Monday, September 29, 2014

"But wait... There may be an antidote." - Cel of The Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of the Witch with the poisoned apple on matching lithographic background from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Size - Witch 6 1/2 x 5 1/4", Image 9 1/2 x 13 1/4", Frame 29 x 20 1/4"; Framed with a black and gold wooden frame, three suede acid free mats, and UV conservation clear Museum Perfect glass.

Alternate view with mats of the Witch production cel

Image of the Witch cel that I was shown prior to purchase 

Witch cel showing full sheet and peg holes

The Evil Queen in "Snow White" is only on screen for a little over 20 minutes and then she transforms into the Old Had or Witch.  The Witch gets a lot more screen time, so there are more Witch cels/drawings than there are Queen; which accounts for why Evil Queen production art generally has higher prices.  Through the years I have met collectors who prefer collecting the Witch over the Queen and vice versa.  In looking for cels and drawings of the Witch, she has to be holding the poisoned apple; I mean it is just a must!  In this cel, she has just made the poisoned apple in her laboratory and realizes, "But wait... There may be an antidote."

The voice of the Queen was provided by Lucille Leverne and she also wanted to read for the part of the Witch.  Leverne was a veteran stage actress and was perfect for the Queen, with a real regalness to her voice.  When she was in the sound booth and Walt Disney heard her reading the role of the Witch, he stopped her and said that her voice just did not work for that role.  Lucille said to just wait one minute and left the sound booth and then quickly returned and started the reading again.  Now her voice had changed to that wonderful raspy, gummy, and single toothed sounding Witch.  Disney was amazed and asked how she had managed to get that perfect character voice, and Lucille replied, "Oh, I just took out my false teeth."

Framed production cel of the Witch with the poisoned apple

To see the image of this cel in the film, just click on the short video below:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Prince John and Sir Hiss Production Cels from "Robin Hood," 1973

Original hand painted production cels of Prince John and Sir Hiss set on a lithographic copy of the key production background from "Robin Hood," 1973

To purchase this cel or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE

"Robin Hood," 1973 was the first Walt Disney animated film that I remember seeing in the theatre.  I was six years old, and in fact it was my first memory of going to the movies.  I remember that the whole experience was just wonderful, from the popcorn, drink, and junior mints; to sitting in the huge theatre with my Mom waiting for the lights to dim.  The scene in the movie that I most remember is when Prince John was counting gold coins and then viewing himself, wearing the King's crown, in the mirror held by Sir Hiss.

Prince John was voiced by the great and deep voiced Peter Ustinov, Sir Hiss by Terry-Thomas (who's hissing speech was masterful), and both were animated by Ollie Johnston.  The on-screen presence of the two together is just wonderful and Johnston's animation skills, at this point, are top notch!  The personalities are different and distinct, as are the ways the two different characters move and interact.

In the cel set-up above, Prince John is jubilant over taxes:

Prince John:  "Taxes!  Taxes!  Beautiful, lovely taxes!  Ah-hah!  Ah-hah!"
Hiss:  "Sire, you have an absolute skill for encouraging contributions from the poor." [chuckles]
Prince John:  "To coin a phrase, my dear counselor, rob the poor to give the rich."

Framed production cels of Prince John and Sir Hiss from "Robin Hood," 1973

To view these cels in the film, click on the short video below:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Recently Sold Animation Art

Original hand painted production cel of Rolly the Dalmatian Puppy from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original production animation drawing of Maleficent as the Dragon from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted production cel of Madam Medusa from "The Rescuers," 1977

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cruella de Vil Drawing from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

Original production drawing of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

In the case of some Disney characters, drawings are more rare than the cels; Shere Khan from "The Jungle Book," Prince John from "Robin Hood," and Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians."  Cruella along with Maleficent are two of the most favorite of all the Disney villains, and they were both animated by Marc Davis.  The character was created by Dodie Smith for his novel "101 Dalmatians" in 1956, but it was Davis's visual interpretation that the world remembers.  Although some of Cruella's traits were based in the novel, Davis along with Bill Peat, morphed the character by making her razor thin and exaggerating her oversized coat onto her thin frame.  The long cigarette holder was modeled on one Davis used himself.  Inspiration was also drawn from Hollywood legends Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, and Rosalind Russell.  Movement, according to Davis, was consistent "like someone you wouldn't like," and another inspiration was based on "one woman I knew who was just a monster.  She was tall and thin and talked constantly - you never knew what she was saying, but you couldn't get a word in edgewise."

The voice of Cruella was provided by Betty Lou Gerson.  She had worked for Disney prior as the narrator for Cinderella, but her voice talent as Cruella De Vil is her tour de force!  The highly pitched phrase "Anita Darling!" is completely iconic and has become part of Disney pop culture.

The drawing pictured is from Cruella's first scene in the film and occurs as she is leaving Roger and Anita's home with this question to Anita, "Now let me know when the puppies arrive?  You will won't you dear?"

Above is the actual frame from the film which this drawing was used to create

Framed original production drawing of Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians," 1961

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Recently Sold Animation Art

Original key production cels of Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham set on a lithographic copy of a production background from "Robin Hood," 1973

Framed original production drawing of Snow White from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937

Original production cel of Kaa and Mowgli from "Jungle Book," 1967

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Maleficent Drawing from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 - Mistress of All Evil

Original production drawing of Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Maleficent 6 1/2 x 5 1/2", Image 8 1/2 x 7", Frame 22 1/4 x 20 1/4"; Framed using a black wood frame, linen acid free mat, a black wood fillet, and UV conservation clear glass.

Animation collectors tend to know exactly where in the film a given cel or drawing that they are interested in acquiring is located.  When I saw this drawing, I knew exactly that it was from the scene where Aurora had already pricked her finger on the spinning wheel and the three Fairies had rushed into the room too late; only to find Maleficent standing over Aurora's body.  It is here that Maleficent says one of her most famous lines in the film, "You poor, simple fools.  Thinking you could defeat me. Me!  The mistress of all evil!"  This is the only place in the film where "Mistress of all evil" is stated and this drawing is a wonderful addition to my collection.  

Framed original production drawing of Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Original Production Five Cel Key Set-Up of Ursula, Ariel, and Flounder from "Little Mermaid," 1989

Original hand painted five cel key set-up of Ursula, Ariel, and Founder on matching water color production background from "The Little Mermaid," 1989

For me, Ursula is the last of the Disney Villains in which to collect.  "The Little Mermaid," 1989 was the final Disney film using hand painted animation cels; so my animation collecting goes from the Evil Queen/Witch to Ursula the Sea Witch.  Disney Studios, specifically Ron Clements and John Musker, adapted the Hans Christian Anderson story to give the villain a much bigger role.  The first choice to voice the character was Beatrice Arthur who turned down the part.  It was eventually accepted by veteran stage actress Elaine Stritch; however she clashed with the music stylist.  The voice was finally given to Pat Caroll who described the role as, "part Shakespearean actress, with all the flair, flamboyance and theatricality, and part used-car salesman with a touch of con artist."  Although I would have loved to have heard Arthur and Stritch sing "Pour Unfortunate Souls," Ursula is the absolute embodiment of Caroll and I think she was the best choice!

The animation of the character was initially offered to Glen Keane, however after hearing Jodi Benson sing "Part of Your World" he wanted to animate Ariel instead and so Ursula ended up going to Disney animator, Ruben Aquino.  Aquino credits Ursula as his favorite character in which he has ever worked and said, "When animating Ursula, I was inspired mainly by the voice and by the story sketches, but of course, I also worked very closely with the directors (John Musker and Ron Clements) to realize their vision.  Given a great voice, the scenes almost animate themselves, and that definitely was the case with Pat Carroll's amazing vocal performance.  I also did a lot of research on octopus locomotion to make sure Ursula's movements were convincing."

Photo showing the full water color background with bar code

I purchased this set-up from the two photos pictured above and also with the knowledge that it was a five cel key set-up with matching production background.  All this was true, however when I finally had possession of the piece and took it apart I noticed that one of the cels was under the others, and had never been photographed correctly.  The white arc reflection on the bottom of the light blue orb was hidden and so I put the cels back together in correct order and have taken different photos (shown below) to show the hidden cel as well as close ups.  The list of cels include, 1) Ursula, 2) Bubbles above and below the blue orb, 3) Light blue orb, 4) Ariel and Flounder, and 5) White arc reflection on the lower part of the orb.

The full set-up including the white arc bubble spot

Close up of Urusla

Close up of Ariel, Flounder, light blue orb, white bubble arc, and surrounding bubbles

Because of the thick layer of five different cels, the piece was difficult for me to photograph because, as a whole, it was functioning as a mirror.  I use Museum Perfect Glass, which cuts reflections, but I still had difficulty getting non-glare images.

Framed key set-up

I remember going to see this film when it came out with my best friend at the time, Robbie in Wilmington, NC.  I loved the film and I specifically loved Ursula's "Poor Unfortunate Souls" sequence.  The set-up that I acquired and is pictured here is not from that scene, but rather when Ursula first appears in the film.  She gives a quick history of her and King Triton, calls for her eels Flotsam and Jetsam, and states that Ariel "may be the key to Triton's undoing."

The link below shows the cels and the scene in full: