Carlos Manriquez at Disney
Carlos Manriqez helped shape the look of Disney animation in the formative years of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Open the full post to learn a little bit more about this artist.
Every once in a while, in the early years of the studio, Walt Disney liked to line up all the staff for photos. The photo below was from a set of pictures taken in January of 1930:
Walt is kneeling at the center of the group right behind a small cutout of Mickey Mouse; just to the left we can spot a young artist by the name of Carlos Manriquez, who was one half of the two man background department (along with Emil Flohri).
An Interesting Photograph From 1931
In March of 2009, Michael Barrier wrote about the photo below:
A photo of Flohri himself, in the company of his assistant Carlos Manriquez, turned up recently on eBay, but sold, alas, for a price beyond my reach… Flohri was, as you might guess from the photo, considerably older than most of his very young colleagues at the Disney studio. He was born in Roanoke, Virginia, on October 27, 1869, just four years after the end of the Civil War, and so was more than thirty years older than Walt Disney himself. He was well known as a political cartoonist in the early years of the twentieth century, and it was for that role he was remembered in obituaries in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, both papers saying that his cartoons had helped William McKinley defeat William Jennings Bryan in the presidential campaign of 1900.
In April of 2009 Hans Perk writes about the photograph, noting that Manriquez started working at the studio in late 1928 or early 1929 and left by 1933 (or possibly 1936).
Perk then proceeds to search the photograph for details:
It is interesting to look at details in this picture! Here we see on the left the background that Manriquez is holding – on the right a frame grab from scene 2 of the Mickey Mouse short CM-13 The Moose Hunt (rel. 5/8/31), as animated by Dave Hand.
If Manriquez was just finishing this background, which looks to be so as there is no writing on it yet, this would date the photo to around April 1931! Manriquez would just be 23 years old.
Another interesting detail are the crusty old books on Flohri’s shelves: I can just make out (after refocusing the image) that the spines read “Judge,” so they may very well be bound versions of the magazine that Flohri himself illustrated, as described by Mike Barrier!
He had his claim to fame, his portfolio, right there!
Think what you want, I find this stuff fascinating!
If you find this sort of thing fascinating check out the full post at Perk’s blog here.
More on Carlos Manriquez
I managed to find this information on an archived Manriquez family history page:
In the very early 1930s, young Carlos was sitting on a bench at a local park doodling. A man came and sat next to him. Carlos finished his sketches and began to pack up to return home. The man asked him if he needed a job to which Carlos replied he did. The man said he was getting ready to open a studio and offered Carlos a job. This man was Walt Disney. Carlos worked for Disney Studios from 1931 to about 1938 and one of his pieces of work was drawing the characters of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was not until the early 1990s that any of us knew of this story and it was only recently that a copy of the original book was found. Uncle Carlos died in 1981 and his brother Hector, went to Mexico to visit Carlos’ wife. While there, Hector had asked for any piece of memorabilia she may have of his brothers work. Gilla showed Hector the trunk of things and the book was there. Uncle Carlos left Disney in 1938 and as a going away give, all the artists who worked on the Snow White movie signed their personal good farewell wishes to Carlos including Walt Disney. When I heard of this book, I wrote a letter to Disney Studios asking permission to make two copies of the book and it was granted. It is heartwarming to first have the copy and also to know of the work Carlos did for Disney. What is heartbreaking is that he, Carlos, was never given recognition for any of the movies and cartoons he worked on. Seems there was a little discrimination during that period of time. I understand that Carlos Daniel Manriquez is now mentioned as one of the artists. I have not seen the credits but my sister has and we all feel much pride know that a member of our family is finally recognized for his fine work.
Some of the dates here appear to be off (for instance, we know that Manriquez began working at Disney in 1928 or 29, not the “early 1930s”) but it is nice to have some additional reference on Carlos Manriquez.
The image above was provided by David Lesjak to Jerry Beck and featured in a 2009 Cartoon Brew post entitled Disney Gives Credit, 1932:
“Attached is an ad which appeared in the October 1, 1932 edition of the Motion Picture Herald. I downloaded the images a long time ago from Steve Geppi’s Diamond Galleries “Scoop” e-newsletter. It shows that as early as 1932 Walt Disney was publicly providing the names of those who worked at the Studio, even going as far to list the names of the women who worked in the “Tracing and Painting Dep’t,” as well as staff in the “Reference Library” and “Music Library.”
- Hans Perk on Background Art at the Disney Studios in 1931.