Dick Purdum was one of Richard Williams’s students and proteges at Richard Williams Animation. He was at RWA during the time that Williams brought in Art Babbitt, Grim Natwick, and Ken Harris to provide animation training and to work on The Thief and the Cobbler.
As with many of the animators who rose to prominence, and ‘kept the wheels on the tracks,’ at RWA, Purdom left RWA to open his own studio [Richard Purdom Productions] with his wife, Jill Purdom. The video (above) is a commercial for the Tate Gallery in Liverpool done by Richard Purdom Productions. The animation was done by Dirk Van de Vondel and Dick Purdum.
In 1987, while Who framed Roger Rabbit was being animated at The Forum in Camden Town, Disney was thinking of resurrecting Walt Disney’s idea of animating the classic fairy tale, ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Work on a screenplay had begun as early as 1983, but the screenplay written by Jim Cox in 1988 started getting closer to the version of the film that was finally developed. Richard Williams was offered the directing job, but declined. He recommended Dick and Jill Purdum. The Purdoms selected a small team of animators to work on an early version of the film. The team included: Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Tom Sito, Hans Bacher, Mel Shaw, Daan Jippes, Jean Gilmore, Patty Peraza, Tina Price, Dick Purdom, Jill Purdom, and Don Hahn (as producer). This early version had a ‘darker’ aspect to it. It was before the film was turned into a musical… and was known as the ‘Purdom version.’