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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Prod. CM-15 - Mickey Steps Out

Directed by Burt Gillett, released 7/7/1931.
Animated by Jack King, Johnny Cannon, Norm Ferguson, Dave Hand, Harry Reeves, Ben Sharpsteen, Tom Palmer, Frenchy de Trémaudan, Dick Lundy, Hardy Gramatky, Rudy Zamora, Charles Byrne(s), Les Clark, Marvin Woodward and Jack Cutting. (15 animators on 39 scenes...) The person transcribing the draft must have missed scene 33 - maybe by Frenchy (Minnie), Hardy (Pluto) and Hand (cat)?

A very happy musical endeavor. But it seems that the PC-Police has struck against the Ben Sharpsteen's last scene in later copies. After the screen has gone black from soot, all characters are black-face; Minnie yells "Mickey!," Mickey yells "Minnie!," Pluto comes out of the top of the stove and yells, Al Jolson-like but in a gravelly voice "Mammie!" and the cat comes out of the stove pipe and ends saying "Yippie!" and smacks Pluto on the head with the lid of the stove... There is a YouTube version of the entire short including this scene, but I refuse to link to anything that has the wrong aspect ratio!
When will people learn?

One of my most intriguing possessions from the "Kentucky Cache" is this little cheat sheet that Burt Gillett made, folded and used for a "Talk on Basic Principles of Motion Pictures and Sound." It is undated, but will have to be from around June 1931, with Mickey Steps Out as the "Big New Thing," but also including material from the earlier CM-7 "The Gorilla Mystery," CM-10 "The Birthday Party" and CM-14 "The Delivery Boy." Esther Campbell whistles "Valse Parisienne" from today's film, and note the preview with Bert Lewis accompanying Minnie (Marcellite Garner) and the bird (Esther Campbell).
Please contact me if you have developed a WORKING time machine!

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Prod. CM-14 - The Delivery Boy

Directed by Burt Gillett, released 6/13/1931.
Animation by Johnny Cannon, Rudy Zamora, Jack Cutting, Harry Reeves, Norm Ferguson, Frenchy de Trémaudan, Dave Hand, Dick Lundy, George Lane, Tom Palmer, Chuck Couch, Jack King, Hardy Gramatky, Les Clark, Frank Tipper, Bill Mason and Charles Byrne(s). At this time, Burt Gillett's musician was Bert Lewis.

Since Tom McKimson was Fergy's assistant, I surmise that "Tom" and "Palmer" here are the same person. Lane is here misspelled as Lano.

Bill Mason, who seems to have been born in England and died in 1937, is identified by Alberto Becattini, though he doesn't seem to appear in studio records otherwise. Alberto has this info on him: "Animator: DISNEY c31-33 (Silly Symphony 31-32 [The Cat’s Out 31, The Spider and the Fly 31, Babes in the Woods 32]); SCHLESINGER/WARNER BROS. 33 (Buddy 33 [Buddy’s Day Out]); LANTZ 35-37 (Oswald the Rabbit 36-37, Meany Miny and Moe 36-37)"

This is a fun film, and it becomes apparently clear that Jack King ain't no Fergy, whose Pluto scenes are highlights!

It so happens that there are several images that can throw a light on the production of this film, because the new L-shaped building that was finished mid-1931 was taken in use during this time, and it clearly was thought to show off the beautiful new premises! First we have the "Music Room," the director's room:
Delivery Boy MR
We have seen the animators in their room already; here, Johnny Cannon is at a desk that has the layout for scene 27 on its pegs.
Now - this scene was, according to the draft, animated by Rudy Zamora (on the photo to the right of Cannon), so this may indicate that the animators aren't posing at their own desks...
So it seems that the question posed in this image, that I prepared some years ago, might have been the wrong one.
Delivery Boy MR
(Sitting L-to-R: Dave Hand, Johnny Cannon, Rudy Zamora, Les Clark; standing: Walt Disney, Tom Palmer, Ben Sharpsteen).
Note that Walt is wearing the same outfit in both images...

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Prod. CM13 - The Moose Hunt

Directed by Burt Gillett, music by Bert Lewis, released 5/8/1931.
In other words, I am two days late for its 87th anniversary...
Animated by Jack King, Dave Hand, Norm Ferguson, Les Clark, Dick Lundy, Tom Palmer and Ben Sharpsteen: the usual suspects.

Yes, this IS the film with Tom Palmer's "Dead dog scene" ending with Pluto saying "Kiss Me!" Since this film was released May 8th, it was likely animated late March-early April 1931. Here is an image of some of the animators in their new building (the L-shaped one) while the film was just released, in May 1931. L-to-R: Dave Hand, Dick Lundy, Norm Ferguson and Les Clark.
Both Hand and Lundy have their May 1931 calendars prominently placed - thanks, guys! Les Clark has three photos pinned up - two of the building of the building they are in, and one of one of the small Fauchon & Marco advertisement cars parked in front of the billboard across the street...

Added note: we have seen a BG from this film before!

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Prod. CM12 - The Castaway

Over the coming weeks I intend to post a few more very early Mickey Mouse drafts, especially for my old mentor and friend Børge Ring.

Here is an early draft for this Robinson Crusoe-type Mickey Mouse film directed by my favorite director, Wilfred "Jaxon" Jackson, released through Columbia on 4/6/1931.
We find as animators: Jaxon himself, Charlie Byrne, Rudy Zamora, Cecil Surrey ("Sizzle"), Johnny Cannon, Gilles Armand "Frenchy" de Trémaudan, Jack Cutting, Les Clark, Dave Hand and Dick Lundy - with Norm Ferguson sharing two scenes with Jack Cutting.

On page 18 in Ross Care's must-have book about Jaxon, one can read how he (Jaxon) asked Walt to "handle" a whole film by himself, with which he meant "animate a whole film." Walt, however, thought he wanted to direct a film, and gave him the assignment of pulling together several previously discarded musical Mickey scenes, having him put them to music by a new composer Walt wanted to try out, Frank Churchill. This eventually became "Shipwrecked Among Animals," later renamed "The Castaway," and resulted in Jaxon "getting stuck" in the role of director.

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