Bill Justice joined the Walt Disney Studios as an animator in 1937. His career lasted four decades, five Oscar nominations, nineteen full-length features, and 57 short subjects; his talents also enhanced many of the rides and attractions at Disneyland, Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland which are enjoyed by thousands each day. I interviewed Bill Justice in November of 1989, and was very pleased to be able to spend a pleasant afternoon with this most versatile and creative individual. Bill and his wife Marie live in Burbank, California, amidst room after room of mementos of his career and, appropriately enough, within strolling distance of the studio where he invested so many productive years.
JOHN PROVINCE: Could we begin by talking about your art schooling?
BILL JUSTICE: I originally wanted to be a portrait painter, and attended Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis. There were about 6500 students and about thirty art classes to choose from, so I took three or four a day! I then won a scholarship from the John Herron Art School, and it was like a review of everything I'd learned. Had you been a fan of Disney cartoons prior to applying for a job at the studio?
What really sold me on them was when the Disney organization released what they called "An Academy Award Revue." This was a collection of all the films that had won Oscars: The Old Mill, The Three Little Pigs, Plutos Judgement Day, The Country Cousin, and Flowers and Trees. When I went to see that in the Lyric Theatre in Indianapolis, I thought to myself, "Boy, would I love to be a part of that, to be able to draw all of those great characters!"