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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grim Natwick, Betty Boop, and Wisconsin Rapids

Following the delights of the Nina Paley panel in Wisconsin Rapids August 6, Lesleigh Luttrell asked me whether I'd like to take a look at the Grim Natwick Hollywood Archives Exhibit at the South Wood County Historical Museum, 540 Third Street South. Well, heck, yes!

The exhibits on Natwick (1890-1990) were fascinating, displaying Natwick's art on song sheets and on a paper manufacturer's magazine as well as a terrific exhibit of his animation art. Natwick's animation years included work for Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney, Walter Lantz, UPA, and Richard Williams. He was a lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and drew the prince and princess for Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels.

A highlight of the event was the dedication of a Wisconsin Historical Marker honoring Natwick: an event attended by Natwick relatives still living in Wisconsin Rapids. The photo above includes John Natwick (second from left, nephew of the animator) and Jim Natwick (right, a great-nephew).

2 comments:

Chris August 11, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

I had no idea that Mildred Natwick was Grim Natwick's cousin until I read the historical marker. I just re-watched many John Ford movies for a grad exam, and would have had a whole different appreciation of her scenes had I known. I wonder if they ever met in Hollywood!! Chris Couch

Denis Kitchen August 31, 2010 at 1:38 PM  

Hi Maggie--- I’m delighted to see that a Betty Boop Festival is taking place (annually?) in Wisconsin Rapids, spurred by the connection to the native son Grim Natwick.

As you know, I’m an expatriate Cheesehead, now in Massachusetts, but for a quarter century my publishing company, Kitchen Sink Press, was located in Milwaukee and Princeton, WI. I first met Grim at a Phil Seuling comics convention in New York in the early 70s. He later contributed a self portrait (with Betty sitting on his shoulder) for my “Famous Cartoonist” button series in 1975. Once, when Grim (by then a longtime Californian) was visiting his family in Beaver dam and in his late 80s, he and his "kid brother” (about 82!) drove to Princeton to visit our studio. He graciously gave my art director Pete Poplaski and I each a pencil cell from his work on “Snow White.” I’m very glad to see the cheesehead connection being recognized with a historical marker and festival!

---Denis Kitchen

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