The Fantastical World of Writing – Bill Peet (quatre)

Bill Peet didn’t see himself working for Disney Studios forever. He was ready to take the next leap, but when he tried to transition his drawing to magazine cartoons it simply wasn’t working out. He decided to illustrate story books instead, it was what he really wanted to do. Maybe writing children’s book would be challenging, but he wanted to try it. He told bedtime stories to his children and they were all excited to hear them, maybe others wouldn’t mind to hear them too. The problem was that he couldn’t see himself writing. He was loss for words.

He drew his stories, but, try as he did he couldn’t put the words down. He spent hours trying to put the words together then night turn into day, days into weeks and weeks into months. He wondered if his character in his drawing would ever have an adventure. With a sigh, he put his drawings and stories on the book shelf and returned his attention to Disney films. He began working on Alice in Wonderland then back to Peter Pan, which had been shelved at the start of the war. Next came Sleeping Beauty, which resulted in a disgreement with Walt Disney. He was taken out of the project and sent to do commercials. It didn’t sit too well with Peet.

To get back in the good graces of Walt, Peet decided to sacrificed one of his stories, Goliath II, a story about a five-inch elephant. He was even able to make it into a little Golden Book. If he could write a story for Walt why not write one for his own and wrote, The Adventures of Hubert, a story about a proud lion who’s mane catches on fire, jumps into the water and comes out without his mane. The title was eventually changed to, ‘Hubert’s Hair-Raising Adventure.’ He sent his book to four different publishers and was rejected by all. He was indignant. It wasn’t published until 1959 by Houghton Mifflin Company. He was thrilled to see his book in book stores, though he knew he had a long way to go before he could continue a career in writing children’s book.

Still in Walt’s bad side, Peet was made to work on small projects that included spoofs with Goofy’s shorts, The Little House and Ben and Me shorts. He even included his own stories like ‘Lambert the Sheepish Lion‘ and ‘Susie the Little Blue Coupe.’ These projects helped him learn to keep his books short. Two years later he wrote his second book about a large rabbit he called Huge Harold. Peet felt resigned at staying at Disney when one day a story was dropped in his office, The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Walt gave him all the responsibilities from writing the screenplay, all the story boards and recording the voices for the numerous characters.

to be continued

Copyright 2015 by M. Stieg

All rights reserved.