Heritage Day 2

Class two of heritage was all about Disney film history.  Below are some random facts I learned!

  • Steamboat Willie was released in 1928, this was the first appearance of Mickey Mouse
  • The Silly Symphonies was released in 1929
  • Walt was intrigued by the idea of creating a full-length film but many people doubted that anyone would sit over an hour to watch a movie
  • Walt won a silent screening of Snow White as a newspaper boy and the story stuck with him-this is where he got his inspiration for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Grim Natwick was an animator working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and originally Snow White was going to be an adult but they decided it would be easier to design her as a teenager
  • Walt wanted Snow White to be a believable human character and also be emotional
  • There was a deleted scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs called “The Music in Your Soup”.  The scene was a song which showed all of the dwarfs eating dinner and also explained how they got the soap out of Dopey.  Although it took the animators a long time to create the scene, Walt deleted it at the last moment because he said it didn’t keep the storyline going. They showed the deleted scene on Walt’s TV show. You can watch it by clicking here!
  • No one thought that Snow White would be a success, yet it made $8.5 million at the box office.  This amount was impressive considering it was during the Great Depression and the cost of an adult ticket was 25 cents and the cost of a childs ticket was 10 cents.
  • Walt wanted a “Hollywood Premiere” for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs so they had a gala on December 21, 1937 at the Carthay Circle Theatre
  • Walt and Roy used the money made from Snow White to purchase a new studio
  • Pinocchio was created three years after Snow White
  • Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston were animators that enhanced the characters by designing each character with what their thoughts and feelings would be
  • Frank & Ollie were best friends they also trained John Lasseter
  • Pinocchio was released February 7, 1940
  • Ken Anderson was the art director, he loved the technical and artistic sides and wanted everything to look realistic
  • Fantasia was the next movie created
  • Mickey Mouse was starting to decline in popularity (Donald was getting more popular) and Walt wanted to bring him back
  • Leopold Stokowski had dinner with Walt and Walt expressed his idea of creating a concert-like animated feature.  Stokowski said that he would create the music for the Sorcerers Apprentice
  • Stereophonic sound, or as Disney named it “Fantasound”, was what Walt wanted for the movie.  He wanted it to sound like you were watching a concert. Walt also wanted the movie to travel from theatre to theatre with the music clips changing out for each location so it would be like an actual concert.
  • The clip “Night on a Bald Mountain” was created by Bill Tytla and was the finale, Walt wanted it to give the viewer chills
  • Fantasia was released on November 13, 1940 and was a box office disappointment-people were disappointed that Mickey was only in it for a short period of time
  • They reissued Fantasia in the 1960’s and it was finally appreciated
  • After the disappointment of Fantasia, Walt wanted to do something “smaller” and they created Dumbo which was the shortest animated feature of them all
  • Joe Grant & Dick Huemer found a cute little cartoon about an elephant with large ears, they tried to convince Walt to make a movie out of it but Walt was uninterested
  • Joe & Dick kept writing installments about the elephant and would leave them on Walt’s desk to peak his interest.  Walt finally got strung along and started to like the story and asked Joe & Dick what was going to happen to the elephant next.  Walt decided that if he was emotionally tied to a story of an elephant that others may be too, and they decided to create the movie.
  • Joe Grant was the only animator who worked on both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.  He also came up with the idea of the cricket in Mulan
  • Dumbo was released October 23, 1941
  • Dumbo was supposed to be on the cover of TIME magazine but WWII happened
  • Walt lost a lot of his staff to the war, and Walt’s studio was taken by the military to create training films
  • Bambi was in production based on the book by Felix Salten
  • Bambi was the first time that death had occurred in a Disney film
  • Marc Davis was one of the first imagineers and was also an animator for many movies, he wanted more reality not fantasy
  • “The Rain Song” was a deleted scene from Bambi, you can listen here
  • Bambi was released August 21, 1942
  • Walt started creating “package films” like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  • It wasn’t until the 1950’s that Walt’s animation really came back
  • Television was new and was scaring producers in Hollywood that people would no longer go to the movies and that it would put them out of business
  • Walt was a futurist and was intrigued by the idea of television, he heard a statistic that someday everyone would have one television in their house and wanted to use it to his advantage
  • Walt’s show One Hour in Wonderland premiered on NBC on Christmas Day of 1950 (sponsored by Coke)- it showed many “previews” of Alice in Wonderland which was released in 1951
  • One Hour in Wonderland captured 90% of TV watchers
  • Walt started to use TV as a preview of what he was doing
  • Walt wanted a weekly TV show and also money to create a theme park
  • ABC was the only company that gave Walt a loan to finish Disneyland
  • The Disneyland TV series premiered on October 27, 1954
  • On the Disneyland TV series “A Story of Dogs” was shown which included a sneak peek of Lady & the Tramp
  • Davy Crockett premiered on December 15, 1954.  It was an overnight sensation staring Fess Parker.  Fess was Disney’s first celebrity and first actor to sign a long-term Disney contract.
  • Mickey Mouse club premiered on October 3, 1955.  It was originally going to be broadcast live from Disneyland five days a week but it would have been too complicated so they filmed it in a studio.  It was one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
  • The Wonderful World of Disney was also created on TV.  Walt didn’t want it to talk down to children
  • Walt wanted just ordinary kids on all of his shows
  • Zorro starring Guy Williams was released on October 10, 1957 based on the book by Johnston McCulley
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Color premiered featuring Ludwig Von Drake (Donald’s uncle) on September 24, 1961
  • In 1966 Walt Disney passed away
  • 1983 was the debut of the Disney Channel
  • In 1996, The Walt Disney Company purchased ABC