Animated by Ub Iwerks, Fred Kopietz, and Tony Pabian
Backgrounds by Fred Kopietz
Fiddlesticks is a 1930 Celebrity Producitons theatrical cartoon short directed and animated by Ub Iwerks, in his first cartoon since he departed from Walt Disney’s studio. The short features Iwerks’ character Flip the Frog. It is the first complete sound cartoon to be photographed in color.
Fiddlesticks was the first film in the Flip the Frog series. The sound system was Powers Cinephone, the same system used for Disney’s Steamboat Willie in 1928.
The unnamed mouse in the cartoon bears a striking resemblance to Mortimer Mouse, the original concept behind Mickey Mouse, both of whom were first animated by Ub Iwerks.
The Ugly Duckling is the titular protagonist of Disney’s 1939 Silly Symphonies short film of the same name. Actually a cygnet (a baby swan), his egg somehow found its way into the nest of a duck family who mistook him for one of their own, and hatched him, only to immediately reject him for not looking the way a duckling should.
The Thief and the Cobbler is an unfinished animated fantasy film directed by Richard Williams. Originally conceived in the 1960s, the film was in and out of production for nearly three decades due to independent funding and ambitiously complex animation. It was finally placed into full production in 1989 when Warner Bros. agreed to finance and distribute the film. When production went over budget and fell behind schedule, the film was heavily cut and hastily re-edited by producer Fred Calvert without Williams’s involvement; it was eventually released in 1993 by Allied Filmmakers under the title The Princess and the Cobbler. Two years later, Disney subsidiary Miramax Films released another re-edit entitled Arabian Knight. Both versions of the film performed poorly and received mixed reviews.
Over the years, various people and companies, including The Walt Disney Company’s Roy E. Disney, have discussed restoring the film to its original version. In 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archived Richard Williams’s own 35 mm workprint. Williams himself acknowledged the film’s rehabilitated reputation, thanks to projects like the popular fan edit by Garrett Gilchrist The Recobbled Cut, and Persistence of Vision, a 2012 documentary from Kevin Schreck detailing the film’s production.
Garrett Gilchrist’s fan restorations mostly follow the workprint very closely, at least in their intent, using most of its original audio track and editing structure. In order to present a more complete film, Gilchrist added additional music (some from the released versions) and sound effects, and also included finished footage that does not appear in a finished state in the workprint, whether taken from the released versions or from other rare sources. Most of the story changes made by Fred Calvert and Miramax are not present, but it does include a few minor Calvert-only scenes or alterations, either as a side effect of using Calvert’s footage as replacements for unfinished scenes in the workprint or because Gilchrist felt these scenes were useful to the plot.
Garrett Gilchrist graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Cinema-Television Production in March 2005.
Garrett has been a regular staff writer for Cinemontage, The Editors Guild Magazine, since 2008, interviewing the editors of upcoming Hollywood films and television series. He has also contributed to ACE CinemaEditor. He has published one novel, Cratchit & Company, which focused on the characters of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Garrett is known for his restoration of Richard Williams’ unfinished animated masterpiece, The Thief and the Cobbler (The Recobbled Cut). The first Recobbled Cut was released in 2006. The fourth was released in HD in September 2013, after over two years of work.
He is also an artist, and from 2007 to 2009 he created Whosprites, a project designed to animate lost episodes of Doctor Who.
In 2005, Garrett released a popular fan documentary titled Star Wars: Deleted Magic, which focused on the difficulties encountered during the production of the 1977 film, and how these were fixed in editing.
In 2007 and 2008 he wrote, directed, and edited a feature titled Shamelessly, about a female superhero.
Hungry Hobos is a silent animated short released by Universal Studios in 1928. The short features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Peg Leg Pete as the title characters.
Having been lost since before World War II, the short was rediscovered in 2011 in the Huntley Film Archives, and was later purchased by the Walt Disney Company. It was then restored and re-debuted at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2012 as part of a special animation shorts program presented by leading film historian and restoration expert Serge Bromberg. The restored version was officially released as a bonus feature in the release of the Walt Disney Signature Collection edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray.
The history of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is that he was created by Walt Disney but had the rights of the character swept out from under his feet by producer Charles Mintz. However, never being one to give up easily, Disney went back to the drawing board and with help from animator Ub Iwerks created the ever-beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse, which later became Disney’s signature character and helped him finally gain the recognition he had been after all along.