Old school work ethic, dedication and determination.

Don's House, John Pomeroy Sleeping on Cels

Don’s House, John Pomeroy Sleeping on Cels

Here is a bearded John Pomeroy at 1:30am in Don’s Culver City garage (circa October/November 1979), when we were racing to complete the cel painting for Banjo the Woodpile Cat. All three of us had made an oath to not shave, until the 27 minute short film was completed and “in the can”, ready to be shown at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and the Preach Tree Theater in Northridge, California. Note that John is wearing those special cotton gloves with the thumb and first two fingers cut off so he could handle the brush but not transfer his oily skin to the cel, which would increase time in the cel-cleaning process. He’s one of the few animators who could sleep with his eyes open.

And…yes, we did get through the cel painting process, even when we had something like 6,000 cels to paint in last 12 days of the schedule. We didn’t have the space to have the painters work with us at Don’s house (and garage). There were 26 of us working there. Luckily, we had a great group of people painting cels in their homes. Each day Don would mix paint, fill those 2 oz. jars for the multiple colors and assemble them into a paint kit with a used 12’ X 12” X 2” film box for each and every scene, which included a copy of the character drawing with a color mark-up guide. – Sort of like painting by number. Those who were painting would bring in their finished work and pick up their next stack of cels and the paint kit. The process of making cel paint kits worked so well that we used the same process for the short sequence in Xanadu (1980) and our first feature film, The Secret of N.I.M.H. (1982) Makes me tired just seeing this photo again!

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1 Response

  1. Spokavriel (Daniel T. Stack) says:

    Do you think anyone might have kept some of the examples or paint bottles from back when this method was used for NIMH? Imagine someone just presenting that film can and used supplies for antiques Roadshow along with the NIMH parallel to this story. That anyone would still know its history for it to make it there. Do you know anyone with the energy to work this hard anymore?

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