Throwback 30 years ago. A publicity photo for An American Tail, taken in the summer of 1986. The Universal photographer wanted to do a shot from under an animation desk, looking up through the animation disc with a clear plexiglass replacement to frame Carmen Oliver (color model supervisor) showing Gary & Don one of the multiple palettes of colors she was choosing for Feival Mousekewitz. The one she was working on here was for an interior situation, with medium warm light. At this point in time we had already spent a year of training an ink & paint staff of 100 young Irish artists and animation hopefuls at a facility in Balgriffin, a village just a few miles north of Dublin City.
We had already signed documents with the Irish Industrial Development Authority to establish an animation studio in Dublin and would be taking 87 artists, technicians and management members of our Van Nuys staff, their families and their pets to the Emerald Island. Approximately 75% of us arrived in Dublin International Airport on November 14th of 1986, missing the premier of An American Tail in the USA by a week – Nov. 21, 1986. We had set up a crew premiere in early November at one of Universal’s on the lot theaters for the crew and their families before our departure to Ireland.
Carmen Oliver had experience as a cel painter and a character color stylist at Walt Disney Productions from 1974 – 1979 before resigning her position and joining us as our supervising color stylist in early January of 1980. She received screen credits on all of our films, starting with our independent beginnings: Banjo the Woodpile Cat (1979), Xanadu animated sequence (1980), The Secret of N.I.M.H. (1982) all the way through the list of our animated feature-length films to Titan A.E. (2000).