Marie’s trip down memory lane

As a young animator in Australia, Marie Hambleton (nee Sampson) could only dream to one day be among the likes of renowned Walt Disney Animation Studios artist Mary Blair.

Inspired by the early animated Walt Disney films of the 40s and 50s Marie, did some tracing of Fantasia characters and wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios asking for a job.

“I loved Walt Disney’s work and I thought I would love to go overseas for further experience and training, so I wrote to see if that was a possibility,” Marie said.

“I didn’t think I was experienced nor brilliant enough to be a Disney animator, but I was considered one of the most experienced and best tracers where I worked. I thought that I may have a possibility for employment based on the generous reference from my Animation Director”.

It was with great surprise when she received a letter in return, stating she had a potential position but their future employment planning incorporated a three year wait.

Marie has held onto the envelope she received from Walt Disney Studios.

But Marie admitted she was too impatient for that and headed across the ditch to New Zealand to work as the Graphic Artist on the opening of television in the country.

Daughter of Australian composer, conductor and musician, Wilbur Sampson, Marie got her start in the industry when her father was asked if he knew of anyone who would like to be trained as an animator and he said his daughter would be interested.

Marie is quite humble about her talents, but many would be familiar with some of her work including the iconic Lewie the Fly, and Felix the cat, which she was part of the team to create the iconic characters.

Marie working on early television animations in the late 1950’s.

It was a trip down memory lane when Marie recently visited Disney: The Magic of Animation at Queensland Museum viewing almost 100 years of Walt Disney animation films including the sketches of Fantasia, which inspired her to apply to be an animator at the studio.

And she even learnt something new, discovering the new techniques that go into creating animated films today with computer – something she feels she could never do.

“It’s just so different – their work is brilliant, I could never do it, but it was the brilliant use of colours that I really enjoyed looking through in that section,” Marie said.

Now in her 80’s, Marie was delighted to visit Disney: The Magic of Animation at Queensland Museum.

While she has some small regrets not taking Walt Disney Studios up on their offer in future years, Marie has loved her life which has involved raising a family, becoming a pastor and studying art and drama and art therapy as a mature age student.

But one thing is for sure, she is planning a return visit to the exhibition to take in the details she may have missed in her first visit with her family.

See some of the technique that went into creating your favourite animations at Disney: The Magic of Animation – don’t miss out – book your tickets today www.disney.qm.qld.gov.au.

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