When you think “Disney,” you’re probably thinking of something Bill Justice worked on. Animator, Director, Imagineer, Muralist, Illustrator, and Promotional Artist, Bill brought his gentle, adaptable, and zany sense of humor to everything he touched.
As an animator, Bill’s very first assignment was to do the in-between drawings of Snow White’s Wicked Queen saying, “Mirror Mirror on the Wall. . .” Where could he go from there? He went on to work on iconic moments from all the Golden Age Disney features (including contributing heavily to the ultimately cancelled Gremlins film). In the middle of all this, Bill directed not a few short films. He’s also the guy who created Chip and Dale, for crying out loud.
(And he’d probably have been first to admit that Donald still holds that against him.)
Bill’s mechanical aptitude didn’t escape Walt’s attention. He was soon doing work for the live-action films: pioneering stop-motion effects, coming up with title sequences, and experimenting with new mechanical techniques. Naturally then, the Animator-turned-Tinkerer became a chief programmer of Audio Animatronics for the familiar “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Enchanted Tiki Room,” “The Haunted Mansion,” “The Country Bear Jamboree,” “America Sings” and the “Mickey Mouse Revue” (he was even called upon to reanimate the latter show for its eventual relocation to Tokyo Disneyland).
Justice was meted out in other ways too: an avid illustrator, he produced artwork for children’s books, created pieces for “The Mickey Mouse Club,” and worked heavily on promotional advertising for the company (look for his drawings of the Florida Orange Bird!) Bill was the man who designed the characters who walk around the Disney parks. Ever taken a pic with Mick? You were brought to Justice. He painted character murals on carousels, inside attractions, and all over Disneyland and Walt Disney World, including the famous panorama of Disney characters once found outside The Walt Disney Story:
In his retirement, Bill kept animated: to his surprise and delight he became a recurring guest performer on cruise ships, where he would draw characters to SRO rooms and marvel at how much adults would fight over the pre-painted paper plates he’d frisbee into the audience as a finale. Asked to decorate an egg for the White House’s 1985 Easter Egg Hunt, Bill’s Disneyfied creation was such a hit, he was asked to design the Event Program as well that year. At last, Bill found time to write and illustrate a hilarious memoir, “Justice for Disney,” now sadly out of print and one of the more sought-after pieces of Disney memorabilia around.
We are pleased and proud to be able to give justice to the man behind so much of the Disney experience. Enjoy exploring The Bill Justice Collection.
Thanks to Will Coleman for the above.