Published on July 11, 2016
At the start of the 1980s, Walt Disney Productions had been struggling since Walt Disney’s death in 1966, and the 1979 departure of Don Bluth and eleven other associates from the animation department dealt Disney a major blow. Bluth formed a new studio, in direct competition with Disney.
Disney’s “Nine Old Men”, the animators responsible for Disney’s most famous earlier works, and their associates began to hand their traditions down to a new generation of Disney animators. New faces such as Glen Keane, Ron Clements, John Musker, Andreas Deja, and others came to the studio in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a period that produced such features as The Rescuers, Pete’s Dragon (a live-action/animation hybrid), and The Fox and the Hound, as well as the featurettes The Small One (Bluth’s only Disney-directed credit) and Mickey’s Christmas Carol (the first screen appearance of Mickey Mouse since 1953).