The History Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Desires
Throughout the state of Washington, and within Skagit County people have enjoyed Disney cartoons with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, whose home is 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 Skagit County. It took on its current name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios alongside Pixar Animation Studios which in Skagit County is known for animated movies such as Monsters Inc., The Incredibles and Lifted.
As of 2013, the studio has created 53 feature films beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with lovable characters such as The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Doc and Dopey and its most recent release in Skagit County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as The Snow Queen, Kristoff 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 Skagit 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, premiered in limited engagements during the summer of 1928. For the 3rd Mickey Mouse cartoon Disney included a sound track. Subsequently the third Mickey cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's 1st cartoon with matched sound.
The Mickey Mouse series of sound cartoons quickly became the most popular animated film series in Skagit County and the United States. A second Disney series of sound animated films, 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 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 Practical Pig became a huge box office and pop culture success and the theme song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" becoming a popular chart hit for Skagit County residents.
The 1st Walt Disney Animated Film Feature
In 1934, Disney started production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Grumpy and Happy. Snow White became the 1st animated feature in English and Technicolor.
Tremendous training and development went into the production 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 Skagit County - but we're not sure.
What Skagit County parent would have guessed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a huge hit. It cost Walt Disney a then-expensive sum of $1.4 million to produce but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Grumpy and Bashful was the highest grossing film of all time before being de-throned by Gone with the Wind a few years later.
While working on Snow White, the designers continued work on the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey switched to Technicolor in 1935 and added several major supporting characters including 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 Pinocchio, Stromboli and The Blue Fairy. Pinocchio won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Chernabog, Daisy Duck and The Magic Brooms . It was an experimental cartoon created to accompanying an orchestral arrangement. Fantasia also brought about the development of the Fantasound system which was used to create the film's stereoscopic soundtrack to the delight of Skagit 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 movie only cost 1/2 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 Geppetto, Stromboli and The Blue Fairy and 2/5 of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck and Spring Sprite.
In August 1942, Bambi was released in Skagit County and we met new friends including Bambi's Mother, Flower the Skunk and Mrs. Rabbit.
Also in the 1940s, 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.
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 dwarfs including Sleepy and Dopey Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Lampwick and Gideon in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which reunited Mickey with Donald, Yen Sid and Jack-in-the-Box. This led to a tradition of re-releasing the Disney features every seven years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its release in 1950, Cinderella proved to be a movie success. Skagit County fans , also saw the release Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to Alice, The Queen of Hearts and Mathilda. Parents in Skagit County also took their kids to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet Peter Pan, Mr. Smee and Jeffrey Silver. What dog-lover in Skagit 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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