The Fantastical World of Writing – Bill Peet (deux)

Bill Peet was somewhat attracted to the sordid of landscapes and it wasn’t that he was fascinated by gloom and dread, but, the other side of life. The ones others avoided to see, such as the forgotten men that lived under the bridge or the ignoble workers of a circus when it came to town. He also preferred to paint pictures of grizzled men. Something about them caught his eye, as if they had a story to tell. He won many prizes painting pictures like these. Perhaps it was the times of the Depression that gave him the inspiration to draw abjectly. It was 1937 and hope was all they could dream of.

If he wondered where his love of art would lead him to he really couldn’t say. It wasn’t until someone encouraged him to fill out an application for the Disney Company. He had enjoyed the Disney short, but, never saw himself drawing cartoons, either way he gave it a try. After waiting a month for a reply, he was requested to present himself at the Disney Studios in Los Angeles. That was a long way from Indiana and Peet didn’t have much money. Somehow, he managed to hitch a ride with someone who was heading that way. It was a long treacherous journey, filled with scenes of the Depression; the Dust Bowl, unpaved roads; and families packed tightly in their Ford model-T, migrating to California for work. When he got to Los Angeles the scene hadn’t improved. He was greeted with it’s desolated landscape and bent palm trees. There was not much to look, but, its barren hillsides, a few small bungalow homes scattered about, and a full view of the dessert.

He started working as an in-betweener, a job that had no prospect of being nothing more than that, making his life a bit more unstable. He made a go of it, while aroused of the news that Disney was attempting it’s first feature-length animated film, Snow White. He was excited of the possibilities and being a part of something great. He went to the premier of the film and was taken aback by the adulation, but the feeling only lasted until Monday, when he was back to work drawing Donald Duck for a thousand time. He was starting to hate the duck.

Then news started circulating that they were requesting new sketches for a new film they were working on, Pinocchio. Maybe this was his opportunity to shine. They wanted to see zany monsters for a scene in the film called Bogyland. He spent  all night working on these drawings, making them as goofy as he could possibly imagine them. The next day, he submitted his work while being shuffled to draw a duck over and over. When another large stack of duck drawings arrived to be filled in by him, he completely lost it. He marched out of the studio, shouting, “NO MORE DUCKS!”

to be continued