As many of you have seen Disney has released the Diamond edition of the 101 Dalmatians. A classic Disney movie that was released in 1961. However, what few people get to find out in their lifetime is many of the secrets behind a fun animated film like this. Or meet the artistic talent behind it. I was blessed enough to do both on my recent trip to Los Angeles and meet the creative legend Floyd Norman.
Out of High School Floyd applied for a job at Disney Studios and was told to go to school and study art technique. On his 3rd year at the Art Center he received a call to be at Disney Studios becoming the first African-American artist to remain at the studio on a long-term basis. He started as an inbetweener for the movie Sleeping Beauty. Following his work on Sleeping Beauty, Norman was drafted, and returned to the studio after his service in 1960 to work on One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) and The Sword in the Stone (1963).After Walt Disney saw some of the inter-office sketches Norman made to entertain his co-workers, he was reassigned to the story department, where he worked with Larry Clemons on the story for The Jungle Book.
It was amazing talking to him because of the many things he got to see while working with Walt Disney. For starters everyone called each other by their first name. No one was to call Walt (Mr.Disney). When he made a decisions you said Yes Sir! Most important Story Meant everything to Walt. Speaking to Mr. Norman you could see there was an amount of respect he felt towards Walt. During that day an age Mr. Disney was a progressive of sorts naming a Woman to run film unit something that didn’t happen in that day and age. Walt treated everyone fairly,equally and kindly. He was like a Dad to his employees you didn’t just join the company you joined the family.
During his career he’s seen many changes to the artistic process of a film. When he began they were working on Sleeping Beauty which was drawn,inked and painted by hand and cost a lot of money. He says this was a true masterpiece. Once he went on to 101 Dalmatians they changed things a bit and Xerox became the main way in which it was made, a technique that was very cutting edge at the time. His favorite movie was the Jungle Book which was also Walt Disney’s last movie.
More recently, he has worked on motion pictures for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, having contributed creatively as a story artist on films such as Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. for Pixar and Mulan, Dinosaur and The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Walt Disney Animation Studios, among others, including recently Reel FX’s Free Birds. He continues to work for The Walt Disney Company as a freelance consultant on various projects and still goes to work to this day at one of the Disney Studio offices.
Being with this man was truly inspirational and we even got a few drawing techniques from him. Sitting and listening to these anecdotes from years past, and sitting in a room in a building with so much history was something so amazing, so rich and so awe inspiring. It was truly an experience to be a part of this and I will treasure it for years to come. Most important every time I see 101 Dalmatians I’ll know I sat in the presence of one of it’s makers.
Disclosure: This post is part of my press trip to LA, CA with expenses provided by Disney. All Opinions are 100% mine.
Comments & Reviews
You are having such great experiences!!!
Angie Widhalm says
Rajee Pandi says
looks like lot of fun
Kelly Marlow says
I bet that was an awesome meeting. Sounds like you learned a lot from him and got a lot of insight into how the Disney studio was ran when Walt Disney was alive.
Dianne Mumpower says
What an awesome life he has had. And all with a high school education. WOW!
That would have been an amazing meeting! I hope you took home some of his talent
Lindsey Cartwright says
This looks like a lot of fun
Amie H says
Great Story to start my day
Sania Wasif says
Must be enjoying !
Susan Smith says
Wow! What a great experience!
Thank you. I liked the story!
Thearry loun says
betty wojnar says
I love seeing artists in action. It is so amazing some one can have so much talent.
Marilyn Nawara says
Very nice and interesting story – glad you let us know about your great adventure.
Karen Giasson says
Thank you. I really enjoyed your story. It was pretty cool.
Suie Brown says
One of our favorite memories of our trip to Disney World was the art studio where we all got walked through a drawing of Goofy. I still have those sketches. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of that fun time.
How fun to meet him and what an interesting back story! Thank you for sharing…..
Looks like so much fun!
Tara Knott says
Awesome story 🙂 thanks for sharing!!
Carrie H. says
Nice experience. With everything being computer drawn/animated anymore, these artists are slowly falling to the wayside. Lucky you to have the opportunity to meet and speak with such an artist.
Beverly Strong Chisnall says
Neat thank you for sharing
Sandra Watts says
What a great experience.
Mike Fring says
He seems like a cool guy
Candice Balser says
What a great opportunity! I can’t believe he was one of the people who worked on Sleeping Beauty. That is my favorite Disney movie. 🙂 I would love to see the behind the scenes of how it was made. Sword in the Stone is an old favorite of mine too. How inspiring to talk to someone with such a rich history at Disney.
Gabrielle Dennison says
That’s amazing! The changes that man show while working at Disney must have been jaw-dropping.
so cool! 🙂
Cool, thanks for sharing!
Mare W says
Wonderful opportunity and experience you had. Thanks for sharing this post.
wen budro says
Wow….that sounds like such an awesome experience. 101 Dalmatians is such a classic movie….such great animation.
Heather Garcia says
What an honor to meet and talk with someone who has been with Disney for such a long time. It sounds like a labor of love used to go into every Disney movie.
Alona Y says
I love these kinds of behind the scenes posts, looks like fun!
So cool that you got to meet the man behind one of my favorite childhood movies!
deb p says
Very Interesting, and what a big dog.
M Snyder says
Wow, it’s always so fun to get to see behind the scenes information. What an opportunity.
Deborah W says
What a great story. I so enjoyed reading about his experience at Disney and working with Walt Disney. Awesome that you got to meet him too.
This looks like it was fun!
What an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing!
angela smith says
thank for sharing your experience with us.bet you had a great time
Diana Vuong says
It was an inspiring story and having talent is once of the best.
Teressa Morris says
Loved reading about what it was like to work for Walt Disney. What a great trip you must have had!!
Morgan Bolden says
This is so neat. 101 Dalmations was one of my favorite Disney movies as a child. It would have been cool to meet one of the artists on the film.
Anita Carter says
Nice, I wish I had talent like this!
barnolds barnes says
It’s weird that you had to call him Walt but also say yes sir!
Cheryl Weber says
What a neat story!
David Smith says
That’s cool that he got to work on so many classic Disney movies and projects. I think that is is cool that you got to meet hi too.
Ashleigh Swerdfeger says
That is amazing! What an experience. I have never heard of this fellow before. It was nice to know that enjoyed his time at Disney. What a story,
Angelica Dimeo says
wow this would so make my day seeing a legend 😀
Pam Dickinson says
Karen Glatt says
This guy is amazing that he can draw all these pictures! It sounds so hard to me to think about doing this! What an awesome animator!
Tiffany Schmidt says
what a great experience. I’m always jealous of the D23 conventions where many Disney legends speak.
Kellie Ritter says
You are so lucky to get to meet him. He is a very talented man!! Thanks for sharing!!
brenda disimone says
this looked like it was so fun ! what a talented fellow
Mary Mougeot says
Thank you, awesome gifts.
Claire Y. says
Looks like a fun time!
lissa crane says
We are huge Disney fans and yet I had no idea who Floyd Norman was or anything about him! This was an awesome post and learned so much!
Holly Thomas says
It is awesome when you get to meet the person behind the talent!
sherry blamer says
That is awesome you got to meet Floyd. He is a very talented man.
Must have been an interesting experience to work with Disney.
Trisha Burgess says
A great read! Thank you!
Thank you for sharing and being so inspirational.
Heather D says
The experience sounds super cool. I love opportunity like you had — an opportunity to be further inspired 🙂
I would love to work with Walt Disney! I also have always loved the Dalmatians movies. You are very lucky to be there
BRandi Elam says
What a great experience! Thanks for sharing.
Nicole K says
What an awesome experience, thanks for sharing
Sharon A says
Love to see the behind the scenes story.
erin Marie says
What a great experience thank you for sharing.
Lots on memories made around Disney!!
Marilyn Legault says
Enjoyed your story. Would love to do this.
vickie couturier says
what a wonderful trip you had,,so very interesting,,im glad you got to go
Amazing giveaway…thank you!
Kelly Greenwood says
101 Dalmatians was a favorite of mine when I was little. 🙂 That’s really cool that you got to meet one of the artists.
cassie D. says
Very cool, those are some of my favorites!!!! Never knew most of that information, thanks for sharing!!!
Elise Rogers says
He was part of the true magic of Disney. Men like him helped make Disney what it is today.
that is so cool
That must have been amazing to meet him. He’s been part of a few of the classics!
Jean Marie C says
That is a great story! I remember watching The Sword in the Stone with my cousins almost every night before going to bed. My cousin on the other side of my family, her theme was 101 Dalmatians! I’m sure it was a privilege to meet him!
sharon shafran says
amazing story how wonderful
Paula Briggs Weir says
Patricia Vazquez says
This is AWESOME!! Thank you!
mellisa patterson says
This is so cool! Love that movie 🙂
Jen E says
Wow! What an experience!
JENNIFER AGUERO says
EVERYONE LOVES DISNEY AND THE DALMATIONS. What a great artist!
Raina Hood says
My little guy has to see this!
What a cool experience!
Christina Holliday says
This is so awesome, I love Classic Disney movies!
Sarah L says
I love behind-the-scenes stories like this one. Glad you got to do this.
Gail P says
Whart a great experience this must have been
Michelle S says
I would love to read his biography – what a story! To think he had a piece of all of these famous Disney movies, simply incredible.
dianna a. says
Lucky to get such an experience
Such a great experience to have had! Your so lucky
What an awesome experience!
Sarah Stewart says
101 Dalmatians is a good movie! Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing this with us!
Jamie Hammel says
You get to have some of the best experiences!
Jessica Haynes says
Sounds like you had a great time!
Melissa K says
I didn’t know anything about him before this article. Very cool that you got the opportunity to meet him!
Leah Walker says
What an amazingly talented man! It must have been such a gift to meet him.
Melanie Lapierre says
It’s fun to know!
What a great experience!!
Stephanie Sangatanan says
What a wonderful opportunity
Beautiful he has a blessing ahead of him! Hes an angel!! 🙂
Kari Barone says
An inspiring story indeed! What a wonderful time!
Thank you for sharing
Katrina P says
So much fun!
This guy seems like such a nice character. Thanks for sharing!
Rachel Webb says
Looks like fun
Brittany S C says
Wow That’s awesome!
Carissa Joslyn says
Wow! how lucky! I would love to talk and learn about stuff from him! My kids and i are huge disney fans!
Kristen Varner says
What an amazing opportunity!
Cindy H says
This was such a special opportunity! Thanks for sharing!
Pam H. says
I am a fan of everything Disney so I am so jealous you got to spend a morning with Floyd Norman.
K Gunn says
Such a wonderful opportunity!
Brittany P says
What a great experience! His is a great story.
Amanda D says
What an amazing experience!
Hannah Avery says
How cool to meet him! My son loves 101 Dalmations!
Beth Mallett says
I loved that movie as a kid we watched all of them!!! what a great opportunity 🙂
Amanda Jordan says
What an awesome opportunity.
Keisha Flanagan says
What a neat opportunity! Thanks for sharing!
Heather Mulcahey says
Such amazing talent! You were so lucky to meet him!!
I can’t even draw a good stick figure! But this guy is amazing!!
janet Pratt says
An amazing experience!
Emily L. says
How amazing! He has seen so much! I can’t even draw a stick figure 😉
john willis says
Tran Steel says
What a neat opportunity to meet him and hear all those stories. Wow, what ir must have been like to be in the hey day of such Disney history and been a part of the classics that so many of us grew up with that continue to be ao many families’ memories via our children now.
Carrie Barron says
What a great experience for you to have! I read a book about the Disney business philosophy and was very impressed.
Petra Sartor says
Fantastic story. What an amazing, talented man!
Kat Kerley says
Loved Sleeping Beauty! It was so beautiful!
Jenn-Paul Henderson says
this is a wonderful story! thanks for sharing!
Erin B. says
Sounds like a great time!
Heidi Larsen says
What a fun day!
lauren simms says
Epic! What great memories to make!
Katie M says
What a great experience. I love learning about how it is and what it takes to make it work behind the scenes.
Ashley Morel says
How fun for you! Thanks for sharing.
Sarah Elyce says
This had to be a very fun experience. How awesome for you!
Jeanie Payne says
What a great experience.
J. Metcalfe says
That sounds like it was an amazing experience! Such talent and such great stories!
Tammy Dalley says
Looks like a fun time
Kimberly Flickinger (@kaflickinger74) says
Thank you so much for sharing! I love puppies!
Trisha Chamberlain says
What a wonderful and unique experience. How awesome to learn some drawing tips from someone who has drawn for Disney… Floyd Norman, nonetheless! How crazy is it that he actually knew Walt Disney, himself?! I would have been in awe. So glad you were able to have such a nice time and learn so much about Mr. Norman.
Kristin Burkholder says
So cool! You get to meet so many creative and awesome people!
jacquelyn Matties says
It would be awesome to learn a few drawing techniques to teach my daughter.
Jaime S says
Fun experience. It will make a wonderful memory story.
Trisha W says
What a fun day you had!
Jessica CG says
So cool…I loved 101 Dalmatians when I was little!
Maggie kent says
Puppies!!!! I love any movie with Puppers in it
Stefany C. says
What an amazing experience for you! Thanks for sharing!
Kristyn R says
101 Dalmatians was my favorite Disney movie as a child! <3
Michelle Douzat says
Wow! I’m actually pretty jealous of this! This is like second best to meeting Walt himself. My husband and I are huge Disney fans and we especially love the older movies! I giggled a little about Xerox being a big deal, my how far we have come. Thanks for sharing!
Delia Jones says
What a neat experience! It is fun to think about how even old technology changed the way the films were made.
Barb Borntreger says
That is awesome!!
Kayla Harreld says
Awesome story. Nice to meet a person who inspired you
Christina H says
What a great experience to meet such a talented man and artist! I bet he has had quite an exciting adventure working with Disney.
Allison Kusel says
That’s an awesome story! I love reading stuff like this!
That would be amazing!
How interesting! 🙂
rachel plummer says
What an exciting experience!
Carey Hurst says
How cool was this experience, awesome . You definitely had fun. Great memories .
tiffany hudkins says
101 Dalmatians is my favorite Disney movie!
Emily R says
Lisa weeks says
So amazingly fun!
Lyndsie D says
Bethany Wilson says
I loooooove the classic Disney movies! What an awesome read!
Kristina D says
What a great opportunity! Thanks for sharing!
Wow! It’s interesting that Sleeping Beauty was all hand drawn, inked, and painted. Gives me a whole new appreciation for the originals.
Dayle B. says
Good for you. Mr. Disney is the best.
Liked reading your review.
Keara B. says
How fun getting to meet such an amazing man. A lot of my childhood memories are thanks to him! 🙂
I love the pictures! Looks like a blast!
Kimberly Stoessel says
That must have been a great experience. I love watching old Disney movies.
I love old-school Disney!
Veronica Bohan says
Jessica D says
Wow that is amazing!! I’m really jealous! I’m in love with everything Disney and this was really interesting
tiffinie w says
Looks like a fun experience
Leah Free says
Yay for another chance to Win a diaper
Very interesting! I am a huge Disney fan, and as much as I love the Pixar movies, the old, hand drawn films are amazing!
Elizabeth R. says
Cool story, I wish I had one iota of the artistic talent this guy has!
Katy Baird says
What a great experience! I always like seeing the faces behind the magic! 🙂
Kristin D says
I bet he has some amazing stories. And I truly admire any artist who can hand-draw a movie! It takes a lot of talent!
Linda Manns Linneman says
How wonderful. It sounds like this man has alot to share. I am so glad you got to meet him. Thank you for sharing
laura rubenstein says
I never knew that 🙂 He’s story is amazing. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Robin Creager says
That’s quite an experience you had! You are very lucky and to share that is even more of a treat. I learned quite a bit by reading your story. Floyd Norman was the first African-American to be hired long term with Walt Disney, his first project was Sleeping Beauty and his favorite was Jungle Book. Amazing..thanks for sharing, loved it!