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A few peaks into Disney's Animation Research Library, the new morgue

Since at least the late 1950s, Walt Disney Studios had a morgue on site (auto-playing music, with option to pause), but rather than a place to temporarily keep dead bodies, the name is a reference to "morgue files" kept by newspaper reporters, where old materials were kept for reference. In 1989, the archives moved to larger, more modern facilities, renamed the Animation Research Library (ARL), a 12,000 square foot housed in a nondescript structure, which guests are required to not describe or identify by location or even neighborhood, as noted in this Telegraph article, The Jungle Book: the making of Disney's most troubled film. Given the limited access and strict controls over what can be recorded in ARL, Ultimate Disney's 2006 tour write-ups with photos and D23's Armchair Archivist interview with select Disney staff may be the closest you can get to getting inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 23, 2014 - 12 comments

Google & Glen Keane - a Duet For the Ages

In March 2012, legendary animator Glen Keane sent out a letter to his colleagues at Walt Disney Animation Studios that outlined his resignation from the House of Mouse, where he'd worked for over 38 years on beloved Disney characters like Ariel, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and the Beast. His departure left many Disney fans wondering what was going to happen to the great master, whom many believe is one of the greatest character animators alive today, and for a while it seemed that his retirement might be permanent. Last week, however, Keane debuted his first hand-drawn animated short, Duet, which he produced with Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group in San Francisco. As you might expect, it's an absolutely breathtaking artistic and technical achievement. And it hasn't even been released in its final interactive mobile format yet. [more inside]
posted by Hermione Granger on Jul 4, 2014 - 53 comments

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, back to the drawing board we go

DisneyToon Studios is best known for their spin-offs of Walt Disney Animation Studios films, like the Tinker Bell and Planes series, or the execrable string of direct-to-video sequels to Disney movies released from the mid-nineties to mid-2000's. But around 2005, they had a different spin-off in development: an epic, dark prequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
posted by Small Dollar on Jun 11, 2014 - 10 comments

Animated mouse shown to destroy cels when exposed to Ecstasy.

Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation. "On Your Mark" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades. The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
posted by markkraft on May 21, 2014 - 73 comments

(Walt) said we should have gone ahead and made it anyway

In the mid-1940s, surrealist artist Salvador Dali began collaborating with Walt Disney on a short film. The idea was fully storyboarded and an 18 second test animation was completed by Disney animator John Hench. Soon after, the idea was shelved due to a changing of focus with Disney Feature Animation. Almost 60 years later, Walt's nephew Roy E. Disney (with consultation from the now 95-year old Hench) spearheaded an effort to finish the film. In 2003, the finished product, "Destino", premiered. [more inside]
posted by inturnaround on May 15, 2014 - 11 comments

"IT'S ALIVE, ALIVE!! ... I've always wanted to say that."

"It's an epic Urban Fantasy, a sci-fi thriller set Twenty Minutes into the Future, and a gritty crime-drama. And a tribute to William Shakespeare, where Puck, Oberon, Titania, and the Weird Sisters have prominent roles, and Macbeth kicks ass in a trenchcoat with a laser gun."
Plus, Star Trek alums lend their voices to many regular characters and guest stars. On the eve of its 20th anniversary, Gargoyles is now being offered legally on YouTube by Disney. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 12, 2014 - 51 comments

Disney's Lilo & Stitch, everything is blown up, more fun, also more real

Lilo & Stitch is an odd movie to come from Disney for a number of reasons: a rare work based on an original story, set in a realistic version of the "island paradise" of Hawaii, focusing on strong female characters who have a realistic/varied bodyshapes. For more insight into the making of the "affordable" Disney film, here's Lilo & Stitch revisited, Part I, interviewing the creators Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, and Part II, featuring master animator Andreas Deja. For a taste of the animation, here are four teaser clips of Stitch invading other Disney films, the official full version of the Lion King interrupted trailer, and making of Lilo & Stitch short docu-clip.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 12, 2014 - 90 comments

The cold never bothered me anyway

Disney's FROZEN: How one simple suggestion broke the ice on the Snow Queen's decades-long story problem
posted by crossoverman on Dec 31, 2013 - 145 comments

...and then "some clown invented the printed circuit."

During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 24, 2013 - 40 comments

במבי

Bambi's Jewish Roots [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Dec 4, 2013 - 17 comments

Snow White in Auschwitz

"Knowing of Dina's artistic ability, Freddy asked her to paint a mural on the wall of the barracks to cheer up the children. She agreed, although she expected she would be executed if the Germans caught her. This was some time if February 1944. Using paints that were smuggled from various sources, Dina set to work painting a scene of Snow White looking out over the Swiss countryside. Dina knew that some of the children had seen the movie and would recognize the character. She had seen the movie 'seven times in a row' back in Czechoslovakia."

The amazing, sad, triumphant story of Dina Babbitt (née Gottliebová)—artist, animator, concentration camp survivor. [more inside]
posted by Atom Eyes on Oct 30, 2013 - 36 comments

Mickey Mouse and friends, brought back to the 1930s era sense of humor

Mickey Mouse in Ghoul Friend is a new Disney short, featuring the reanimated corpse of Goofy. With this information, you might get the idea that this is not what you might expect from modern Disney cartoons, and you'd be right. It's one of 19 new shorts that are part of the new Mickey Mouse series of shorts that are inspired by the 1930s era Disney shorts. If you'd like to see more, 11 of the shorts are currently available to view on YouTube (in a playlist with two bonus behind the scenes clips), from the DisneyShorts YouTube acccount. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 19, 2013 - 33 comments

Hiya, Mickey!

A new set of Mickey Mouse shorts have debuted this summer. Mickey heads around the world, getting into slapstick situations on his own and with Donald, Goofy, Daisy, and Minnie.
posted by ocherdraco on Aug 8, 2013 - 53 comments

The Last Vestiges of the Old Republic...

The Clone Wars (previously) are over, with only a few last mopping up operations underway and a few Jedi unaccounted for. But there is another... Star Wars Rebels will be the new Lucasfilm animated series, and will be taking it's design direction from the work of Ralph McQuarrie.
posted by Artw on Jul 28, 2013 - 30 comments

Flintheart Glomgold!

DuckTales invented a new animated wonderland—that quickly disappeared.
posted by shakespeherian on Feb 11, 2013 - 156 comments

Love and a gross misuse of office resources in mid-century New York City

Disney's Oscar-nominated animated short Paperman has just been made available for your viewing delight on the official Walt Disney Animation Studios YouTube channel! [more inside]
posted by brieche on Jan 30, 2013 - 85 comments

Arabian Knight

You may remember an animated film from the early '90s. Set somewhere in 'Arabia,' a land of bazaars and minarets, the story featured a bored, harem-panted princess, an orphan boy, a treacherous vizier with bird sidekick, a rotund and oblivious sultan, a blue-skinned magic user, et al. But it wasn't Aladdin - and the movie had started production in 1964 ... [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 13, 2013 - 24 comments

Man, those Masons are good at making cartoons

Disney has a new cartoon series called "Gravity Falls," created by Alex Hirsch who also created The Marvelous Adventures of Flapjack. It features X-Files style paranormal activity in the titular town in Oregon from the perspective of 12 year old twins, Mabel (voiced by Kristen Schaal) and Dipper. While this alone could cultivate a fanbase, it also helps that the show has secret messages and cyphers for viewers to decode. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Nov 28, 2012 - 70 comments

RIP, Lucille Bliss: Voice of Smurfette and Crusader Rabbit

'TV historians will tell you that “Felix the Cat” was one of the first images ever broadcast on television (when RCA broadcast a Felix doll in 1928 on experimental station W2XBS) — but it wasn’t until the late ’40s that the first animated character was created expressly for TV. Crusader Rabbit appeared for the very first time on KNBH (Los Angeles) on August 1, 1950, and featured a Don Quixote-like title character aided by his friend Ragland T. “Rags” Tiger as they pursued adventures in serial (i.e. cliffhanger) installments.' On November 8th, the voice of Crusader Rabbit, Lucille Bliss, passed away at the age of 96. Ms. Bliss may be more familiar to younger fans as the voice of Smurfette, from The Smurfs, or as Ms. Bitters on Invader ZIM. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 15, 2012 - 18 comments

Animal Copyright Infringement World

Animal Soccer World is a release by the late no-budget European publisher Phoenix Games. The primary feature of the "game" is a 30 minute animated feature (Youtube playlist here) full of blatantly copied Disney characters, dozens of characters voiced by the same person, some of the worst animation you will ever see, and a throbbing jungle beat that literally never stops.
posted by Shadax on Sep 2, 2012 - 10 comments

"Iwerks is Screwy spelled backwards" -- Chuck Jones

"Over the years in animation, there have been a lot of great animators. Ub Iwerks was one of those people. We know his work, but we don't necessarily know the man." The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story (in 5 parts on DailyMotion: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) tells of the life of Ubbe Eert Iwerks, from the formation of the friendship with Walt Disney when they met at advertisement studio in Kansas City, their artistic collaborations and Ub's 20 years of animation, to Iwerk's technical creations that kept Disney animated pictures ahead of other studios. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 31, 2012 - 14 comments

Too Tall, Too Short, Too Confusing, Too Revealing, Too Controversial and Too Realistic Mickey

Michael J. Ruocco is more than the self-described 'curator' of the Animation Smears and Multiples tumblr* (previously here), he's also a talented young animator - here's his short toon about a bird who picked the wrong place to nest - and a serious student of Animation History whose other site is 365 Days of Ward Kimball**, about the Disney animator who was considered one of the best and certainly the most adventurous of Walt's 'Nine Old Men'. Kimball's free-wheeling style showed up in everything from Snow White to Fantasia to The Three Caballeros to his Oscar-winning short 'It's Tough to Be a Bird'. His semi-NSFW irreverence is on display in off-model drawings of Mickey Mouse and caricatures of himself. And on the side, he made elaborate comics for an antique car magazine, formed the jazz band The Firehouse 5 Plus 2 (that's him on trombone)*** and put a full-sized railroad with working trains in his back yard. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jul 17, 2012 - 2 comments

The Bear and the Rainbow

Does It Matter If the Heroine of 'Brave' Is Gay? [Contains spoilers for Brave]
posted by Artw on Jun 27, 2012 - 214 comments

Revisioning Red Riding Hood

Animation veteran Steve Moore recently posted a short from the archives of Disney TV Animation, written by Dan O’Shannon, narrated by Garrison Keillor, and voiced by Mia Farrow, Michael Richards, June Foray, and Adam West, all set to a jazz soundtrack. Take 15 minutes and watch Redux Riding Hood. Steve tells the story of the short on his blog. (Via Cartoon Brew)
posted by filthy light thief on May 22, 2012 - 8 comments

Greetings, programs!

On June 7th, the Disney XD channel will premiere a new, 10-part miniseries: Tron Uprising. The series, which will feature the voices of Elijah Wood, Lance Henriksen, Bruce Boxleitner (reprising his role as 'Tron',) Mandy Moore and Paul Reubens, will combine 2D and CGI animation styles, and is set between the events of the first and second Tron movies. Trailers: 1, 2. 2011 ComicCon Preview. Disney released a full-length "prelude episode" yesterday evening (US Only): Beck's Beginning. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 13, 2012 - 38 comments

The Mouse's New Clothes, er, Groove

The Sweatbox "the documentary Disney doesn't want you to see" (95-minute SLYT), was made when Sting wrote songs for "Kingdom of the Sun" and his filmmaker wife Trudie Styler got insider access to the production. What? You say there was no Disney movie "Kingdom of the Sun"? I meant "The Emperor's New Groove". Rarely has the decline of an Institution been better documented.
This may or may not be Disney property and may or may not be taken down any minute, but it has survived on YouTube for over 48 hours after getting blogged-about a dozen times.
posted by oneswellfoop on Mar 23, 2012 - 97 comments

A treasure trove of Disney animation artifacts.

A treasure trove of Disney animation artifacts. Things like Scar Pencil Tests, a Bambi wire model, and character doodles from the Aristocats.
posted by DbanksDog27 on Mar 16, 2012 - 11 comments

Gingerlocks

The Prize - a two minute clip/trailer from Pixar’s Brave. You can also see some lovely production art and sculptures here.
posted by Artw on Feb 23, 2012 - 90 comments

A peak behind the curtain: the making of Disney animation

Journey back to the late 1930s, and see how Walt Disney cartoons are made, with a focus on that groundbreaking new Disney title, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Now let's dash ahead a few decades, to watch Ed Wynn and Jerry Colonna as they inspire the animators in a test-run of dialogue from Alice in Wonderland, synced with final animation for comparison.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 5, 2011 - 12 comments

In competition with reality

Disney Agonistes: Night on Bald Mountain. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on Oct 3, 2011 - 27 comments

Here comes a Lion... oh yes, it's a Lion...

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 1, 2011 - 22 comments

Pixar, 1972

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics, created by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke (with some help from Bob Ingebretsen) in... wait for it... 1972!
posted by cthuljew on Sep 2, 2011 - 53 comments

C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER

It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century, 26 Academy Awards, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2, is Certified Rotten. Critics have assailed the film as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars merchandising industry "lifestyle brand," replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games, hyperactive chase sequences, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor from Larry the Cable Guy. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave -- a darkly magical original story set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror] is available at the official website, and character sketches have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave's associated short, "La Luna"!
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 24, 2011 - 263 comments

The trick of the camera is in movement.

Walt Disney explains his invention, the MultiPlane camera (1957).
posted by Phire on Jun 6, 2011 - 16 comments

Angry Birds Middle East Mashup

Russian designer Egor Zhgun (LiveJournal) remixes pop culture and politics, to humorous effect. His latest is a mashup of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"; the game Angry Birds; and current Middle Eastern politics into an animated political cartoon: Three Big Pigs.
via Eathan Zuckerman and Cartoon Brew
posted by artlung on Mar 30, 2011 - 9 comments

Able to leap tall buildings

"I've always loved the music from the Saturday matinee serial, and I figured a short that was animated to this music could be a really cool piece. I designed the character mixing all the traits from my favorite Superman actors from the past, and then looked at the work of Hugh Ferriss for inspiration on the background design." - Superman Classic (yt) - A Superman fan film by disney animator by Disney animator Robert Pratt.
posted by Artw on Feb 9, 2011 - 7 comments

Spencer Tracey, Kirk Douglas, and introducing Warren Hsieh in...

Walt Disney's Up (1965) [more inside]
posted by Artw on Jan 27, 2011 - 23 comments

Mickey Mouse dice, "¡Come tus verduras!"

In the 1940's, Walt Disney Studios produced a series of animated public health films for distribution in South America. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Jan 6, 2011 - 11 comments

The Wonderful World of Babel

Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing. Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree (while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention). The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic to Icelandic to Zulu gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog, debuted in more than forty tongues. Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes and one-line comparisons, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights: "One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali," and "A Whole New World" (Aladdin) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," and "Luau!" (The Lion King) - "Under the Sea" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (The Little Mermaid) - "Belle" and "Be Our Guest" (Beauty and the Beast) - "Just Around the Riverbend" (Pocahontas) - "One Song" and "Heigh-Ho" (Snow White) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Cinderella) - Medley (Pinocchio) - "When She Loved Me" (Toy Story 2) - Intro (Monsters, Inc.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 12, 2010 - 31 comments

Donald Duck And Glenn Beck Remixed In Cartoon (SLYT)

Right Wing Radio Duck "Donald's life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck. "
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr on Oct 2, 2010 - 52 comments

Fantasia, Americana, Wonderland.

Take a solo trek through the back streets of toontown or gaze upon pastoral fantasia. You'll find an astonishing variety of familiar and fantastic locales at Bob Richards' Animation Backgrounds blog. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Sep 3, 2010 - 7 comments

Quality is the best business plan

Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 18, 2010 - 227 comments

Tangled

Disney restyles "Rapunzel" to appeal to boys. Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies. After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, "The Princess and the Frog," executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office. Brace yourself: Boys didn't want to see a movie with "princess" in the title. Dear Disney: Boys Aren't Stupid, but renaming "Rapunzel" is.
posted by crossoverman on Mar 9, 2010 - 118 comments

The story of the girls behind the boys at Disney.

Coloring the Kingdom: the story of the all-female “finishing school” of hand-drawn animation that worked behind the scenes to create the first animated full-length Disney feature, Snow White. (via.)
posted by 1f2frfbf on Feb 5, 2010 - 8 comments

It all started with Alice...

Last month, Virginia Davis passed away at 90 years of age. She was the real life (warning: lousy formatting) little girl (warning: teh kyoot) whom Walt Disney sent into the land of cartoons, responding to the popularity of Max Fleisher's Out of the Inkwell series, which used his "rotoscope" and brought cartoon figures into filmed space. Walt reversed the formula, and found his first star.
1923: Alice's Wonderland [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Sep 23, 2009 - 23 comments

Religious Studies 101: A Handful of Thorns

Religious Studies 101: A Handful of Thorns - A Radio Play Crossover Event (Intro, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3). Producer and scriptwriter Greg Weisman unites the characters of the critically acclaimed animated series Gargoyles and The Spectacular Spider-Man in a script originally performed at the 2009 Gathering of the Gargoyles fan convention. Please be warned that the script contains spoilers for the aforementioned shows. [more inside]
posted by fearthehat on Sep 14, 2009 - 1 comment

Dali's Destino Completed

In 1946 legendary surrealist Salvador Dali formed an unlikely friendship with Walt Disney, and they spent some time collaborating on a short film called Destino. Dali and Disney artist John Hench worked on a lot of storyboards, but only 18 seconds of test footage were shot before the project was abandoned. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jul 6, 2009 - 24 comments

Graduate of Hogwarts

Mike Jittlov worked in special effects back before computers took over. His legendary film short, The Wizard Of Speed And Time, was actually a self-created remake of an earlier short. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jun 23, 2009 - 27 comments

Video excerpts from the AMPAS' Milt Kahl tribute.

Video excerpts of the panel discussions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' recent Milt Kahl tribute. [more inside]
posted by archagon on Jun 14, 2009 - 2 comments

SQUIRREL!

The real world location behind “Up’s” Paradise Falls. But could that house really fly?
posted by Artw on Jun 2, 2009 - 54 comments

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