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!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Prod. CM17 - Fishin' Around

Happy 90th Birthday, Mickey Mouse!
Let's celebrate with another animation draft, the one "next in line" in my files. (Next was CM-16, Blue Rhythm, which I posted in 2007.)

Directed by Burt Gillett, released 9/25/1931.
Animated by Les Clark, Jack King, Norm Ferguson, Hardy Gramatky, Dave Hand, Dick Lundy, Charles Byrne, Ben Sharpsteen, Tom Palmer, Johnny Cannon and Jack Cutting. Music by Bert Lewis.

I love Fergy's under-water slow-motion scenes, though there is little under-water feeling left in the later scenes that seem to incorporate animation from The Moose Hunt. I am not normally Dick Lundy's greatest fan, but I very much enjoy the little dance the fish do around the can of bait. Fun to see scene 16 as "Hands' [sic] old drawings" in the draft. I'm not to sure about the moral of this story, but hey - it's 1931! The Hebrew-looking "No Fishing" sign raises a lot of questions that probably better stay unanswered...

In July/August of 1931, the animators will have started getting used to working in the new L-shaped "Animators Building" at the studio on Hyperion Avenue (they moved in around May), even though Walt in early July still had not moved into his new office. The new buildings were not all finished at the same time, so while Burt Gillett and Bert Lewis are at work in their new Music Room, just outside their window the sound stage is still under construction. This is a period of steady growth for Walt's studio. From the small crew of nine people moving into Hyperion Avenue in February 1926, to 18 working on Oswald, then being reduced to ten working on the first Mickey films, in mid 1931 the staff had already grown to about 73. When Walt said that "it was all started by a mouse," it was the simple truth: without the success of Steamboat Willie we may only have heard of the name Disney as a small studio that operated in Hollywood from 1923 to 1928. Small wonder that Walt kept the script of Steamboat Willie in his desk all his life (where archivist Dave Smith found it in 1970).

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