Monday, July 18, 2011

Hibler and Reitherman Help Carry on Disney Cartoon Tradition, with New Pooh Film

07.18.11 - The last animated cartoon featurette to be approved for production by Walt Disney before his untimely death in December, 1966 was Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.

This is a sequel to the highly successful Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree which garnered some $6,000,000 in the United States and Canada when it was released in 1966 with the live-action Disney movie The Ugly Dachshund.

Wolfgang Reitherman was the director of the first Pooh picture and Winston Hibler was the producer of Dachshund Both are longtime Studio men, with over 60 years service between them in the special Disney way of making movies.

The credit in bringing in the completed Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day after Walt's death goes to Reitherman as its director and Hibler as story supervisor. Now they have both been named producers for a new and exciting feature cartoon project called The Aristocats, with Hibler concentrating on story and Reitherman handling the directorial reins in a streamlining of procedures that is designed to continue to produce animated features in the Disney tradition.

"Animation has a strong, interesting and exciting part in the future of Walt Disney Productions," said Hibler. "With the formation of our new animation production unit, we are dedicated to carry forward Walt's unmatched tradition in cartoon entertainment, and we will be staffed on every level by men who worked as many as 30 years with the master showman in this special art."

For Hibler, one of the Studio's seven live-action producers, the new role is pretty much like returning to an old one. He headed up animation story units on early features like Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Melody Time. With Disney since 1940, he was a long time writer, director and commentator of the True-Life Adventure series, and is the producer of the current feature comedy The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, starring Dean Jones and Diane Baker.

Reitherman began his Disney career 35 years ago as an animator and has moved up steadily to assistant supervisor and feature animation director. He has a great number of cartoon credits to his name, including The Jungle Book and The Sword in the Stone, when for the first time in Studio history, he was the overall director for an entire animated feature. Under the new unit setup the title of producer has been added.

In color by Technicolor, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is released by Buena Vista.

From the original Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day press materials.

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