found Kahl impossible to work with and even more verbally insulting than before. After animating almost all of Madame Medusa in the Rescuers he left the studio for good and assigned Stan to finish up the remaining animation of Medusa. Soon after Green also left the Disney studio to work first with Ralph Bashki and then on freelance. Stan Green passed away inOregonin 1997.