He began his animation career in New York City, animating and directing pictures. A product of the Chicago Art Institute, he joined the J. R. Bray Studio, in the early 20s. He worked alongside Max Fleisher, drawing and directing a series entitled, Out of the Inkwell, which met with great success. He also created a series of educational films for Eastman Kodak and worked on Andy Gump - a popular comic strip created by Sidney Smith.
Hand joined the Walt Disney Studios on his birthday in 1930. His contributions to Disney were many. He began work as an animator - but later Walt made him the studio's third director. Hand was responsible for many outstanding Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies, including The Flying Mouse, Flowers and Trees (which won Disney’s first Academy Award), Who Killed Cock Robin, and Three Orphan Kittens (which also won an Academy Award).
He became Supervising Director for Disney's first feature length animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a position that he also held for Bambi and Victory Through Air Power.
David Hand (born January 23, 1900 in Plainfield, New Jersey) was an open, energetic broad-faced intensely positive man who spent 14 years with the Disney Studios animating, directing and supervising many successful shorts and feature films.
Hand felt that it was his responsibility to get Walt Disney's, sometimes seemingly entangled thoughts and ideas onto the screen. When Walt needed a Studio Production Supervisor, he promoted David Hand to that position. This placed him in the position directly under Walt in the operation of the studio; a position that he held during the production of such classics as Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Fantasia.
In 1944, after Hand had left Disney Studios, he discussed with J. Arthur Rank, at that time the top filmmaker in Great Britain, about coming to England, to start an animation film studio. The idea was to teach top English animators, the art of animation in the "classic form". In a joint venture, they created Gaumont-British Animations Studio (GB Animation). Nineteen films were created as a result of their efforts. These included nine Animaland and ten Musical Paintbox films made between 1948-1950. Since that time these films have been declared to be Historical Documents and the negatives were housed in the National Film Archives of England. Hand will always be known as the American who influenced a generation of British animators!
In 1984 he received the Winsor McCay ANNIE award. David Hand passed away in San Luis Obispo, California on October 11, 1986. In 1994 he was proclaimed a Disney Legend.
Thanks to "Disisme" Larry from Michigan (a Disney Store veteran and self-proclaimed Disney Nut) for supplying & sharing the information and image of Hand on this page.
SELECTED DISNEY HIGHLIGHTS
The Fire Fighter (1930) - Animator
Trader Mickey (1932) - Director & Animator
The Bird Store (1932) - Animator
Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935) - Director
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - Supervisor
Bambi (1942) - Director
Victory Through Air Power (1943) - Animation Supervisor
Mickey Mouse Disco (1980 music video) - Director
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