David Hand Collection to Animation Hall of Fame

Publicity photo of David Hand at Gaumont British AnimationFor my undergraduate History of Animation class, I’m obliged to give a pretest to judge my student’s knowledge of the topic. A favorite question is, “Who was the director of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi?” Alas, no one has a clue, even though almost every student has seen these films and director David Hand gets prominent screen credit on both films.  My query is meant to be a teaching moment, rather than a trick question, as it brings up a name that tends to be forgotten in animation history.

Now, the Savannah-based Animation Hall of Fame (I’m on their Advisory Board) has announced that David Dodd Hand’s son, David Hale Hand, has donated a collection of “art and artifacts” representing his father’s life’s work.  The announcement gives a quick rundown of his career:

First working for Bray Studios; then Fleischer Studios in New York City, [Hand] quickly rose through the ranks at the Disney Studios to become the Supervising Director of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi, and Production Supervisor, answering only to Walt, a stellar achievement. He had his hand in the development of all films at Disney from 1930–1944. Then he impacted Europe by heading the GB Animation Studio with J. Arthur Rank, the major British animation studio and school of the time. Before he retired, he went on to producing and directing for the Alexander Film Company in Colorado.

For more information on Hand, see  Bob Egby’s David Hand the Moor Hall Collection website (where I got the photo above), the Disney Studio bio here, and Michael Barrier’s wonderful interview here.