23 09 2008

WARD KIMBALL directed a series of specials for the DISNEYLAND tv-series from 1955 until 1959. I always liked them because of their stylistic diversity. UPA had introduced a new style direction in the early fifties, opposite of what the big studios were doing. the artists were inspired by modern art and even most of the stories were not necessarily for a mainstream audience, except maybe the mr.magoo series. some very unusual stylistic and experimental shorts were produced by very talented artists. a lot of them had worked with disney before, like JOHN HUBLEY and JULES ENGEL. these UPA films were the foundation of a different style in animation, especially in europe. but disney saw the potential of a different look than the feature films and shorts as well and decided to experiment with it in his disneyland tv-series. the simplified style made it easy to use limited animation, even as part of the style. during the war years in films like VICTORY THROUGH AIRPOWER limited animation had been used for cost reasons as well. but here in specials like MAN IN SPACE, MAN AND THE MOON, MARS AND BEYOND, OUR FRIEND THE ATOM and EYES IN OUTER SPACE they used it in a very different way. for funny effects – like a face is a hold except the mouth moves, but in the best tradition of full animation. or a moving car is shown, only the tires are rotating – but the smoke clouds behind the car are fully animated. these specials don’t look limited or cheaper than disney’s other productions. and the subjects were very attractive and extremely successful. as far as I know, no other films at that time were informing the audience about this very new space science.

© disney enterprises, inc