These drafts are highly illuminating as it adds to the already impressive resumes of the Nine Old Men and other animators. Ollie Johnston is always remembered for soft but effective animation like Bambi or Mr. Smee, yet he animated the wildest take in any Disney cartoon here! I had always thought that to be Kimball's work.
That's not to say Ward Kimball's animation isn't anything short of amazing in this film. Everyone (myself included) attributes Kimball to anything wild and crazy in any Disney film. But here he is capable of some wonderful subtlety with his scenes of Foxy Loxy. He may seem like a typical Disney villain, but he's enriched more than that stereotype, with Kimball's superb acting skills, because the fact of the matter is is that he is pure evil.
As it did with Kimball and Johnston, the film shows Milt Kahl's versatility. We always associate Kahl with literalism, yet the birds in this picture are hilarious looking while remaining human. I find it horribly ironic Kahl can help me relate and identify more with Chicken Little than he would with practically rotoscoped characters like Cinderella. This type of funny animation was apparently Kahl's favorite kind and I'd love to know more of what he did like it.
When we all first saw this cartoon (unprepared of course), our first impression of Foxy Lovy is the feeling of "Oh, this is just a typical cartoon moron, he'll probably lose out" (Frank Graham's terrific vocal work helps 'ensure' us of this presumption). The giant twist on the ending gives us all a shock, but it also gives us the message (most likely intended, and not thrown in our face like other films) that evil comes in many forms and to always be prepared.
To put this all into context with the normal tone of this blog... Who else wishes the recent CGI version ended this way? ("Noooo! Now what'll we do for the DTV sequel?!")