The Backstory Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Desires
Throughout the state of New Jersey, and within Mercer County people have enjoyed Disney animation with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, headquartered in Burbank, California, formerly known as Walt Disney Feature Animation, is an animation studio which creates cartoon short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company seen in Mercer County. It took on its current name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios with Pixar Animation Studios which in Mercer County is known for animated movies such as Up, Finding Nemo and Knick Knack.
As of 2013, the studio has released 53 feature films beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with notable characters such as The Prince and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy and its most recent release in Mercer County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Elsa, Olaf 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 Mercer 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 3rd Mickey Mouse cartoon Disney included a sound track. Subsequently the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's 1st animated film with synchronized sound.
The Mickey series of sound animated films quickly became the most popular cartoon series in Mercer County and the U.S.. A second Disney series of sound animated films, 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 1st full-color cartoon was released. Flowers and Trees was a big 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" becoming a popular chart hit for Mercer 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 Doc and Happy. Snow White became the 1st cartoon in English and Technicolor.
Considerable development and training went into the creation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio expanded with the addition of animators and recent college graduate artists. Some may have even come from Mercer County - but we're not sure.
What Mercer County parent would have guessed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a big hit. It cost Disney a total of $1.4 million to complete but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Prince and the dwarfs including Doc and Bashful was the highest grossing movie of all time before being surpassed by Gone with the Wind two years later.
During the production of Snow White, the artists continued work on the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey switched to Technicolor in 1935 and added several major supporting characters including Mickey's dog Pluto and their friends Donald Duck and Goofy.
New Walt Disney Productions
In 1940, the released Pinocchio with characters such as Pinocchio, Stromboli and Monstro. Pinocchio won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Donald Duck, 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 Mercer County viewers.
Dumbo premiered in October 1941 with characters including Dumbo, The Ringmaster and The Clown proved to be a financial income success. The feature only cost half the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with The Prince and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy and less than a third of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Stromboli and Monstro and two fifths of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Chernabog, Yen Sid and Jack-in-the-Box.
In August 1942, Bambi was released in Mercer County and we met new friends including Thumper, Flower the Skunk and Great Prince of the Forest.
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 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.
Walt Disney also began re-releasing the previous features beginning with the rerelease of Snow White in 1944 which brought back to the screen The Prince and the dwarfs including Doc and Bashful Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Stromboli and The Blue Fairy in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which reunited Mickey with Chernabog, Yen Sid and Spring Sprite. This led to a tradition of re-releasing the Disney movies every 7 years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its premier in 1950, Cinderella proved to be a movie success. Mercer County movie-goers , also saw the premier Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The March Hare, The Caterpillar and The King of Hearts. Parents in Mercer County also took their boys and girls to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet Michael Darling, Mr. Smee and Jeffrey Silver. What dog-lover in Mercer County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Lady, Jock and Boris.
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