Monday, March 24, 2008

The Legends: Ub Iwerks

We are all familiar with the quote by Walt Disney, “I hope that we never lose sight of one thing, - that it was all started by a mouse.”

Much has been written about Ub Iwerks and at best, I can only rehash what has already been said. So instead of the usual micro-biography that makes up The Legends” series of posts, I simply want to say thank you to Ub Iwerks.

He was with Walt at the beginning. Before there was a Mickey, Ub worked on the Alice Comedies and animated Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. When Mickey arrived, it was Ub that was credited for first sketching him, while Walt shaped his personality. Iwerks animated the first silent Mickey Mouse cartoon, Plane Crazy, on his own. During the three weeks that he worked on the short, he would at times complete as many as 700 drawings in a day.

His career is fabled and legendary. Because there was a man named Walter Elias Disney and he happened to strike up a friendship and partnership with a man named Ubbe Ert Iwwerks, we have Mickey Mouse. And because we have Mickey Mouse, we have so much more magic to enjoy and to dream about. Because after all, as Uncle Walt said, “It was all started by a mouse.”

Ub was honored posthumously as a Disney Legend in 1989. Although Iwerks was not known as one, he was honored along with the other “Nine Old Men.”

(Photos: Ub Iwerks from The Disney Legends website, Iwerks window on Main Street U.S.A. from the author)


Biblioadonis aka George said...

You could probably fill up a month's worth of blog posts about Ub.

When you look back at the Kansas City days, Walt worked with the men that would ultimately shape the future of animation...

Jennifer said...

Amen to that! My son and I have been working our way through a couple DVDs of Iwerks' cartoons from his own production company, and it's amazing stuff. I'm so glad that ultimately he came back into the fold.