Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I was about to post something else when I discovered these pictures of the young Ward Kimball and his wife Betty on  Cartoon Brew.  I immediately put my own post aside, so I could put these up instead.  They're just too good to get anything less than the widest possible attention. 

As I said, the picture above is of animator Ward Kimball and his wife Betty.  Betty recently died at age 97. I don't know if I've ever seen a photo which so perfectly conveys young love.  The two seem so right for each other, so serene in each other's company.  If Eisenstadt or some other famous photographer had taken it, it would find its way onto the walls of a major museum.  Since it's a personal, family photo I don't know what its fate will be. 

Above, a beautiful sketch, which also conveys the feeling the  two had for each other.  What a powerful medium pencil and paper is when it's in the right hands!

Ward did this sketch (above) of Betty sleeping. Very nice! I wish I could have met her when she was alive!  I'm glad the two had each other.

Thanks to Amid for putting up the pictures I swiped.  You can see the whole set at Cartoon Brew, July 4th entry:


Kirk Nachman said...

Lovely. Look how hard and gestural and rich the lines and shading are on Kimball's cartoon sketch, and somewhat similar sense of line in the life drawing of Betty sleeping, - an almost post-impressionist style to the rendering. Cartooning was once closer to the old academy of European drawing. No one in the animation industry draws with these qualities anymore. I think it has become too specific unto itself and its own history.

Anonymous said...

I loved those drawings myself but I barely knew why until you explained them. Now I can truly see that the drawings are not only beautifully drawn by a great animator, but you can vividly see how sweet Ward and Betty Kimball's relationship was. Kinda makes me wish I had knew them personally. They seemed like great people.

Did you know that Ward Kimball actually led his own Dixieland band? Amazing at what a versatile man he was.

pappy d said...

What a sweet post. If I could have been the New Anybody, I'd have wanted to be the New Ward Kimball.

I didn't see the punchline on the sleeping portrait at first. Did they have a running private joke about Betty's big feet? The first one makes her look like a gangly Fred Moore bobbysoxer.

Jennifer said...

What a nice love story!

Austin Papageorge said...

I find it interesting how time flies. Here we are lamenting the death of Betty Kimball. We all feel that something great and irreplaceable is lost when someone from the Golden Age of Animation is gone.

But about how time flies. I guess that Ward Kimball was about 40 years older than you, Eddie, and that you are about 40 years older than me. We can only hope that someone as astute as you, Eddie, will be around to note the death of animation artists in the years to come.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Austin: It never occurred to me til you mentioned it that as the years go by it would be my responsibility to write reams of eulogies for dead mentors and influences. What a depressing thought! I hope that I can keep that to a minimum and just treat people better while they're still alive.

Also, am I really that much older than you are? With all that extra time under my belt I should be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, but alas, I don't think that's the case.

Sometimes I wonder why older people aren't all geniuses. After all, they've seen more and read more than everybody else. Sadly, they're not geniuses. I wish I knew why.

Nacht: True!

Anonymous said...

"With all that extra time under my belt I should be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, but alas, I don't think that's the case."

But what about your awesome, articulate theories, Eddie? That takes decades of wisdom and experience to come up with such well said intelligent thoughts. At least you're not like any of the "gifted" or "honors" or "AP" kids at my school, who like to blame their teachers for their lack of learning and complain about how much work they get, when a lot of times, they were the ones who decided to take a difficult course and not take advantage of any of that knowledge ("This so-and-so teacher is awful. She gave us this much homework and she doesn't teach any of it. Blah, blah, blah."). And then they don't even use the knowledge that they learn for some useful purpose or investigate the world for themselves. They end up blindly liking awful amateur crap like Twilight, Disney Channel tween comedies, and hip hop. They have no a single original thought or observation about the world, just derogatory comments about their teachers or their classmates. They're slaves to trends and the high school mentality, IMO.

My point is that those walking encyclopedias of knowledge are becoming rarer and rarer to find because so many people don't want to take advantage of the knowledge around them. School is supposed to improve your mind so that you can go out and seek knowledge in the world for yourself. That's the whole point of it. Would you agree?

talkingtj said...

these photos make me miss people ive never met. how did they do it?how did thet remain so loving and in love with each other and how come we cant do it today? are we obsessed with misery? maybe we contain too much information and it compromises our capacity for feeling? i wish i knew, you dont see couples like the kimballs walking around anymore, and thats a shame.

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

I'm probably not qualified to really comment here and will try not to wax philosophical on things I don't know. But,I did have the privilege of meeting the Kimballs and getting to know them over a weeks visit back in 79. They both impressed me with how much joy they had for life. It's become a goal of mine to never take anything too seriously and laugh as much as I can and enjoy everything life may through at you. We only go around once and the Kimballs seemed to make the most of living.

Austin Papageorge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Eddie,

I thought these photos and sketches were great, too. Really touching.

I got to hang out with both Betty and Ward back in 1993 when a few of us from WB went to their house for a visit. They just don't make 'em like that anymore.