While some Disney animators sought to touch the hearts of audiences, Ward Kimball sought to astound. As he once explained to a reporter, "Old Wardie got into audience's hearts his own way. He made them laugh."
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 4, 1914, Ward's first recognizable drawing as a child was of a steam locomotive. He once said, his mother called him a "marked" baby because of his early obsession with railroads, a theme that would resonate throughout his life. After high school, Ward set his mind upon becoming a magazine illustrator and enrolled at Santa Barbara School of Art in California. While there, however, he happened to catch Walt Disney's "Three Little Pigs" at a local matinee and with portfolio in hand, Ward headed for Hollywood.
He joined The Walt Disney Studios, in 1934, and contributed to most all of its beloved animated features up until his retirement in 1972. Among the many memorable Disney characters he brought to life were Jiminy Cricket in "Pinocchio," Tweedledee and Tweedledum in "Alice in Wonderland" and Lucifer the Cat in "Cinderella."
Ward also directed two Academy Award-winning short subjects including, "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom," which was the first CinemaScope cartoon, and "It's Tough to Be a Bird," which featured both live-action and animation combined. During the 1950s, he produced and directed three one-hour space films for the "Disneyland" television show. The first of his television productions "Man in Space," was given a command performance before President Dwight Eisenhower.
During the 1960s, Ward also helped write the story and script treatment for Walt's first live-action musical fantasy "Babes in Toyland," in which he directed the stop-motion toy sequences. Later, Ward consulted with Walt Disney Imagineering on such theme park projects as the World of Motion at EPCOT Center.
While at Disney, Ward, a trombone-player, also led several fellow Disney employees in the internationally-known Dixieland jazz band "Firehouse Five Plus Two." He also restored and operated a full-size locomotive on his two-acre orange grove and was instrumental in sparking Walt Disney's own interest in backyard railroads.
Most famously, Ward Kimball's Disney Legend plaque features an extra finger, a reminder of Kimball's sense of humor.
Kimball died in 2002 in Los Angeles, California at age 88. In 2005, the Disneyland Railroad named their newly acquired Engine #5 the "Ward Kimball" in his memory.
This video is all joy, the creation process for the main theme for the 3 little pigs.