19 2 / 2014

Bill Peet began his career at Walt Disney Studios in 1937. He started off as an ‘in-betweener’ on the animated shorts. Peet would later describe the position as a “tedious, painstaking job of adding hundreds of drawings in between hundreds of other drawings to move Donald or Mickey from here to there.”

One day a large stack of Donald Duck drawings was dumped on Peet’s desk. More in-betweens, please! The sight of those drawings caused Peet to have a near-nervous breakdown. He jumped up from his chair and ran out of the studio, shouting “NO MORE DUCKS!!! NO MORE LOUSY DUCKS!” The next day, Peet returned to the studio to pick up his things. He saw a letter on his desk. He was sure he had been fired. Instead, he’d been promoted to the story department!

Peet worked as a Disney story artist for years. He really came into his own on Dumbo. Walt Disney noticed this, too, and asked him to do ALL of the storyboards for the animated sequences in Song of the South. Walt was so impressed with Peet’s work on SotS, he tasked Peet with doing the storyboards (i.e. writing) for 101 Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone.

Looking at this small selection of Peet’s storyboards from Song of the South, it’s not hard to see why Peet was one of Walt’s go-to story men!

To learn more about Peet, check out his delightfully illustrated autobiography: Bill Peet: An Autobiography (Link leads to Amazon.com)

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