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Walt Disney Features of the 1950, 60s, 70s & 80s
Sleeping Beauty was released in 1959. Everyone on Pinal County had a chance to meet the characters Princess Aurora, Fauna and Maleficent's Goon.
In 1961, to the delight of all dog-fans the studio released One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which used xerography during the process of inking and painting traditional animation cels. Using xerography, animation drawings could be photo-chemically transferred rather than traced from paper drawings to the clear acetate sheets ("cels") used in final cartoon production. One Hundred and One Dalmatians was a success, being the tenth highest grossing film of 1961. Pinal County viewers were introduced to Cruella De Vil, Nanny, Colonel and Lucky.
The Sword in the Stone was released in 1963, and was the sixth highest grossing film of the year in North America with estimated rentals of $4.75 million. Families in Pinal County met onscreen Merlin, Sir Kay and The Wolf.
Then in 1966 the best cartoon of all time (in our opinion) was released – an adaptation of one of A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, was released in 1966, to be followed by several other Pooh featurettes over the years and a full-length compilation feature, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which was released in 1977. What would the world be like without the friends of Christopher Robin Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore and of course Pooh’s other friends Rabbit, Kanga and Roo, Owl and we can’t forget Gopher (but he’s not in the book you know….).
Sadly Walt Disney died in December 1966, ten months before the studio's next film, The Jungle Book, was completed and released. So, Walt never got to see Kaa the snake or Junio on the big screen.
The studio began the 1970s with the premier of The Aristocats, the last film project to be approved by Walt Disney himself. The animated film introduced Pinal County viewers to characters including Toulouse, Scat Cat and Roquefort.
The next animated film that came out in 1973 was Robin Hood. Moms, dads and children met the animal versions of Robin Hood, Sir Hiss and Lady Kluck.
The Rescuers, released in 1977, was a success exceeding the achievements of the previous two Disney features and received an Academy Award nomination. The Rescuers and the cast including Madame Medusa, Mr. Snoops and Evinrude ended up as the third highest grossing film in 1977 and the most successful Disney cartoon since The Jungle Book. The film was reissued in 1983, accompanied by a new Disney cartoon, Mickey's Christmas Carol.
Continuing into the 1980 Pinal County cartoon lover met the cast of character in The Fox and the Hound. We were introduced to Big Mama, Widow Tweed and The Porcupine. The cartoon feature was considered a financial success by the studio.
It wasn’t until 1988 that the US and people in Pinal County were entertained by the cast in Oliver & Company. This animated film featured an all-star cast including Billy Joel as the voice of Dodger and Bette Midler as the voice of Georgette and had an emphasis on a modern pop soundtrack. We also met Fagin and Tito. Oliver & Company went on to become the most successful cartoon to that date.
For the production of Roger Rabbit, Disney collaborated with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and master animator Richard Williams a groundbreaking live action/animation hybrid directed by Robert Zemeckis which featured licensed animated characters from other animation studios. Big-screen viewers and the families in Pinal County were introduced to Eddie Valiant, R.K. Maroon and Angelo. The Roger Rabbit gang won three Academy Awards for technical achievements.
In 1989 to the delight of moms and little girls in Pinal County, Disney released The Little Mermaid, which became Disney's largest success in decades earning $84 million - a record for the studio. We met Mermaid characters including Vanessa, Sebastian and Scuttle won two Academy Awards, for Best Original Song and for Best Original Score.