In 1950, Pearce was sent to England to make the first live action movies for Disney, Treasure Island; to be followed by The Story of Robin Hood, The Sword and the Rose and Rob Roy. Each of these were produced by Disney and directed by Perce Pearce.
He had worked for Walt Disney since 1935 and was sequence director on his first feature length animated cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937. He was said to have been the ‘model’ for Doc. But according to some sources there was a love/hate relationship between them. This may account for very little information being available about Pearce, amongst the countless books about Uncle Walt and his magical empire.
Recently I discovered a little more about Perce Pearce’s early days as a cartoonist. His first published work was a series of cartoons for the Great Lakes Bulletin, a military newspaper serving the US Naval Training Centre at Great Lakes, Illinois. Pearce’s popular cartoon series was named after its hero, Seaman Si, The funniest "Gob" in the Navy and the humorous adventures of a Blue Jacket on the High Seas of Fun and Trouble.
The series ran in the paper and was collected into a soft-cover edition in 1917, and reprinted in book form in 1918. At the same time, Pearce did editorial cartoons and political caricatures for his news agency, some of which appeared in the New York Evening Post, and were later included in a 1917 article in Cartoons Magazine called "Under the Big Dome" by Elisha Hanson (v. 11, no. 4, Apr. 1917).
So I was delighted to receive this email from Deborah in America, during this week:
“I wanted to tell you about a cool chalk ware Indian I found signed Perce Pearce and dated 1927. It's obviously the work of someone with talent; when I found your blog I realized who. You're just about the only person to save him from obscurity. It's strange that he had such an interesting career but has been sidelined. If you've found out more I'd love to hear from you.”
So I have posted the pictures very kindly sent to me by Deborah, of the little chalk ware Indian known as John Joyface and signed by Perce Pearce c.1927. This model seems to be based on a character from Pearce’s early days as a strip cartoonist, and must be incredibly rare. So I have emailed Deborah back with an address of someone who might be able to help her.