K.C.: What lessons did you learn from “Raggedy Ann”?
R.W.: One big one. You know the Golden Rule? The person who has the gold makes the rules. Initially, when they were in trouble and I came in as supervisor, I had a lot to say – in
fact, they did everything I said; but as soon as they had a distributor and 40 minutes of picture, everyone thought it was wonderful, it would be a hit, it would make the cover of Time magazine, – then greed manifested itself and they never listened to another word I said for the rest of the production. I was not even allowed to see the picture when it was finished, because they were afraid I might make changes. It was as bad as that.
K.C.: Yet, it was you who had to suffer the slings and arrows of the critics.
R.W.: Yes … in the end, the men with the money came back to me and said, “Oh, you were right! Now would you like to do it all again?” and I said, “No – there’s the door, goodbye!” It was the biggest lesson I have ever learned. And that is why we have been very cautious about even trying to get finance for “The Thief’. Our present investors, if they become our investors, came looking for me. I did not go looking for them, and that was nice. Usually it is the moneyman who has creative control. He can always say, “What do you know?” You’re just a mad artist.” They can slam out the job and then learn to their surprise that the public will not pay to see garbage. One has to have creative control -you need to have complete creative control of the whole production.
K.C.: Thank you Dick. I look forward to continuing this conversation some other time. Meanwhile, good fortune with your ventures.
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Printed in Animator Issue 11 (Winter 1984)