Dennis Johnson, Albertan editor extraordinaire, was in today’s paper but he was bumped to the bottom of the page. More room was needed on top for Mickey Mouse. Mickey hadn’t died but the cartoonist who drew him had. Bill Justice, Animator, deserved a fine send off, of course he did, but it was nevertheless hard to see Dennis pushed down and it was especially hard to tell his family and colleagues this.
“Who’s the leader of the club?”–there’s a cartoon of little Mickey as drum major marching with two cow cheerleaders, one cow is waving a purple pom-pom and the other cow waves a pink one. Mr. Justice, born in 1914 in Dayton, Ohio, earned $12 per week at the Disney studio.
He began as an ‘in-betweener’ on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, working on intermediate drawings. He soon graduated to full animator working on Pinocchio and Fantasia, as well as directing the opening titles for The Mickey Mouse Club back in the 1950s.
Dennis Johnson’s main focus over the last few decades at Red Deer Press was publishing children’s books. One book tells the story of a young woman with D0wn syndrome working in an AIDS hospice who finds a lost puppy.
Another book tells the story of two young children abducted by their father and escaping to find their way, on their own, back to their mother.
Here’s an email I received a couple hours ago from one of Johnson’s children’s book editors:
“Thanks, Noreen. It reads quite well, captures Dennis’s flamboyant style and drive. What would he say though about being jammed by someone from Disney! Someone’s ears would be blistered!”