The Backstory Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Desires
Throughout the state of Arizona, and within Pima County people have enjoyed Disney animation with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, headquartered in Burbank, CA, formerly known as Walt Disney Productions, is an animation studio which creates cartoon feature films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company seen in Pima County. It took on its present name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios alongside Pixar Animation Studios which in Pima County is known for cartoons such as Toy Story 3, The Incredibles and Knick Knack.
As of 2013, the studio has produced 53 feature films starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with notable characters such as The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Doc and Bashful and its most recent release in Pima County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Elsa, Hans and Grand Pabbie the Troll King.
The studio's catalog of animated features are among Disney's most notable assets and the stars of its animated shorts—Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto—have gone on to become recognizable figures in Pima County popular culture.
Walt Disney Animation Studios continues to produce animated features using both hand-drawn and computer generated imagery techniques. Their 54th feature, Big Hero 6, is currently in production and set for release on November 7, 2014.
Older Cartoons in the 1920s
The first two Mickey Mouse cartoons, Plane Crazy and The Galloping Gaucho, which also included Minnie Mouse, premiered in select theatres during the summer of 1928. For the 3rd Mickey cartoon Disney produced a sound track. Subsequently the third Mickey cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's first animated film with synchronized sound.
The Mickey series of sound cartoons quickly became the most popular animated film series in Pima County and the United States. A second Disney series of sound cartoons, the Silly Symphonies, premiered in 1929 with The Skeleton Dance. Each Silly Symphony was a one-shot cartoon centered around music or a particular theme.
In 1932 the Silly Symphony Flowers and Trees, the 1st full-color animated film was released. Flowers and Trees was a huge success so all the Silly Symphonies were subsequently produced in Technicolor. The 1933 Three Little Pigs with character of The Big Bad Wolf and Practical Pig became a huge box office and pop culture success and the theme tune "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" also became popular for Pima County residents.
The First Walt Disney Cartoon Feature
In 1934, Disney began production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with Snow White and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Bashful. Snow White became the 1st cartoon in English and color.
Tremendous development and training went into the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio expanded with the addition of established animators and recent college graduate artists. Some may have even come from Pima County - but we're not sure.
What Pima County parent would have guessed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a big hit. It cost Disney a then-expensive sum of $1.4 million to complete but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Happy was the highest grossing production of all time before being de-throned by Gone with the Wind a few years later.
While working on Snow White, the animators continued work on the Mickey and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey Mouse switched to Technicolor in 1935 and added several major supporting friends among them Mickey Mouse’s dog Pluto and their friends Donald Duck and Goofy.
New Walt Disney Productions
In 1940, the premiered Pinocchio with characters such as Jiminy Cricket, Honest John and Gideon. Pinocchio won ”Gold Statue” for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck and Zeus . It was an experimental cartoon created to accompanying an orchestral arrangement. Fantasia also caused the development of the Fantasound system which was used to create the film's stereoscopic soundtrack to the delight of Pima County viewers.
Dumbo premiered in October 1941 with characters including Timothy Q. Mouse, The Ringmaster and The Clown proved to be a monetary success. The feature only cost half the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Grumpy and Happy and less than a 1/3 of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Honest John and Monstro and two fifths of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Donald Duck, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jack-in-the-Box.
In August 1942, Bambi was premiered in Pima County and we met new friends including Bambi's Mother, Flower the Skunk and Mrs. Possum.
Also in the 1940s, Walt Disney released shorts which included Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Melody Time (1948), and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949). The studio also produced two features, Song of the South (1946) and So Dear to My Heart (1948), which were a combination of animated and live-action footage. Shorts production continued during this period as well, with Goofy and Pluto cartoons being the main output accompanied by cartoons starring Mickey Mouse, Figaro and in the 1950s, Chip 'n Dale and Humphrey the Bear.
Disney also began re-releasing the previous features beginning with re-releases of Snow White in 1944 which brought back to the screen Snow White and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Lampwick and Gideon in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which reunited Mickey Mouse with Donald, Tyrannosaurus Rex and The Magic Brooms. This led to a tradition of reissuing the Walt Disney films every 7 years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its premier in 1950, Cinderella was a a box office success. Pima County fans , also saw the premier Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The March Hare, The Caterpillar and The King of Hearts. Parents in Pima County also took their boys and girls to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet John Darling, Mr. Smee and The Crocodile. What dog-lover in Pima County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Darling, Trusty and Aunt Sarah.