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Thursday, December 15, 2005

LUSKE, Hamilton S.

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Birth: October 16, 1903 (Chicago, Illinois)
Death: February 18, 1968 (Los Angeles, California)


Title Director, Supervising Animator, Producer, Production Manager, Writer; Walt Disney Studios 1931-1968.

Bio Summary

Early Life/Family


Training Luske got his degree at the University of California, Berkeley in Business. No formal art training except for classes initiated at Walt Disney Studios

Career Outline

Luske started his career as a cartoonist at the Oakland Post-Inquirer. He started at Disney Studios 1931 [1] as an incidentals animator on “The Backyard Broadcast”. Luske continued at Disney animating on shorts. Of note are the shorts “The Tortise and the Hare” and “Who Killed Cock Robin?”, in which Luske animated Max Hare and Jenny Wren, respectively, concentrating on character acting. In the “Tortise and the Hare” Luske’s animation of Max Hare playing tennis was based on his own experiences with tennis, only pushed. Luske’s drawings portrayed such speed from cell to cell that he used “blue streak” drawings and speedlines to keep the animation coherent. Luske’s animation of Jenny Wren in “Who Killed Cock Robin?” was based entirely on Mae West’s acting. West was so sucsessfully characatured that Mae West herself wrote to Walt Disney to compliment him [3].
Luske was the supervising animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) and was the primary animator for the Snow White character. Luske later started directing and writing for both animated features and television. He received the Oscar award for Special Effects in 1965 for Mary Poppins. Luske worked for Disney up until his death in 1968. He was awarded the Windsor McKay Award and the Disney Legend Award posthumously. [1]

Comments On Style

Luske was known for his excellent direction of live action reference footage for animation. Though he struggled with his drawing skills, Luske’s strength was in analysing and developing methodology for animation techniques that furthered the ability of animators to create lifelike animation. Luske was also known for his ability to teach the younger animators their craft



In “The Illusion of Life”, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston point out that “[Ham] was usually gentle and easy going with his criticism, but he could be quite blunt and forceful if the situation demanded it. For one thing, he could not tolerate anything that was not clear and definate.” [3]




Peculiar Penguins (1934) Animator
The Dognapper (1934) Animator
Two-Gun Mickey (1934) Animator
The Tortise and the Hare (1935) Animator, Max Hare
Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935) Animator, Jenny Wren
Pluto’s Judgement Day (1935) Animator
Mickey’s Elephant (1936) Director
Elmer Elephant (1936) Animator
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) Supervising Animator, Snow White
Ferdinand the Bull (1938) Animator
Pinocchio (1940) Supervising Director
Fantasia (1940) Director, “The Pastoral Symphony” Segment
The Reluctant Dragon (1941) Cartoon Sequences Director
Saludos Amigos (1942) Sequence Director
Pedro (1943) Director
The Pelican and the Snipe (1944) Director
Make Mine Music (1946) Director
Willie the Operatic Whale (1946) Director
Fun and Fancy Free (1947) Director
Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947) Director
Melody Time (1948) Cartoon Director
So Dear to My Heart (1948) Cartoon Director
Cinderella (1950) Director
Alice in Wonderland (1951) Director
Peter Pan (1953) Director
Ben and Me (1953) Director
Once Upon A Wintertime (1954) Director
Contrast in Rhythm (1955) Director
Lady and the Tramp (1955) Director
Adventures of Mickey Mouse (Disneyland Episode) (1955) Director
Jiminy Crickey Presents Bongo (Disneyland Episode) (1955) Director
Monsters of the Deep (Disneyland Episode)(1955) Director
Disneyland, U.S.A. (1956) Director
Our Unsung Villians (1956) Writer
Adventure in Wildwood Heart (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
Four Fabulous Characters (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
The Fourth Anniversary Show (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
The Liberty Story (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
Tricks of Our Trade (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
All About Magic (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
Our Friend the Atom (Disneyland Episode) (1957) Director
An Adventure in the Magic Kingdom (Disneyland Episode) (1958) Director
Magic and Music (Disneyland Episode) (1958) Director
Disneyland ’59 (1959) Director
Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959) Supervising Director
I Captured the King of the Leprechauns (Disneyland Episode)(1959) Production Supervisior
One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961) Director
An Adventure in Color/Mathmagic Land (Disneyland Episode)(1961) Director
Donald and the Wheel (1961) Director
The Litterbug (1961) Director
Back Stage Party (Disneyland Episode) (1961) Director
Kids is Kids (Disneyland Episode) (1961) Director
Inside Donald Duck (Disneyland Episode) (1961) Director
Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates: Part 1 (Disneyland Episode) (1962) Associate Producer
Man is his Own Worst Enemy (Disneyland Episode) (1962) Director
Disneyland After Dark (Disneyland Episode) (1962) Director
The Truth About Mother Goose (Disneyland Episode) (1963) Director
Mary Poppins (1964) Animation Director
Ben and Me/Peter and the Wolf (Disneyland Episode) (1964) Director
In Shape with Von Drake (Disneyland Episode) (1964) Director
Disneyland 10th Anniversary (Disneyland Episode)(1965) Director
Music for Everybody (Disneyland Episode)(1966) Director
Scrooge McDuck and Money (1967) Director
From the Pirates of the Caribbean to the World of Tomorrow (Disneyland Episode)(1968) Director
The Ranger Of Brownstone (Disneyland Episode) (1968) Director
The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle (Disneyland Episode) (1968) Associate Producer


Nominated Golden Lion, 1950, Venice Film Festival For Cinderella
Nominated Golden Lion, 1951, Venice Film Festival for Alice in Wonderland
Grand Bronze Plate, 1951, Berlin International Film Festival, For Cinderella
Golden Berlin Bear Award, 1951, Berlin International Film Festival, Best Musical for Cinderella
Nominated Grand Prize, 1953, Cannes Film Festival for Peter Pan
Nominated Golden Berlin Bear Award, Berlin International Film Festival, 1960 for Cinderella
Oscar Award for Best Effects/Special Visual Effects 1965, For Mary Poppins
Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1984
Disney Legend Award, Inducted 1999

Related Links

Bibliographic References
Thomas, Frank and Johnston, Ollie. The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. 1981, Walt Disney Productions. (p. 107-115)


Contributors To This Listing

Mollie Boorman, (mboorman at hotmail dot com)

Larry Loc

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