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Frames of Time...

013_04 - From Germany with Talent
While working in the Disney Studio Archives, I got to meet a great many visitors. Few were as talented, enthusiastic and friendly as Hans Bacher.

When I met Hans in the late 1970s, he was visiting the U.S. Hans was an animation teacher and producer in Germany. His studio had created comic books, animated commercials, logos and more. My interest in animation, and his in Disney made us natural correspondents as we traded news and items across the Atlantic via the mail.

Hans, and his lovely wife, were able to come to the U.S. almost once a year. His frequent temp residence was the Safari Inn in Burbank. Upon his visits, he would always look me up and we'd spend some time together, usually chatting about Disney, U.S. animation, European animation and comics. The photo shows Hans clowning around at a local Oktoberfest. (Just what a guy from Germany wants to do, see an Americanized Oktoberfest.)

Hans was, and still is, one of those triple-plus threats. He can animate, design, paint, create typefaces and more. He even airbrushed t-shirts! His style could vary from the simplest UPA style, to classic Disney, to Warners, to fine art. I was constantly amazed at his range. His big dream was to someday work for the Disney studio. Considering the size and quality of his portfolio, I figured the only reason he wasn't at Disney then, was he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Disney was doing very little at this time.

He showed me a proposal he had worked on in the mid 1970s to do a Sherlock Holmes series in an animal universe. He had character designs, atmospheric paintings and more. He didn't find any buyers at the time. Oddly a few years later TMS and Miyazaki debuted their SHERLOCK HOUND series.

As also mentioned, Hans shared his skill with others as a teacher in a prominent German university. There he taught students the arts of animation. One of his pupils was another talented individual, Andreas Deja. I remember, on one visit, Hans brought a few drawings by Andreas to show me. They were very Disney-esque. By this time, the animation industry had gotten better, and around a year later Andreas was at Disney beginning to make a name for himself.

As economies changed, Hans made less frequent trips to the U.S. I met with Andreas on occasion, but he was totally engulfed with work at Disney. For him, the U.S. was work, not a vacation.

As we lost contact during the 80s, I wondered what Hans was up to. Needless to say I was excited to find his name starting to appear on Disney credits for films like THE LION KING and MULAN.

Dreams do come true... but I wonder if he still goes to Oktoberfests?

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