While searching out stories for Thanksgiving weekend, we stumbled across this little gem, which is pretty cool if you love movies, animation, or Disney’s animated feature film Pocahontas.
In the movie, Pocahontas has two friends helping her out on her journey: Flit (a hummingbird) and Meeko (a raccoon). However, before the movie got made the creators had Redfeather, a turkey, as one of her animal companions. The footage above is from a pencil test, which is where animators draw a series of pencil drawings on animation paper, scan them into a computer, string them together, and pair the footage with an audio track to give the animators a sense of what the final product will look like.
The Disney Wiki page explains that the late John Candy provided a large amount of voice work for Redfeather. The character “was dropped when it was decided to have the film’s animal characters be mute. He was ultimately replaced by Meeko.”
Interesting side note, Redfeather can still be seen in animated form (right). At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the turkey makes an appearance with Meeko and Flit in the “Drawn to Animation” presentation at The Magic of Disney Animation. He’s there to help demonstrate the process of character creation. “When the host mentions the decision to bring in Meeko and that the turkey ‘became an entree,’ [Redfeather] gets transformed into a turkey dinner and Meeko starts chasing him.’
We couldn’t think of a more fitting (yet slightly dark) tie to Thanksgiving than that.