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!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Prod. 2443 - Gull Crazy  - a.k.a. The Simple Things

Originally called internally Gull Crazy as a reference to the Gershwin show (and Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland film) Girl Crazy, the film The Simple Things is considered the last Mickey Mouse short made during Walt Disney's lifetime.

Directed by Charles Nichols, laid out by Lance Nolley with as secretary Beulah May "Bee" Selck (who started at Disney in April 1937 and whom we know to have been assistant director and editor during the war years). The film itself adds to the credits: written by Bill Berg, backgrounds by Ed Starr, music by Paul Smith.
Released 4/18/1953. This FINAL draft of 1/25/1952 (!)

Animation by Marvin Woodward, Norm Ferguson, George Kreisl, Fred Moore, Charles Nichols (the director), George Nicholas and Dan MacManus (effects). Sadly Fred Moore died, age 41, on 11/23/52, between the date of this draft and the release date of the film.

A lot can be said about the quality of the animation, so I will not comment a lot on that. The film is lifted by the thought process of Pluto, but the animation of him at times seems to be outdated when looking at the other characters. Mickey at times is pretty badly drawn, his model isn't too exciting either. But once in a while there are great scenes, so we can't really blame Fred Moore or Norm Ferguson for that matter. Marv Woodward's and George Nicholas' scenes aren't among their best (to say it mildly). As a whole this film is pretty uninspired, not a great (temporary) ending to Mickey's acting career in the Disney shorts.

I do like the song, though - I find it hard to shake. Paul J. Smith (1906-1985), though mainly noted for his work on the True Life Adventures, has worked for Disney since 1934 - his official starting day was the same as that of assistant director Lou Debney, father of the great composer John Debney. Paul Smith later worked together a lot with writer Gil George, who was actually Disney nurse Hazel George. Check him out on IMDb - his list of credits is incredible!

The film The Simple Things is found on the Treasures DVD "Mickey Mouse in Living Color Part Two" and can be seen on YouTube, as well.

Busy as always, I am currently editing A. Film's latest Olsen Gang CG film that will be released in Denmark in October 2013.
Sorry I have so very little time to upload stuff here!

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Anonymous John V. says...

I feel this cartoon is fairly under-rated. I like the gull character and his voice, and the cocky way he appropriates the song at the end. I agree there's some pretty weak animation, though, but a few scenes are quite nicely drawn.

There's not too many surprises in the animation. Fergy gets the best looking, most traditional Pluto scenes at the start of the cartoon, Moore animates most scenes of Mickey, plus the really loose scenes of Pluto around the mid-section (when the oyster is in Pluto's mouth, stealing his food). Woodward gets a few scenes of Mickey (including some pretty badly drawn ones at the beginning) but mostly animates the gull.

There are very few scenes which are shared between animators - unless there are ommissions on the draft. So, for example, some scenes of Pluto and the gull are credited only to Marvin Woodward.

As on "R'coon Dawg", director Charles Nichols animates a few scenes, mostly of Pluto. A couple more Pluto scenes are credited (on the draft) to George Kreisl (a former Pluto/Nichols stalwart, but who was mostly working for Jack Hannah by this point) while the scenes of the gull tying Pluto up are credited to "Nicholas"... presumambly George Nicholas, unless it's supposed to say "Nichols".

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 1:55:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Steven Hartley says...

Thanks for the animator draft posting, Hans.

This is definitely not one of my favourite shorts but its fun to see what Moore, Woodward and Ferguson worked on; even though Moore and Fergie were certainly no longer star animators in their heyday. Since this draft was dated in January 1952; and not released a year later, I think it would mean the short had been backlogged for quite a time; though this was a policy at other studios, too.

To me, the cartoons produced by Disney from the late 40s and the early 50s (mostly by Nichols) were truly dreadful, though no disrespect to the Golden Age guys working on it. Is it just my imagination or is it that the winking at the audiences in the end is just a bad way to end a cartoon? To me, Pluto was more or less, a fun character for the story guys to experiment with in the 30s; where he ended up in dangerous situations such as in DONALD AND PLUTO...but by the 1940s, Pluto never changed in personality, and his perilous situations just got worn out.

Thanks once again, Hans, hope to see more in the near future?

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 3:56:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Wakko Warner says...

Hey, Hans, thanks for the drafts! Do you think you'll be posting another movie anytime soon? If so, may I suggest Bambi or the other package films (Saludos Amigos, Make Mine Music & Fun & Fancy Free) or The Jungle Book? I heard Frank & Ollie animated more than half of the film themselves & I wanna see exactly how much they've animated; especially since I've been calculating their footage along with the other Nine Old Men--as well as Norm "Fergie" Ferguson! Thanks, pal!

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 11:41:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Tekkies PC says...

Hey Hans,

When you plan on having the next feature draft being posted?

Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 10:05:00 AM PDT  

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