The Backstory Which Started Disney Collector's Collecting Desires
Throughout the state of California, and within San Diego County people have enjoyed Disney animation with great enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Animation Studios, whose home is in Burbank, CA, 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 San Diego County. It took on its present name in 2006, when it was folded under The Walt Disney Studios with Pixar Animation Studios which in San Diego County is known for cartoons such as Toy Story 2, Ratatouilli and Lifted.
As of 2013, the studio has created 53 feature films with the first being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 with unforgettable characters such as The Evil Queen and the dwarfs including Sleepy and Happy and its most recent release in San Diego County being Frozen in 2013 including characters such as Anna, Olaf and The Duke of Weselton.
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 San Diego 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 1920s
The first two Mickey Mouse animated films, Plane Crazy and The Galloping Gaucho, which also included Minnie Mouse, premiered in select theatres during the summer of 1928. For the third Mickey Mouse cartoon Disney included a sound track. In the end the 3rd Mickey cartoon, Steamboat Willie, became Disney's 1st cartoon with matched sound.
The Mickey Mouse series of sound animated films quickly became the most popular animated film series in San Diego 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 1st 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 huge box office and pop culture hit and the theme tune "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" becoming a popular chart hit for San Diego County residents.
The First Disney Cartoon Feature
In 1934, Walt Disney started production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters with The Prince and the seven drawfs including Doc and Dopey. Snow White became the 1st animated feature in English and Technicolor.
A lot of training and development went into the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio expanded with the addition of established animators and recent college graduate artists. Some may have even come from San Diego County - but we're not sure.
What San Diego County parent would have guessed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be such a huge success. It cost Disney a then-expensive sum of $1.4 million to produce but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with The Evil Queen and the seven drawfs including Grumpy and Happy was the highest grossing film of all time before the success of Gone with the Wind two years later.
While working on Snow White, the animators continued work on the Mickey and Silly Symphonies series. Mickey 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 premiered Pinocchio with characters such as Jiminy Cricket, Honest John and Monstro. Pinocchio won Oscar for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Disney released Fantasia in 1940 with characters including Mickey Mouse, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jack-in-the-Box . It was an experimental animated film produced 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 San Diego County viewers.
Dumbo was released in October 1941 with characters including Timothy Q. Mouse, Jim Crow and Mr. Stork proved to be a financial income success. The film only cost half the cost of Snow White with its ensemble of with Snow White and the seven drawfs including Doc and Bashful and less than a 1/3 of the cost of Pinocchio and his friends Geppetto, Lampwick and The Blue Fairy and 2/5 of the cost of Fantasia’s cast of Chernabog, Yen Sid and Jack-in-the-Box.
In August 1942, Bambi was premiered in San Diego County and we met new friends including Thumper, Flower the Skunk and Mrs. Rabbit.
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 the rerelease of Snow White in 1944 which brought back to the screen Snow White and the seven drawfs including Doc and Bashful Pinocchio and his friends Jiminy Cricket, Lampwick and Gideon in 1945 and Fantasia in 1946 which reunited Mickey with Chernabog, Daisy Duck and Zeus. This led to a tradition of reissuing the Disney movies every 7 years, which lasted into the 1990s.
Upon its release in 1950, Cinderella proved to be a box office success. San Diego County movie-goers , also saw the release Alice in Wonderland and were introduced to The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and Mathilda. Parents in San Diego County also took their boys and girls to see Peter Pan and were delighted to meet John Darling, Captain Hook and The Crocodile. What dog-lover in San Diego County could forget the first time they saw Lady and the Tramp on screen and were delighted to meet Darling, Trusty and Jim Dear.
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