Translate

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Original Production Animation Drawing of J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox) from "Pinocchio," 1940


Original production animation drawing in red, blue, green, and graphite pencils of J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox) from "Pinocchio," 1940, Walt Disney Studios; Production stamp and numbered 53 in pencil lower right; Size - J. Worthington Foulfellow: 7 1/2 x 6", Sheet: 10 x 12"; Unframed.


"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.

"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."


Close up of the original animation drawing of Foulfellow.

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."

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."

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.

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 the production numbers.

This is a spectacular drawing of Honest John! The drawing is from the first encounter by Pinocchio with the fast talking Foulfellow; who when saying the word "theater," throws his cape dramatically behind him! A great addition to any animation art collection. The dialog for the scene 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]