The Ugly Duckling was the only Silly Symphony to be remade.The second production of The Ugly Duckling, released in 1939, included all of the Studios’ innovations of the prior decade as well as lessons learned from the production process of their first feature film—Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs—released nearly a year and a half earlier. This resulted in a new subtlety and sophistication, rich Technicolor, and compelling character animation.
Jiminy Cricket, the loveable cricket who plays the role of Pinocchio’s conscience, had a very different storyline in the original story. Walt Disney had a keen eye for detail and story; he paid just as close attention to the minor characters as he did the lead. Look at Jiminy’s evolution, and how each piece of the story was equally important to ensuring the success of the characters and the film as a whole.
This multiplane camera was unlike anything ever used before at Walt’s studio, and in particular it was a favorite tool on his second feature film, Pinocchio (1940). Learn more about the foremost and often celebrated use of the multiplane’s wondrous ability in sequence two of Pinocchio, “Goes to School.”
Walt Disney’s fourth feature film, and perhaps one of his least known, The Reluctant Dragon was released in June of 1941, now 75 years ago. The film follows famed writer and humorist Robert Benchley (playing himself) as he ventures throughout the then brand-new Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, anxious to share a story with Walt that he thinks might make a good cartoon picture. Along the way he has many silly encounters with artists, animators, voice talents, and other employees, experiencing little stories at each new meeting.
This summer marks the 75th anniversary of Walt Disney and his hand-picked team’s Southern California departure for their “goodwill tour” of South America. The U.S. government was hoping Walt’s presence would help to quell budding Nazi sympathy, while Walt was eager to gather material for future films. By Walt being Walt, he managed to do both.
“This is not the cartoon medium…we have worlds to conquer here.” So Walt Disney described his unique masterwork from 1940, Fantasia. The museum’s collection is comprised of more than 30,000 objects and our collections staff has been busy swapping in other items, including a recent rotation of objects in the Fantasia case in gallery 5.
Walt shared a series of personal connections with America’s southern neighbor. One such connection occurred twenty years prior to this event, when Disneyland was not yet a point on a map, and the United States was dealing with—but had not yet entered—the turmoil of the Second World War.
With excitement abuzz over Disneyland’s latest planned expansion, we pay tribute to its first major park expansion as proof of Walt’s oft-proclaimed pronouncement that “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Walt Disney and his youngest daughter, Sharon, left Los Angeles on August 10, 1947 for a three week trip to Candle, Alaska. What was supposed to be a relaxing flight turned out to be quite an adventure…as well as a wonderful father-and-daughter bonding experience.
Though the Walt Disney Family Museum offers exciting new displays and stories in each special exhibition that opens, there are also delightful new discoveries to be found in the main museum galleries when case rotations are made. Let’s take a look at one of the latest rotations, in the case dedicated to one of Walt’s most distinctive feature films, Bambi (1942).