D23 released some information on their Gold Membership gift this year, it pays tribute to Walt’s “Nine Old Men”.
Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Frank Thomas earned their nickname from none other than Walt himself. These animators were truly innovators—recognizing and putting into action new ideas, and bringing personalities to life through a craft that they helped create and continued to develop throughout their careers. The “Nine Old Men” are responsible for countless Disney characters, including Peter Pan (Milt Kahl), Maleficent (Marc Davis), and Jiminy Cricket (Ward Kimball).
Working closely with the Walt Disney Archives and the Animation Research Library, D23 has put together a stunning box set of 23 meticulously reproduced items that celebrate the work and achievements of these magnificent animators. Included are original characters sketches done by the artists, a pinback button celebrating Eric Larson’s 50th anniversary at Disney, and the program from the 1989 Disney Legends ceremony where the Nine Old Men were inducted.