Heroes of Animation: Don Bluth (Part One)

Heroes of Animation: Don Bluth (Part One)

Don Bluth. We might not know him, but you will might know some of these films.

“The Land Before Time”
“An American Tail”
“The Secret of NIMH”
“A Troll in Centr… Let’s not mention that one.

Most of these movies were animation masterpieces and one of them is… questionable. This man created some of the most amazing pieces of animation that could (in a way) rival Disney.

So let’s dive into the history of one of my favorite animation heroes, Don Bluth.

Don was born on September 13, 1937, in El Paso, Texas. He was the second oldest of seven children. He was born Emalinee and Virgil Bluth. He is a direct descendant of Pochahontas, and is a distant relative to Mitt Romney.

When he was six, he moved to Payson, Utah. Then when he was seventeen, he Santa Monica, California. He moved a lot.

Don attended Brigham Young University for one year then was hired at The Walt Disney Company. But then he left after two years. But then he came back in 1971. (Which by the way, was the opening of Disney World.)

After working on films like “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too”, “Robin Hood”, and “The Rescuers”, he left…again.

Don then created a short film called “Banjo the Woodpile Cat” in 1979. This film talked about a cat who travels to Salt Lake City in the 1940’s to find the Urban World. The film was originally supposed to be a feature length film but was shortened because the new fleshed out characters and dark elements didn’t help the story.

Little did he know that this short was the kickstarter of his career. And since this is only part one I’ll talk more next week!


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