Dale L. Baer

June 15th, 1950

Animator, Character Animator, Digital Animator, Supervising Animator, Storyboard Artist, Story Director, Animation Designer, Layout Artist (IMDb)

Bio Summary:
Born in Denver, Colorado, Baer developed an interest in animation when
he was 8 years old, and Disney is where he always wanted to work.
After a short stint in art school, he started in Saturday morning
cartoons, which led to the training program at Disney (Baer).

Early Life/Family:
Baer and his family moved around a lot because his father was a
military man. After some time in Colorado, Glendale, California,
and Germany, they settled in North Hollywood for a time before moving
to La Habra. His folks weren't too keen on him going into animation,
and tried redirecting him into industrial drawing. But that wasn't working
too well since he was pretty bad at math. So after his dad died, he used
the Veterans money he received from him, and put himself through two years
of art school at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (Baer).

When Baer entered Chouinard after high school, they were thinking
of getting rid of the animation program there, so they put him
into the program which one usually didn't start till their third year.
After art school, he got his first job at Filmation working on Saturday
morning cartoons, which in itself was a training program, because he
started doing things there that were never taught in school. After that
job, he got into the training program at Disney doing in betweens and
clean-ups, as well as animation (Baer).

Career Outline:
Baer has over 40 years experience in the animation industry, with
27 years in the commercial field ( His first
job was at Filmation in Reseda. Following that, he spent 6 years at
Disney (Baer). However, after his mentor Lounsbery passed away, the other
great animators began to either go into other areas or retire and a group
of ambitious but cliché animators led by Don Bluth began to take their
places. Never a big fan of Bluth at either Filmation or Disney, Baer found
working with the group an unpleasant experience making him decide to leave
the studio around 1977
When he left Disney, he went to work for Ralph Bakshi on the animated
"Lord of the Rings". He then went over to Richard William’s studio doing
commercials, as well as doing storyboards at Hanna-Barbera. Baer freelanced
for Disney on two features. He started his own company, Baer Animation, in
1984. Disney hired him to head up the Los Angeles unit on "Roger Rabbit,"
which led to doing commercials through his own company, plus a couple more
Disney projects. After doing that for about 12 years, he came back to
Disney in 1998, where he is currently working (Baer).

Comments On Style:
Baer likes broad animation, particularly comical animation; much like what
his mentor John Lounsbery liked doing. He is not very comfortable with subtle
and realistic animation (Baer).

“In many ways Dale Baer artistically has many similarities to his mentor
John Lounsbery. Like Lounsbery, Baer is very centered around putting an
excellent performance on paper and is very versatile style-wish but prefers
to do more comic characters. He draws very loosely when animating,
something he learned when studying a John Sibley drawing while working on
his pencil test that got him the job in the first place. Study Dale’s work
and you’ll notice that his use of squash and stretch is amazing. This is a
very important technique in animation because it is a good asset in acting
and dialogue scenes as well as a good way to put life and flesh in your
scene. Another crucial aspect in Dale Baer’s animation is performance. He
thinks and analyzes how the character would perform and also puts a lot of
effort in making sure the character’s thought process is evident in the
scene he is working on”

Baer’s influences are John Lounsbery, Freddie Moore, Cliff Nordberg and Milt Kahl (Baer).

Baer is a bit shy, but he loves helping people. He likes to inject
humor into situations to alleviate tension. He also likes to give
his very best to whatever he is working on (Baer). He is acclaimed by many
of his peers to be incredibly kind and approachable

Back when Baer was working on Roger Rabbit, he and his production manager
had to fly up to San Francisco to show some pencil tests to Bob Zemeckis.
This was long before computer technology. They got there and were
driving around looking for the Industrial Light and Magic company
building. They found the street and there were two large identical
buildings on the street, but no signs. They got out of the car and went up
to one of the offices and it wasn't it, so they walked over to the other
and found a card in the window, no bigger than eight inches square that
said "ILM.” When they walked in, it was the most magical place Baer had
ever seen. Storyboards lining the walls, models of spacecraft and buildings
were everywhere. It was something else. When they found Zemeckis, he was
shooting something out back. When Zemeckis came into the building to look
at the tests, he was followed by Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger,
dressed in the silliest looking rabbit costume Baer had ever saw…pink, none
the less. Baer and his production manager also got to sit in on dailies
before they headed back, and each comped shot done on that film was a shot
in the dark, because they were all done on an Optical Printer, no video or
digital back then either, and they were guessing on values of the shadow
passes and the highlight passes on the animated characters so they would
fit into the live action. What made it difficult for them as well was Ron
Howard was also putting together "Willow" at the same time, using the same
equipment. So those printers were going 24/7. And people lived to tell
about it (Baer).

A few years ago, Baer’s niece, who worked here with him, decided at
Halloween, to dress up like him. She had studied theater in college, so was
pretty good at make-up. She fooled a lot of people during the day, but it
was pointed out that she walked too fast and didn't have a cup of coffee in
her hand (Baer).

Baer’s favorite project he has been a part of is “Roger Rabbit” because
of its place in film history (

Baer believes that as popular as CG animation is, there's something missing
from it that 2D animation has, and that's the human element. He still
recommends that, anybody interested in animation period, learn CG as well
as 2D. It exists in a big way, but the more traditional knowledge given to
computer work, will make it even better. There's room for both, and he’s
thrilled when the two merge. It gives him hope that traditional 2D isn't
going to die. Too many people that he has met, mainly animation fans in
general, miss it. So Baer hopes it will come back strong...stronger than
ever (Baer).

Baer’s advice for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break
into the business is “Learn everything you can. Don’t be afraid of the
technology. Be inquisitive about everything. It’ll keep you working. Ask
lots of questions. Richard Williams has always been a student of animation.
He would pick the brains of every legend out there, taking notes, which is
how he was able to write his book. And while you’re drawing and or
animating, keep things loose. Don’t weigh yourself down with detail. And
keep an open mind for other ways of doing it, plus keep things simple. Have
fun exploring what it is that you’re animating” (

Past Films & Videos (36 titles)
2013 Get a Horse! (short) - Animator
2012 Wreck-It Ralph - Additional Visual Development
2011 Winnie the Pooh - Supervising Animator ("Owl")
2011 The Ballad of Nessie (short) - Supervising Animator
2009 The Princess and the Frog - Animator ("Ray") (as Dale L. Baer), Lead Animator ("Frog Hunters") (as Dale L. Baer)
2007 How to Hook Up Your Home Theater (short) - Animator
2007 Meet the Robinsons - Supervising Animator ("Wilbur") (as Dale L. Baer)
2005 Chicken Little - Animator
2005 The Zit (short) - Animator
2004 Home on the Range - Supervising Animator ("Alameda Slim" and "Junior")
2002 Treasure Planet - Animator ("Doctor Doppler")
2001 Shrek - Pre-production (Los Angeles)
2000 The Emperor's New Groove - Supervising Animator ("Yzma" and "Yzma Kitten")
1999 Tarzan - Additional Animator
1999 The King and I - Storyboard Artist (as Dale L. Baer)
1998 Quest for Camelot - Animator (United States)
1995 Species - Animation Consultant (Boss Film)
1994 Ri¢hie Ri¢h - Digital Animator
1994 The Lion King - Animator ("Adult Simba")
1993 Last Action Hero - Animation Designer (The Baer Animation Company) (as David Baer)
1992 Tom and Jerry: The Movie - Animation Director (The Baer Animation Company) (as Dale L. Baer)
1991 Rover Dangerfield - Supervisor (The Baer Animation Company) (as Dale L. Baer)
1990 The Prince and the Pauper (short) - Second Unit Director (The Baer Animation Company) (as Dale L. Baer), Supervising Animator (as Dale L. Baer)
1989 Tummy Trouble (short) - Animator (as Dale L. Baer)
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit - Chief Executive And Supervising Animator (additional animation) (as Dale L. Baer)
1985 The Black Cauldron - Animator
1983 Mickey's Christmas Carol (short) - Animator
1982 Arajin to maho no ranpu - Character Designer (as Dale Bear)
1980 Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) - Animator
1978 The Lord of the Rings - Key Animator, Layout Artist
1977 Pete's Dragon - Animator (uncredited)
1977 The Rescuers - Character Animator
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Animator
1974 Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (short) - Animator
1974 Journey Back to Oz - Layout Artist
1973 Robin Hood - Character Animator

Past Television (12 titles)
2006 Independent Lens (TV series documentary) - Animator (1 episode)
-The Zit (26 December 2006)
1993 Animaniacs (TV series) - Storyboard Artist (1 episode)
-Be Careful What You Eat/Up the Crazy River/To Da Dump, to Da Dump, to Da Dump Dump Dump (15 October 1993)
1992 Mother Goose and Grimm (TV series) - Storyboard Artist (1 episode)
-Expensive Taste/Lassie Swim Home (1 January 1992)
1987 'Tis the Season to Be Smurfy (TV movie) - Story Director
1987 Smurfs (TV series) - Story Director (36 episodes)
-Smurf on the Wild Side: Part 1/Smurf on the Wild Side: Part 2 (19 September 1987)
-Smurf on the Wild Side: Part 3/Smurf on the Wild Side: Part 4 (19 September 1987)
-The Smurflings' Unsmurfy Friend/The Smurfstalker (19 September 1987)
-Gargamel's Sweetheart (26 September 1987)
-Poltersmurf/Baby's Marvelous Toy (26 September 1987)
-Sleepless Smurfs/Cut-Up Smurfs (26 September 1987)
-Poet's Storybook/The Fastest Wizard in the World (3 October 1987)
-Smurfing for Gold/Jokey's Joke Book (3 October 1987)
-Wild About Smurfette/Sing a Song of Smurflings (3 October 1987)
-Castaway Smurfs/Legendary Smurfs (10 October 1987)
-Dancing Bear/Gargamel's Last Will (10 October 1987)
-Sassette's Bewitching Friendship/Azrael's Brain (10 October 1987)
-Nobody Smurf (17 October 1987)
-Peewit's Unscrupulous Adventure (17 October 1987)
-Smurfing the Unicorns/Vanity's Closest Friend (17 October 1987)
-Scruple and the Great Book of Spells/Bouncing Smurf (24 October 1987)
-The Answer Smurf/Vanity's Wild Adventure (24 October 1987)
-Clockwork Smurfette/I Was a Brainy Weresmurf (24 October 1987)
-Papa for a Day/Flighty's Plight (31 October 1987)
-Soothsayer Smurfette/Crooner Smurf (31 October 1987)
-To Coin a Smurf/Smurfette Unmade (31 October 1987)
-Foul Feather Fiend/Sassette's Hive (7 November 1987)
-A Long Tale for Grandpa/Where the Wild Smurfs Are (7 November 1987)
-Little Big Smurf/Locomotive Smurfs (7 November 1987)
-Predictable Smurfs/Hefty's Rival (14 November 1987)
-The Magic Sack of Mr. Nicholas/Swapping Smurfs (14 November 1987)
-Snappy's Puppet/Prince Smurf (14 November 1987)
-Skyscraper Smurfs/Bad Luck Smurfs (21 November 1987)
-Smurfing Out of Time/A Hole in Smurf (21 November 1987)
-Return of Don Smurfo (21 November 1987)
-Smurf Pet/Timber Smurf (28 November 1987)
-The Smurf Who Could Do No Wrong/Smurfette's Lucky Star (28 November 1987)
-The Smurfy Verdict/Chlorhydris's Lost Love (28 November 1987)
-All the News That's Fit to Smurf (5 December 1987)
-Gargamel's Quest/Gargamel's Second Childhood (5 December 1987)
-Stop & Go Smurfs/Poet the Know-It-All (5 December 1987)
1981 The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (TV series) - Story Director (11 episodes)
-The French Correction (12 September 1981)
-Kelp! (19 September 1981)
-Time Schlep (26 September 1981)
-It's All Downhill from Here (10 October 1981)
-Double Jeopardy (17 October 1981)
-Fjords and Sorcery (24 October 1981)
-There's No Place Like Rome (31 October 1981)
-Perilous Pauline (7 November 1981)
-Around the World in 80 Ways (14 November 1981)
-All This and Timbuktu (21 November 1981)
-Give Me a Hand: Something's Afoot (28 November 1981)
1981 No Man's Valley (TV short) - Animator
1981 Laverne & Shirley in the Army (TV series) - Story Director (1 episode)
-Invasion of the Booby Hatchers (10 October 1981)
1981 It's Magic, Charlie Brown (TV short) - Animator
1980 Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown (TV short) - Animator
1980 She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown (TV short) - Animator
1979 You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown (TV short) - Animator
Self (2 titles)
2003 Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit (video documentary short) - Himself
2002 The Sweatbox (documentary) - Himself

2001 Annie Award - *Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation* for the character “Yzma” in “The Emperor's New Groove” (IMDb)

Related Links:

Bibliographic References:
Email conversation with Dale Baer

Contributors To This Listing:
Dale Baer
Bethany Lizarraga

Animators Hall of Fame