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Bringing ‘101 Dalmatians’ to Life with Disney Legend Floyd Norman

We attended the interview as a guest of Disney

“I grew up watching Disney films. It was in my DNA.” Floyd Norman

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Floyd Norman worked on many Disney films including “101 Dalmatians.” He knew early on that he wanted to be an animator, and right out of high school, he applied for a job at the Walt Disney Company. He was advised to go back to school, and in his third year of College, he got a phone call from the Walt Disney Company. He was watching the Mickey Mouse Club when receiving the phone call asking him to come to the studio at 8am on Monday morning. That was February of 1956, and he has been there ever since.

“He knew us better than we knew ourselves.” Floyd Norman

Walt Disney had a way of knowing what kind of job would be perfect for all of his employees. While Norman knew early on that he wanted to be an animator, Walt had something else in mind for Norman. “Walt Disney said you are not going to be an animator, you are going to be in story. There is only one answer to give to Walt, and that was ‘yes,'” said Norman.

Norman then began working on “The Jungle Book.” Not everyone who worked at the Walt Disney Animation Studio had a chance to sit in on meetings with Walt Disney. The one area that Walt spent most of his time working on was the story department, “Story meant everything to Walt,” said Norman. “The Jungle Book” was the last film that Walt Disney made. “My time on ‘The Jungle Book’ was very special. I was a very lucky kid to learn from the master first hand,” said Norman.

“Dalmatians was the right film at the right time.” Floyd Norman

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Floyd had the incredible opportunity to work on the film “Sleeping Beauty” that was made with no technology or computers. “It was a handmade product. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was a masterpiece. A beautifully crafted film,” said Norman. The only problem was that it cost a lot of money to make the film “Sleeping Beauty,” and the studio could not afford to keep making films 100% by hand. It was perfect timing because the Xerox desktop copier had just come out. “They were able to expand it to two or three rooms and create a massive photocopier to bypass the inking process, and everything came together at the right time to make 101 Dalmatians. We were able to make ‘101 Dalmatians’ with 1/2 the staff of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and in 2 years where ‘Sleeping Beauty’ took 5-6 years,” said Norman.

“You work on a film as a young man. Then you watch your children watch the same movie you worked on. Then you watch your grandchildren watch the film that you worked on. You know that this film is going to be watched by generations to come. So, that is very rewarding. I’m just grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work on such a magical film.” Floyd Norman

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Bring home the magical film of “101 Dalmatians” today and enjoy watching your children watch the same film that our generation watched as young children.

Enjoy watching this special video of Floyd Norman drawing ‘Pongo.’

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