As is often the case, the pupil surpassed the master. Norm Ferguson had instructed well but Johnny had gone beyond what the legendary master had been able to do. His better drawing and bigger concept, not limited by old vaudeville acts, brought the bold, crude approach to new heights, using more refinement, more dramatic angles, more interest, and all without losing the main idea. His simple staging, appealing characters, good taste, strong squash and stretch, and controlled anticipations and follow through made a big bold statement, but they never lost believability. Hardly subtle, his characters were always fun to watch.
He was good at working with the young animators and did pose drawings that were an inspiring springboard to get anyone started. As a draftsman he was ideal for animation. His drawings were simple and loose and full of energy. They had volume and that elusive quality of life. He had some of Ham's ability always to find the way to go further in strengthening his poses.
Johnny's favorite of the characters he animated was Ben Ali, the alligator in "Dance of the Hours" from Fantasia, where he captured a cocky, spirited walk and attitude—one that was particularly unusual since it all had to fit the tempo and the accents of the prescored track. This work was a great influence on the other animators doing this section, many of them animating for the first time. He had an especially good way of working to live action, being able to adopt
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