There is an entire book to be written about Disney’s “transition years,” from 1966 to 1984. Darrell Van Citters gives us a fascinating look at this seldom-discussed period of Disney history.

Didier Ghez: When and where were you born?

Darrell Van Citters: I was born in Michigan in 1956.

DG: What did you do before you joined Disney?

DVC: I worked about a year in a small commercial house in Albuquerque, New Mexico, painting cels and learning Xerox, and that kind of thing. Then I heard about the new animation program that Disney was starting at the California Institute of the Arts. This is back in ’74. And ’75 was the first year of the program. I applied and was accepted, and I was there on the ground floor with all the others like John Lasseter and John Musker and Brad Bird and people like that.

DG: Who among your teachers at the time was the one that was most memorable?

DVC: Bill Moore. He was a design teacher from the old days at Chouinard; he was a great teacher and a big influence. Jack Hannah was the head of the program. Elmer Plummer was a concept artist at Disney for years. He was my life-drawing teacher, and he was great. And Ken O’Connor was a layout artist at Disney who was our perspective teacher.