Walt Disney through time

Born on the 5th of December 1901, Chicago, Illinois, USA.  Died 15 of December, 1966.

Walt showed an interest in art and started drawing at a young age, selling his first sketches to neighbors when he was only seven years old.  At McKinley High School in Chicago, Disney showed attention at drawing and photography as well.  Also contributing to the school paper.  At night he attended the Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1920, Walt met Ub Iwerks and formed Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. The company failed after one month.  In the same year he created and marketed his first original animated cartoons, and later perfected a new method for combining live-action and animation.

In August of 1923, Walt Disney left Kansas City for Hollywood.  Walt’s brother, Roy 0. Disney, was already in California.  They established the Disney Brothers Studio when they received an order from New York for the first “Alice Comedy” featurette, and the brothers began their production operation.  In 1926 Walt and Roy renamed the studio to  ‘Walt Disney Studios’.

Disney Brothers Studios

Mickey Mouse was created in 1928.  He made his screen debut in “Steamboat Willie,” the world’s first fully-synchronized sound cartoon, which premiered at the Colony Theatre in New York on November 18, 1928.  Technicolor was introduced to animation during the production of the “Silly Symphonies.” In 1932, the film entitled “Flowers and Trees” won Walt the first of his 32 personal Academy Awards. In 1937, he released “The Old Mill,” the first short subject to utilize the multiplane camera technique.

Multiplane Camera

Walt Disney’s Mutliplane Camera

In 1929 Walt launches “Silly Symphonies,” a series of cartoons that combine music and animation.

In 1933 Three Little Pigs, the 36th “Silly Symphony,” is distributed, with the original song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” The song becomes a national hit and an anthem for the Great Depression.

In 1937 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated musical feature, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles.  During the next five years, Walt completed such other full-length animated classics as “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” and “Bambi.”

In 1940, construction was completed on Disney’s Burbank studio. The staff numbered to more than 1,000 artists, animators, story men and technicians.

Walt Disney Studios

Disney’s 1945 feature, the musical “The Three Caballeros,” combined live action with the cartoon medium, a process he used successfully in such other features as “Song of the South” and the highly acclaimed “Mary Poppins.” In all, 81 features were released by the studio during his lifetime.

'The Three Caballeros'

Disneyland, launched in 1955.  By its third decade, more than 250 million people were entertained, including presidents, kings and queens, and royalty from all over the globe.

A pioneer in the field of television programming, Disney began production in 1954, and was among the first to present full-color programming with his “Wonderful World of Color” in 1961. “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “Zorro” were popular favorites in the 1950s.

Walt planned a whole new Disney world of entertainment to include a new amusement theme park, motel-hotel resort vacation center and his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. After more than seven years of master planning and preparation, including 52 months of actual construction, Walt Disney World opened to the public as scheduled on October 1, 1971.

Walt Disney took a deep interest in the establishment of California Institute of the Arts, a college level, professional school of all the creative and performing arts.  Walt once said, “It’s the principal thing I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures. If I can help provide a place to develop the talent of the future, I think I will have accomplished something.”

California Institute of the Arts was founded in 1961 with the amalgamation of two schools, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Chouinard Art Institute.  Walt Disney conceived the new school as a place where all the performing and creative arts would be taught under one roof in a “community of the arts” as a completely new approach to professional arts training.

Walt Disney, along with members of his staff, received more than 950 honors and citations from every nation in the world, including 48 Academy Awards and 7 Emmys in his lifetime. Walt Disney’s personal awards included honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of Southern California and UCLA; the Presidential Medal of Freedom; France’s Legion of Honor and Officer d’Academie decorations; Thailand’s Order of the Crown; Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross; Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle; and the Showman of the World Award from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Walt Disney Awards

David Low, the late British political cartoonist, called Disney “the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo DaVinci.”

http://adisney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum/global/pdf/WDFM-Walt-Disney-Timeline.pdf

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The Little Mermaid: Disney vs Hans Christian Andersen

In comparison to these two versions of ‘The Little Mermaid’ the role of the mermaid is portrayed as a strong character that faces the issues of growing up and struggles to obtain what she wants the most in life.

The Hans Christian Andersen’s version shows the mermaid as a young girl-15 years old.  In the Disney version she remained the youngest of all King Triton’s daughters; and even though her age is not mentioned we know that it is pretty much the same.  The choice of keeping her age so young is to show the difficulty of how a young girl changes to a woman.

The big difference  is at the personality of the mermaid.

  • In the Andersen version, she is very quiet and reserved.  even a little bit depressed after she rescues the prince.
  • In the Disney version though, Ariel is a very vibrant character, something that we also gather from her rich red hair.  She has an adventurous personality and is very outgoing.  After rescuing Prince Eric she sings while swimming around  the castle in very happy tones.

The Hans Christian Andersen Version

  •  Here the mermaid is very juvenile.  She mourns for her unfortunate body and longs for an immortal soul.  This represents her adolescence as she is changing from a child to a young woman.  She is instantly concerned with love after seeing the prince.  Her voice is sweet and her skin, hair and form is beautiful.  While not as determined as Ariel, she still finds strength to visit the witch in order to gain what she wants.
  • In the ending she is presented as a hero as she chose not to kill the prince to save herself, even though he has married another woman, meaning she is doomed to death.  She is portrayed as a self-sacrificing hero, and inevitably comes out looking smarter than the prince.  The moral here shows that self-sacrifice can reward you.

The Disney Version

  •  There is a more feministic approach on the character here. The shy and quiet mermaid from the original tale evolves to a bright and curious young woman.  Ariel focuses more on being human and on the relationship/love aspect of being a woman.  Instead of looking more into her immortal soul, we look at her self-discovery as a woman.  She becomes the average teenager that falls in love and goes after her dreams.
  • Given the happy endings of Disney movies, everything is solved in the end with a kiss.  Eric finally realizes he has been tricked and rescues Ariel from Ursula, the evil witch.  Ariel turns out not to be the strong individual she was at the beginning, and becomes another woman in a heros arms.  While she still achieves her dream of becoming human and marrying the prince, she loses her strong sense of individuality as a woman.  The moral of this story is that dreams do came true.

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Sleeping Beauty

For my essay question on ‘Disneysque’ i chose to concentrate on ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
I will be looking on how this movie falls in the ‘Disneysque’ category of movies, and also talk a little more generally on factors that that apply to other movies as well as this one.

First of all a little bit of information on the movie:

  • Sleeping beauty came out in 1959.
  • It was the last animated feature to be based on a fairy tale that was produced by Walt Disney before his death.
  • Also was the last cel animated feature to be inked by hand before the xerography came along.

The next thing i will be looking at is  what makes this movie a “Disneysque” movie:

  • Names
  • Character Appearance
  • Personalities
  • Music
  • Story line

Names:

  • The princess was given the name Aurora which means ‘Dawn’ in Latin.
  •  The evil fairy on the other hand was named Maleficent which in Latin means ‘harmfully malicious’.

Starting with their names, they describe their personality and instantly give us an inside to their characters.
We can imagine that the princess Aurora is pure and innocent in contrast with Maleficent for who we instantly think of evil and harm.

Appearance:

Aurora
Beautiful young woman
Petit figure
Golden hair, red lips, violet eyes
Wears pretty dresses – beautiful ball gown when discovers she is a princess

Maleficent
Tall, slender
Pale green skin with a narrow face and a prominent chin
Yellow eyes,  horn shaped headdress – symbol of her dark magic
Wears a dark black and purple robe

These two characters have very specific attributes that immediately set their part in the movie.

Wanting to show an evil, villain character, Disney in all movies makes them appear unpleasant, scary  and very negative.

On the other hand trying to show the main good character they make them have a very appealing appearance , beautifully-looking with very pretty facial characteristics.

Personalities:

Aurora
Loves to sing and dance in the forest with all the animals
Full of joy and happiness
Young, innocent, kind,  sophisticated
Sweet, romantic
Anxious to learn more about the world, naive
Enchanted by prince Philip

Maleficent
Evil, ruthless, spiteful
Will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals
Thinks herself is above everyone

Music:

  • Music is a very important aspect of the movie, as the characters let there feelings out through their singing.
  • One of the most famous singing scenes in the movie is with the song ‘Once Upon a Dream’.  This is the scene where Aurora is singing in the forest, surrounded by animals, telling them how she dreams of love.  There Prince Philip sees her, and joins in the singing, making her dream come true, and falls in love with her.

‘Once Upon a Dream’  – Aurora singing in the forest with Prince Philip

Story line:

We first see the appearance of Maleficent very distinct as she comes in during the christening of Aurora.

Very dramatically she is presented by a gust of wind, lightning and green flames.

Pretending that she is not offended by not being invited, she gives a gift to Aurora; she will grow up in beauty and grace but on her sixteenth birthday she will “prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die!”

Marryweather, one of the three fairies, who had not yet given a gift to Aurora, weakens the curse so that she falls into a deep sleep, until a kiss from her true love awakens her.

Here we see another supernatural power trying to retain the harm that has happened.  The solution to this problem is love.  This is  typical action that happens in the Disney movies.  When the princess is in trouble or has been harmed;  unable to help herself, a prince comes along to the rescue, where they fall in love and live happily ever after.  He needs to pass some sort of barrier in order to save the princess, which in this case, is face the evil fairy who turnes into a a huge dark, furious dragon.  With the help of magic from the fairies he manages to throw his sword in the dragons heart and so he dies.  He then run to kiss the princess, who wakes up and they leave happily ever after..

  The 3 Good Fairies:

These 3 characters were some of the most difficult projects the Disney animators had to do.  They worked a lot on getting them the right appearance and personality.  Making them sweet older ladies, with three different personalities that work well together, and made sure none of them is overshadowing each other.  And of course are always appealing to the audience.

Theses three characters were very important as they are they bring all the magic and joy to the movie with there interesting personalities and abilities.

 Some of their attributes are:

  • Committed to doing only good.
  • Had no apparent weakness at all.
  • Undoubtedly very caring and gentle but they had to be more than just sweet and loving.
  • Had strength, purpose and a certain aggressiveness at some times.
  • The drawings showed them as cute, with wisdom and very appealing

Flora
Personality
  • Influencing the others
  • More aggressive personality
  • Full of ideas – feels that they have to be the best ideas
  • Feels a sense of responsibility
Marryweather 
Personality
Better ideas that Flora during crisis – caused arguing with Flora

 

  • Impulsive, quick to act
  • Interested in little things, how things looked
  • Volunteered to do the housework
  • Loves to dance, is happy, expresses herself
  • Her feelings would be on the surface

Fauna 
Personality

  • Constantly smiling
  • Loved everybody
  • Thought beautiful thoughts
  • Worried the most out of the three
  • Had trouble keeping her concentration
  • Tried to smooth any conflict between the other two

pink versus blue – fairies –  Flora and Marryweather fighting over Aurora’s dress

In conclusion to everything i’ve written i believe that  the audience of these sort of films, especially if its kids, shape an image in there minds of what evil or good looks like, or what they should expect from life; and it always has the same main attributes as the “disneysque” movies.
Expecting the prince to come save you from any sort of trouble you might be into.
Setting your life goal to finding love.

Avoiding anything or anyone that covers the appearance description of the ‘evil characters’ in these movies. Or being more drawn to people who fall in the description of the ‘good characters’.  Even though in real life the situation and the personalities of people could be reversed.

In order to not only keep one aspect of viewing things, its best to keep a variety of movies and not only concentrate in the ones that fall under the ‘Disneysque’ category.



 

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Walt Disney Studios

  • Walt Disney founded the Walt Disney Company in 1923 after leaving the Universal Studios.
  • He created Mickey Mouse in 1928 which was his most precious creation and was loved by the public.
  • He continued by creating the ‘Silly Symphonies’ along with many other productions that brought out a lot of new characters, like Donald duck, Pluto, Goofy etc.
  • He then started working on the princesses with the first being ‘Snow White and the seven dwarfs’.   During that period also did ‘Pinocchio’, ‘Fantasia’, ‘Dumbo’ etc
  • In 1955-1965 he created Disneyland.
  • And past away in 1966 of lung cancer.
  • Even after his death the Walt Disney Company continued to expand more and more creating Disney World, and many more movies leading to today’s latest masterpieces ‘The Princess and the Frog’, ‘Tangled’ and many more.
  • The style of the company was very realistic, even when there was a bizarre situation happening, it was always explained as dream for example.  This style carries on until today, and it’s a very distinct  mark of the Disney work, as it falls under the ideology of ‘Disneysque’ as well.
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Disney through time…

Researching Disney from the very beginning till today i brought a few videos and information back in my memory..  Finding all these very entertaining and amusing i’d like to share some of them here.
Today i’ll be posting some of disney’s earlier work and later on i’ll show some more resent work.

Walt Disney doing the voice of Mickey Mouse and Billie Bietcher doing Pete

 

Steamboat Willie by Walt Disney Animation

 

The skeleton dance – Silly Symphony – Walt Disney Animation

 

The Wise Little Hen – Walt Disney Animation

 

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Why do women appear to be more successful in animation than in other areas of the film industry?

There is various reasons why women could be successful in animation.
Listing some of those we could say that:

  • Women that have other obligations as well, such as taking care of children or the household can have an actual career now from home, as animation can be made on your own time and schedule from home.
  • Animation isn’t restricted by realism, therefore there is more freedom in exploring and developing your creativity.
  • It is also a form of exploring the issues that women might be facing, better than in live action films.
  • After a lot of movements that took place, and after women finally achieved  to reach a better place in the society they became a strong female influence for the generations that followed.  Having a stronger feminine and maternal figure, a belief that you can achieve anything in any industry is created.
  • A lot of different paths can lead you to to the animation industry.  Especially women, are interested in children’s television; there is also the entertainment industry from which you can easily shift your career to animation.
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Wladyslaw Starewicz

As a child Wladyslaw Starewicz was facinated by insects.  Growing up he got interested in filming them so he bought a camera.  The insects though wouldn’t fight under the hot light of his camera – which is what he wanted them to do – and instead in some cases they were dying.

He started working with stop motion animation where he soon realized his natural talent.  He did some live action films but mostly he worked with short films of puppets. At the beginning of his career all his films were one-man shows; having him being the writer, director, cameraman, designer and animator.  Later on his daughters helped him,  in front or behind the camera, create the desired

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