Crusty. Catankerous. Talented.

Walt Peregoy is one of the big talents in the animation industry.  (By “big talent,” I mean just that.  He was one of the principal drivers in the design and look of Walt Disney Productions “101 Dalmations” a great animated feature if ever there was one.)

Walt had a hard-scrabble upbringing, and a rough go of early adulthood.  He went to work at Disney during World War II as a traffic boy, but left soon after in frustration and disgust.  (“It was a goddamn factory!  I didn’t like it!”)

He came back later as a drone in the animation department.  but slowly, painfully, he worked his way into the background department and painted a string of Disney animated classics.  I met him when he was in his early thirties.  At the time, I was ten years old, but even though I was still in knickers and knee socks, I recognized his crustiness, and the chip that he kept balanced on his shoulder.

Fifty years later, I visited his house in Encino, California for the first time and sat down to interview him for the Animation Guild.  (You can hear that hour-plus sit-down here and here.)

As Walt was in 1959, so he was in 2011.  Only more so.  Thirty seconds into our back-and-forth I thought to myself: “Wow.  This is going to be a wild ride.”  Twenty minutes in, I mused: “Some people are going to be ticked off by this.”  When we were done, I told Mr. Peregoy I was going to put it up on the internet and was he (ahem) okay with that?

“Sure, why not?” he said.  “It’s who I am.  I’ve got nothing to hide.”

So I put it up, unedited.  I’ve done a number of interviews with pillars of the animation community since, but Walt Peregoy’s talk is the one that has drawn the most reaction.

Not hard to hear why.  Crusty and cantankerous, that’s Mr. Peregoy.


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