Monday, May 11, 2009

My early brush with Fame: Bianca Majorie

Im not sure what brought up this long lost memory, but the other morning it all popped into my head. I couldnt of been any older than 7, and I recall this woman named Bianca who lived down the street from us that my parents had become friends with. I clearly remember her face, her little house in Santa Cruz, and a handful of paintings propped against the wall. I also remember hearing how she had worked at Disney and with what I recall as some bitterness, she had developed the character Dumbo.
I was having a hard time sleeping that morning so I got up and did a little research, and yup, there she was, Bianca Majorie, the first woman to be hired by Walt to the Story department at Disney in the '30's. All of you in the business understand what a monumental achievement it is to make it into the story department, and for a woman in the 1930s to be brought into such a male dominated industry should clearly indicate what a Titan she must have been. Im happy that I was able to find out about her, but still its disappointing nothing what so ever is mentioned about her in my Disney Animation Studios "Story" Archive Book or much at all anywhere, even though she seems to be truly a monumental and historical figure of the Animation industry. One touching and profound quote of hers does remain though in regards to the Elmer the Elephant story; "that usefulness is more important than beauty ... that things that are not decorative may be extremely useful and should be cherished for that reason."


dintoons said...

thanks for highlighting the story of bianca marjorie. surely, she's a most talented artist who deserves our love and applause!

great drawing blog you have here, wonderfully inspiring! thanks again :)

Art Fan Ako said...

Interesting story. Good memory of you actually meeting her. Beautiful drawings!

JC said...

that's a great story Ian..thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Ian .. I actually remember
the Elmer cartoon from when I was a little girl.
Bianca had given us a set of Fiesta-ware ... unfortunately the originals were lead based and I never held on to them .... I had given her a big set of water color pencils, hoping she would draw again.
We need to hold our memories closely ... we need to hold our acquaintances dearly .. never know what secrets they hold.

R.Dress said...

Hi Ian,

I had no idea. I knew that Elmer was the seed for Dumbo but I didn't know that Bianca Majorie was the one holding the the trowel. After seeing Dumbo it made me believe in my weaknesses just as much or even stronger than my strengths. But now I see perhaps it goes beyond that. Being useful triumphing beauty.