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Disney’s Mike Gabriel and Klay Hall Commemorate WWII Plane With New Insignia

Disney's Mike Gabriel and Klay Hall Commemorate WWII Plane With New Insignia

Pacific Aviation
Museum
proudly announces a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the talented
artists of Walt Disney Animation Studios & Disneytoon Studios. In order to
honor the famed World War II-era B17 “Flying Fortress” affectionately named
“Swamp Ghost,” artists Mike Gabriel (director, “Pocahontas,” “The Rescuers Down
Under”
and the Oscar-nominated short, “Lorenzo”) and Klay Hall (director, Disneytoon
Studios “Planes”) worked together to create original nose art, to be
exclusively displayed at the Museum.  The
announcement was made by TV personality David Hartman at the Museum’s Annual Gala
on December 5th, 2015. The date for the exhibition opening will be
announced at a later time.

Adds VP, Walt
Disney Animation Studios and Disneytoon Studios Worldwide Marketing, Greg
Coleman, “We hope that the creation and display of the Swamp Ghost nose art serves
as a tribute to aviation history and to all those who serve.”

During
the war, The Walt Disney Studios made over 1200 insignia for the US and Allied
forces, many of which featured iconic characters, including Donald Duck. Disney
characters were often painted onto the nose section of aircraft during this
era. “Walt Disney’s
“Donald Duck” was one of the most iconic and likable characters
during the 1940’s,” says Klay Hall. “He was very popular amongst servicemen,
possessing a feistiness with a “can do” attitude. He seemed like a
natural fit for the Swamp Ghost nose art.”

The
history of Swamp Ghost, the airplane, is a unique one; no lives were lost in
the crash. The plane, a B17 “Flying Fortress” ran critically low on fuel during
a mission and had to be ditched in a jungle swamp in the Papua New Guinea area
in 1942.  All the men walked away from the plane unharmed. It was thought lost
until 1972, when it was spotted by a Royal Australian Air Force helicopter,
completely intact, resting in a swamp. The plane never received an honorary
name or piece of nose art (that usually happened after a few missions). The
plane gained the name “Swamp Ghost” because of where it was found. The
plane was then carefully extracted from the swamp and ultimately moved to the
Pacific Aviation Museum, where it has been exhibited in its “as is” condition
since 2014. The exhibition of Swamp Ghost and its nose art joins a collection
of more than 40 aircraft within the museum.

Said
Mike Gabriel: “My fervent hope was to do honor to the insignia and nose artwork
that the Disney artists created back in the 1940s during the war, by doing a
Swamp Ghost design that was totally convincing to the time in which the Swamp
Ghost was flying. Klay and I analyzed every aspect of the nose art designs that
were created to try and convincingly capture the look, feel, and colors of the
time, in order to authentically transport the viewer back to the time. I hope
when people see the nose art Klay and I have created, they sense the deep
attachment and commitment we have to this exciting project.”

“This
is not only an honor for us to be a part of, personally,” said Klay Hall, “it
is in remembrance and tribute to our fathers and grandfathers who served their
country during that time and those that serve today.”

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