EMC West: Why don’t you start by telling us how you first got involved at the Disney Studio, and sort of take me up to Cinderella?

Ken O’Connor: That’ll take a number of years. I had twelve years of professional experience before I came to Disney in commercial art and caricature, largely for Sidney newspapers and magazines. When I came to America, I went into commercial art, having a habit of reading, and I contributed caricatures and cartoons to a few papers in San Francisco. Then one day my dad said “I’m going to Los Angeles for two weeks and I hear there’s a river of gold running past that Disney Studio. Why don’t you see if they have something for you there?” So I whipped out a story, which I have filed there, and I illustrated it and colored in the characters as well as I could, which wasn’t too well, because it’s quite a trick to get into the formula of the [garbled] of drawing characters, and my dad and I submitted a portfolio and they begrudgingly admitted that I might be of some use. [Laughs] So they gave me a trial. We worked in a room that we called “the black hole.” It was in a center of our establishment over on Hyperion. There was no air conditioning in those days, and it was hot and perspiry. The problem was to stop smearing your own drawing with your hand while you did it.


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