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From Bambi to The Lion King

Mel Shaw's incredible career as a Disney artist and animator began in 1937 when Walt Disney offered him a job during a game of polo. Packed with nearly 400 illustrations and photos, including exclusive Disney concept art, Animator on Horseback is the story of Mel's life, in his own words.

When Mel arrived in Hollywood from Brooklyn, work for inexperienced animators wasn't easy to find. He landed a job at the Harman-Ising studio, but his career truly began when Walt Disney brought him on board to help with Bambi.

Mel left Disney not long afterward to work on his own projects, including Howdy Doody, but in 1974 he returned to mentor a new generation of animators, and he contributed to such modern Disney classics as The Rescuers, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King.

Mel's autobiography is a vivid, intensely personal recollection, with a cast of characters ranging from Orson Welles and Lord Mountbatten to Walt Disney and the artists and animators of the Disney studio, featuring stories about:

  • The early days of animation in Hollywood, and the polo craze that brought Mel face-to-face with Walt Disney for the first time
  • An intimate portrait of what it was like to work at the Disney Studio in the late 1930s, including a raucous trip to Mexico
  • Life after Disney: active duty in the Pacific during World War II, and a stint with The Stars and Stripes
  • The fortunes and failures of the Allen-Shaw Studio, Mel's joint venture with fellow animator Bob Allen
  • Another intimate portrait of what it was like to work at the Disney Studio, thirty years later, when Mel returned to guide a new generation



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