The History Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Desires
Throughout the state of Massachusettes, and within Worcester County people have enjoyed Disney animation with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, headquartered in Burbank, CA, formerly known as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, is an animation studio which creates animated short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company seen in Worcester County. It took on its current name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios with Pixar Animation Studios which in Worcester County is known for animated movies such as Toy Story 2, WALL-E and A Bug's Life.
As of 2013, the studio has released 53 feature films beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with classic characters such as Snow White and the dwarfs including Grumpy and Happy and its most recent release in Worcester County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Anna, Hans and The Duke of Weselton.
The studio's catalog of cartoons 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 Worcester 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 Animation in the 20s
The first two Mickey Mouse animated films, Plane Crazy and The Galloping Gaucho, which also included Minnie Mouse, premiered in limited engagements during the summer of 1928. For the third Mickey cartoon Disney included a sound track. In the end the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's 1st animated film with matched sound.
The Mickey series of sound animated films quickly became the most popular cartoon series in Worcester County and the United States. A second Disney series of sound cartoons, the Silly Symphonies, debuted 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 first 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 Fiddler Pig became a huge box office and pop culture hit and the theme song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" also became popular for Worcester County residents.
The First Walt Disney Cartoon Feature
In 1934, Disney started production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with The Evil Queen and the seven drawfs including Doc and Happy. Snow White became the first cartoon in English and color.
A lot of 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 Worcester County - but we're not sure.
What Worcester County parent would have known Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a huge hit. It cost Disney a then-expensive sum of $1.4 million to produce but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Prince and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy was the highest grossing production of all time before the success of Gone with the Wind a couple of years later.
While working on Snow White, the animators continued work on the Mickey and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey switched to Technicolor in 1935 and added several major supporting friends including Mickey's dog Pluto and their friends Donald Duck and Goofy.
New Disney Productions
In 1940, the released Pinocchio with characters such as Jiminy Cricket, Honest John and Monstro. Pinocchio won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Chernabog, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Spring Sprite . It was an experimental animated film designed 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 Worcester County viewers.
Dumbo hit the screens in October 1941 with characters including Elephant Matriarch, Jim Crow and Crow Chorus proved to be a financial income success. The feature only cost 1/2 the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Dopey and less than a third of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Honest John and The Blue Fairy and two fifths of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Chernabog, Yen Sid and Zeus.
In August 1942, Bambi was premiered in Worcester County and we met new friends including Pheasant, Faline and Mrs. Rabbit.
Also in the 1940s, Walt Disney premiered 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 Donald Duck 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 reissuing the previous features beginning with the rerelease of Snow White in 1944 which brought back to the screen The Prince and the seven drawfs including Grumpy and Bashful Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Lampwick and Gideon in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which returned Mickey with Donald, Tyrannosaurus Rex and The Magic Brooms. This led to a tradition of re-releasing the Walt Disney movies every 7 years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its premier in 1950, Cinderella proved to be a movie success. Worcester County fans , also saw the release Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The Mad Hatter, The Caterpillar and The King of Hearts. Parents in Worcester County also took their boys and girls to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet John Darling, Captain Hook and Jeffrey Silver. What dog-lover in Worcester County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Darling, Trusty and Aunt Sarah.