The Backstory Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Habits
Throughout the state of New Jersey, and within Mercer County people have enjoyed Disney animated movies with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, located in Burbank, California, formerly known as Walt Disney Feature Animation, is an animation studio which creates cartoon feature 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 alongside Pixar Animation Studios which in Mercer County is known for animated movies such as Toy Story 2, WALL-E and Knick Knack.
As of 2013, the studio has created 53 feature films starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with lovable characters such as Snow White and the dwarfs including Doc and Happy and its most recent release in Mercer County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as The Snow Queen, Hans and The King and Queen of Arendelle.
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 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 Cartoons in the 20s
The first two Mickey Mouse cartoons, Plane Crazy and The Galloping Gaucho, which also included Minnie Mouse, was released in limited engagements during the summer of 1928. For the third Mickey Mouse cartoon Disney produced a sound track. History was made when the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's first cartoon with matched 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, released 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 cartoon was released. Flowers and Trees was a tremendous 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 tune "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" also became popular for Mercer County residents.
The First Disney Cartoon Feature
In 1934, Disney began development on of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with The Evil Queen and the seven drawfs including Grumpy and Happy. Snow White became the first cartoon in English and color.
Considerable training and development went into the creation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio expanded with the addition of animators and artists from other fields. 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 huge hit. It cost Disney a total of $1.4 million to complete but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Grumpy and Bashful was the highest grossing film of all time before the success of Gone with the Wind a few years later.
During the production of Snow White, the artists continued work on the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey Mouse 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 Jiminy Cricket, Lampwick and Gideon. Pinocchio won ”Gold Statue” for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Donald Duck, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jack-in-the-Box . It was an experimental cartoon produced 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 debuted in October 1941 with characters including Timothy Q. Mouse, The Ringmaster and Elephant Catty proved to be a monetary success. The movie only cost half the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Dopey and less than a third of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Lampwick and The Blue Fairy and two fifths of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Zeus.
In August 1942, Bambi was premiered in Mercer County and we met new friends including Bambi's Mother, Faline and Great Prince of the Forest.
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 reissuing the previous features beginning with re-releases 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, Honest John and Gideon in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which reunited Mickey with Donald Duck, Yen Sid and The Magic Brooms. This led to a tradition of re-releasing the Disney films every 7 years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its release in 1950, Cinderella was a a box office success. Mercer County movie-goers , also saw the release Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Parents in Mercer County also took their kids to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet Peter Pan, George Darling 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 Darling, Tramp and Jim Dear.
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