Jack Kinney
John Ryan Kinney

(1909-03-29)March 29, 1909
Utah, U.S.
DiedFebruary 9, 1992(1992-02-09) (aged 82)
  • Animator
  • film producer
  • film director
Years active1931–1988
EmployerWalt Disney Productions (1931-1958)
RelativesDick Kinney (brother)

John Ryan Kinney (March 29, 1909 – February 9, 1992)[1] was an American animator, director and producer of animated shorts. Kinney is the older brother of fellow Disney animator Dick Kinney.

Early life

Jack Kinney was born on March 29, 1909, in Utah.[1] He attended John Muir Junior High School in Los Angeles, California (1925), and John C. Fremont High School (1926 - 1928), at the latter with Roy Williams. Both Fremont football players, they would later be hired by Walt Disney in 1930 to work at the Walt Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue. Often referring to himself as Kinney's best friend, Williams would go on to star as the "Big Mooseketeer" with head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd on the classic 1950s television program, The Mickey Mouse Club (1955–1958).


According to Jeff Lenburg's assessment of him, Kinney was a veteran animator, who spend most of his career working at Walt Disney Productions (later known as the Walt Disney Animation Studios). He directed the first film in the Donald Duck series to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Two other films directed by Kinney were nominated for the same award.[1]

Kinney joined the Walt Disney studio on February 9, 1931. He was hired as an animator. He initially inked films for both the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony series of the studio. His film credits as an animator include The Band Concert (1935) and The Cookie Carnival (1935).[1] Kinney also served as a story director in films featuring Mickey Mouse and Pluto. His film credits in that role include Brave Little Tailor (1938), Mickey's Trailer (1938) and Society Dog Show (1939).[1]

Kinney served as a sequence director on 10 of the Disney theatrical feature films. His credits in that role included Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Saludos Amigos (1942), Victory Through Air Power (1943), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Melody Time (1948), and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949).[1]

Beginning in 1940, Kinney was promoted to the position of director for animated short films. Kinney was the primary director of the Goofy series, with his debut being the second entry in the series, Goofy's Glider (1940), all the way up to the final regular entry in the series, How to Sleep (1953), directing a total of 39 entries in the series. His most notable creations for this series were the Goofy How to..., where the character demonstrated how to play various popular sports. Goofy's efforts in these films had "predictably disastrous" results.[1] One of his Goofy cartoons, How to Play Football (1944), was nominated the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, one of two entries in the Goofy series to be nominated for the Award. Kinney also directed two entries in the Pluto series, as well as directing four entries in the Donald Duck series, including Der Fuehrer's Face (1943), a wartime satire of Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Nazi Germany,[1] which became the only Donald Duck short to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, as well being listed as Number 22 in the 1994 book, The 50 Greatest Cartoons.

Kinney's other director credits included a number of Walt Disney Specials. Among them were Pigs Is Pigs (1954), Casey Bats Again (1954), and Social Lion (1954). Pigs Is Pigs was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was the third and last film directed by Kinney to be nominated for the Award.[1] Another film credit for Kinney as a director was The Lone Chipmunks (1954). It was the last animated short film of the Chip 'n' Dale series.[1]

From 1954 to 1957, Kinney started directing television animation. He supervised new animation used to tie some of the old shorts together for the Walt Disney anthology television series, which was broadcast by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).[1] On March 13, 1958, Kinney departed from the Disney studio. He served at the Disney company for 27 years.[1]

After Kinney left Disney, he started an independent animation studio, Kinney-Adelquist Productions, Inc. . His partner was Hal Adelquist, another Disney alum. According to animation historian Jeff Lenburg, the company was known as Jack Kinney Productions.[1] Kinney directed an animated feature film for the UPA studio. It was 1001 Arabian Nights (1959) and featured Mr. Magoo.[2][1]

Kinney next partnered with his own brother Dick Kinney, to produce Popeye the Sailor (1960-1961), an animated television series from King Features Syndicate. The series was shot in color.[1] Kinney resurfaced as a story writer for The New Three Stooges (1965), a television series which featured both live-action and animated segments.[1] He was next hired as a story director by Hanna-Barbera, serving in this position from 1978 to 1982. He worked on several saturday-morning cartoons by the company. Among them were Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979-1980) and The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour (1982-1983).[1]

In 1983, Kinney was awarded a Winsor McCay Award, in recognition for his lifetime of contribution to the art of animation. The award was created by the International Animated Film Society (also known as ASIFA-Hollywood).[1]

Death and legacy

In 1988, Kinney published a short memoir, Walt Disney and Assorted Other Characters: An Unauthorized Account of the Early Years at Disney's. The book served as his autobiography.[3][1] Kinney died on February 9, 1992, in Glendale, California at the age of 82. His death was reported as a death by natural causes.[4][1]


Short films

Feature films



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Lenburg (2006), pp. 180
  2. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New American Library. p. 341. ISBN 0-452-25993-2.
  3. ^ Kinney, Jack, Walt Disney and other assorted characters - An unauthorised account of the early years at Disney's, Harmony Books, New York, 1988
  4. ^ Obituary in the New York Times Retrieved March 2012