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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Payson, Utah

    A little white haired man...

    There is no time to waste in the movie industry. Once American Tail was released Steven Spielberg was eager for the next movie. He and George Lucas had long ago “hatched” (no pun intended) a plot to make a movie about dinosaurs. I was not really excited by the idea but I listened. He had a vague plot about baby dinosaurs being born and getting separated from their families by an “earthshake” (earthquake) I thought this sounded a lot like the story of American Tale.

    We met with both men in Lucas's apartment and hammered out a few ideas and then began the process of designing the five main characters. At this point Steven left for Japan to work on a live action movie. Communication
    became more difficult. Without an approved script we started by animating the dinosaurs hatching and set it to music.

    At the same time Universal studios announced that they would not be funding us any more money until they had seen the receipts from American Tale and could be sure of what it had grossed. The legal term was “pack or play” It was a while before those receipts would all be in and in the mean time we were once again in financial trouble. We couldn’t make our salaries.

    We had a CEO named Morris Sullivan, a little white haired, soft spoken man. He sat us down and said,

    “There are countries out there that will subsidize you and make it more affordable for you to create this movie. He began contacting governments and eventually came back to us with the news that Ireland was indeed willing and exciting for us to relocate there. They would fund us and even pay us to train their Irish artists.

    It seemed like a long, long way away and it was, but it was our best option at the time. So, in 1984, ninety artists and about 25 pets arrived in the middle of the night to the coldest Irish winter in a hundred years. I remember being scared and thinking how safe it had been at Disney’s … maybe we all should have stayed. Just how did this happen to us?

    One can never really predict what lies around the corner but there was a strange twist to the Morris Sullivan story. At the time that Secret of Nimh failed to make any real money and with Universal Studios holding onto their funds in “wait and see” mode, Lorna Pomeroy, wife of John Pomeroy got really scared. In her desperation she sought out a psychic.

    One day Lorna came into the studio in California and said,

    “I’ve just had the strangest experience.”

    The psychic had calmed her fears and assured her that she would be financially taken care of. Then the psychic told her...

    “There will be a little grey haired man, probably in his 70s, who will come and take you all to a foreign shores. Trust him; he will make your company successful.”

    That was long before we had ever met or laid eyes on Morris Sullivan. I don’t go to psychics but it does give one pause. There are forces for good out there and perhaps when all the stars are aligned a truly serendipitous moment occurs. Morris did take our company far beyond our expectations.

    I took my children and visited Don when he lived in Dublin. What a fun experience and what a beautiful country. I came home with Irish lace curtains for my windows and the forever dream of building a rock walls.

    Last edited by Suzanne Robertson; 10-25-2011 at 06:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator arif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    what a wonderful, it was predicted by Lorna!!!..there is always some Mystery in this world!!...

    The Real story is sounding so `Real` where as we think that everything is so easy out there.. but, it is actually not. Life has same taste all over the world.

    Thank you Suzanne once again to bring out the wonderful story behind the scene from the `Legend`.

    Now, the story is about Don`s Journey in Ireland....hope, will hear some `Dave` story from now...i mean how he met with him..

    Last edited by arif; 10-24-2011 at 11:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Northern California
    I'm anxious to know how the story continues, too! So, if I am right, you are writing from Don's perspective?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    So, in 1984, ninety artists and about 25 pets arrived in the middle of the night to the coldest Irish winter in a hundred years.
    Just to clarify on the dates: The Bluth studio's move to Ireland would have been in 1986 (although the ink & paint facility in Ireland was up and running during An American Tail in 1985 ). I remember it distinctly because I worked at Bluth's in California during 1985 (my first animation job in "Hollywood" ... well, Van Nuys, but close enough). Having just come from a very cold climate (Canada) I wasn't interested in leaving sunny California to move to Ireland , so when Tail was winding down I found other employment. While Tail was still in production some of the animators had already shifted to working on early scenes for The Land Before Time. They were still there at the building on Hart Street in Van Nuys through the summer of '86 and the crew wrap party for Tail (which I attended, although I was no longer working there) was sometime in late summer of 1986 if I recall. An American Tail was released November 1986 . So the studio's move would have been in late 1986 just in time for that cold, cold winter in Ireland. (those poor Californians , did they have any idea what they were getting into , weather-wise ?! The Canadian contingent in the studio handled it just fine, I'm sure. ) The experience working at Bluth's on An American Tail was invaluable , and if they had stayed in California I would have been glad to keep working there. But my path ended up going a different way ...

    See this blog post related to that time period:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    San Francisco Bay Area
    According to Toon Talk magazine. Don and crew arrived on November 14th 1986. It was cold and the power went out when they arrived at the airport.

    It's strange that Lorna went to the psychic and got an accurate prediction. But I'm glad that it came true!

  6. #6
    Storyboard Artist
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Oceanside CA
    I was always curious to how the move to Ireland came about. Thanks for sharing!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    did your brother, Mr. Don Bluth had a script for one of his was-going-to-be-films called "Satyrday"?

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