Peet fixed Tytla’s Elephant DrawingsProvince: Two of the best, Bill Tytla and Fred Moore, worked on Dumbo.
Peet: People were always amazed at Bill Tytla, that he could draw the giant devil for “Night On Bald Mountain,” and the giant in “Brave Little Tailor;” these ponderous, muscled characters, and then do this little elephant. After he got his first scene on Dumbo, he passed me in the hall and said, “Y’know, Bill, I can’t draw these goddamned little elephants. If I send Nick [his assistant] up with the scene, would you see if you could work it out?” Nick brought up this stack of drawings, Bill’s scene where the elephants first appear was just a mess. So I went over every one of them, probably a couple of hundred drawings, every damned frame in the picture, and redrew the whole scene. They shot the pencil test and showed it to Walt. He was ecstatic! Nick came up and told me, “Walt loved that thing, and I want to shake your hand!” Well, Bill never bothered to thank me, Walt either.
Province: Would you say Walt Disney had forgotten where he came from? After all, his own artistic ability was modest.
Peet: He couldn’t do any of the things he was famous for. His humor was suspect. I would call it sarcasm at best. He also couldn’t write or draw. I ran into a barber many years ago who had a Donald Duck drawing on the wall of his shop down in Hollywood. He said it was an original drawing by Walt Disney. It was from around ’36 or ’37. I thought it was funny because Walt could never have done that. He would sign the stuff, but he was always scared to death that somebody was going to ask him to do a drawing. He was a catalyst. He could take a room full of people and organize them into doing it. He could spot talent and pick this guy as good for that and someone else would be good for this.
Walt Hired Screenwriters and Playwrights and Didn’t Use Their WorkHe was always hiring these big-time screenwriters and playwrights. These people had no conceptions in visual terms at all, all dialogue. So they really couldn’t handle the stuff. He paid them a hell of a lot of money to fail. When it came down to it, we had to do it. He was very excited about Disneyland and working on that. Then to have to come back to the studio and work on the same old stuff he had been doing for years.