The History Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Habits
Throughout the state of California, and within Fresno County people have enjoyed Disney animated movies with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, headquartered in Burbank, CA, formerly known as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, is an animation studio which creates cartoon short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company seen in Fresno County. It took on its present name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios alongside Pixar Animation Studios which in Fresno County is known for animated movies such as Toy Story 3, Ratatouilli and A Bug's Life.
As of 2013, the studio has created 53 feature films with the first being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with classic characters such as The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy and its most recent release in Fresno County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Anna, Kristoff 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 Fresno 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 cartoons, Plane Crazy and The Galloping Gaucho, which also included Minnie Mouse, was released in movie screens during the summer of 1928. For the 3rd Mickey cartoon Disney produced a sound track. History was made when the 3rd Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's first cartoon with synchronized sound.
The Mickey series of sound animated films quickly became the most popular cartoon series in Fresno County and the United States. 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 first 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 big box office and pop culture success and the theme tune "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" also became popular for Fresno County residents.
The 1st 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 Bashful. Snow White became the first cartoon in English and color.
Considerable development and training went into the production 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 Fresno County - but we're not sure.
What Fresno County parent would have known Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a big success. It cost Walt Disney a total of $1.4 million to produce but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Evil Queen and the seven drawfs including Doc and Happy was the highest grossing film of all time before being de-throned by Gone with the Wind a couple of 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 among them Mickey Mouse’s dog Pluto and their friends Donald Duck and Goofy.
New Walt Disney Productions
In 1940, the released Pinocchio with characters such as Geppetto, Stromboli and Gideon. Pinocchio won ”Gold Statue” for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck and Zeus . It was an experimental animated film 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 Fresno County viewers.
Dumbo premiered in October 1941 with characters including Dumbo, Jim Crow and Elephant Catty proved to be a monetary success. The film only cost 1/2 the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy and less than a 1/3 of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Honest John and Monstro and 2/5 of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Donald Duck, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Zeus.
In August 1942, Bambi was released in Fresno County and we met new friends including Thumper, Friend Owl 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 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.
Walt Disney also began re-releasing 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 Bashful Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Lampwick and Monstro in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which returned Mickey Mouse with Donald Duck, Yen Sid and The Magic Brooms. This led to a tradition of reissuing the Walt Disney features every seven years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its release in 1950, Cinderella was a a movie success. Fresno County fans , also saw the premier Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The Mad Hatter, The Caterpillar and The Dormouse. Parents in Fresno County also took their childres to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet Peter Pan, Mary Darling and Jeffrey Silver. What dog-lover in Fresno County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Darling, Trusty and Tony.