Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Original Production Animation Cel of Captain Hook from "Peter Pan," 1953

Original hand inked and hand painted production animation cel of Captain Hook over a lithographic background of the deck of the "Jolly Roger" from "Peter Pan," 1953; Size - Captain Hook 9 3/4 x 7", Cel 12 1/2 x 14 1/2"; Unframed.

Captain James Bartholomew Hook was animated by legendary Frank Thomas and voiced by Hans Conried.  Conried was also the voice of George Darling, which is consistent with the roles of "Peter Pan" for the stage.  I remember seeing Conried acting on "I Love Lucy" where he played an English tutor as well as playing the character Wrongway Feldman on "Gilligan's Island."  His voice was so distinctive and so memorable that he was perfect for the role of Captain Hook; as he had a wonderful way of conveying both the rough gruff pirate role as well and the sly calculating villain.

Photograph showing the complete cel with peg holes.

Frank Thomas's first sketches of Captain Hook were much more menacing than the final product.  Walt Disney felt the character was going to be too frightening for children and so Thomas toned down his drawings.  The result is a wonderful villain with comic overtones, and I would say that he is my favorite male villain in the Disney film world.  Also of note is that Captain Hook has also made more appearances in visual media than any of the Disney film Villains combined!

Close up of the Captain Hook Cel.

This cel is just a wonderful image of Captain Hook with a great facial expression, and he has been placed on a background of the deck of the Jolly Roger.  Captain Hook is a very large, standing in at over nine inches tall!  Both of his eyes and his mouth are open; and you can see his right hand, hook, his sword, and the entire lavender plum of his Pirate Captain's Hat.  Note: There is some minor cracking to the cel in the upper part of the hand and the top of the white pirate shirt.

Close up of the Captain Hook cel on the background.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Drawings of Honest John (Foulfellow) and Pinocchio from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original production drawings of Pinocchio in green, red, and graphite pencils; numbered 47 and J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox) in green, red, brown, yellow, and graphite pencils; numbered 43; Both from "Pinocchio," 1940; Size - Pinocchio 4 1/2 x 2 1/4", Foulfellow 7 1/2 x 7"; Both Sheets: 10 x 12"; On watermarked five peg hole paper and stamped with production numbers lower right; Unframed.

Norm Ferguson (Fergy) was the animator responsible for bringing both J. Worthington Foulfellow (The Fox) and Gideon (The Cat) to life.  Fergy is most remembered for his creation of Pluto, but his animation of both Foulfellow and Gideon was one of the true highlights of the film "Pinocchio."  The inspiration for Foulfellow (also called Honest John) was the classic vaudeville acts; with the actor's overdone dialogue and skill at improvisations.  Foulfellow was a very fast talking and persuasive Fox, who would not give poor Pinocchio time to think or respond before moving forward with his own plan to better himself, at the expense of his poor victim.  Although dressed in a top hat, gloves, and a cape; all of his clothing is old, ragged, and with patches throughout.

Pinocchio was animated by Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston; and Dickie Jones provided the voice.  Dickie was an accomplished TV and movie actor, most known for performances in various Westerns; and was also in the "Hopalong Cassidy" film.  However, his true lasting memory may be is voice of Pinocchio.  This is a wonderful full figure drawing of Pinocchio holding his school books and looking up at Foulfellow.

Close up of Pinocchio drawing.

Walter Catlett provided the voice of Foulfellow and endowed the character with a wonderful sophisticated style, that added to the level of sophistication to this petty criminal.  Catlett had started is own career in vaudeville and new how to impart that style into his reading of Honest John.  In addition, Walter Catlett's voice was also great for Fergy's animation; as it allowed for facial expressions and for mannerisms that enhanced the feel of Honest John.  This combination was perfect and really helped in the development of a much more brilliant character, and one of the most entertaining in the film.

Close up of Foulfellow drawing.

This is a spectacular set of drawings of Pinocchio and Honest John!  They are almost a matched pair being only three frames off, Pinocchio is numbered 47 and Honest John is numbered 43.  This set of drawings is from the first encounter by Pinocchio with the fast talking Foulfellow; who when saying the word "theater," throws his cape dramatically behind him!  The dialog of this scene, as well as the video is below:

Pinocchio: I'm going to school.
Foulfellow: School. Ah, yes. Then perhaps you haven't heard of the easy road to success.
Pinocchio: Uh-uh.
Foulfellow: No? I'm speaking, my boy, of the theater! Here's your apple.
[Hands Pinocchio the apple, eaten down to the core]

To see the cel made from this drawing in the film, just click on the short video below:

Signed Original Production Cel of Gideon from "Pinocchio," 1940


Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Gideon from "Pinocchio," 1940; Hand signed in ink by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston; Set on a custom prepared background; Size - Gideon: 6 1/4 x 6 3/4", Image 9 x 10 1/2", Frame 20 x 21 3/4"; Framed using two brown linen mats, a gold wood fillet, a gold and wood frame, and plexiglass.

Norm Ferguson (Fergy) was the animator responsible for bringing both J. Worthington Foulfellow (The Fox) and Gideon (The Cat) to life.  Fergy is most remembered for his creation of Pluto, but his animation of both Foulfellow and Gideon was one of the true highlights of the film "Pinocchio."  The inspiration for Foulfellow was the classic vaudeville acts; with their overdone dialogue and the actor's skill at improvisations.  The inspiration for Gideon was the silent Marx Brother, Harpo.  An earlier Walt Disney film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," had already proven that characters with no dialog (ie. Dopy) could become one of the the most memorable characters of the film.  Gideon was going to be voiced by the legendary Mel Blanc, but Disney decided to delete all of his lines; preferring a mute Foulfellow sidekick who has only 3 hiccups in the entire film.  Mel Blanc did provide the voice for the hiccups and he did receive payment; stating afterwards "that is it was the most expensive hiccup I ever recorded."

This spectacular cel of Gideon is from the famous scene in "Pinocchio" which occurs at the The Red Lobster Inn where Honest John (Foulfellow) and Gideon meet with the Coachman.  All three are seen smoking, Honest John and Gideon both have cigars and The Coachman has a pipe.  The scene opens with Honest John singing the classic "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life For Me)."  This cel is from the beginning sequence, when Gideon is blowing a smoke ring that he grabs with two fingers and proceeds to dunk it into his beer mug and then take a bite; as if the ring were a doughnut and the beer a cup of coffee.  He then hiccups, courtesy of Mel Blanc.

Framed Gideon Cel.

Years ago, when Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston were still alive and in good health; galleries could pay and fly them  to do book, cel, and/or drawing signings.  The cost to the gallery was $150/signature and several different galleries took advantage of this wonderful and rare opportunity.  Other animators did this as well, such as Ward Kimball, but in a much more reduced capacity.  Today, Frank and Ollie's signatures still add value to the cels, drawings, and books that they inhabit, such is the case for this wonderful cel of Gideon.

Close up of the Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston hand signatures.

To see the cel made from this drawing in the film, just click on the short video below:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Maleficent and Diablo Production Drawing from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 - "I, too, shall bestow a gift on the child."

Original production animation drawing of Maleficent and Diablo from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959, Walt Disney Studios; Graphite on peg hole paper; Numbered 40 and animation ladder in pencil lower right; Size - Maleficent & Diablo 8 x 5 1/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

If you ask people to name their favorite Disney Villain, chances are you will one of three answers; The Evil Queen/Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Cruella DeVil from "101 Dalmatians," or Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty." Two of the three, Cruella and Maleficent, were created/drawn by the great animator Marc Davis. Davis was part of what has been dubbed Disney's Nine Old Men; the core group of animators, some becoming directors, that created the finest animated films ranging from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 1937 to "The Rescuers", 1977.

Close-up of the Maleficent and Diablo drawing.

The voice of Maleficent was performed by Eleanor Audley. She had worked for Disney prior by also being the voice for the cold and calculating Lady Tremaine (The Stepmother) in "Cinderella." If is known that Frank Thomas for Lady Tremaine and Marc Davis for Maleficent, incorporated facials features of Eleanor into both characters.  

Photograph of the animation ladder and the production number.

The drawing pictured is for sale and is a very rare eyes open original production drawing of Maleficent and her pet raven Diablo from the 1959 full length animated feature film "Sleeping Beauty" from Walt Disney Studios. This drawing is from the very famous opening scene of Maleficent when she enters the throne room and cast a spell on Princess Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty!

Queen: "And you're not offended, your excellency?"
Maleficent: "Why no, your majesty. And to show I bear no ill will, I, too, shall bestow a gift on the child."

The drawing is numbered "40" lower right and has the animation ladder as well; indicating that this is a key drawing from the scene. The pose is wonderfully drawn, suggesting that Maleficent and Diablo are in total control of the situation. The drawing measures an incredible 8" x 5 1/4" and is on a 15 1/2" x 12 1/2" sheet of three peg hole paper. 

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Prince John, Sir Hiss, and Sheriff of Nottingham cels from "Robin Hood," 1973

Original hand painted production cels of Prince John, Sir Hiss, (numbered 19 lower right and production numbers lower center) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (numbered 467 lower right) set on a lithographic copy of a production background from "Robin Hood," 1973; Disney seal lower right; Framed with a silver and grey wooden frame, suede acid free mat, and UV conservation clear glass; Size - Prince John and Sir Hiss 6 x 5 1/2", Sheriff 7 x 7 1/2"; Image 10 1/4 x 13"; Frame 24 x 28".

As a Disney Villain collector and dealer, this is exactly the cel set-up you want for your collection.  Here are all three of the Villains together in one frame from "Robin Hood;" Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Sheriff of Nottingham cel with peg holes and production number.

All the characters in Disney's version of "Robin Hood" were played by animals.  Prince John was a lion, Sir Hiss (no surprise) was a snake, and the Sheriff of Nottingham was a wolf.  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.  Kaa from a prior film "Jungle Book" must have been a nice starting point in order to allow Sir Hiss to show more emotion and expression.

Prince John and Sir Hiss cel with peg holes and production number.

The Sheriff of Nottingham was voiced by Pat Buttram and animated by Milt Kahl.  Pat Buttram's voice was just so wonderful and he had an extraordinary career.  He was Gene Autry's sidekick and I remember him as Mr. Haney in the television show "Green Acres."  He voiced several characters for Disney Studios but my favorites were Napoleon the hound dog in "The Aristocats" and of course the evil and cruel Sheriff of Nottingham.

Photograph showing entire cel sheets with numbers bottom right and center.

In the cel set-up above, Prince John is furious over the mocking song about him:

Sheriff of Nottingham: "But, but Sire, it's a big hit. The whole village is singing it."
Prince John: "Oh, they are, are they? Well, they'll be singing a different tune. Double the taxes! Triple the taxes
[grabs Sir Hiss by the neck]
Prince John: "Squeeze every last drop out of those insolent musical peasants."

Cropped image of Prince John, Sir Hiss, and Sheriff of Nottingham cels from "Robin Hood," 1973

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

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Drawing of Ursula from "The Little Mermaid," 1989

Original production drawing of Ursula in graphite and blue pencils from "The Little Mermaid," 1989; Numbered 111 upper and lower right on peg hole animation paper; Size: Ursula 8 1/2 x 7 3/4", Sheet 10 1/2 x 12 1/2"; Unframed.

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."

Close-up of the Ursula production drawing.

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," Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians," and Ursula the Sea Witch from "The Little Mermaid," 1989.  This is the first drawing that I have ever owned of Ursula  and the detail is just wonderful!  Her eyes and mouth are open and the graphite drawing is further heightened by the addition of blue pencil.  She is wearing her nautilus pendant that is eventually used to hold Ariel's voice. 

Maleficent and Diablo Cel from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 - "I, too, shall bestow a gift on the child."

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Maleficent and Diablo set on a lithographic background from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Maleficent & Diablo 7 1/2" x 5 3/4", Cel 10 3/4" x 10 1/2", Mat 15 3/4" x 17 3/4", Mat Opening 7 3/4" x 9 3/4"; Matted.

Initially Marc Davis, the animator for Maleficent, had wanted to use a black and red color scheme for the character however; Eyvind Earle, the background artist for the film, protested.  Walt Disney had taken some criticism over his recent films for their lack of artistic achievement and so he had decided to put in charge an already accomplished Disney animation artist.  Eyvind Earle had already been working at the Disney Animation Studios and was receiving acclaim for his artistic vision and technical skill and so he was chosen by Disney to supervise the styling, color, and backgrounds for "Sleeping Beauty."  The film took six years to complete due to Earle's extreme attention to detail.  Normal backgrounds for prior Disney films would take a day, however the Earle backgrounds could take up to ten days.  In addition, Earle reworked not only the colors for Maleficent but the character design for Briar Rose so that she would work better with his pre-Renaissance Gothic vision for "Sleeping Beauty."  "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 was the last of the Disney films that all the cels were both hand inked and hand painted, and many believe it to be one of the most beautiful and one of the greatest Disney films ever!

Maleficent and Diablo cel without the background.

Not all cels of the same character are priced the same.  I recall a Gallery that was charging the same price for a front facing, eyes and mouth open, full figure image of Bambi; as they were for a butt shot with just a back of the head showing.  The front images were all snapped up fast and the remainder languished on their site year after year, after year.  The simple fact is that collectors want wonderfully beautiful images for their walls and will pay much more for these unique cels.  Eyes and mouth open vs. eyes and mouth closed can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars difference.  In reference to this work, so many cels from this sequence have Maleficent's eyes closed.  She was calm and sublime during her first appearance in the film, and so animator Marc Davis had her constantly closing her eyes.  This, however is just a wonderful image of both Maleficent and her raven Diablo!

Photograph showing the matted cel.

After Maleficent makes an appearance in the great hall to celebrate the birth of Princess Aurora, the Fairy Merriweather tells Maleficent that she was not wanted there and Maleficent says, "Not wa--Oh, dear, what an awkward situation. I had hoped it was merely due to some oversight. Well, in that event, I'd best be on my way."  The Queen responds, "And you're not offended, Your Excellency?"  It is at this point that Maleficent says one of her most famous lines, "Why, no, Your Majesty. And to show I bear no ill will, I, too, shall bestow a gift on the child."  This cel being offered for sale is when Maleficent says that very last line!

To view this cel in the film, click on the short video below:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora Production Cel From "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora set on a lithographic background from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Cel 12 1/2 x 16", Image 7 1/2 x 7 1/2", Background 10 3/4" x 15 3/4", Mat Opening 8 x 11", Mat 16 x 19."

The three great Walt Disney classic films with storybook Prince and Princess endings are: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.  The dramatic and usually short endings of these films are scenes that the entire world is familiar with, and therefore are some of the most sought after cels and drawings for collectors.  The ending for Sleeping Beauty is just visually stunning; with Prince Phillip dressed in his regal tunic and red cape, and Princess Aurora dressed in her blue ball gown wearing her crown.  There are very few cels and drawings in the open market from these short last few scenes of the film.  The majority are images of the two of them dancing either in the great hall or transitioning into the clouds.  The images are small in size with no detail to the characters and because the characters are rotating in a circle; almost every one of them will be a back shot of either the Prince or of Aurora.

Photograph of the complete cel.

Prince Phillip was animated by Milt Kahl and voiced Bill Shirley and Aurora was animated by Marc Davis (who was also lead animator for Maleficent) and voiced by Mary Costa.  Both Bill and Mary would be live action models for Prince Phillip and Briar Rose/Princess Aurora for the animators, and their chemistry was magical on screen.  In addition, their singing together was one of the many highlights of the film.  As discussed by Andreas Deja, Milt Kahl did not like the job of animating Prince Phillip:

"Some of you might know that Milt absolutely despised working on the prince. During one of our get togethers I asked him, how he could do such a beautiful job on a character he loathes.  To my best recollection he said: 'Well, the character needs to be in the picture, I didn't like the assignment, but you do the best you can.'"

Matted cel.
However, because the cel and background are much larger; the entire work could be both matted and framed much bigger!

The animation of Prince Phillip by Milt Kahl was radically different than prior Princes in other films.  Phillip was an active character; speaking to his horse Sampson and Sampson understanding what he was saying.  Phillip was also seen as a child at the start of the film, had to be animated in more than one outfit, was the first Prince to use weapons against a Villain; and had to speak, interact, and sing with his love interest Princess Aurora/Briar Rose.

The majority of Sleeping Beauty, shows Princess Aurora disguised as Briar Rose living in the forrest with the three fairies: Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather.  When the Walt Disney Company began to promote the theme of Princesses to the public, it was the Princess Aurora character dressed in either the blue or pink dress, that was the preferred form.  For animation collectors, the opportunities to acquire cels or drawings of Princess Aurora are few and far between.  This cel however is one of the greatest I have ever seen!  I have owned three cels from this sequence, they are all beautiful, but this may be the best of them all.  Both the Prince and Aurora's are eyes open, they are walking arm in arm, and they are gazing lovingly at each other!  

To view this cel in the film, click on the short video below:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Production cel of Toby, Basil, Olivia, and Dr. Dawson from "The Great Mouse Detective," 1986

Original hand painted production cel of Toby, Basil of Baker Street, Olivia Flaversham, and Dr. David Q. Dawson set on a lithographic background that matches the scene from "The Great Mouse Detective," 1986; Disney seal lower right; Framed with a brown wood frame, three acid free mats, and UV conservation clear glass.

Eve Titus in a series of stories about Basil of Baker Street; a mouse that lived next door to Sherlock Holmes and who shared many of his skills and traits.  Although usually paned by critics, I adored the film and remember exactly where and with whom I saw the film.  I think one reason I liked the film so much is because I loved reading the real Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.  

Close up of the mice on Toby's nose.

Toby, the Bassett Hound, is one of my favorite Disney Dogs!  He is lovable and fun and rolls on his back for scratching and like all dogs works for food; in his case cheese crumpets.  Toby is also obedient and being a Hound dog, is great at tracking.  In his cel, Basil, Dr. Watson, and Olivia are off to track down the whereabouts of Olivia's father; and here all three of those characters are standing on Toby's nose.  The detail is really incredible, given how small the figures!  You can see the magnifying glass is Basil's hand as well as the detail of his coat and deerstalker hat.  I have never seen another cel of Toby and the mice this nice in all my years of dealing and collecting!

Framed Great Mouse Detective Cel.