Throw Back to 1986. Most of you wouldn’t know this piece of trivia, but the two German seagulls waving and shouting “auf wiedersehen” to the departing ship, which is carrying Fieval and the Mouskewitz family on the final leg their journey from Hamburg, Germany to New York, were voiced by John Pomeroy as the Jewish seagull on the left and Don Bluth voiced the seagull on the right. Don’s line is “I have a cousin in America.” John’s character (cynically responds), “Awk!” He spits off to the left, then turns and shouts at Don’s character “You and everybody else!”
In the summer of 1985, a ship model was built with the purchase of a large plastic model kit of a mid 1800s, four-masted cargo ship. Then painted solid white with black lines, delineating the detailed structure of the ship’s hull, its deck, smoke stack, masts and cabling. I believe that Dave Goetz built the model and Bill Lorencz did the delicate painting. Don, center, directs the action to be filmed on 35mm film with ship movements done by hand, then the frames of film were blown up on large paper, registered and taped onto 16 Field animation paper and the line images were transferred to cels to be painted, a method of rotoscoping with models. Those involved were from left to right, Fred Craig (supervising production manager), John Eddings (Xerographer), Don, Dave Ankney (cameraman) and a young David Steinberg known as “YDS” (assistant director), struggling with the storyboard pages at the right.
Below David (YDS), Fred Craig and Don discuss the storyboards with an enlarged model section of the stern of the ship (no such model could be purchased. so it was built from scatch with various materials), for a scene, where a tiny Fieval was to float past the ship when its gigantic propellors appear out of the water as the ship tips down on an ocean swell. Later it was decided not to include the scene. I believe I took these photos. We didn’t have a budget for documenting the production.