Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske & Jack Kinney (1948)

Melody Time is a 1948 American live-action/animated musical film produced by Walt Disney. The tenth Disney animated feature film, it was released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on May 27, 1948. Made up of seven segments set to popular music and folk music, the film is, like Make Mine Music before it, the popular music version of Fantasia. Melody Time, while not meeting the artistic accomplishments of Fantasia, was mildly successful. It is the fifth Disney package film following Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, and Fun and Fancy Free.

“In the grand tradition of Disney’s greatest musical classics, such as Fantasia, Melody Time features seven classic stories, each enhanced with high-spirited music and unforgettable characters. A feast for the eyes and ears full of wit and charm. A delightful Disney classic with something for everyone”.

Walt Disney

Melody Time is considered to be the last anthology feature made by the Walt Disney Animation Studios. These package features were little-known short-film compilations that Disney produced and released as feature films during World War II. They were financially and artistically lightweight productions meant to bring in profits to allow the studio to return to fairy tale single-narrative feature form, an endeavour which they successfully completed two years later with Cinderella. While the shorts contrast in length, form, and style, a common thread throughout is that each is accompanied by songs from musicians and vocalists of the ’40s. This sets it apart from the similarly structured Fantasia, whose segments were set to classical music instead. As opposed to Fun and Fancy Free, whose story was bound to the tales of Bongo and Jack and the Beanstalk, in this film Walt Disney has let his animators and his color magicians have free rein.

Rose Pelswick, in a 1948 review for The News-Sentinel, described the film as an ‘adventure into the intriguing make-believe world peopled by Walt Disney’s Cartoon characters”. It also explains that “with the off-screen voice of Buddy Clark doing the introductions, the episodes include fantasy, folklore, South American rhythms, poetry, and slapstick”. A 1948 review by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it as a “mixture of fantasy, abstraction, parable, music, color, and movement”.

Once Upon a Wintertime

This segment features Frances Langford singing the title song about two romantic young lovers on a winter day in December, during the late 19th century. The couple are Jenny and Joe (unlike most Disney cartoons, Jenny and Joe lack spoken dialogue). Joe shows off on the ice for Jenny, and near-tragedy and a timely rescue ensues. This is intertwined with a similar rabbit couple.

Bumble Boogie

This segment presents a surrealistic battle for a solitary bumblebee as he tries to ward off a visual and musical frenzy. The music, courtesy of Freddy Martin and His Orchestra (with Jack Fina playing the piano), is a swing-jazz variation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, which was one of the many pieces considered for inclusion in Fantasia.

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

A retelling of the story of John Chapman, who spent most of his life roaming the Midwestern United States (mainly Ohio and Indiana) in the pioneer days, and planting apple trees, thus earning his famous nickname. He also spread Christianity. Dennis Day narrates (as an “old settler who knew Johnny well”) and provides the voices of both Johnny and his guardian angel.

Little Toot

The story of Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky, in which the title protagonist, a small tugboat in New York City, wanted to be just like his father Big Toot, but could not seem to stay out of trouble. The Andrews Sisters provide vocals.

Trees

A recitation of the 1913 poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer, featuring music by Oscar Rasbach and performed by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. The lyrical setting accompanies animation of bucolic scenes seen through the changing of the seasons. To preserve the look of the original story sketches, layout artist Ken O’Connor came up with the idea of using frosted cels and rendering the pastel images right onto the cel. Before being photographed each cel was laminated in clear lacquer to protect the pastel. The result was a look that had never been seen in animation before.

Blame it on the Samba

Donald Duck and José Carioca meet the Aracuan Bird, who introduces them to the pleasures of the samba. The accompanying music is the 1914 polka Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho by Ernesto Nazareth, fitted with English lyrics. The Dinning Sisters provide vocals while organist Ethel Smith appears in a live-action role.

Pecos Bill

The finale follows about Texas’ famous hero Pecos Bill. Raised by coyotes, he became the biggest and best cowboy that ever lived. He out hissed the Rattlesnake. And learned about all of the animals. It also features his horse Widowmaker, who’s been saved by the vultures that try to eat him. He brought the rain from California to save Texas from the drought. But when he woke up from the river, he heard a cow mooing. There was the band of evil rustlers stealing the herd of cattle. But they didn’t know the herd they stole was Bill’s. So he lassoed them and knocked out all of their teeth one by one. The Rustlers were now finally reformed and started to sing, “Yippee-I-Yay!” Then, Bill and Widowmaker traveled through the desert. He got a stick and then he dug the rio grande. And it recounts the ill-fated romance between Bill and a beautiful cowgirl named Slue Foot Sue, with whom he fell in love at first sight until a jealous Widowmaker made Sue to get literally stranded at the Moon at their wedding day. This retelling features Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, the former’s horse Trigger, and the Sons of the Pioneers telling the story to Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten in a live-action frame story.

Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, William Morgan, & Bill Roberts (1947)

Fun and Fancy Free is a 1947 animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and released on September 27, 1947 by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the ninth Disney animated feature film and the fourth of the package films that the studio produced in the 1940s to save money during World War II. The Disney package films of the late 1940s helped finance Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.

This film is a compilation of two stories: Bongo, narrated by Dinah Shore which is loosely based on the short story Little Bear Bongo by Sinclair Lewis, and Mickey and the Beanstalk, narrated by Edgar Bergen which is based on the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale. Though the film is primarily animated, it also uses live-action segments to join its two stories. Mickey and the Beanstalk marked the last time that Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse, as he was too busy on other projects to continue voicing the character. Disney replaced himself with sound-effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.

Wilfred Jackson (1931)

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Egyptian Melodies is a 1931 Silly Symphonies animated short cartoon produced by Walt Disney and directed by Wilfred Jackson. It follows a brave little spiders journey into the heart of a dark and eerie Egyptian tomb where he awakens several mummies from their slumber who begin to dance as the hieroglyphics come to life.

When a curious spider makes his way into the tomb of an ancient Egyptian, he discovers the strange wall paintings (and Mummies) have come to life for him.

The background animation of the trip through the pyramid was re-used in the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Mad Doctor. And the spider of this cartoon is graphically very close to that of another Silly Symphonies cartoon, The Spider and the Fly.

Wilfred Jackson (1937)

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The Old Mill is a 1937 Silly Symphony cartoon produced by Walt Disney, directed by Wilfred Jackson, scored by Leigh Harline, and released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on November 5, 1937. The film depicts the natural community of animals populating an old abandoned windmill in the country, and how they deal with a severe summer thunderstorm that nearly destroys their habitat. It incorporates the song One Day When We Were Young from Johann Strauss II’s operetta The Gypsy Baron.

Like many of the later Silly SymphoniesThe Old Mill was a testing ground for advanced animation techniques. Marking the first use of Disney’s multiplane camera, the film also incorporates realistic depictions of animal behavior, complex lighting and color effects, depictions of rain, wind, lightning, ripples, splashes and reflections, three-dimensional rotation of detailed objects, and the use of timing to produce specific dramatic and emotional effects. All of the lessons learned from making The Old Mill would subsequently be incorporated into Disney’s feature-length animated films, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), which was released a month later, as well as Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940) and Bambi (1942).

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

I hope you enjoy The Old Mill as much as I do!

David Hand (1933)

The Mad Doctor is a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon released in 1933.
It is known as the first appearance of the title character “The Mad Doctor”, or “Dr. XXX”.

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The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in the United Kingdom, as well as Nazi Germany.

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in England.

The short’s title character had a cameo in the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, in which he was seen on a picture. You can view Tummy Trouble by following this link: https://hobomooncartoons.com/2019/04/08/roger-rabbit-in-tummy-trouble/

This cartoon is one of a few Disney shorts that lapsed into the public domain.

Jack Hannah (1952)

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Trick or Treat is a 1952 animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon, which takes place on Halloween night, follows a series of pranks between Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie along with Witch Hazel. The film was directed by Jack Hannah and features the voices of Clarence Nash as Donald and his nephews, and June Foray as Hazel. The film introduced the song Trick or Treat for Halloween, which was written by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston and performed by The Mellomen.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

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The Skeleton Dance is a 1929 Silly Symphony animated short subject produced and directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks. In the film, four human skeletons dance and make music around a spooky graveyard — a modern film example of medieval European “danse macabre” imagery.
It was the first entry in the Silly Symphony series.

The origins for The Skeleton Dance can be traced to mid-1928, when Walt Disney was on his way to New York to arrange a distribution deal for his new Mickey Mouse cartoons and to record the soundtrack for his first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. During a stopover in Kansas City, Disney paid a visit to his old acquaintance Carl Stalling, then an organist at the Isis Theatre, to compose scores for his first two Mickey shorts, Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho. While there, Stalling proposed to Disney a series of “musical novelty” cartoons combining music and animation, which would become the genesis for the Silly Symphony series, and pitched an idea about skeletons dancing in a graveyard. Stalling would eventually join Disney’s studio as staff composer. Animation on The Skeleton Dance began in January 1929, with Ub Iwerks animating the majority of the film in almost six weeks.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

Happy Halloween!

Outside on a cold windy night that’s fit for neither man nor beast, Mickey Mouse finds himself in need of shelter, and seeks it in a scary house looming nearby.  Upon entering the house, the front door locks itself, trapping Mickey inside. This house is haunted, and is full of spiders, bats, and the sounds of ghosts. Mickey runs into a hallway to escape the scary sounds, but the lights go out. When Mickey lights a match to illuminate his surroundings, he sees a dark figure in a hooded cloak.

Again, Mickey runs, but he is cornered by the figure and several skeleton ghosts. With a single word, the figure orders Mickey to “play” the piano in the room.

Mickey obliges, and he plays music for his skeletal patrons, who dance and celebrate amid the entertainment.

While they are blissfully distracted, Mickey makes a break for it and runs out of the room. Everywhere he turns he finds a dead end – usually with more skeletons. He eventually dives out a window, lands in a barrel of skeletons, escapes, and runs away to his freedom. Phew!

The Haunted House was released on December 2, 1929. It is full of goofy gags and hyjinx, though it is somewhat frightening at its core. It was released by Celebrity Productions, under Pat Powers, as part of the Mickey Mouse film series. The cartoon was produced by Walt Disney Productions, and directed by Walt Disney himself (Walt also provided the voice of Mickey). Disney Legend Ub Iwerks was the primary animator for the short, and Carl Stalling wrote the original music

The Haunted House was the first scary short starring Mickey, but it was not the first scary cartoon released by Disney. That honor belongs to The Skeleton Dance – a Silly Symphony cartoon released earlier in 1929.  In fact, The Haunted House borrowed a bit of animation from the Skeleton Dance.

Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Joshua Meador & Robert Cormack (1946)

Casey at the Bat
Peter and the Wolf
The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met

Make Mine Music is a 1946 animated musical anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 8th Disney feature animated film, released on April 20, 1946.

During World War II, much of Walt Disney’s staff was drafted into the army, and those that remained were called upon by the U.S. government to make training and propaganda films. As a result, the studio was littered with unfinished story ideas. In order to keep the feature film division alive during this difficult time, the studio released six package films including this one, made up of various unrelated segments set to music. This is the third package film, following Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.

The musical short stories included in the Make Mine Music anthology include The Martins and the Coys, Blue Bayou, All the Cats Join In, Without You, Casey at the Bat, Two Silhouettes, Peter and the Wolf, Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet, and The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met.

“The animation, color and music, the swing versus symph, and the imagination, execution and delineation—that this Disney feature (two years in the making) may command widest attention yet. The blend of cartoon with human action has been evidenced before; here Disney has retained all his characters in their basic art form, but endowed them with human qualities, voices and treatments, which is another step forward in the field where cartoons graduate into the field of the classics.”

Abel Green of Variety

“More entertaining than others, but all are good, and each has something to please movie-goers of all tastes and ages. It is a delightful blend of comedy, music, pathos, animation, and color, given a most imaginative treatment.”

Harrison’s Reports

“A brilliant abstraction wherein fanciful musical instruments dance gayly on sliding color disks, sets of romping fingers race blithely down tapes of piano keys and musical notes fly wildly through the multi-hued atmosphere—all to the tingling accompaniment of Benny Goodman’s quartet playing the ancient and melodious torch song, ‘After You’re Gone’. Color, form and music blend dynamically in this bit, and a rich stimulant of sensuous rhythm is excitingly achieved.”

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times

“A picture of much inventiveness and imagination. The lighter the picture is, the more is its excellence demonstrated, it might be noted. And while music is the keynote of the production, it ranges well into comedy, and plentifully into swing.”

Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times

Norman Ferguson (1944)

The Three Caballeros is a 1944 live-action animated musical produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It was the 7th Walt Disney animated feature film, and it marks the 10th anniversary of Donald Duck and plots an adventure through parts of Latin America. It is notable for being one of the first feature-length films to incorporate traditional animation with live-action actors.

The film is a series of self-contained segments, strung together by Donald Duck opening birthday gifts from his Latin American friends. Several Latin American stars appear, including singers Aurora Miranda and Dora Luz, as well as singer and dancer Carmen Molina.

The film was produced as part of the studio’s goodwill message for Latin America. The film stars Donald Duck, who in the course of the film is joined by old friend José Carioca, the cigar-smoking parrot from Saludos Amigos, who represents Brazil, and later becomes friends with a pistol-packing rooster named Panchito Pistoles, who represents Mexico.

This film was directed by animation great Norman Ferguson, who was a central contributor to the studio’s artistic development in the 1930s into the 40s. He created Pluto, Peg-Leg Pete, the Big Bad Wolf, and was the primary animator for the witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Sequence directors for the film included Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, and Harold Young.

Walt Disney (1942)

Disney animators tour South America and present four animated shorts inspired by their trip.

Saludos Amigos is a 1942 American live-action animated anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 6th Disney animated feature film. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of José Carioca, the Brazilian cigar-smoking parrot. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. At 42 minutes, it is Disney’s shortest animated feature to date.

Directed by Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Norman Ferguson, and Bill Roberts.

Story written by Homer Brightman, William Cottrell, Richard Huemer, Joe Grant, Harold Reeves, Ted Sears, Webb Smith, Roy Williams, and Ralph Wright.

In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. This was being done because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour, facilitated by Nelson Rockefeller, who had recently been appointed as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru.

The film itself was given federal loan guarantees, because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).

The film included live-action documentary sequences featuring footage of modern Latin American cities with skyscrapers and fashionably dressed residents. This surprised many contemporary US viewers, who associated such images only with US and European cities, and contributed to a changing impression of Latin America. Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludos Amigos “did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years”.

The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America’s most ubiquitous cartoon characters. Ríos perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney’s comic characters.

Ub Iwerks (1935)

Balloon Land is a 1935 animated short cartoon film produced and directed by Ub Iwerks as part of the ComiColor Cartoons series. The cartoon is about a place called Balloon Land, whose residents are made entirely out of balloons. The villain in the cartoon is the Pincushion Man, a character who walks around Balloon Land popping the inhabitants with pins.

Starring Billy Bletcher as the Pincushion Man and Leone LeDoux as the Balloon Alarm Babies.

Ub Iwerks was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who designed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney and won numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

The ComiColor Cartoon series is a series of 25 animated short subjects produced by Ub Iwerks from 1933 to 1936. The series was the last produced by Iwerks Studio; after losing distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1934, the Iwerks studio’s senior company Celebrity Pictures had to distribute the films itself. The series was shot exclusively in Cinecolor, a two-color process.

Most of the ComiColor entries were based upon popular fairy tales and other familiar stories, including Jack and the Beanstalk, Old Mother Hubbard, The Bremen Town Musicians, and The Headless Horseman.

Wilfred Jackson & Walt Disney (1935)

The Band Concert is an animated short film produced in 3-strip Technicolor by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. It was the 73rd Mickey Mouse short film to be released, and the second of that year. The Band Concert was the first Mickey Mouse film produced in color.

The Band Concert was directed by Wilfred Jackson and featured adapted music by Leigh Harline. The only speaking character in the film is Donald Duck who is performed by voice actor Clarence Nash. The film remains one of the most highly acclaimed of the Disney shorts. The story is about a small music band conducted by Mickey Mouse which struggles through a distraction-filled public performance.

Although The Band Concert did not receive any Academy Award nominations, it has nonetheless become one of the most highly acclaimed Disney short films.

“None of the dozens of works produced in America at the same time in all the other arts can stand comparison with this one.”

Gilbert Seldes, Esquire Magazine

The Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was such a fan of The Band Concert that he saw it six times in the theater and later invited Walt Disney to his home in Italy.

“one of the best cartoons ever made anywhere… There are nuances of expression in Mickey’s character throughout this film that had seldom been explored in earlier shorts. The pacing is also entirely different from the standard Mickey Mouse comedies of the early thirties. Instead of trying to pack in a thousand gags a minute, The Band Concert takes its time and builds to a crescendo.”

Leonard Maltin, Film Critic

Ub Iwerks (1935)

Flora and fauna come out to celebrate the beginning of summertime, but old Man winter just doesn’t want to let go yet.

The sun gathers its strength to shine bright and melt the ice of Winter so that Spring may begin. However, Old Man Winter is unwilling to go quietly. He tricks the groundhog into believing that he has seen his shadow so that Winter can be prolonged. The other creatures of the forest ban together to ward off Old Man Winter, with fauns and centaurs leading the battle.

Ub Iwerks was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who designed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney and won numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

Animated by Steve Bosustow, Jimmie Culhane, Al Eugster, Grim Natwick, & Berny Wolf.

Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske (1951)

Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 American animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the Alice books by Lewis Carroll. The thirteenth release of Disney’s animated features, the film premiered in London on July 26, 1951, and in New York City on July 28, 1951. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont as Alice, Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat, Verna Felton as the Queen of Hearts, and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter. Walt Disney first tried to adapt Alice into a feature-length animated film in the 1930s and revived the idea in the 1940s. The film was originally intended to be a live-action/animated film; however, Disney decided to make it a fully animated film in 1946.

The film was considered a disappointment on its initial release, therefore was shown on television as one of the first episodes of Disneyland. Its 1974 re-release in theaters proved to be much more successful, leading to subsequent re-releases, merchandising and home video releases. Although the film received generally negative critical reviews on its initial release, it has been more positively reviewed over the years.

In fall 1945, shortly after the war ended, Disney revived Alice in Wonderland and hired British author Aldous Huxley to re-write the script. Huxley devised a story in which Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell (the inspiration for Alice) were misunderstood and persecuted following the book’s publication. In Huxley’s story, stage actress Ellen Terry was sympathetic to both Carroll and Liddell, and Queen Victoria served as the deus ex machina, validating Carroll due to her appreciation for the book. Disney considered child actress Margaret O’Brien for the title role. However, he felt that Huxley’s version was too literal an adaptation of Carroll’s book. Background artist Mary Blair submitted some concept drawings for Alice in Wonderland. Blair’s paintings moved away from Tenniel’s detailed illustrations by taking a modernist stance, using bold and unreal colors. Walt liked Blair’s designs, and the script was re-written to focus on comedy, music, and the whimsical side of Carroll’s books.

Around this time, Disney considered making a live-action-and-animated version of Alice in Wonderland (similar to his short Alice Comedies) that would star Ginger Rogers and would utilize the recently developed sodium vapor process. Lisa Davis (who later voiced Anita Radcliffe in One Hundred and One Dalmatians) and Luana Patten were also considered for the role of Alice. However, Disney soon realized that he could only do justice to the book by making an all-animated feature and, in 1946, work began on Alice in Wonderland. With the film tentatively scheduled for release in 1950, animation crews on Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella effectively competed against each other to see which film would finish first. By early 1948, Cinderella had progressed further than Alice in Wonderland.

A legal dispute with Dallas Bower’s 1949 film version was also under way. Disney sued to prevent release of the British version in the U.S., and the case was extensively covered in Time magazine. The company that released the British version accused Disney of trying to exploit their film by releasing its version at virtually the same time.

James Algar & Jack Kinney (1949)

The Wind in the Willows is the first segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, narrated by Basil Rathbone. The other half of the animated feature was based on the unrelated short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was reissued as a stand-alone short in the 1950s.

The Wind in the Willows is based on the children’s book by the British novelist Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternating between slow- and fast-paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphic animals: Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger. They live in a pastoral version of Edwardian England.

Norman Ferguson, Jack Kinney, John Elliotte, Wilfred Jackson, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, Samuel Armstrong (1941)

Meet Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo’s sweet little “Baby Mine” who charms all who see him, until it’s discovered that he has huge floppy ears! With the support of his very best friend, Timothy the mouse, Dumbo soon learns that his spectacular ears make him unique and special, allowing him to soar to fame as the world’s only flying elephant.

In 1941, in order to compensate for the relative poor box office of Pinocchio and Fantasia, Disney produced a low-budget feature film, Dumbo. Dumbo was a major hit and today is one of the most critically acclaimed animated movies ever made. Just a few days after rough animation was complete on Dumbo, the Disney animators’ strike broke out. This was caused by the Screen Cartoonists’ Guild, who severed many ties between Walt Disney and his staff, while encouraging many members of the Disney studio to leave and seek greener pastures. Later that year, Dumbo became a big success, the first time since Snow White. The critically acclaimed film brought in much-needed revenue and kept the studio afloat.

Dumbo is a 1941 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The fourth Disney animated feature film, it is based upon the storyline written by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl illustrated by Helen Durney for the prototype of a novelty toy. The main character is Jumbo Jr., a semi-anthropomorphic elephant who is cruelly nicknamed “Dumbo”, as in “dumb”. He is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy – a relationship parodying the stereotypical animosity between mice and elephants.

Dumbo was released on October 23, 1941; made to recoup the financial losses of Fantasia, it was a deliberate pursuit of simplicity and economy for the Disney studio. At 64 minutes, it is one of Disney’s shortest animated features. Sound was recorded conventionally using the RCA System. One voice was synthesized using the Sonovox system, but it, too, was recorded using the RCA System.

In 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

A live-action adaptation of the film directed by Tim Burton is scheduled to be released on March 29, 2019.

Written by Otto Englander, Bill Peet, Joe Grant, Joe Rinaldi, Aurelius Battaglia, Harold Pearl, Helen Aberson, Webb Smith, Vernon Stallings, and Dick Huemer.

Starring Edward Brophy, Billy Bletcher, Malcolm Hutton, John McLeish, Verna Felton, Eddie Holden, The King’s Men, James Baskett, Jim Carmichael, Harold Manley, Noreen Gammill, Hall Johnson Choir, Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards, Verna Felton, and Herman Bing.

Burt Gillett (1937)

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Spend this Devil’s Night with Mickey and the gang as they attempt to eradicate three ghosts from an abandoned haunted house. Lonesome Ghosts is a 1937 Disney animated cartoon, released through RKO Radio Pictures on December 24, 1937, three days after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made its debut. It was directed by Burt Gillett, written by Dick Friel, and animated by Izzy Klein, Ed Love, Milt Kahl, Marvin Woodward, Bob Wickersham, Clyde Geronimi, Dick Huemer, Dick Williams, Art Babbitt, and Rex Cox.

This short marked the first use of one of Goofy’s catchphrases, “Somethin’ wrong here!”.

Walt Disney Productions (1983)

Happy Halloween!

Now here is a corny educational film for ya. It’s obvious Disney didn’t put much time and effort into this one, but it’s fun nonetheless. Disney’s Haunted Halloween is a 1983 American animated educational short film, It is a montage piece telling children about the history of Halloween, hosted by Goofy and the jack o’lantern from Disney’s Halloween Treat. Intermixed throughout it are numerous clips from many different Disney cartoons, plus footage of the Disney attraction The Haunted Mansion.

Tim Burton & Danny Elfman (2005)

Inspired by Walt Disney’s and Ub Iwerks’ Silly Symphonies animated short The Skeleton Dance,
Tim Burton pays homage to the frolicking skeletons of swing in this fun little diddy, Remains of the Day.

Happy Halloween!

Hey!
Give me a listen, you corpses of cheer.
Least less of you who still got an ear,
I’ll tell ‘ya a story, make your skeleton cry,
of our own judiciously lovely corpse bride.
Die, die we all pass away, but don’t wear a frown ‘cuz it’s really okay.
You might try n’ hide, and you might try n’ pray,
but we all end up the remains of the day.

Die die die yeah yeah, die die die.

Well! Our girl is a beauty known for miles around.
A mysterious stranger came into town.
He was plenty good lookin’ but down on his cash,
and our poor little baby she fell hard and fast,
when her daddy said no, she just couldn’t cope,
so our lovers came up with a plan to elope.

Die, die we all pass away, but don’t wear a frown ‘cuz it’s really okay.
You might try n’ hide, and you might try n’ pray,
but we all end up the remains of the day.

Die die die yeah yeah,
die die die yeah yeah
die die die yeah yeah
die die die yeah yeah

Yeah, so they conjured up a plan to meet late at night,
they told not a soul kept the whole thing tight.
Now her mother’s wedding dress fit like a glove,
you don’t need much when you’re really in love.
Except for a few things or so I’m told,
like the family jewels and a satchel of gold.
Then next to the graveyard by the old oak tree,
on a dark foggy night at a quarter to three,
she was ready to go, but where was he?

(And then?) She waited
(And then?) There in the shadows, was it a man?
(And then?) Her little heart beat sooo loud!
(And THEN?) And then baby, everything went black.

Now when she opened her eyes, she was dead as dust, her jewels were missin’ and her heart was bust, so she made a vow lyin’ under that tree
that she’d wait for her true love to come set her free.
Always waitin’ for someone to ask for her hand, when outta the blue comes this groovy young man, who vows forever, to be by her side, and that’s the story of our own, corpse bride

Die, die we all pass away, but don’t wear a frown ‘cuz it’s really okay.
You might try n’ hide, and you might try n’ pray,
but we all end up the remains of the day.

Clyde Geronimi, Jack Hannah & Wilfred Jackson (1956)

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Clip from Disneyland episode The Great Cat Family narrated by Walt Disney. I love the spooky visuals and gorgeous vintage animation.

Walt talks about the cat family, primarily focusing on lions and domestic cats. It is explained particularly on the cats’ importance to ancient Egypt and how some people would respect them, and others would fear them as superstitious beings.

Walt then shows the cats of fiction by showing clips from his past films. He recounts Pinocchio’s friendship with Figaro, Alice’s pet Dina and meeting with the crazy Cheshire Cat and how Cinderella’s mouse friends barely escaped the clutches of Lucifer. Finally, he shows a classic cartoon featuring Lambert, the “black sheep” of the great cat family.

Until now, only the first 13 minutes with Walt discussing the history of cats in Egypt to their superstitious origins had been available as a bonus on home video releases of The Aristocats. These first 13 minutes were trimmed down, specifically without Walt’s footage, for A Disney Halloween (1983) where it was then followed by the Siamese musical number from Lady and the Tramp, which for whatever reason wasn’t included in this program.

Wilfred Jackson (1931)

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Egyptian Melodies is a 1931 Silly Symphonies animated short cartoon produced by Walt Disney and directed by Wilfred Jackson. It follows a brave little spiders journey into the heart of a dark and eerie Egyptian tomb where he awakens several mummies from their slumber who begin to dance as the hieroglyphics come to life.

Wilfred Jackson (1937)

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Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The Old Mill is a 1937 Silly Symphony cartoon produced by Walt Disney, directed by Wilfred Jackson, scored by Leigh Harline, and released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on November 5, 1937. The film depicts the natural community of animals populating an old abandoned windmill in the country, and how they deal with a severe summer thunderstorm that nearly destroys their habitat. It incorporates the song One Day When We Were Young from Johann Strauss II’s operetta The Gypsy Baron.

Like many of the later Silly SymphoniesThe Old Mill was a testing ground for advanced animation techniques. Marking the first use of Disney’s multiplane camera, the film also incorporates realistic depictions of animal behavior, complex lighting and color effects, depictions of rain, wind, lightning, ripples, splashes and reflections, three-dimensional rotation of detailed objects, and the use of timing to produce specific dramatic and emotional effects. All of the lessons learned from making The Old Mill would subsequently be incorporated into Disney’s feature-length animated films, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), which was released a month later, as well as Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940) and Bambi (1942).

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

I hope you enjoy The Old Mill as much as I do!

David Hand (1933)

The Mad Doctor is a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon released in 1933.
It is known as the first appearance of the title character “The Mad Doctor”, or “Dr. XXX”.

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in the United Kingdom, as well as Nazi Germany.

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in England.

The short’s title character had a cameo in the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, in which he was seen on a picture. You can view Tummy Trouble by following this link: https://hobomooncartoons.com/2019/04/08/roger-rabbit-in-tummy-trouble/

This cartoon is one of a few Disney shorts that lapsed into the public domain.

Jack Hannah (1952)

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Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Trick or Treat is a 1952 animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon, which takes place on Halloween night, follows a series of pranks between Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie along with Witch Hazel. The film was directed by Jack Hannah and features the voices of Clarence Nash as Donald and his nephews, and June Foray as Hazel. The film introduced the song Trick or Treat for Halloween, which was written by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston and performed by The Mellomen.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

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Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The Skeleton Dance is a 1929 Silly Symphony animated short subject produced and directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks. In the film, four human skeletons dance and make music around a spooky graveyard — a modern film example of medieval European “danse macabre” imagery.
It was the first entry in the Silly Symphony series.

The origins for The Skeleton Dance can be traced to mid-1928, when Walt Disney was on his way to New York to arrange a distribution deal for his new Mickey Mouse cartoons and to record the soundtrack for his first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. During a stopover in Kansas City, Disney paid a visit to his old acquaintance Carl Stalling, then an organist at the Isis Theatre, to compose scores for his first two Mickey shorts, Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho. While there, Stalling proposed to Disney a series of “musical novelty” cartoons combining music and animation, which would become the genesis for the Silly Symphony series, and pitched an idea about skeletons dancing in a graveyard. Stalling would eventually join Disney’s studio as staff composer. Animation on The Skeleton Dance began in January 1929, with Ub Iwerks animating the majority of the film in almost six weeks.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

Happy Halloween!

Outside on a cold windy night that’s fit for neither man nor beast, Mickey Mouse finds himself in need of shelter, and seeks it in a scary house looming nearby.  Upon entering the house, the front door locks itself, trapping Mickey inside. This house is haunted, and is full of spiders, bats, and the sounds of ghosts. Mickey runs into a hallway to escape the scary sounds, but the lights go out. When Mickey lights a match to illuminate his surroundings, he sees a dark figure in a hooded cloak.

Again, Mickey runs, but he is cornered by the figure and several skeleton ghosts. With a single word, the figure orders Mickey to “play” the piano in the room.

Mickey obliges, and he plays music for his skeletal patrons, who dance and celebrate amid the entertainment.

While they are blissfully distracted, Mickey makes a break for it and runs out of the room. Everywhere he turns he finds a dead end – usually with more skeletons. He eventually dives out a window, lands in a barrel of skeletons, escapes, and runs away to his freedom. Phew!

The Haunted House was released on December 2, 1929. It is full of goofy gags and hyjinx, though it is somewhat frightening at its core. It was released by Celebrity Productions, under Pat Powers, as part of the Mickey Mouse film series. The cartoon was produced by Walt Disney Productions, and directed by Walt Disney himself (Walt also provided the voice of Mickey). Disney Legend Ub Iwerks was the primary animator for the short, and Carl Stalling wrote the original music

The Haunted House was the first scary short starring Mickey, but it was not the first scary cartoon released by Disney. That honor belongs to The Skeleton Dance – a Silly Symphony cartoon released earlier in 1929.  In fact, The Haunted House borrowed a bit of animation from the Skeleton Dance.

Bob Clampett (1943)

A Corny Concerto is a 1943 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies directed by Bob Clampett. The short was released on September 25, 1943, and stars Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck. They perform a parody of Disney’s Silly Symphony cartoon series and specifically his 1940 feature Fantasia. The film uses two of Johann Strauss’ best known waltzes, “Tales from the Vienna Woods” and “The Blue Danube”.

Fantasia was marketed to highbrow music fans; the Looney Tunes staff responded by violating the ivory tower of classical music and concert hall culture. A Corny Concerto parodies Fantasia’s Silly Symphonies-derived balletic approach to storytelling. Elmer Fudd stands in for Deems Taylor, and in an anti-highbrow gag, his starched shirtfront keeps erupting from his shirt to hit him on the face.

Fleischer Studios (1930)

A Bimbo cartoon (though he is still unnamed).

Bimbo is the hot dog vendor at an opera led by a Leopold Stokowski-like lion, with plenty of operatic mice. Includes a repeating gag of a hippo coming and going through the seats, displacing patrons.

Animated by Seymour Kneitel & Al Eugster

For the Fleischer brothers, the transition to sound was relatively easy. With the new contract with Paramount Pictures, and without the burden of Red Seal Pictures and Alfred Weiss, Max Fleischer was free to experiment with new, bold ideas. First he changed the name of the Ko-Ko Song Cartunes series to Screen Songs. Although the Screen Songs were successful, Fleischer felt that it wasn’t enough. Walt Disney also seemed to gain a great amount of fame through his sound cartoons. Max decided to work with his brother Dave on a new series of cartoons where the characters did more than just simply dance to the music of the “bouncing ball”. The name for the new series was to be Talkartoons. When the idea was pitched to Paramount, they leaped at the opportunity.

The Talkartoons started out as one-shot cartoons. The first entry in the series was Noah’s Lark, released on October 26, 1929. Although a Fleischer cartoon, it appeared to be patterned after the Aesop’s Film Fables of Paul Terry. In it, a Farmer Al Falfa-esque Noah allows the animals of his ark to visit Luna Park. When he brings them back into the ship, the weight is so heavy that it sinks. In the end, Noah chases topless mermaids throughout the ocean waters. Lark has very few gray tones, very much like the Screen Songs produced during the same time and the earlier Fleischer silent works. It also included copyright-free songs, mostly utilized from old 78-rpm’s.

The series began to take a new direction, however, with the arrival of Max and Dave’s brother, Lou Fleischer, whose skills in music and mathematics made a great impact at the studio. A dog named Bimbo gradually became the featured character of the series. The first cartoon that featured Bimbo was Hot Dog (1930), the first Fleischer cartoon to use a full range of greys. New animators such as Grim Natwick, Shamus Culhane, and Rudy Zamora began entering the Fleischer Studio, with new ideas that pushed the Talkartoons into a league of their own. Natwick especially had an off-beat style of animating that helped give the shorts more of a surreal quality. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the Talkartoons series and the Fleischer Studio was the creation of Betty Boop with Dizzy Dishes in 1930.

By late 1931, Betty Boop dominated the series. Koko the Clown was brought out of retirement from the silent days as a third character to Betty and Bimbo. By 1932, the series was at an inevitable end and instead, Betty Boop would be given her own series, with Bimbo and Koko as secondary characters.

Les Clark (1958)

Paul Bunyan is a 1958 American animated musical short film produced by Walt Disney Productions. The short was based on the North American folk hero and lumberjack Paul Bunyan and was inspired after meeting with Les Kangas of Paul Bunyan Productions, who gave Disney the idea for the film.

Story by Lance Nolley & Ted Berman

Animation by John Sibley, George Nicholas, Bob Youngouist, George Goepper, Fred Kopietz, Ken Hultgren, Jerry Hathcock, Jack Parr, & Jack Boyd (effects animation)

Wilfred Jackson (1935)

Music Land is a Silly Symphony that debuted on October 5, 1935.

The lore of ancient fable has no equal to the jolly Land of Jazz,
Which lay within a wild, discordant sea, across the way from long-hair Land of Symphony.
Yet here you’ll find no mere Shakespearian sequel (though true folly still it has):
Our star-cross’d lovers bravely face adversity, and true love turns cacophony to harmony!

In an attempt to bridge the gap between classical music and jazz, the short features music from Beethoven’s Eroica and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, as well as various popular classical, jazz, and miscellaneous tunes. The film contains no actual speech, but has the characters instead communicate with musical tones, with each ‘speaking’ through use of the sound of the particular instrument upon which they are based.

Hugh Harman & Rudolf Ising (1930)

Congo Jazz is a Looney Tunes cartoon starring Warner Bros.’ first cartoon star, Bosko. The cartoon was released in September 1930. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and The Vitaphone Corporation. Congo Jazz was the first cartoon to feature Bosko’s falsetto voice that he would use for the bulk of the series’ run. It has the earliest instance of a “trombone gobble” in animation.

In 1927, Harman and Ising were still working for the Walt Disney Studios on a series of live-action/animated short subjects known as the Alice Comedies. The two animators created Bosko in 1927 to capitalize on the new “talkie” craze that was sweeping the motion picture industry. They began thinking about making a sound cartoon with Bosko in 1927, before even leaving Walt Disney. Hugh Harman made drawings of the new character and registered it with the copyright office on 3 January 1928.

After leaving Walt Disney in early 1928, Harman and Ising went to work for Charles Mintz on Universal’s second-season Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. April 1929 found them moving on again, leaving Universal to market their new cartoon character. In May 1929, they produced a short pilot cartoon, similar to Max Fleischer’s Out of the Inkwell cartoons, Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid that showcased their ability to animate soundtrack-synchronized speech and dancing. The short, plotless cartoon opens with live action footage of Ising at a drafting table. After he draws Bosko on the page, the character springs to life, talks, sings, and dances. Ising returns Bosko to the inkwell, and the short ends. This short is a landmark in animation history as being the first cartoon to predominantly feature synchronized speech, though Fleischer Studios’ Song Car-Tune My Old Kentucky Home was the first cartoon to contain animated dialogue a few years earlier. This cartoon set Harman and Ising “apart from early Disney sound cartoons because it emphasized not music but dialogue.” The short was marketed to various people by Harman and Ising until Leon Schlesinger offered them a contract to produce a series of cartoons for the Warner Bros. It would not be seen by a wide audience until 71 years later, in 2000, as part of Cartoon Network’s special Toonheads: The Lost Cartoons, a compilation special of rare material from the WB/Turner archives.

In his book, Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin states that this early version of Bosko:

“was in fact a cartoonized version of a young black boy… he spoke in a Southern Negro dialect… in subsequent films this characterization was eschewed, or perhaps forgotten. This could be called sloppiness on the part of Harman and Ising, but it also indicates the uncertain nature of the character itself.”