Walt Disney Peter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy-adventure film. It is the 14th Disney animated feature film that was originally released on February 5, 1953, by RKO Radio Pictures. Peter Pan is the final Disney animated feature released through RKO before Walt Disney’s founding of his own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution, later in 1953 after the film was released. Peter Pan is also the final Disney film in which all nine members of Disney’s Nine Old Men worked together as directing animators. It is also the second Disney animated film starring Kathryn Beaumont, Heather Angel, and Bill Thompson after their roles in the animated feature Alice in Wonderland. Wendy and her brothers are whisked away to the magical world of Neverland with the hero of their stories, Peter Pan. Here are the Nine Animators that I want to give credited to: Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Frank Thomas.
By the time Robin Hood was released, only four of the Nine Old Men (Kahl, Lounsbery, Thomas, and Johnston) were still animating at Disney. Eric Larson was still working for Disney as a talent scout and trainer. Wolfgang Reitherman was by then directing and producing films. Marc Davis was helping to create Disney theme park attractions. Lounsbery died in 1976, Kahl retired the same year and died in 1987. Thomas, Johnston and Davis retired in 1978, and Thomas and Johnston later enjoyed cameos in the Brad Bird-directed films The Iron Giant (Warner Bros., 1999) and The Incredibles (Pixar, 2004). Thomas died shortly afterwards in 2004, and Johnston, who was by then the last surviving “Old Man”, died in 2008.
As well as being honored as Disney Legends in 1989, all of the Nine Old Men were separately honored with the Winsor McCay Award (the lifetime achievement award for animators) during the 1970s and 1980s.
As part of their work for Disney, the Nine Old Men refined the 12 basic principles of animation:
Squash and stretch
Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
Follow Through and Overlapping Action
Slow In and Slow Out