who killed cock robin?

2 05 2013

‘Who killed Cock Robin? I, said the Sparrow, with my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.’ – this is the first verse of the 1744 published rhyme in TOMMY THUMB’S PRETTY SONG BOOK. the DISNEY SILLY SYMPHONY with the same title was released on june 26, 1935. DAVID HAND directed the short, the main characters – COCK ROBIN ( BING CROSBY ) and the MAE WEST – like JENNY WREN were designed by JOE GRANT. there are some additional hollywood star caricatures of that period, like a cuckoo bird – HARPO MARX, and the KEYSTONE COPS.

who killed cock robin 2
who killed cock robin

© disney enterprises, inc

farmyard symphony 1

27 10 2010

the following recreated longer pans are from disney’s 1938 released SILLY SYMPHONY – FARMYARD SYMPHONY. I am sure you will understand why this beautiful little film is one of my favorites, when you study the backgrounds. they are simple, clear designed, no overloaded detail and like most films at that time beautifully painted in faded watercolors. like, what I thought MULAN should look like – POETIC.

© disney enterprises, inc

ugly duckling 3

19 04 2010

the last of the recreated backgrounds from the disney SILLY SYMPHONY – THE UGLY DUCKLING.

© disney enterprises, inc

ugly duckling 2

7 04 2010

four more recreated backgrounds from disney’s UGLY DUCKLING

© disney enterprises, inc

ugly duckling 1

2 04 2010

the april 7, 1939, released disney SILLY SYMPHONYTHE UGLY DUCKLING, directed by JACK CUTTING, was a remake of a 1931 black/white SILLY SYMPHONY. only eight years apart the second version is a masterpiece in animation and styling. it is the last of the silly symphonies, musical shorts without dialogue, that showed how much the artists in the studio improved during these few years. there were big changes in the production leading towards disney’s first animated feature film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, especially the start of an effects department, responsible for all the visual effects like water-drops, rain, snow, water-ripples, fire, smoke and so on. they were done in the earlier years by the character animators themselves. the MULTIPLANE-camera was developed by UB IWERKS, that made backgrounds with much more depth possible. and the water-effects with reflections as well, as can be seen in THE UGLY DUCKLING. the background painters with their multi-layer watercolor technique were at the height of their craft, as were the animators in their field. everything looks so easy in this short, because it was a team of MASTERS, animation film-making at it’s best. but – WWII started and this incredible development slowed down, then nearly came to a stop.
as I mentioned in some earlier posts, there are not too many backgrounds left from that ‘golden era’. in this case, THE UGLY DUCKLING, I remember I saw only two in the disney-archives ARL. I started to recreate whatever is possible from this film. fortunately I found a very good quality print on a french DVD-release. but it is still a challenge and time consuming. it is not just stitching the different ‘mosaic’ pieces together, a lot has to be added, painted the same way the background was painted. following are the first in a series.

© disney enterprises, inc


27 01 2010

the longer recreated pans below are from two disney shorts and one from MGM, all beautifully painted in the traditional watercolor- technique.

FARMYARD SYMPHONY, 1938 disney silly symphony

TUGBOAT MICKEY, 1940 disney mickey mouse short

YANKEE DOODLE MOUSE, 1943 MGM tom+jerry short

© disney enterprises, inc

david hand

11 12 2009

the recreated backgrounds are from disney’s 19346 SILLY SYMPHONY – THREE BLIND MOUSEKETEERS. DAVID HAND, 1900 – 1986, who directed this short, had started at disney in 1930 and soon became a director, responsible for some of the best shorts of the studio – LITTLE HIAWATHA, THREE LITTLE WOLVES, THREE ORPHAN KITTENS, WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN are only a few of them. he was the first director in charge of a feature film – SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 1937, – and a few years later – BAMBI 1942. in 1944 he followed an invitation of J. ARTHUR RANK to set up an animation studio in great britain, where he created the series ANIMALAND and MUSICAL PAINTBOX, and became the biggest influence in british animation.

© disney enterprises, inc