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IT IS A TRIBUTE to the skill of the Walt Disney Studios that movie audiences become so enchanted with Mickey Mouse that they seldom think of the tremendous effort required to bring a cartoon to life.

Ward Kimball (above), a Disney animator, combines the talents of artist and actor. To picture a whale saying, ‘‘Hello, he makes faces at a mirror and translates his expression to paper. Then, knowing that the word "Hello" will occupy eight frames of film, Kimball repeats the process eight times, with varying expressions.

When the animators have finished working on a full-length feature, the Disney collection of paintings has grown by 150,000.