Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Prod. CM20 - Mickey Cuts Up

Mickey Cuts Up was directed by Burt Gillett and released 11/30/1931.
It is found on Disney Treasures DVD: Mickey Mouse in Black & White Volume 1 disc 1. You may still find it here on YouTube. Have a look, if you need a clearer understanding of the following documents!

Gillett left some documents pertaining Mickey Cuts Up behind, and
I would like here to show a few of these that I recently lucked into.
It is interesting to speculate in which order these were written - they seem to all be in Gillett's own handwriting and would probably date to late August or early September 1931.

First we have two pages, numbered 1 & 2, with ideas linked to names, Otto and Webb, which to me seems to mean that the ideas were originally thought out by either Otto Englander or Webb Smith. There are interesting ideas that did not make the film - they are crossed out: "mower bumps up and down on hedge - trick cuts."
Some were not crossed out and made it in the film: "Cuts down tree - disclose owl on 2nd cut" and "mower biting rear end - zigzag tail."
(In the film, this tail is missing on one of the cels, and since it is repeated once, it blinks on two frames).
I find these pages especially intriguing!

Then a page with story ideas that all appear in the film. "Cut tree - return - cut branches tree - leaving owl [then added later:] HOOT."
This seems to be an attempt at a continuity for the chase.
CM20-storynotes3<< Click to enlarge!

A list of possible scenes for the first part of the film, not quite like how they turned out in the end, with Pluto being mowed because he stops to scratch instead of bumping into the wall.
CM20-storynotes4<< Click to enlarge!

Finally we see a kind of script for those first scenes, that in red has possible scene divisions indicated. As you will see, it does not completely follow the actual final story. E.g. Pluto knocks into a wall, not a tree. Also we read that "hedge nods head - surprised look of Mickey" which was not executed as clearly as written here...
MickeyCutsUpPlan<< Click to enlarge!

The short was eventually animated by the usual suspects: Johnny Cannon, Les Clark, Gerry Geronimi, Jack King, Dave Hand, Norm Ferguson, Tom Palmer, Dick Lundy and Ben Sharpsteen, who was in charge of a group of junior animators, which very likely included Marvin Woodward, Chuck Couch, Hardie Gramatky, Harry Reeves and Dick Williams. This draft of 11/25/31...
We can compare Fergy's sc. 20 and Hand's sc. 28, as both show the cat watching, then sneaking. Clearly Hand has tried to very logically "figure it out," making for quite mechanical movement, while Fergy has drawn what it feels like when a hungry cat sneaks up on a bird!

The background department at the time existed of Emil Flohri, Carlos Manriquez and Mique Nelson.

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Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

I notice some discrepencies around scenes 8 and 9. They've chosen to play it out a bit differently with an additional short cut to Minnie during the bird's song. Perhaps this was done in editing post-animation? Sc 8 doesn't seem to exist anymore.

I do like the David Hand scenes 9&10 (presumably animated entirely on side pegs.) Scenes used to be longer and more character animation was necessary.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 4:49:00 AM PDT  

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