John Frost wrote up a nice article a little while ago about the failed WDAS project “My Peoples” and how it was set to be animated in the Orlando animation department…until they closed the Orlando animation department. It never transferred over to CA, many Orlando animators left Disney all together, and after a ton of other set backs…the project was canned.
For those of you unfamiliar, the story was very short, it was about how three small kids and a ghost brought together a couple in the Appalachia area of the USA in the 1940’s. The thought process was taken from Walt’s head, for every big and grandiose film, you include a low-budget and simply sweet film to even things out (Bambi is to Tarzan and Dumbo is to My Peoples). After much deliberation and “fighting” between Barry Cook (the creator of the story and idea), Michael Eisner (the then CEO), and Thomas Schumacher (the then president of WDAS) over budget issues and such, the plan would be this: the couple would be done in hand-drawn animation while the rest of the characters were done, in the style of folk art, in CGI. It saved money and gave the film a distinct look. Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, Charles Durning, and more had already signed on to voice for the film and they had also already begun to write the bluegrass music for the film (which was supposed to evoke that sense of classic Appalachia).