Mary Blair is probably not a household name, but the Disney illustrator left a lasting impression in classic animated films such as "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," and "Peter Pan" — as well as anyone who has ever ridden "It's a Small World" at the Disney theme parks.
Google doodle honors her today on what would have been her 100th birthday with a non-animated image on the search engine home page.
Don't blame her for the song (because we know you've now got it on annoying repeat in your head), but try to remember the design elements that made that ride so trippy good, because that's the kind of work that made Blair so memorable, and so groundbreaking, in many ways. (But if you want to relive that childhood magic, just a little bit, check out this vid taken by a fan going through the ride at Disneyland, where it originated in 1966):
Her Disney biography quotes animator Frank Thomas for some insight into what made the Chouinard Art Institute grad so special: "Mary was the first artist I knew of to have different shades of red next to each other. You just didn't do that! But Mary made it work."
That doesn't sound so crazy to us, but then again, we've been living with the legacy of Blair's work for so long, we take it for granted that's the way it's always been. She was honored as a "Disney Legend" in 1991. She died in 1978.
Much of the style associated with now-classic Disney was then considered ahead of its time and Blair had a lot to do with that. It's kind of fitting that this forward thinking woman was also responsible for murals, such as one found in the Tomorrowland section of the theme park. And thanks to DVD releases, future generations will continue to enjoy her influence in those classic Disney films.
Google is prolific when it comes to producing doodles. While some are relatively simple tributes like this one to Blair, some have been much more complex: the dancing Martha Graham-inspired piece, the animated interpretation of John Lennon's "Imagine," and the playable/recordable Les Paul guitar.
- See what Google doodle can do today: Gumby!
- 'Don't stop' Google doodles now, or ever, with Freddie Mercury
- Not just for fun, Google Doodles drive traffic, too
- Google doodle: Alexander Calder's moving mobile