Dale Case

Born May 15, 1938 (Age 77) in Southern California

Animator, Animation and Timing Director, Poster Artist, Overseas Animation Production Supervisor, Director, Layout

Bio Summary:
Dale Case has had a long and distinguished career in the field of animation, working with many different studios. Son of animator Brad Case, Dale has had animation in his blood from the beginning of his life, leading to the start of his career in the 50’s. Dale has animated famous characters like the Pink Panther, Wile E. Coyote, and Roadrunner. Dale spent many years utilizing the skills he learned shadowing other skilled Disney and Warner Bros. animators animating commercials and eventually becoming an animation and timing director for Disneytoon Studios. His work with Disneytoon lasted for over ten years, sending him around the world to oversee many productions with his keen eye. Dale freelanced a lot throughout his career, leading him to meeting many prominent figures in the industry as well as famous stars like Mel Brooks. Dale has been nominated for many awards for his marked contributions to the industry. He retired in 2006, but his love for the trade has remained with him.

Early Life/Family:
Dale was born in 1938. Being the son of Disney animator Brad Case, Dale had exposure to the field literally from birth. Dale’s father Brad had worked as a special effects animator on classic Disney films such as Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), and Bambi (1942). Brad Case was among the many Disney animators who went on strike against the company in 1941. When Brad later return to the company he was supposed to become head of the special effects department, but due to Walt Disney’s grudge against the strikers, was demoted and forced to do menial work. Brad eventually moved to New York to become an animation director.

Dale showed great interest in art and drawing from a young age due to his early exposure to the field. In high school Dale majored in art and had a very inspirational art teacher. It was during his senior year at the age of 17 that Dale visited his father in New York and was really exposed to the process of animation. Brad showed Dale how flipping successive drawings could create the illusion of life. When Dale returned to school, his art teacher had contacted the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts), using her connections to allow Dale to take life drawing courses there as a high school student. After submitting a portfolio, Chouinard awarded Dale with a working scholarship where Dale cleaned the school in exchange for classes. It was also during his senior year of high school that Dale got into contact with Ray Patin due to his daughter attending the same school as Dale. Patin offered Dale a job to work at his studio early in the morning so he could still take classes at Chouinard at night. It was at Patin Studios that Dale had the opportunity of being exposed to all the different aspects and positions involved in producing an animation. Due to many animators leaving the big studios like Disney and Warner Bros., small, independent studios like Ray Patin Studios started popping up; because of this, Dale got to learn all the different steps of animation from some of the best animators in the industry. For three years Dale trained as an inbetweener under the guidance of many seasoned Warner Bros. animators, working on many animated commercials for the studio. Eventually the position for assistant animator opened up; it was at this point that Dale decided to drop out of Chouinard because he was learning so much more firsthand at the studio. Dale became an assistant animator at Patin Studios, cleaning up the rough drawings of the lead animators. At this time Dale also would do test animations of the Peanuts comic strips, that impressed the studio, so much so that they would even allow Dale to shoot them. Dale continued making commercials at Patin Studio for two more years, continuing to learn and grow, until eventually moving on with his career. Dale also said his technical knowledge of camera movement and mechanics was invaluable in his directorial position.

Career Outline:
Dale’s connections early on landed him a job as an inbetweener and eventual assistant animator at Ray Patin Studios for five years. Despite being an assistant animator, Dale was still “low on the totem pole” at Patin Studios, and was among the first to be let go whenever steady work didn’t come in. Due to the multitude of small, independent studios cropping up as a result of the major studio strikes, Dale would job hop from studio to studio, wherever his talents were needed. Dale mainly worked on commercials in the beginning of his career, going to whatever studio offered work, but a lull in the animation industry in the 50’s made it increasingly difficult to find work. Dale eventually left California and started up his own studio in Indiana called Merchandising Incorporated, buying a cheap, small camera stand and some ink and paint to produce animations of his own. This endeavor proved mostly unsuccessful, leading Dale to put out an article that read, “Animator Willing to Relocate,” which actually garnered a huge response or letters from all the over the world asking for Dale’s assistance and offering interviews. Growing bored with the lack of opportunity in Indiana, Dale returned to California where he interviewed with Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. Chuck wanted to make Dale a part of the animation team, but it was at this time that Warner Bros. was seeking to break up the animation studio, which eventually lead to Chuck’s departure. Dale then got into contact with Friz Freleng, who hired Dale on as an assistant animator for Warner. Dale moved up in the company and eventually got to work on the final four Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons, also illustrating posters to promote the cartoons at movie theaters. When DePatie-Freleng took over the Warner Bros. animation department, Dale did whatever work was asked of him, which usually included animating titles for the shorts or making posters. Dale became part of the animation team for the early Pink Panther shorts such as “The Pink Blueprint” (1966) and Pink-A-Boo (1966), working under director Hawley Pratt. It was at this time that Dale met designer and animator Ken Mundie, which marked the beginning of a collaborative partnership. Apparently Ken chose Dale to be his partner because Dale was willing to work during his abnormal business hours. The two animated titles as a team, not only for animated shorts but for live action films as well, one of their first projects together being the animated title sequence for the film The Trouble With Angels in 1966. Ken left to become a director at FilmFair Studios, a place where other Ray Patin animators had left to work at. Ken asked Dale to join him at FilmFair to work on some commercials, which Dale agreed to do, leaving Warner Bros./DePatie-Freleng with the exciting prospect that he would eventually get to work on an animated series. During this time Ken would direct the commercials while Dale would animate them, but when Ken also departed from FilmFair, Dale was put into the director’s seat for the first time. In this new position, more pressure was placed on Dale; he now had to direct, animate, and record the commercials’ soundtrack as well. With this new added pressure also came more creative control, placing Dale in a position where he could now make important decisions. He had more direct input and could now adjust the storyboards as he saw fit to make for better commercials overall. In the beginning of his directorial career, Dale tried to still animate, but stated that when one starts direct there simply isn’t enough time to animate as well. This lead to a turning point in his career, as Dale felt commercials, typically being only thirty-to-sixty seconds in length, were a constraining medium that didn’t allow for character development. Dale decided to leave FilmFair, calling Robert Mitchell at the Haboush Company with the strong desire to create an animated short where he could finally create characters and tell a real story. The two wrote the story, meeting at lunch and drawing storyboards on napkins, which resulted in Dale and Robert’s landmark short “The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam” (1970). Dale took a leave of absence from Haboush for three to four months without pay to devote all his time on finishing the short, showing his dedication to the project. The short film was so successful that it was nominated for 12 awards at various film festivals, and was even nominated for the Oscar for Best Short Subject Film, Cartoons at the 1971 Academy Awards. This short film opened many doors for Dale, providing him with the opportunity to serve as the animation director for Mel Brooks’ and Carl Reiner’s The 2000 Year Old Man TV special (1975). Utilizing the character designs of Leo Salkin, and working with producer Michael Gruskoff (Young Frankenstein, 1974), Dale animated while also directing the layout and timing. Dale also joined Bob Kurtz (a fellow Chouinard student, and FilmFair employee) at his studio Kurtz and Friends, where he worked on nationally televised animated commercials for various products like Frito Lay and Exxon Mobil. Because these commercials had high budgets and were nationally televised, Dale was given a lot of work, but also freelanced on the side. Dale decided to move back to Ojai, California, and then to Missouri to garden and farm while continuing to be a freelance animator. Dale continued animating commercials from his farm in Missouri for eight years. Brad Case, Dale’s father was serving as the overseas production supervisor on a sixty-five episode animated series in Japan called Bionic 6 (1987). Brad invited Dale to join him in Japan to act as an additional supervisor. Michael Webster, who Dale had worked with previously as an inbetweener, saw that Dale was under a lot of stress and pressure and offered him a job at Disneytoon Studios. Dale left Japan only to be sent back by Disneytoon to act as the overseas supervisor for the Disney animated series Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers (1989). Dale’s job was to go in and correct whatever mistakes the overseas animators were making, ensuring the production was running smoothly, and that the animation was of acceptable quality. After leaving Japan, Dale was sent to Australia to help set up the Disney TV studio where he worked as an animation and timing director. He then moved on to supervise the DuckTales the Movie in England, staying there for two more years. Dale continued to work as an animation and timing director for Disneytoon after returning to the United States, but Dale and Disney parted ways in 2001. Dale hadn’t animated for almost ten years at this point, spending all his time as director. He returned to freelance animating before ultimately retiring in 2006. His latest animation was a cartoon of the Monthy Python sketch “The Cheese Shop,” which he entered in a few film festivals, but his passion for animation remains strong even in retirement.

Comments On Style:
Interestingly, Dale told me that he doesn’t believe he has his own unique style. He said that since he always worked with talented designers throughout his entire career, he never allowed himself the time to develop a style of his own. When working on a production with a team of animators there needs to be consistency in the way characters are drawn so they stay on model, so Dale said he became a really good “copy cat”. He focused on established characters and drew them as they were meant to look, which he said inhibited him from creating his own style.

Dale stated that he was strongly influenced by the broad movements and actions that Warner Bros. animators conveyed through their drawings. He said that he, “always admired anyone who brought things to life.” While he was always adapting to other styles and had no specific influences, he greatly admires the work Bobe Cannon and Ken Champin of Warner Bros. The closing scene of “The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam” where Uncle Sam and the eagle travel across the country on a blimp with dissolving scenes below them was inspired by a technique by Richard Williams.

Dale was very kind and open to being interviewed about his career. He is very experienced and highly knowledgeable not just of the animation process, but of the politics of the industry. Despite having so much experience as an animation and timing director and enjoying the creative freedom it offered, Dale’s true passion lies in actually being an animator and bringing characters to life. Dale also believes that having a strong story tell is one of the most important aspects of the process. His expertise lies in the field of traditional 2-D animation, but has a respect for the constant technological advances in the industry. He is also generous in sharing his wisdom and providing helpful advice to anyone looking to become an animator, having a very nurturing yet pragmatic attitude towards young artists with goals. Dale also enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and has grown fruit plants when he lived in Ojai, California and ginseng in Missouri.

In addition to winning the Grand Prix at the Annency Film Festival for “Uncle Sam” in 1971, getting an Oscar nomination was a big highlight in Dale’s career. Apparently, it wasn’t an easy path to the Oscars; Dale and Bob worked literally to the last possible minute to get the film complete in time to submit it to Academy Awards. After viewing the film, Bob felt it was lacking and needed one final scene to tie it all together and round out the film. They came up with a scene that involved Uncle Sam and a bald eagle travelling on a blimp across the country with various scenes taking place beneath them that have political overtones. Dale agreed the scene was needed, but they two were very strapped for time. In order to animate the scenes quickly, Dale adopted a technique by Roger Rabbit director Richard Williams that used dissolves every four to seven frames so each pose and motion phase into the next without having to draw a lot of in-betweens. The background for this scene that continuously moves from left to right was seven feet long and had to be meticulously pulled by the cameramen. As soon as they finished the scene they frantically drove to Hollywood to turn the film into the Academy Awards office. When they got there, the office was already closed, but Dale and Bob went to the alleyway on the side of the building and saw an open window leading into the office. They threw the film through the window and it was accepted by the Academy as being turned in on time, leading to their nomination. Apparently, when the Academy made their decision as to who would win the award for Best Short Subject Film, they did so without even watching the films. The film that won, “Is it Always Right to be Right?” most likely owes it’s victory to the fact that it was narrated by Orson Wells, a big name star, rather than being judged on its own merits. After this year, the rule was instated that the Academy actually had to view the films before voting for them.

· When Dale was working on the 2000 Year Old Man he got to sing on a record with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and Mel’s wife Anne Bancroft, something Dale is very proud of.

· Dale said that while working with Disney as an overseas animation production supervisor, his unofficial title was Disneytoon’s “troubleshooter” who was sent in to correct whatever was going wrong at the foreign studios. He said that dealing with the foreign production managers was sometimes like “being thrown into the lion’s den.”

· Dale said that Bob Kurtz, owner of Kurtz and Friends, created the Keebler elves, only selling the characters for a measly $300 when they are worth much more than that today.

· Dale’s partner on “Uncle Sam”, Bob Mitchell is apparently never given credit for contributing as much as he did to 1968’s Yellow Submarine film. Dale said that Yellow Submarine’s writer Eric Segal came to Bob asking for advice on the film’s story, which was lacking before Bob helped to completely restructure it. The reason Bob isn’t given credit is because he didn’t have a work visa when he was staying in England and working on the film. Bob was forced to leave England and wasn’t legally allowed to be credited in the film.

King Leonardo and His Short Subjects (TV Series) (animator - 106 episodes) 1960-1961
The Pink Panther (animator: main titles - uncredited) 1963
The Beatles (TV Series) (animator - 5 episodes) 1965-66
The Pink Blueprint (Short) (animator) 1966
Unsafe and Seine (Short) (animator) 1966
Pink, Plunk, Plink (Short) (animator) 1966
Pink-A-Boo (Short) (animator) 1966
The Super 6 (TV Series) (animator) 1966
The Road Runner Show (TV Series) (animator) 1966
The Genie with the Light Pink Fur (Short) (animator) 1966
Sugar and Spies (Short) (animator) 1966
Unsafe and Seine (Short) (animator) 1966
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour (TV Series) (animator) 1968
The Pink Panther Show (TV Series) (animator) 1969
The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam (Short) (animator, director) 1971
The War Between Men and Women (key animator) 1972
The Mad Magazine TV Special (TV Movie) (animator) 1974
The 2000 Year Old Man (TV Movie) (animation director) / (animator) 1975
Drawing on My Mind (Short) (animator) 1985
Bionic Six (TV Series) (production supervisor - 65 episodes) 1987
Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers (TV Series) (overseas animation supervisor - 15 episodes) 1989
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (TV Series) (animation supervisor - 18 episodes) 1988-1990
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (production supervisor) 1990
Adventures of the Gummi Bears (TV Series) (animation supervisor - 8 episodes) 1990-1991
Darkwing Duck (TV Series) (animation director - 11 episodes, 1991 - 1992) (timing director - 1 episode, 1991)
Petal to the Metal (Short) (timing director) 1992
Goof Troop (TV Series) (timing director - 2 episodes) 1992
The Little Mermaid (TV Series) (animation director - 4 episodes, 1992 - 1993) (timing director - 1 episode, 1993)
Bonkers (TV Series) (animation director - 2 episodes, 1993) (timing director - 1 episode, 1993)
The Return of Jafar (Video) (animation director) 1994
Timon & Pumbaa (TV Series) (animation director - 1 episode, 1995) (timing director - 1 episode, 1995)
Aladdin (TV Series) (animation director - 15 episodes, 1994 - 1995) (timing director - 3 episodes, 1994 - 1995)
Aladdin and the King of Thieves (Video) (animation and timing director) 1996
Quack Pack (TV Series) (animation director - 2 episodes, 1996) (timing director - 2 episodes, 1996)
Hey Arnold! (TV Series) (sheet timer - 3 episodes, 1996) (animation director - 2 episodes, 1996)
Jungle Cubs (TV Series) (timing director - 4 episodes, 1996) (animation director - 3 episodes, 1996)
101 Dalmatians: The Series (TV Series) (animation director - 1 episode) 1998
Belle's Magical World (Video) (director, animation director: "Fifi's Folly")
Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (Video) (animation director) / (timing director) 1998
Hercules (TV Series) (animation director - 9 episodes) 1998-99
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (Video) (animation and timing director) 1999
Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving (Video) (animation supervisor - segment "Groundpiglet Day") 1999
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (Video) (timing director) 2000
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (TV Series) (sheet timing - 5 episodes, 2000) (timing director - 1 episode, 2001)
Fatherhood (TV Series) (timing director - 1 episode) 2004
Ed, Edd, 'n' Eddy (TV Series) (exposure sheet director - 1 episode 2005

According to Dale, he and Bob Mitchell’s “The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam” was nominated for 12 awards at various national film festivals in 1971, including a Gold Hugo nomination at the Chicago International Film Festival and an Oscar Nomination at the 1971 Academy Awards in the Best Short Subject, Cartoons category. The short film actually won the Grand Prix at the Annency International Film Festival in France in 1971, a highly competitive and prestigious honor. Dale shared a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1993 for “Outstanding Animated Program” with his team for their work in the Disney animated series Darkwing Duck (1991); this included: Tad Stones (supervising producer), Alan Zaslove (supervising producer/producer), Toby Shelton (producer), John Kimball (animation director), Rick Leon (animation director). Dale and his team were nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1996 for “Outstanding Achievement in Animation” for their work on the animated series based on the Disney feature Aladdin (1994).

Related Links:
Dale’s LinkedIn Profile Page:
Some of Dale’s animations:
The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam
The Pink Blueprint

Bibliographic References:

Contributors To This Listing:
Benjamin Church, Dale Case himself

Animators Hall of Fame