Friday, February 11, 2011


My good friend Willie Ito was gracious enough to fill me in on his career and the late RANKIN/BASS animator Yusaku "Steve" Nakagawa (Who worked on specials like THE MOUSE ON THE MAYFLOWER at TOEI for RANKIN/BASS). Willie started at Walt Disney training under Iwao Takamoto, who at the time was Milt Kahl's assistant, working on Walt Disney's LADY AND THE TRAMP and this is where he met Steve Nakagawa. Willie went to work for Chuck Jones shortly after that and was invited back to Disney to work on SLEEPING BEAUTY BUT declined because working with Chuck was a great opportunity. Six years later, Bob Clampett was starting up his studio to produce THE BEANY & CECIL SHOW. The general buzz around the industry was theatrical cartoons were on their way out, especially since MGM shuffled their studio...hence HANNA-BARBERA was now on TV, so Willie decided to join Clampett and co. He completed a seasons worth of shows for ABC and had no renewal in sight. HANNA-BARBERA was now rolling and was preparing to go into production with THE JETSONS. Willie was invited to join the studio and when he started his first day, low and behold, there sat Iwao Takamoto at one desk and Jerry Eisenberg, who actually replaced Willie when he departed from Chuck Jones, sitting at another desk.

to be continued.

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