Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday Ward Kimball

Yesterday was the 100th birthday of my favorite Disney animator, Ward Kimball. Kimball was definitely a renaissance man with varied interests. His interests included modern art, animation, music, trains, costumes, antique automobiles, antique toys and more. He influenced Walt Disney and the creation of Disneyland, re-igniting Walt's love of trains and traveling to the Chicago Rail Fair and Henry Ford's Greenfield Village with Walt in 1948. Ward created some of the most popular and innovative animation to be released from the Walt Disney studio including Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom and the Man in Space TV series. He also directed the Academy Award winning animated short "It's Tough To Be A Bird." Over the years I have posted several items related to Ward. One of my favorite items is a set of postcards that Ward purchased at Greenfield Village. The note to himself speaks of Ward's sense of humor.

Another favorite postcard is this color view of Ward's home train. Not content to have a toy train set, Ward was one of the first private owners of a steam powered locomotive. This train set can be visited at the Orange Empire Railway Museum located in Perris California.

Here is a broadside for an early train steam up. This may have been one which Walt would have been invited and learned to drive a train.

Ward was the founder of the Firehouse 5 Plus 2 Dixieland Jazz band. One of their important gigs was to march in the opening day parade on July 17, 1955.

The band also played the Dixieland at Disneyland events for many years. This is a copy of a poster that once was on display in Ward's train barn (from Chris.)

Happy centennial Ward and thanks for all that you did. I miss your wacky sense of humor at Disney events and your animation.

1 comment:

K. Martinez said...

This is awesome! Ironically when I think of Ward Kimball, it's more because of his love of trains than his being an animator. The Grizzly Flats Railroad postcard is a stunner. Thanks for sharing these. I love it.