August 13, 1942, Disney Premiered Bambi!

Disney’s 5th film Bambi premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Disney Cast Member voices included Hardie Albright (as Adolescent Bambi), Donnie Dunagan (as Young Bambi), Sam Edwards (as Adult Thumper), and Sterling Holloway (as Adult Flower). Bambi received 3 Academy Award nominations for Best Sound, Best Song for “Love Is a Song” and Original Music Score.

But what about the Disney Legend behind Bambi?

Meet Disney Legend, Tyrus Wong

~~When he heard that the studio was in pre-production on the feature film Bambi, he [Tyrus] went home and painted several pictures of a deer in a forest. The small, but evocative sketches captured the attention of Walt Disney and became the basis for the film’s visual style. Walt Disney saw that Tyrus was able to produce exquisite artwork that did not necessarily look like the forest—but rather, felt like the forest. Walt’s vision for Bambi and use of Tyrus’ work still influences films today!

Tyrus Wong was smuggled out of China at a very, very young age by his father. He was never to see his mother and sister again. He worked as a janitor for the Otis Art Institute so he could attend on scholarship. He was hired by the Walt Disney Company as an “inbetweener”. When he heard Bambi was in preproduction, he painted sever scenes of deer in forests and got the paintings in front of Walt Disney himself. He was made lead artist for Bambi. His art, including those forest scenes he made to show Walter Disney were on exhibition with The Walt Disney Family Museum and still with the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.

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