Jacques Rupp Mid Century Walt Disney Artist
Jacques Wellington Rupp was born in 1921 in Olympia, Washington, and grew up in Paris and Seattle.
He earned an economics degree at the University of Washington and served in the Navy during World War II. He gained a second degree at the Art Centre College of Design in Los Angeles, and won a job with Disney Studios in 1953 by pitching some promotional ideas for the television show, “The Wonderful World of Disney.” Starting at Disney in 1953 an an in-betweener, Jacques moved into the layout department as an assistant on Lady and the Tramp, working on sequences at the dog pound, the zoo and the classic spaghetti eating sequence at Tony’s restaurant.
In 1956 he created the illustrations for the Disney book ‘Our Friend the Atom’.
He spent time in the Disney commercials unit as a background painter and also worked in Ward Kimball’s unit for the Man in Space series and Magic Highway USA.
Rupp was moved off production to work on the new theme park, Disneyland, and is credited with designing the Snow White shuttle bus which ran from Los Angeles to Anaheim, logos, popcorn boxes and cups used throughout the park and selecting costumes for the Jungle Cruise, Canal Boats and Frontierland. Jacques went on to become something of an immortal in the Disney pantheon, designing and hand-lettering the Park’s original gothic logo for the classic Disneyland logo in 1955 as well as the opening titles for the Disneyland TV show featuring Tinkerbell and Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
Jacques probably left Disney during its mass layoff in the late 50s and arrived at UPA (United Productions of America) in time to design the title sequence and promotional materials for the Magoo feature, 1001 Arabian Nights. When that picture finished, he went on to do television commercials for one of the many animation production houses in Los Angeles, Animation, Inc.
I wonder how many contemporary artists have been inspired by this wonderful Pirate ship ?
Many artists working in animation during the early 60s have recounted how difficult the job market was at the time and artists often found themselves hopping from studio to studio picking up work wherever they could. Rupp was no exception and finally landed at Hanna Barbera as a layout artist working on The Flintstones, Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!, Ricochet Rabbit, Punkin’ Puss and early development on The Jetsons. When that job ended, he found himself doing animated titles for Pacific Title before coming back to UPA for The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo.
By 1972 he had become a full-time staff artist. Besides illustrating sports, news and feature stories, he hand-lettered The Times’ masthead that debuted March 6, 1976, the first day that The Times published a morning edition on Saturdays. The masthead adorned the top of the front page until the newspaper’s 1997 redesign.
His artwork earned several awards from industry groups. Notable was a 1976 Sunday-magazine cover illustrating an inside article on capital punishment: a noose dangling from a question mark.
“He was such a gentle person (and) an artist in every aspect of his humanity and personality,” said Times Executive Editor Michael Fancher. “He was very unassuming about his talent. He was always surprised when someone wanted a copy of his work. To him, it was just what he did.”
“He was a colorful, original character and turned out colorful, original art,” said former Times artist Steve McKinstry. “His cartoons had so much life, they just about jumped off the page.”