Saturday, May 2, 2009
On Monday the 27th of April, the Marc Davis lecture on Animation took place at the Academy headquarters in Los Angeles.It turned out to be the most popular animation evening so far and really was a whos who of the industry.Concluding the over 3 hour long program of lectures, film clips and panels was a video message from Dick Williams.First almost timid and humble, he said he wished he could have been at the actual event. Starting to talk about Milt Kahl though, he quickly showed his usual passion . He acknowledged that knowing Milt and having been able to call him from time to time, was a highlight of his life.
Apparently, he always tried to make the never humble Milt admit to being the World's greatest animator.Milt kinda grumbled and didn't commit.Dick recalled the great friendship between Milt and Marc Davis, a kind of admiration society for two.Once they had an argument and Milt shouted after Marc... you cant even draw your own A$%. Marc returned to Milt's office a little later with a giant drawing of exactly that.On one occasion, Dick showed some 20 minutes of Thief footage at the Lucas ranch and had invited Milt to come along. After the screening, some Lucas people excitedly inquired about who had made this and were told that it was Dick's work. They proclaimed him to be the World's greatest animator and Dick turned to Milt and said " No, that is the World's greatest animator" to which Milt kinda nodded. Dick got his admittance of greatness finally when he talked to Milt in '87 and finally made him say that he indeed was the best animator.Two days later, he passed away. Dick freely admitted crying a lot and he said it was especially sad when he realized he cried over the fact that he would no longer be able to call the great man and chat.
It was a fitting and heartfelt tribute from one artist to another. A perfect ending to that evening and a chance for us to see Dick, albeit on video, and be part of this celebration.