Insights of the Extended Autobiography “Animation Pioneer: David Dodd Hand” by David Hale Hand

Summary of the book “Animation Pioneer: David Dodd Hand” by David Hale Hand reads:


Animation Pioneer David Dodd Hand book by David Hale Hand

This book, ANIMATION PIONEER, DAVID DODD HAND, is an extension of the autobiography written by David Dodd Hand that chronicles his life’s experiences both in and out of the Animation industry. My participation of the book is to explain more completely some of the events which have been written about Dad, and hopefully to clarify and correct some of the misinformation which has been written by authors who have tried to tell the “Disney Story” but have assumed rather than researched.

Dad has been noted to have been Walt Disney’s “assistant”. Believe me, he was never anyone’s “assistant” – he was always in control.  Recently, on the internet, I found part of an Interoffice Memo calling staff to a meeting. The participant list started out – Walt, Dave and then all the others listed by their first and last names. Everyone knew who Walt and Dave were. No last name was necessary.

david dodd hand gaumont british animation

One of the Disney Studio “Nine Old Men”, who worked for Dad, stated to me one day; “Walt was undeniably the creative genius of the Studio, David Hand was the pragmatic genius”.

The book also includes important interviews with Animation Historians; an original story he wrote about his association with Donald Duck, and a book of cartoons he created for magazine publication after he retired.

Detailed interview with David Hale Hand is as follows.

Welcome David Hale Hand. What is the reason to put identical name with your father David Dodd Hand?

I use my full name of David Hale Hand so as not to take from the importance of my father David Dodd Hand. We both had our stories and importance in our lives and I do not want to confuse the reader about our careers. He was in film, mine in theatre.

Kindly share educational background of David Dodd Hand.

Dad left school in the ninth grade. Later he was accepted in the Chicago Institute of Art.

How he got interested in such creative art of Animation?

He seemed always interested in drawing from the time he could use a crayon in pre-school.

Please let us in detail complete professional credentials of your father.

In the 1920’s, David Dodd Hand became an Animator and a Director working on the “Out of the Inkwell” films with J. R. Bray Studios and later with the Fleischer Studio.

January 1930 – 1944 with the Walt Disney Studios, David started as an Animator but within one year became a Director.  In 1933, he was selected as Supervising Director of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and was also made Production Supervisor of the Studios, answering ONLY to Walt Disney. He was then responsible for ALL production of ALL films between 1933 and 1944.  He directed quite a few of the “Silly Symphony” films and was Supervising Director of BAMBI. His last effort with Disney was as Director of Animation for VICTORY THROUGH AIR POWER. When Walt Disney left the studios on his “Good Will Tour” to South America, Roy Disney, and David Hand were responsible for running the Burbank operation. They together negotiated the Studio Union Contract while Walt was gone.

1944 – 1950, David was Producer and Managing Director of Gaumont British Animation, a studio of the Rank Organisation, in the UK, where he produced 19 short films.


animating cartoons

animations by david dodd hand

1951 – 1969, David worked as writer / Director / Producer for commercials with the Alexander Film Studio in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He retired to Cambria, California, when the US Government took his ranch outside of Colorado Springs, through exercise of Right by Eminent Domain. The US Army Camp Carson was to expand by some 77,000 Acres to become Fort Carson.

List all accolades of David Dodd Hand.

David Hand was honored by Queen Elizabeth of England; in 1984 was awarded the Winsor McCay “Annie” for his contribution to the Animation Industry; and in 1944, the Disney Legend Award (posthumously).

His body of work includes 49 credits as Animator; 41 credits as an Animation Director and/or Production Supervisor, and 19 credits as a Producer for his films at GB Animation.

David Dodd Hand
Filmography as: Animator, Director, Producer. Production Supervisor

J.R. Bray Studios, NY, 1920’s

Assistant Animator,

Fleisher Studios, late 1920’s

Out of the Inkwell – Animator/Director

Animator – Filmography Disney Studio 1930 – 1944

  1. Victory Through Air Power (1943) (Animation Supervisor)
  2. Wayward Canary, The (1932) (animator)
  3. Bugs in Love (1932) (animator)
  4. Flowers and Trees (1932) (animator)
  5. Whoopee Party, The (1932) (animator)
  6. King Neptune (1932) (animator)
  7. Trader Mickey (1932) (animator)
  8. Mickey’s Nightmare (1932) (animator)
  9. Just Dogs (1932) (animator)
  10. Mickey in Arabia (1932) (animator)
  11. Bears and Bees, The (1932) (animator)
  12. Mad Dog, The (1932) (animator)
  13. Grocery Boy, The (1932) (animator)
  14. Duck Hunt, The (1932) (animator)
  15. Bird Store, The (1932) (animator)
  16. Ugly Duckling, The (1931) (animator)
  17. Mickey’s Orphans (1931) (animator) Academy Award Nominated
  18. Mickey Cuts Up (1931) (animator)
  19. Fox Hunt, The (1931) (animator)
  20. Beach Party, The (1931) (animator)
  21. Barnyard Broadcast, The (1931) (animator)
  22. Fishin’ Around (1931) (animator)
  23. Egyptian Melodies (1931) (animator)
  24. Cat’s Out, The (1931.) (animator) aka The Cat’s Nightmare, The (1931)
  25. Mickey Steps Out (1931) (animator)
  26. Delivery Boy, The (1931) (animator)
  27. China Plate, The (1931) (animator)
  28. Moose Hunt, The (1931) (animator)
  29. Mother Goose Melodies (1931) (animator)
  30. Castaway, The (1931) (animator)
  31. Traffic Troubles (1931) (animator)
  32. Birds of a Feather (1931) (animator)
  33. Birthday Party, The (1931) (animator)
  34. Playful Pan (1930) (animator)
  35. Pioneer Days (1930) (animator)
  36. Picnic, The (1930) (animator)
  37. Winter (1930) (animator)
  38. Gorilla Mystery (1930) (animator)
  39. Chain Gang, The (1930) (animator)
  40. Monkey Melodies (1930) (animator)
  41. Fire Fighters, The (1930) (animator)
  42. Midnight in a Toyshop (1930) (animator)

Director and/or Production Supervisor – Filmography (1930s) (1940s)

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Supervising Director
  2. Bambi (1942) (as David D. Hand) Supervising Director
  3. Der Fuehrer’s Face (1942) – Production Supervisor
  4. Truant Officer Donald (1940) Academy Award Nominated
  5. Fantasia (1941) – Production Supervisor
  6. Lend a Paw (1941) – Production Supervisor
  7. The Pointer (1940) Academy Award Nominated
  8. Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1939) Academy Award Nominated
  9. Good Scouts (1939) Academy Award Nominated
  10. Brave Little Tailor (1939) Academy Award Nominated
  11. The Whalers, (1938)
  12. Ferdinand the Bull (1938) – Production Supervisor
  13. Little Hiawatha (1937) aka Hiawatha
  14. The Old Mill (19370 – Production Supervisor
  15. Magician Mickey (1937)
  16. More Kittens (1936)
  17. Mother Pluto (1936)
  18. Country Cousin, The (1936) – Production Supervisor
  19. Mickey’s Elephant (1936)
  20. Three Blind Mousketeers (1936)
  21. Alpine Climbers (1936)
  22. Thru the Mirror (1936)
  23. Three Little Wolves (1936)
  24. Mickey’s Polo Team (1936)
  25. Three Orphan Kittens (1935) – Production Supervisor
  26. Pluto’s Judgement Day (1935)
  27. Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935) Academy Award Nominated
  28. Mickey’s Kangaroo (1935)
  29. Robber Kitten, The (1935)
  30. Mickey’s Man Friday (1935)
  31. Dognapper, The (1934)
  32. Flying Mouse, The (1934)
  33. The Tortoise and the Hare – (Production Supervisor)
  34. Mickey’s Steamroller (1934)
  35. Camping Out (1934)
  36. Old King Cole (1933)
  37. The Mail Pilot (1933)
  38. Birds in the Spring (1933)
  39. Three Little Pigs – (Production Supervisor)
  40. Mad Doctor, The (1933)
  41. Building a Building (1933) Academy Award Nominated

Filmography in Joint Venture with J. Arthur Rank, G. B. Animation Studio
Director, Producer – Filmography (1940s)


  1. Ginger Nut’s Forest Dragon (producer)
  2. Ginger Nut’s Bee Bother (1949) (producer)
  3. Ginger Nut’s Christmas Circus (1949) (producer)
  4. It’s a Lovely Day (1949) (producer)
  5. Ostrich, The (1949) (producer)
  6. Platypus, The (1949) (producer)
  7. Cuckoo, The (1948) (producer)
  8. House Cat, The (1948) (producer)
  9. Lion, The (1948) (producer)


  1. Cornwall (producer)
  2. Devon Whey (producer)
  3. Fantasy on Ireland (producer)
  4. Fantasy on London (producer)
  5. Canterbury Road (1949) (producer)
  6. Sketches on Scotland (producer)
  7. Somerset (producer)
  8. Thames (producer)
  9. Wales (producer)
  10. Yorkshire Ditties (producer)

As a son and as a critique, what are your most favourite Animations, executed by your father, and why?

Without question, the feature films he directed with Disney were the most important: SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and BAMBI, and VICTORY THROUGH AIRPOWER, on which he was Director of Animation. His animated scenes in VICTORY THROUGH AIRPOWER are some of the most dynamic ever produced in 2D animation.

I am proud of his work with GB Animation in England where he created an animation film studio from scratch, in a country just out of war with NO film or studio resources.

What drove you to write a book?

Dad had written his Autobiography, mainly for his family and friends, before he passed on in 1986. It had never been published formally for public consumption. He was very important to the early Animation Industry. Unfortunately, many talented people who work in the background are never recognized as they should be.

Before he passed on, I was able to help gain the full rights to his 19 ANIMALAND and MUSICAL PAINTBOX films. After he passed on, I was able to have the ANIMALAND films restored and distributed in 21 countries during the next 10 years. I also had copies of the other addendums now in the book which had never been seen by anyone before. I expanded his book to include these other insertions and also to add in comments about experiences we had together.

Who helped you in this mammoth project?

I was pleased to get permission from Animated Film Historians Robert Ebey and Michael Barrier to use articles and interviews which they donated to my effort. Disney Studios also allowed me to use a number of graphics which related to Dad’s works during his tenure with them.

Let us know our viewers regarding how can they order printed book / buy e book?

The Animation Pioneer: David Dodd Hand book can be obtained from Amazon. Click the image to check all the details.

Kindly let us know about you in detail.

David Hale Hand animation book

RESUME of David Hale Hand



President, Stage Engineering International, Ltd. – Designers, suppliers, manufacturers, and installers of technical equipment in over 80 projects worldwide

Principal Designer and Supervisor, Theatrical Systems Design, Walt Disney Imagineering

President, Theatre Development Associates, Inc.  –  Consultants for significant Performing Arts Centers worldwide

President, David Hand Productions  –  International film distribution company for classic, historic, animated shorts produced in a joint venture with J. Arthur Rank

National President, The U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)Fellow of the Institute

Chairman, Conference and Convention Committee, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce

Board of Directors, Pikes Peak Hill Climb Association

Chairman 12 years, Pageant Parade of the Rockies, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Association

President, Rocky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts


Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts and Speech, University of California, Santa Barbara

Co-author, “Rigging & Overhead Hanging Standards”. Walt Disney Imagineering Standard being adopted by the Disney Parks, creating a standard for quality and safety, saving WDI  thousands of dollars in design, specification, maintenance and operations.

Contributor, Animation Magazine, “My Father, David Dodd Hand”



Worked professionally in major capacity, IE: Lighting Designer, Scenic Artist, Technical Director,  Stage Manager, Director, Producer, etc., in over 400 Theatre Productions.


University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, Student Assistant

Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, Asst. Professor, Lecturer, Scenic and Lighting designer, Technical Director, Manager – Armstrong Hall Theatre 13 years


U.S. Army, 7th Division, Korea – Heavy Weapons (combat)

Special Services, Director of Live Entertainment

The Virtual Assist thanks David Hale Hand for this exclusive interview. We are very sure that “Animation Pioneer: David Dodd Hand” will be a milestone book in the Animation industry.


Leave a Reply