Friday, November 27, 2015

Original Production Animation Cel of Lady from "Lady and the Tramp," 1955

Original hand inked and hand painted production cel of Lady set on a lithographic copy of a production background from "Lady and the Tramp," 1955; With original Walt Disney Art Corner label sticker verso; Size - Lady: 3 1/4 x 3", Image 6 1/2 x 8"; Unframed.

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

“Oh, I love her. What a perfectly beautiful little Lady.”

"Lady and the Tramp" (released on June 22, 1955) is a full length featured animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Buena Vista Distribution. The film was the 15th in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and it was the first animated feature filmed in with the CinemaScope widescreen film process. The film was based on the story "Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog" by Ward Greene and tells the story of a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a refined, upper-middle-class family. Lady meets a male stray mutt named Tramp and they embark on many exciting and romantic adventures.

One evening in 1937, Disney storyman Joe Grant invited Walt Disney over to his house for dinner and ended up showed Disney a drawing he had made of his pet spinger spaniel, who was named Lady. Walt loved the drawing and suggested that Joe make a storyboard out of it; which he did and the plan was to create a new animated film, simply titled "Lady." The story that was pitched ended up being too simplistic to Walt Disney's taste, and the project was put on hold until about 20 years later.

Walt Disney Art Corner label, verso.

Lady was wonderfully animated by the great Disney artist Ollie Johnston and she was voiced by Barbara Luddy. Barbara Luddy (1908 — 1979) was an American actress from Great Falls, Montana and she starred in silent pictures in the 1920s. She was also a prolific radio performer; known for her performances on the long running radio show "The First Nighter Program" which aired from 1936 until 1953.

However, Luddy is perhaps best remembered for her voice work in Walt Disney animated films; with her most memorable role being that of Lady from Lady and the Tramp.  She also performed in Sleeping Beauty (voice of Merryweather), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (voice of Rover), Robin Hood (voice of both Mother Church Mouse and the Mother Rabbit), and the Winnie-the-Pooh featurettes (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too) all of which she provided the voice for Kanga.

This is a wonderful original production animation cel of Lady sitting with her eyes open and she has a fantastic facial expression! A great addition for any collection.

Original Production Animation Cel of Tramp from "Lady and the Tramp," 1955

Original hand inked and hand painted production cel of Tramp set on a lithographic copy of a production background from "Lady and the Tramp," 1955; With original Walt Disney Art Corner label sticker verso; Size - Tramp: 4 x 4 1/4", Image 6 1/2 x 8"; Unframed.

"Lady and the Tramp" (released on June 22, 1955) is a full length featured animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Buena Vista Distribution. The film was the 15th in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and it was the first animated feature filmed in with the CinemaScope widescreen film process. The film was based on the story "Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog" by Ward Greene and tells the story of a female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a refined, upper-middle-class family. Lady meets a male stray mutt named Tramp and they embark on many exciting and romantic adventures.

Initially Tramp was called Homer and although he was first conceived as Lady's suitor, he ended up as her ex-dog pound mate in the initial 1943 storyboard pitch. A few years after that version was scrapped, Walt Disney read a story called "Happy Dan the Cynical Dog" in Cosmopolitan Magazine and decided that this was they type of character that was needed to enhance the film. Although Walt wanted his new character to be called Tramp, the animators feared that audiences would take offense in such a name, due to the word's sexual connotations that had been popularized by the song "The Lady Is A Tramp." The animators first called the character Rags, then Bozo; before Walt insisted that that name Tramp would be acceptable.

Walt Disney Art Corner label verso.

Tramp is a very laid-back dog and acts more like a kid. He's flirtatious and has history of having had a multitude of girlfriends; and he's known for his street smarts, able to both avoid dog catchers and deal with junkyard dogs. However, he dreams about living with a family and in a loving home. Tramp was animated by Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, and Wolfgang Reitherman who animated the rat fight scene.

Larry Roberts (1926 - 1992) was an American voice actor and comedian who was most active in the 1950s. Although he was well known for his role in the 1950s TV series Lights, Camera, Action!, he is  best remembered for his role of the voice of Tramp.

This is a wonderful full figure original production cel of Tramp with both his eyes and mouth open. A great addition to any collection!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lamination, Trimming, Cut and Paste, Oh My! - Variation in Original Animation Cels

Full cel with peg holes and production number lower right of Wart touching the sword Excalibur from "The Sword In The Stone," 1963

Full cel vs. trimmed, lamination, trimmed to image and then applied to another cel; these terms seem to be questions and concerns of many collectors. I thought I would take some time to just go over the history and process of what happens to original production cels after the film is created.

The further you go back in time, the less your chance of having a full untrimmed cel of a given character. This is because Disney Studios and the Courvoisier Gallery (the first gallery to show and sell original animation cels) were not interested in dealing with all this extra space outside of the animated character. Using the example of "Snow White," cels were with trimmed down to a small size say 5" x 5" and then placed on an airbrushed or bright colored paper background; or the character was trimmed to it's very edge and then that adhered to a background. Keep in mind that this was just to make the image as appealing as possible for someone to purchase, the value at the time was very low. As time went by, collectors were unhappy with this small size and wanted to showcase the cel on a large background, that would come closer to what was seen in the original film. This is when the phrase "trimmed and applied," comes into being. The previously trimmed to image cel was then adhered to a much lager acetate sheet, so that now a much larger background could be added to make the work appear as close as possible to the way the cel looked in the actual film.

Trimmed cel of the Mad Hatter from "Alice In Wonderland," 1951

In the 1970's Disney Studios was actively selling animation cels, and with cels comes the possibility of damage to the paint. Disney decided to laminate cels, so that they would be protected forever. Lamination is when the cel is placed between two sheets of plastic and then heat sealed. Unfortunately, after a few years sometimes lamination failure of the cel begins to take place. Colors would bleed outside the outlines of the character or paint would begin to lift (pull away from the original cel). All animation cels can be restored, but laminated cels require much more work and so in many cases the cost of the restoration outweighs the cost of the cel itself.

Trimmed and applied cel of Pinocchio from "Pinocchio," 1940

Many collectors want full animation cels still having their original peg holes and their production numbers along the bottom edge. In the case of the older vintage animation cels, this is practically impossible. Some collectors don't want trimmed and applied, but in the case of the vintage Disney films, so many of the original cels have undergone that process.

Laminated cel of Madame Medusa and Mr. Snoops from "The Rescuers," 1977

For me, in the end I am looking for a beautiful image. I have cels that are trimmed and applied, full cels, and cels that I have paid to be delaminated and then fully restored. Every collector should strive to purchase works that make him/her happy; just don't be so bogged down by limiting yourself by having arbitrary lines of demarcation. In the end, you are acquiring part of animation history and you have a obligation to protect it for the next generation. Have fun collecting!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Original Production Animation Cel of Maleficent As The Dragon and Prince Phillip From "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Maleficent as the Dragon and Prince Phillip set on a matching lithographic background from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Size - Maleficent as Dragon 6 1/4" x 12", Prince Phillip 2 1/4 x 2", Cel 12 1/2 x 26 3/4", Image 11 1/2 x 25 3/4"; Unframed.

“Now you shall deal with me, o prince, and all the powers of HELL!”
―Maleficent before transforming into the Dragon

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!

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.

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.  

Wolfgang Reitherman (known as Woolie) began working for Walt Disney in 1934, and is credited in films from Pinocchio, 1940 (Monstro the Whale) to The Fox and the Hound, 1981 (co-producer).  His masterful animation work includes the climatic dinosaur fight in Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in Fantasia, the Headless Horseman chase in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow section in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the Crocodile in Peter Pan, and of course Maleficent as a dragon in Sleeping Beauty. An interesting side note is that all three of Reitherman's sons; Bruce, Richard, and Robert  provided voices for Disney characters, Mowgli in The Jungle Book, Christopher Robin in the Winnie the Pooh films, and Wart in The Sword in the Stone.

The climatic ending of Sleeping Beauty is the transformation of The Mistress of all Evil - Maleficent into a massive black and purple Dragon capable of breathing green fire. Children were absolutely terrified of the Dragon, with her large teeth, powerful claws, and expansive wing span. The success of the Dragon is owed to Reitherman's remarkable drawing, draftsman, and animation skills.

Close up of the Maleficent as Dragon 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.'"

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.

Also from Andreas Deja:
"As I mentioned before, Milt Kahl really didn't enjoy animating Prince Phillip. A handsome dude with a limited range for acting just didn't appeal to him. Of course he still gave it all he'd got to put a descent performance on the screen. (In reference to viewing some of Kahl's rough drawings)... It looks to me that this scene was somewhat based on live action reference, but the translation into drawn animation is incredible. Just dealing with the horse turning direction would be a real challenge. Assistant artist Dave Suding, who worked on the film, told me once that one clean up drawing with the prince on his horse took one full day. That means a second of final clean up footage would require a whole month! Incredible."

Close up of Prince Phillip holding the Sword of Truth cel.

This is one of the finest animation production setups that I have ever seen! A full figure Prince Phillip holding the Sword of Truth (created by the Good Fairy Fauna) together with a full Figure Maleficent as the Dragon; all on a matching lithographic background. The image spans a very large 11 1/2" x 25 3/4" and the piece would certainly be one of the highlights for any vintage animation collection!

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

Original Production Animation Cel of Wart Touching Excalibur from "The Sword In The Stone," 1963

Original hand painted production cel of Wart numbered 43 bottom right from "The Sword In The Stone," 1963; Set on a lithographic background; Size - Wart (King Arthur): 7 x 7 1/2", Cel: 13 1/2 x 16 1/2"; Image 10 x 13 1/2"; Unframed.

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

"The Sword in the Stone," 1963 is the 18th full length feature film produced by Walt Disney and it was released on December 25, 1963 by Buena Vista Distribution. The film was based on the novel of the same name, that was first published in 1938. It was later republished in 1958 as the first book of T. H. White's tetralogy "The Once and Future King." It was to be the final Disney animated film released before Walt Disney's death on December 15, 1966. The songs in the film were written and composed by the Sherman Brothers, who would become very famous for their future work on later Disney films including; "Mary Poppins," 1964, "The Jungle Book," 1967, and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," 1971.

Wart production cel without the background.

Wart was animated by both Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston; and the voice was provided by three different actors; Rickie Sorensen, Richard Reitherman and his brother Robert Reitherman. This lead to noticeable changes in the character's voice between scenes. Also, the three voices all have Brooklyn-esque accents, which differed with the English setting for the film and with the accents spoken by all other characters.

It just doesn't get any better than this, Wart reaching up to touch the sword Excalibur just before he pulls it from the stone! This is an extremely rare original production full animation cel from the high point of the Walt Disney full length film, "The Sword In The Stone," 1963.

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

Original Production Animation Drawing of Cinderella With A Broom from "Cinderella," 1950

Original production drawing of Cinderella in red and graphite pencils from "Cinderella," 1950; Numbered 65 in pencil lower right; Size - Cinderella 8 1/2 x 4 1/2", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.
The 1950 Walt Disney feature film "Cinderella" was based on the French version of the tale by Charles Perrault, entitled "Cinderella" and written in 1698. The film was the second in the series of great Princess films developed by Disney, the first being Snow White in 1937. The character of Cinderella is usually front and center in the pantheon of Disney Princess merchandise, perhaps because she is the only Princess not to be of a noble blood line who ended up marrying a Prince and becoming royalty.

Cinderella was animated by both Marc Davis and Eric Larson, however the two animators had different perceptions of the character, with Davis preferring elegance and Larson opting for simplicity. This actually worked in the film's favor, resulting in Cinderella being a much more complicated character than her predecessor Snow White. As with other Disney films, the studio hired actress Helene Stanley to perform the live-action reference for Cinderella. She would later return to the studio for the characters of Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 and Anita Radcliffe in "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," 1961.

According to Christopher Finch, from his book "The Art of Walt Disney":
"Disney insisted that all scenes involving human characters should be shot first in live-action to determine that they would work before the expensive business of animation was permitted to start. The animators did not like this way of working, feeling it detracted from their ability to create character. The animators understood the necessity for this approach and in retrospect acknowledged that Disney had handled things with considerable subtlety."

Close up of the Cinderella production drawing.

About 400 women and girls auditioned for the voice role of Cinderella, but the role ended up going to Ilene Woods. Woods, who at the time worked on the radio and did not know anything about the audition, was asked one day by her colleagues Mack David and Jerry Livingston to sing a song from Cinderella. Without her knowledge, her recording was given by her friends to Disney Studios. After listening to the material Walt Disney immediately decided that he had found the voice with which to speak and sing the character of Cinderella and contacted Ilene. 

Close up of the production number.

This is a wonderful and very delicate production drawing of Cinderella. She is masterfully rendered in graphite and red pencil. It is from the scene in the film, when during the stepsisters' music lesson, Cinderella brings in the invitation to the ball and asserts her eligibility to attend. As Anastasia and Drizella laugh at her intentions, Cinderella steps forward and asks: "Well, why not?" The scene was supervised by the great animation artist Les Clark, one of Walt Disney's master animators known as his "Nine Old Men."

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

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

Original production drawing of Captain Hook in red, green, and graphite pencils from "Peter Pan," 1953; Numbered 126 in pencil lower right with production numbers stamp lower left; Size - Captain Hook 7 1/4 x 8 1/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

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

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. Conried was also a well known character, and appeared 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. 

Close up of the Captain Hook production drawing.

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 character with comic overtones, and is one of the favorite male villains 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 production number.

Close up of the production stamp.

This is a fantastic production drawing from the final battle between Captain Hook and Peter Pan aboard the pirate's ship, "Jolly Roger." He has both eyes open and a wickedly evil smile. Hook, armed with his sword and raised hook, pursues Peter Pan into the rigging of the ship; daring Peter to face him. As he climbs up the rope ladder he says, "Ha ha ha, you wouldn’t dare fight old Hook man to man. You’d fly away like a cowardly sparrow."

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

Original Production Animation Cel of Pinocchio from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Pinocchio from "Pinocchio," 1940; Set on a custom prepared watercolor background; Size - Pinocchio: 3 1/2 x 5 1/2", Cel 10 1/2 x 12 1/2", Image 8 1/2 x 12 1/4"; Unframed.

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

"Pinocchio," 1940 was the second animated feature film produced by Disney, and followed on the success of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." 1937. It was released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 23, 1940 and was based on the Italian children's novel "The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi. The general plot of the film involves an old wood-carver named Geppetto, who carves a wooden puppet that he names Pinocchio. One night the puppet is brought to life by the Blue Fairy, who informs him that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be "brave, truthful, and unselfish". Pinocchio's journey to become a real boy is challenged by his encounters with an array of scrupulous characters.

Image of the cel without the background.

"Pinocchio" became the first animated feature to win an Academy Award; it won for both Best Music - Original Score and for Best Music - Original Song for "When You Wish Upon A Star." Most critics and audiences agree that "Pinocchio" is among the finest Disney features ever made, and one of the greatest animated films of all time. In 1994, it was added to the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Image of the cel and the entire background.

Due to the huge success of "Snow White," Walt Disney wanted more famous voice actors for "Pinocchio." He cast popular singer Cliff Edwards (who had made the first record selling over a million copies) as Jiminy Cricket. Disney also wanted the character of Pinocchio to be voiced by a real child. The role ended up going to twelve year old actor Dickie Jones, who had previously been in Frank Capra's enormous Hollywood hit, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Close up of the original production animation cel of Pinocchio.

Animation began in September 1938 and just as in "Snow White," live-action footage was shot for "Pinocchio" with the actors playing the scenes; which was supervised by Hamilton Luske. The animators then used the footage as a guide for their animation drawings by studying the human movement and then incorporating many of those poses and scenes. The title character was animated by Milt Kahl (initial design), Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston. "When I was doing Pinocchio," Johnston said, "I thought of the character being real, a living person, not a drawing."

Original production animation model sheet image of Pinocchio.

"Pinocchio," was groundbreaking in the area of effects animation. The animators gave realistic movement to vehicles, machinery, and natural elements; such as rain, lightning, snow, smoke, shadows, and water. In contrast to the character animators, effects animators create everything that moves around the characters. Sandy Strother, one of the Disney effects animators from "Pinocchio," kept a diary about his year long animation of the water effects; which included splashes, ripples, bubbles, waves, and the illusion of being underwater. All of this attention to detail contributed to "Pinocchio" being one of the first animated films to have highly realistic effects animation. Ollie Johnston remarked "I think that's one of the finest things the studio's ever done" and Frank Thomas stated, "The water looks so real a person can drown in it, and they do."

Black and white still from "Pinocchio," 1940.

This is a wonderful original production animation cel of Pinocchio with bubbles. The scene occurs after Pinocchio escapes from Pleasure Island, with the help of Jiminy Cricket, just before he is totally changed into a donkey; he did develop donkey ears and a tail. Pinocchio returns home only to discover from a note left by the Blue Fairy that he must try and find Geppetto, Cleo, and Figaro; who had all gone searching for him but have managed to be swallowed by the whale Monstro. Pinocchio ties a rock to the end of his tail to keep him on the bottom of the ocean while he and Jiminy Cricket search along the sea bed. This is a great full figure, eyes and mouth open cel of Pinocchio from one of the best final sequences of the film!