If you have watched the animated movies The Land Before Time and An American Tail, you would be forgiven if you thought they were Disney movies. The art, characters and story look like they are straight out of Disney studios but they aren’t. The two movies were actually made by Don Bluth. And there is a reason why they look like Disney movies.
Bluth was born in 1937. He grew up on a farm. When he was a boy, he rode a horse into town to watch movies. When he was nineteen, he got a job working with Walt Disney Productions. They were making a new animated movie called Sleeping Beauty. He did mostly background characters like birds and squirrels. His boss liked him because he could draw very quickly.
However, his church required him to do church work in Argentina. So he left Disney to become a missionary. After he finished, he joined a company that produced The Archies cartoon show for TV. In 1971, he joined Disney again and helped to make the animation classics Robin Hood and The Rescuers. By that time, Walt Disney had passed away. The great directors and animators who had made Disney cartoons great and loved in the past were retiring. Disney started to lose their magic in making cartoons that audiences used to love.
On Bluth‘s 42nd birthday, he resigned from Disney and started his own animated movie studio. The first movie they made was The Secret of NIMH. It was about a mouse who tries to save her home. Critics loved the movie for its beautiful art and attention to detail. This was something that Disney movies were lacking since the studio cut its production budget. The story was also a little darker than Disney’s usual stories. The Secret Of NIMH showed the world that a non-Disney studio could produce great animation too.
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