Friends, my original intention was to have the brand new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast up for your listening pleasure – work however managed to throw a monkey wrench into those plans. However, this does afford me the opportunity to share with you an interview between Leonard Maltin and the legendary animator Floyd Norman – which was uploaded by Turner Classic Movies back on April 19th. Maltin of course besides being a renowned film critic is a huge classic animation fan as well as historian – after all – there was a reason he was picked to act as host for the excellent Walt Disney Treasures collection. And the truth of the matter is that Floyd Norman most certainly had a hand in classic animation – working as an inbetweener on Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in his early 20s.
After his work on Sleeping Beauty, Norman would find himself drafted into Military service – returning to the Disney studios in 1960 where he would have a hand in One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone. Finding himself being promoted to the story department with The Jungle Book, once Walt Disney managed to see some of the gag sketches Floyd was leaving around the studio. I should make a point to mention as you will hear in the interview itself – some of those gags were at Walt’s expense.
Floyd Norman would leave the Walt Disney studio for a time, co-founding Vignette Films, Inc., along with fellow animator Leo Sullivan (Flash Gordon, Pac-Man) and others. Producing segments for Sesame Street as well as the 1969 Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert special for NBC. Norman would return to the Disney studios but in addition would work for the likes of Ruby-Spears, Hanna-Barbera, and even Film Roman.
Now as for why that Leonard Maltin and Floyd Norman had this little chat – besides the fact they know each other quite well – is that the latter was one of the intended honorees at the 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival. With Maltin having been scheduled to receive the Robert Osborne award at the festival – with COVID-19 obviously rearing it’s head those plans had to be changed. At the very least it gives us the opportunity to hear Floyd Norman discuss some of his life as animator, author, and living legend.