Tom Roth sent this in as a comment on the "More Art" post:
Sometime back around 1979 I bought a Lyon/Lamb videotape pencil tester. Although a couple of big studios had them at the time I was the first individual animator to get one, the prototype unit.
So I decided to pay a visit to Dick Williams, who I’d worked for on Raggedy Ann and Andy. He had just set up a studio on Hollywood Boulevard. Dick and Art Babbitt shared a room there. Dick was busy animating a commercial as Art worked on the Thief.
Enthusiastically, I told Dick about this wonderful new gadget I’d gotten that you could shoot a test and play it back immediatly. This was back when they had to send scenes out to a camera service, shoot it and then send it to the lab so they could see the dailies the next day.
Of course, Dick was intrigued but Art interjected that he didn’t think it was a good idea because it would “become a crutch”. They certainly didn’t have anything like that when he was at Disney so it couldn’t be of much value.
Dick’s respect for Art was such that Art’s word was law so that was that. They had a complex relationship. Even though Dick was Art’s boss he always deferred to Art’s opinion.
A few weeks later, Dick rang me offering a job, and, eager to escape from the Hanna/Barbera factory where I worked I gladly accepted.
It wasn’t long before Dick started ‘sneaking’ over to my house at night to shoot pencil tests on The Thief. Later, I moved the Lyon/Lamb unit into the studio So, I guess, in a sense Art was right about it becoming a crutch because everyone in the studio became immediately dependent on it, including Dick.
Art never used it until one day in about 1983 he came shuffling into my room saying “Say Tom, mind if I use your infernal machine?” This, to me, was a great personal triumph as I have always considered myself an advocate for new technology.
When I think back today about the technology we used then- before the digital revolution- it seems amazing that Dick accomplished what he did. The technology then was little different than it was 60 years earlier.
Back then, there was talk that someday computers would ‘take over’ animators jobs. Art hated the idea but said if they do, animators would have to operate the computers.
I think time has proven him right.