Frames of Time...
002_04 - Floyd Norman, Faster and Funnier
I first met Floyd when I joined Tom Carter Productions. It was the early 1980s and Carter had a plan to build a family style park in Las Vegas, to be called HUCK'S LANDING. To help promote it, Carter planned to produce an animated feature to introduce the characters. Floyd was one of the story folks, and unlike the cliche, was as funny in person as he was on paper.
Floyd had begun his career at Disney's in the fifties and by the sixties had moved into story. (He was key to the Kaa sequences in JUNGLE BOOK.) But Floyd's ambition and talent took him beyond Disney. He set up an independent shop with an associate. Then he became a staple at Hanna-Barbera, and kept up freelance work all over the place.
Floyd had a keen wit and expressed it frequently through quickie gag drawings. These drawings would be pinned up around his office, until other artists begged to have them. The animation studio was near Hollywood, but Carter's main studio was near Newport Beach. Hence I would only get to visit every few weeks. Before the meetings, I'd always make sure to visit the area around Floyd to see his drawings. My comment would always be "someone should print these things!"
Later at Film Roman, Floyd shared his skills on some of the series there. At that time he was doing freelance work for many studios, while writing and illustrating books and comics for Disney publications. I was in the midst of doing some writing on my own, as well as getting back into some publishing. One day I finally told Floyd that his drawings had to be seen, even if I had to publish them myself.
He was thrilled and for several months we went through his boxes of gag drawings ranging from Walt complaining about JUNGLE BOOK looking "too much like Batman" to Eisner admitting he made as much money in one year as the, then recent, feature ALADDIN (nearly $200 million). We both immediately agreed the title would be "Faster! Cheaper!", the battle cry of animation studios to this day.
I published the book in 1992 to good reviews. I even had Floyd do a limited number in which he drew an original gag cartoon on the front page. Floyd loved the book, and would go numerous places to help the sales. The photo shows him at the San Diego Comic Con. Meanwhile, Floyd kept working on various projects, including the Pixar features TOY STORY 2 and MONSTERS INC.
No money was ever made on the book. It was a labor of love. I freely gave Floyd copies when he wanted and he loved handing them out. He kept saying it was so much fun sharing the book, he wanted to do another. Finally, in 2003 he did a sequel. Sadly it sold out before I could get a copy!
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