Joe Strike talks to Tad Stones about his thirtysome years in animation, from Eric Larsons training program at Disney, his work on EPCOT, the influence of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Disney TV Animation and now his new project, Brer Rabbit, at Universal Cartoon Studios.
In the mid 1970s, the reign of Disneys fabled Nine Old Men was nearing its end. The team of master animators who had been by Walts side since Snow White was nearing retirement age, and it was time to recruit and train a new generation.
These days, the young artists who joined Disney during that period could be referred to as the Middle Aged Mob. Their names are familiar to any student or fan of Disney feature output over the last 20 years: Ron Clements, John Musker, Burny Mattinson, John Lasseter and so many others. One name may not be as familiar, even though his contribution to Disneys overall animation efforts quite possibly equals or surpasses that of his peers.
Thats what happens when you wind up working for Disneys TV Animation division instead of on the companys high-prestige, higher profile animated features. In Tad Stones case, however, it just might have been the perfect match of man and material. A lover of silver-age comic books and related pop culture, with a restless energy always looking for fresh challenges, Tads name may be most familiar to fans of the daily Disney half-hour animated adventures syndicated to local channels from the late 1980s through the mid-90s.
In late March 2004, [Joe Strike] called Tad Stones at his new home at Universal Cartoon Studios to find out what hes been up to after ending a close to 30-year association with Disney and to learn why Darkwing Duck keeps a statue of the Great Mouse Detective on his end table.