The History Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Habits
Throughout the state of California, and within Contra Costa County people have enjoyed Disney animated movies with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, headquartered in Burbank, California, formerly known as Walt Disney Feature Animation, is an animation studio which creates animated short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company seen in Contra Costa County. It took on its current name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios with Pixar Animation Studios which in Contra Costa County is known for cartoons such as Toy Story, WALL-E and Knick Knack.
As of 2013, the studio has released 53 feature films with the first being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with notable characters such as Snow White and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Dopey and its most recent release in Contra Costa County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Elsa, Kristoff 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 Contra Costa 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.
Vintage Disney Animation in the 20s
The first two Mickey Mouse animated films, Plane Crazy and The Galloping Gaucho, which also included Minnie Mouse, premiered in movie screens during the summer of 1928. For the third Mickey Mouse cartoon Disney included a sound track. Subsequently the third Mickey cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's first cartoon with matched sound.
The Mickey series of sound animated films quickly became the most popular animated film series in Contra Costa County and the U.S.. 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 1st 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 Fifer Pig became a big box office and pop culture hit and the theme song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" becoming a popular chart hit for Contra Costa County residents.
The First Disney Cartoon Feature
In 1934, Disney began production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with Snow White and the dwarfs including Grumpy and Bashful. Snow White became the 1st animated feature in English and color.
Tremendous development and training 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 Contra Costa County - but we're not sure.
What Contra Costa County parent would have known Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a huge success. It cost Disney a total of $1.4 million to complete but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Dopey 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 and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey Mouse switched to Technicolor in 1935 and added several major supporting characters among them 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 The Blue Fairy. Pinocchio won ”Gold Statue” for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Mickey Mouse, Yen Sid and Jack-in-the-Box . It was an experimental animated film 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 Contra Costa County viewers.
Dumbo premiered in October 1941 with characters including Dumbo, Casey Junior and The Clown proved to be a monetary success. The movie only cost half the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with Snow White and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Happy and less than a 1/3 of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Lampwick and Gideon and two fifths of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Chernabog, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Zeus.
In August 1942, Bambi was premiered in Contra Costa County and we met new friends including Pheasant, Flower the Skunk and Mrs. Possum.
Also in the 1940s, 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 Donald 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 Evil Queen and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Dopey Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Lampwick and Gideon in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which reunited Mickey with Donald, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jack-in-the-Box. This led to a tradition of re-releasing the Walt Disney movies every 7 years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its release in 1950, Cinderella was a a box office success. Contra Costa County fans , also saw the premier Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Parents in Contra Costa County also took their childres to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet Wendy Darling, Mr. Smee and The Crocodile. What dog-lover in Contra Costa County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Darling, Trusty and Tony.
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