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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Thunderbolt - As Retold By Eric Calande

Images: A great deal of the design for "Horton Hears a Who" (1970) was inspired by trips Maurice took to Hawaii. Posted here are some of Maurice's "designed storyboards" for the film.

Apparently while Maurice was at Disney's in the 1930's, he managed a short vacation to see his brother who was attending The University of Hawaii. Aviation was in its infancy and the only practical way to make the trip was by cruise ship. The trip itself took several days and as the ship neared the island Maurice needed to notify his brother of his impending arrival. Maurice went to the on-board telegraph office and began dictating his massage; "I've had the most amazing time on-board the ship. What an amazing experience this has been. The staff has been just incredible and I've meet the most wonderful people. My accommodations have far exceeded my expectations. I could talk about the delicious food for days. I've never eaten so well." etc. etc. Once Maurice finished dictating his message the operator told him his long-winded message was going to cost about $75 to send. So Maurice shortened the message to... "Arriving on next ship - Maurice". 

Upon arrival Maurice was greeted by his brother and while de-boarding the ship, he saw the most lovely native girl. Maurice was awestruck by her beauty. Apparently his eyes met hers, hers his, and in Hawaiian terms, both were "struck by the thunderbolt" (love at first sight). 

The two ended up meeting and spending a lot of their time together. Though the natives were SURE Maurice was going to steal the heart of, and marry one their women, Maurice's vacation came to an end and he returned to the mainland. 

Over time Maurice lost contact with the girl, and years later returned to Hawaii to look for her. Through the locals he learned that the girl's family owned one of the biggest department store chains on the island. Figuring a wealthy, beautiful woman wouldn't want anything to do with a lowly animation artist, he sadly abandoned his quest. For the rest of his life Maurice talked about his regret in not staying and marrying the girl. 

...And that concludes the story of the Thunderbolt. - Eric Calande

Artwork courtesy of Paul Bussolini

Supplement to pg. 70 of The Noble Approach. 

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