The Backstory Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Desires
Throughout the state of California, and within Placer County people have enjoyed Disney animation with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, located in Burbank, CA, formerly known as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, is an animation studio which creates animated short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company seen in Placer County. It took on its present name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios alongside Pixar Animation Studios which in Placer County is known for animated movies such as Cars, Finding Nemo and Lifted.
As of 2013, the studio has released 53 feature films starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with unforgettable characters such as The Prince and the dwarfs including Doc and Bashful and its most recent release in Placer County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Anna, Hans 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 Placer 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 movie screens during the summer of 1928. For the 3rd Mickey cartoon Disney produced a sound track. History was made when the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's first animated film with synchronized sound.
The Mickey series of sound animated films quickly became the most popular animated film series in Placer County and the United States. 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 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 major box office and pop culture success and the theme tune "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" also became popular for Placer County residents.
The 1st Walt Disney Animated Film Feature
In 1934, Disney began development on of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with Snow White and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Bashful. Snow White became the first 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 established animators and artists from other fields. Some may have even come from Placer County - but we're not sure.
What Placer 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 create but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Sleepy and Happy was the highest grossing movie of all time before being surpassed by Gone with the Wind two years later.
While working on Snow White, the designers continued work on the Mickey and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey switched to Technicolor in 1935 and added several major supporting friends among them Mickey Mouse’s dog Pluto and their friends Donald Duck and Goofy.
New Disney Productions
In 1940, the released Pinocchio with characters such as Pinocchio, Lampwick and Gideon. Pinocchio won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Mickey Mouse, Yen Sid and Zeus . It was an experimental cartoon designed 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 Placer County viewers.
Dumbo debuted in October 1941 with characters including Dumbo, Casey Junior 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 Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Bashful and less than a 1/3 of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Lampwick and Monstro and two fifths of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Donald Duck, Yen Sid and Spring Sprite.
In August 1942, Bambi was premiered in Placer County and we met new friends including Bambi's Mother, Flower the Skunk and Mrs. Possum.
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 Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Doc and Dopey Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Stromboli and The Blue Fairy in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which returned Mickey with Donald, Yen Sid and Jack-in-the-Box. This led to a tradition of reissuing the Walt Disney features every seven years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its premier in 1950, Cinderella proved to be a movie success. Placer County movie-goers , also saw the premier Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The Mad Hatter, The Caterpillar and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Parents in Placer County also took their kids to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet John Darling, Mr. Smee and Tiger Lily. What dog-lover in Placer County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Si and Am, Trusty and Aunt Sarah.