#DisneyTrivia – Ollie’s Pencil Sharpener

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s #DisneyTrivia post!  I’m joined by my friends Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and Heidi from Heidi’s Head, and this week I’m taking a trip in the wayback machine as we take a look at two of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men.  I say that I’m talking about two of them, and their names, by the way, are Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, but truly, in reality I’m taking a look at Ollie Johnston.

The reason I’m sharing a picture of both of them is because they were such good friends that they actually both retired on the same day!  Not only that, there is a movie about the two of them, and let’s face it, Frank and Ollie rolls off the tongue as easily as the phrase Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Today, though, I’m not writing so much about Frank and Ollie as much as I’m writing about Ollie’s Pencil Sharpener — or rather, the effect that it had on the next animator to occupy that desk.

His name was Brad Bird, and he had the distinct honor — and, some would say, challenge, terror, etc. — of sitting at Ollie’s desk on the Monday following Frank and Ollie’s retirement the previous Friday.  As he was sitting there, getting used to the feel, exploring a bit around that work surface, he came across something — something that I am going to let him describe in his own words:

“When Frank and Ollie retired from production on the same Friday I was the next animator on Ollie’s desk the following Monday; the very desk he had used for decades to create so many indelible animated moments. I was properly awed as I sat down in Ollie’s chair, at his desk. As I was checking it out and getting the feel of it I noticed the pencil sharpener was full of shavings. Instead of throwing them out I poured them into a glass jar, labeled it and set it atop the desk. Good luck shavings … a simple reminder of the hard work required to create magic. My own jar of real Disney dust. The last jar.” -Brad Bird

When I read that quote from one of my favorite Disney sites, This Day in Disney History, I absolutely knew that I had my trivia for this week!  Thank you for stopping by today, and please, make sure you check out Jodi’s post and Heidi’s post, and all the rest of the posts that we have for you this week!  Just click on their images below, and thanks!

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Remembering Disney Legends – Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johonston

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

Of Walt’s Nine Old Men, perhaps the two that you hear the most about — if you know of the nine old men at all — are Frank and Ollie.  Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston are both Disney Legends, and were born within a month of each other in 1912.  Frank’s birthday was September 5, 1912, one day after and one year before my grandpa was born.  Ollie was born on Halloween in 1912.  The two would meet at Stanford when they were in college, and a lifelong friendship was struck.

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