Friday, January 27, 2012

Tim Burton's CalArts short 1979 - Stalk of the Celery Monster

Legendary Director Tim Burton's CalArts short film, which he made at California Institue of the Art (CalArts) , founded by Walt Disney. 1979, Tim Burton was hired by Disney studio on the strength of his CalArts short -Stalk of the Celery Monster-


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Complete History and Videos of Walt Disney's Animated Shorts: Part 1 (1922-1924)

Update: I'm slowly adding more videos and images. Today I added images and more info about the Little Red Riding Hood Laugh-O-Gram short. That includes images from Disney's second (and last) use of Red Riding Hood, 1934's The Big Bad Wolf. This blog post was originally written back in 2008.


We're going to show a video and info (whatever we can find) for every single Walt Disney animated short. We'll take it one year at a time (or three years at a time in this case; we also might take it six months at a time if Disney was busy that year). Have patience with us. It will take awhile. Post a comment if you find more/better videos or info. Enjoy!

The History and Videos of Walt Disney's Animated Shorts

Part 1: 1922-1924


1) Laugh-o-grams: Newman Laugh-o-grams - 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

This montage includes one of his Newman Laugh-o-grams, "Kansas City Clean Up" (it's near the end):

Named after the fact that they were released in the Newman Theater. Walt Disney was working at a design firm that did a few flyers for a local movie theater. That led to Disney doing some stills and really short animations for the theater, lampooning local politics and news. Titles included "Cleaning Up!!?", "Kansas City Girls are Rolling Their Own Now", "Take a Ride Over Kansas City Streets" and "Kansas City's Spring Cleanup." Disney based his subject matter, and won over the Kansas City audience, on problems and corruption within the local government.

That led to his first series, the Laugh-o-gram shorts. Walt's first series was about what he loved... fairy tales.

2) Laugh-o-grams 1: Little Red Riding Hood - July 29, 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Color process: Black and white
Running time: 6 minutes 12 seconds
Country: United States
Preceded by Kansas City’s Spring Cleanup
Followed by The Four Musicians of Bremen

This is a contemporary setting for Disney's first take on Little Red Riding Hood (his second stab at this tale was in the 1934 sequel to The Three Little Pigs--see Note #1 below).

In this Laugh-O-Gram, Little Red Riding Hood is on her way to deliver some doughnuts when Disney's first villain (ever) attacks her (we'll call him the Wolf, but he's a man). Her cat fetches a man in a helicopter who rescues her.

Animation by Walt and Rudolph Ising.

Based on the story by the Brothers Grimm.

Original poster:

(1) His second attempt at this story was in the Silly Symphony, The Big Bad Wolf in 1934 (that played off the popularity of The Three Little Pigs). Basically Walt needed a sequel to his biggest hit since Steamboat Willie. So he brought Red back!
In The Big Bad Wolf, Red accompanies Fiddler Pig and Piper Pig through a forest to deliver food to her sick grandmother. The three meet "Goldilocks the Fairy Queen", who turns out to be the Big Bad Wolf in disguise. She escapes, but the wolf reaches her grandmother's house before her. When Little Red Riding Hood and the pigs reach the house, the wolf tries to eat them, but fortunately she finds refuge in a closet long enough for the other pigs to fetch their brother Practical Pig who rescues her. Here is Red from The Big Bad Wolf:

Red Riding Hood celebrating with her Grandma and The Three Pigs:

In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Red made a cameo around the end of the film with other toons.
In the episode "Big Bad Wolf Daddy" from House of Mouse (TV cartoon), when the wolf is introduced to perform, Red quickly demands her check in fear. Here she is from House of Mouse:

(2) The plane antics are revisited in Mickey Mouse's first cartoon, Plane Crazy, in 1928.
(3) Walt had a heavy hand in producing this film (although he animated it with Rudolph Ising). The look compared to the Laugh-O-Gram slides and political cartoons is very similar, with sparse backgrounds and clean lines.
(4) What's interesting, is that this is a linear story. Cartoons at the time mostly just featured gags with some situations tying them together. But this was the most complicated story in a cartoon at that time.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) In the scene with the cat shooting holes through the doughnuts, what makes it surreal is the old bearded man in the corner of the room that is leaning through in a picture frame. (2) Red's car is powered by a dog that is being drawn forward with sausages dangled on a stick behind the car. (3) She has a flat tire and blows up one of the donuts to fix it, which, based on the cat dying, is probably better than eating it.

VIOLENCE: (1) A mother is making donuts by throwing pastry into the air, while her cat shoots a hole through the pastry, and then landing the whole mess in a frying pan. (2) The cat eats one of the donuts, then dies (maybe by lead poisoning for shooting the doughnuts), and his nine lives fly out of him as a counter in the bottom right of the screen keeps track. (3) Some people who have watched it think the Wolf is raping Red. But it was probably not intended to be that extreme.

3) Laugh-o-grams 2: The Four Musicians of Bremen - August 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

All these laugh-o-grams are set in present times, the 1920s. The idea was that they were looney modern updates of classic fairy tales. Animation by Walt and Rudy Ising.

This short is based off The Bremen Town Musicians by the Brothers Grim. Read more about it here.

NOTES: (1) Walt never revisited this classic fairy tale. I don't know why not. It would have made a perfect Silly Symphony, since music is already the theme (and it's obviously too short of a story for a longer film). (2) They used painted backgrounds in this short, as Walt was trying to save money by creating lush backgrounds that he could reuse. It works fine here, as many of the scenes take place over a generic landscape. (3) The cat is very much like the cat in Little Red Riding Hood, and he is the star of this short. The cat also seems to become Julius, the main animated character from the Alice Comedies that Walt started one year later (scroll below to see those).

VIOLENCE: (1) The cat swims up after the fish, but runs into a swordfish that has removed it’s sword and is sharpening it. Right before the cat and the stray fish arrive, the swordfish tests out his new sword by cutting a fish in half ruthlessly. (2) The criminals attack the animals with swords and cannonballs.

4) Laugh-o-grams 3: Jack and the Beanstalk - September 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

No video.

Based on a story collected by the Brothers Grimm, "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Animation by Walt Disney, Rudolph Ising, Hugh Harman, Carman "Max" Maxwell, Lorey Tague, and Otto Walliman.

The only image we have is the poster, which I don't usually post because the art style doesn't reflect the actual film:

NOTES: (1) Disney later revisited this story twice with Mickey Mouse. The second version was in the 1933 Mickey short, Giant Land. (Mickey battled a giant again in The Brave Little Tailor in 1938.) Disney's third take on this tale was with Mickey and the Beanstalk, which was part of the film, Fun and Fancy Free from 1947. So basically, Walt visited this tale once a decade for three decades in a row (1922, 1933, and 1947). (2) Although it didn't originate from Disney, the Disney Channel showed this Japanese anime version of Jack and the Beanstalk in the 80s (and the kids voice is the same voice as in Super Book). (3) Walt's first laugh-o-gram with a full animation crew.

(4) When Walt created Little Red Riding Hood, he was still doing it in his spare time in his father’s garage. That film was for training for himself, but would later be released. The Four Musicians of Bremen was the first short intended for release. Based on those two films, Walt secured a contract to produce four more films (which is why his crew grew), after his boss at the Kansas City Slide Company (later Kansas City Film Ad Company) passed on the fairy tales. The four films included "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Goldie Locks and the Three Bears", "Puss In Boots" and "Cinderella."

Also, here's a 1933 telling of Jack and the Beanstalk from Ub Iwerks. Ub was the top animator at Walt's studio, but he was convinced to leave Disney and start his own studio. He featured Flip the Frog and these ComiColor cartoons. Take a look. This was arguably as good or better than Walt's 1933 cartoons:

5) Laugh-o-grams 4: Goldie Locks and the Three Bears - October 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

No video.

Based on a story collected by the Brothers Grimm, "Goldie Locks and the Three Bears."

Animation by Walt Disney, Rudolph Ising, Hugh Harman, Carman "Max" Maxwell, Lorey Tague, and Otto Walliman.

NOTES: (1) Disney revisted the Goldilocks story with the 1924 Alice Comedy, Alice and the Three Bears. This is the only other time that Disney has revisited this story. (2) In 1936, a version of the Three Bears was proposed as a Disney Silly Symphony with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other stock Disney characters in the familiar roles, but the film was never made. I think it should have been a Silly Sympohny instead.

6) Laugh-o-grams 5: Puss in Boots - November 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

In a split from the original story, the titled cat helps the young boy win the heart of the Princess by enlisting him in a bullfight.

Based on a story by Charles Perrault, "Puss in Boots."

Animation by Walt Disney, Rudolph Ising, Hugh Harman, Carman "Max" Maxwell, Lorey Tague, and Otto Walliman.

NOTES: (1) Most of these shorts featured a black cat that greatly resembled Felix the cat. Walt Disney would make this into a regular character, Julius, in his next series, the Alice Comedies. (2) Disney revisited this story once with the 1935 Silly Symphony, Robber Kitten. That short was a very scaled down version of the Puss in Boots story. (3) Disney has slacked on this character and allowed DreamWorks to claim it through the Shrek storyline (the first Disney character that DreamWorks managed to spoof and then claim for their own because people don't think of Boots as a Disney character). This will become abundantly clear when DreamWorks releases their Puss N Boots movie. (4) Probably the earliest Disney inside joke; when the boy and the cat are standing outside of a movie theater, one of the posters features "Cinderella," a Laugh-o-Gram then still in production. Pixar is the most notorious for doing this.

(5) The four main characters in this film, a boy, a girl, the cat and a dog are in the new title card for Laugh-O-Gram Films, so this short must have been one that was produced early on. (6) The King is played by the old man in the picture frame from Little Red Riding Hood. (7) The production value is also much higher here. The backgrounds are very detailed, with the crowd renderings in the bullfight scene deserving particular notice. (8) Walt revisits the bullfight theme in 1925 with Alice the Toreador and again in 1929 with the Silly Symphony, The Terrible Toreador.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) The movie theatre is another great sight gag, with one poster showing an ad for “Rudolph Vaselino,” an obvious play off of Rudolph Valentino. (2) The other poster shows an ad for “Cinderella” by Laugh-O-Grams Films. Neat little product placement. (3) The sign advertises "$5 Boots now $4.99." (4) The cat is a classic cartoon character in that he can do surrealistic things in a realistic world, like remove his tail and make a question mark as he does after the king throws them out. (This gag was already done by Felix the Cat. So obviously Walt was inspired and copying some gags.)

7) Laugh-o-grams 6: Cinderella - December 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

The traditional story with Cinderella as a 1920's flapper.

Animation by Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks, Rudolph Ising, Hugh Harman, Carman "Max" Maxwell, Lorey Tague, and Otto Walliman.

Based on a story by Charles Perrault in 1697, "Cinderella." The Brothers Grimm also told this tale, but they didn't include the Fairy Godmother.

NOTES: (1) Walt Disney only revisited this story one other time, in the 1950 feature-length film, Cinderella. (2) This was the first animation that also included Walt's friend, Ub Iwerks (friends since 1919, working together at the Pesman Art Studio in Kansas City; then they started their ill-fated partnership together, a commercial art business; Ub was the first animator to move to LA with Walt in 1923). (3) Features the same characters from Puss N Boots. I have a feeling that if this series was a success, then these characters would have been the main ones. (4) Disney puts animals into the story once again. The reason is because you need animals or something magical in a cartoon. Otherwise, why not do it in live action instead? (5) This is the last laugh-o-gram fairy tale.

VIOLENCE: (1) Prince shoots the bear in the bottom. (2) The dog hops on a bike to deliver the invitations like a paper boy. He hits a rock and tumbles down a hill, emerging from a cloud of dust with a bandaged head and a crutch. (3) A bystander comes by and says via word balloon “Are you hurt?” The dog simply looks at him, then bashes the man over the head with his crutch.

8) Tommy Tucker's Tooth - December 6, 1922 - Dir. by Walt Disney

An excerpt from the short:

Camera: Walt Pfeiffer

NOTES: (1) This was the first of two shorts that Walt Disney made for a local dentist to pay his bills ($500). You'll notice that he was light on shorts in 1923. He was scraping by that year. People have said that he pretty much lived out of the Laugh-o-gram studio, above a restaurant. He mostly ate out of cans, and he ate at the restaurant out of charity from the restaurant and in change for drawing portraits for the owner. This was perhaps the darkest year of Disney's life, but he kept at it. (2) This short was his first released short to combine live-action and animation, which naturally led him to his first series, the Alice Comedies. (Which later led to masterpieces like Mary Poppins. So it can be argued that if he hadn't taken on this job, he might have never experimented with combinations of live-action and animation.) (3) Back in the early 20's, teachers showed this film on proper dental care to grade students (so it was decently popular). (4) The name Tommy Tucker originated from this nursery rhyme.

Other 1922-1923 shorts.

Disney also made a few 300 foot shorts from 1922-1923 called "Laffets" that combined live action and animation. They included "Golf in Slow Motion," "Descha's Tryst with the Moon," "Aesthetic Camping," "Reuben's Big Day," "Rescued," "A Star Pitcher," "The Woodland Potter," and "A Pirate for a Day."


1) Alice Comedies 1: Alice's Wonderland - 1923 - Dir. by Walt Disney

The Fleischer brothers had already achieved some moderate success with their "Out of the Inkwell" series in which a cartoon character would jump into and interact with the real world. Disney envisioned a series where a live actor would be put into a cartoon world.

The full short:

This home video montage includes excerpts of Alice's Wonderland:

Animators: Ub Iwerks, Rudolph Ising

Technical Direction: Hugh Harman, Carmen Maxwell

Live Actors: Virginia Davis (Alice), Margaret Davis (Alice's mother ... Virginia Davis' mother in real life), Walt Disney (animator), Ub Iwerks (animator), Hugh Harman (animator), Rudolph Ising (animator)

Of course Disney revisited Alice famously with his 1951 feature-length adaption, which Tim Burton recently made a sequel to. Here's the Unbirthday song (which will annoy you if you're around the Teacup ride for an extended period at Disneyland):

Walt meets Julius:

NOTES: (1) Alice (Virginia Davis) interacts directly with Walt Disney. You also see the birth of the Julius cat character, who stars in the Alice Comedies series alongside Alice. (2) Also, at the Laugh-o-gram studios, Disney reportedly had a friend that was a mouse. This started him thinking about mice in the Alice Comedies and planted the first seeds for Mickey Mouse. (3) This is a good chance to take a look at Walt (without mustache) and his first animators. (4) It's interesting, because Walt had built a good group of animators here, and it was years before he got up to having a group as trained as this one, even though he was head-long in his successful Alice Comedies. Life is ironic like that. (5) Walt Disney scraped together his change (and the money made from Tommy Tucker's Tooth) to finish this short, a mix between live-action and animation and to buy a train ticket to California. Armed with this short (and his Laugh-o-grams), Disney got a distribution deal with Winkler productions, the company that distributed the Felix shorts and most of the other major shorts at the time. So this is basically an unaired pilot.

(6) Because Alice actually enters the world, which is the premise of the Alice Comedies, we are calling this the first episode of the Alice Comedies. (7) One of the cartoon scenes features a group of animated mice. Some interpreters have seen precursors of the character that was to become Mickey Mouse in this scene. (8) Some of the interaction between the live action and animation was so tricky that Alice's movements were at times composed of animated still photos, a process that was continued at times throughout the series. (9) With the concept of Walt hosting this short, you can't help but foresee his hosting the package films of the 40's and the Disneyland TV Show (and Wonderful World of Disney) from 1954 until his death in 1966. (10) The film's sudden ending before the actress wakes up (Alice jumps off the cliff when being chased by lions) is believed to be because Walt ran out of time and money, but it still works. (11) Using this film, Walt and Roy were able to secure the contract for Alice's Comedies and start their new company, the Disney Brothers Studio. (12) It wasn't originally shown in theaters, but it is believed to have been released as "Alice In Slumberland" on Sept. 29, 1926. Makes sense. The show was popular enough then. Might as well release this short in the series. (13) Virginia Davis was only four years old. Wow, she was good.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) Note the rubbery train. That was an uncommon style, and the style would get used more by Walt and Ub later on, and it would make Walt famous. (2) A rabbit and Alice jump into a rabbit hole. I can't resist. This is too perfect. This of course is a gag and reference to the book, which Walt later made into a feature-length film (1951). Here's the Rabbit scene from the film:

2) Martha - 1923 - Dir. by Walt Disney

This was a Sing-a-Long reel released in 1923 for the song "Martha: Just a Plain Old Fashioned Name."


1) Alice Comedies 2: Alice's Day at the Sea - March 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Part 1, Dutch titles:

Part 2, Dutch titles:

Animation: Walt Disney

Live Action Camera: Roy Disney

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, Walt Disney, and Peggy, the Dog

Here Walt plays Reggie. It starts with a bit about a dog in bed. Looks like some early inspiration for Pluto!!! The dog wakes up Alice and gets the car ready. (Wow, it looks like Burton's Frankenweanie and Pee Wee's Big Adventure were greatly inspired by this.) The animation here is mostly silliness just to help the story along, until her underwater dream sequence. That's where the live-action girl goes into the 2D animated world. It really reminds me of the clam story in the full-length Disney Alice in Wonderland movie, made in 1951. Here's the clam scene from the film:

The catfish looks like Felix the Cat! LOL. Observe:

Oh, and a sealion. Classic:

The original poster:

NOTES: (1) You'll notice that it took Walt Disney until March to get this distribution deal off the ground. Disney then insisted to have Virginia Davis move on down to California to continue her role as Alice in the Alice Comedies. (2) I'm calling Alice's Wonderland Alice Comedies 1, even though it officially isn't (it was later released as Alice in Slumberland). The reason, though, is that these aren't numbered by anyone otherwise, so I'm not bucking any known system. I'd rather have the 1923 pilot accounted for than to have it slip by in obscurity. (3) Walt signed a contract with Winkler calling for twelve more films (this was the first), whose option could be dropped after the first six if they proved unsatisfactory. (4) Disney moved into a small space at 4651 Kingswell Avenue. (Later that year, they would move into more spacious studios next door at 4649 Kingswell.) (5) For the first few shorts, Walt did all of the animation, and his brother Roy did all of the live-camera work. (6) Walt also recruited child actors from neighborhood children to provide Alice with others to play against in the live-action scenes.

2) Alice Comedies 3: Alice's Spooky Adventure - April 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Alice enters an abandoned house to retrieve a lost baseball and is knocked out. She dreams she is visiting a town called "Spookville" where she is chased by ghosts.

Animation: Walt Disney, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton

Live Action Camera: Roy Disney

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, Leon Holmes, & "Spec" O'Donnell

The show continued with the live-action, present-time premise. Her imagination gets the best of her, and she's whisked away into her cartoon imaginary world. Later on, she would already start in that world at the beginning of the shorts, and the shorts would rely more on the cartoon hijinks.

This short seems to have inspired two of Walt's later and more famous shorts, the first Silly Symphony, Skeleton Dance (1929):

... And Mickey's Haunted House, which came right right after (also in 1929; it borrowed animation from the Skeleton Dance and proved more popular):

Back to the Alice animation...

NOTES: (1) Finally a ghost runs up to Alice and asks her to “Take it off!” The ghost is referring to the sheet, but this is a little riskee the way it is said. (2) Under the sheet, is the cat, Julius, who is the continual refinement of the cat character found in the laugh-o-grams and since the first Alice's Wonderland short. (3) This is the first animation where Rollin "Ham" Hamilton joins Walt in animation. You'd think Ham would be loyal since he'd been around so long. But, nope, it's believed that Ham took off with most of Disney's animators when Mintz power-played Walt and stole Oswald. Ham seemed to have mostly worked for Lantz post Disney, working on the Bosko series and others. His IMDB. (4) Alice comes across a black cartoon cat in this short. He was missing in the next short (Wild West Show), as Disney never intended for him to be a regular character, but Margaret Winkler asked Disney to bring him back.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) The cat removes his tail to use as a bat, and then passes it off to Alice to use.

3) Alice Comedies 4: Alice's Wild West Show - May 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Alice and her friends put on a Wild West Show for the neighborhood kids where she regales the audience with her tales of cowboys and Indians.

Edited down. Titles are in English. Includes music (added later). Most of the animation is edited out. Some at 1:24. Wow, Alice gets that bully in the end!

Animation: Walt Disney, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, Tommy Hicks

Here are some images from the cartoon parts...

Alice in the cartoon...

NOTES: (1) Alice faces the Indians down inside a cave, where we can’t see the action. This was a common trick in Walt’s cartoons, as he used it in nearly all the Laugh-O-Grams. (2) When Wild Bill Hiccup escapes, Alice and our friend the dog from the Laugh-O-Gram days chase him down. So it's notable that Walt is using the laugh-o-gram characters. (3) Virginia Davis' acting gets up a notch in this short. She is much more animated, especially in her face.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) The safe reads “Mfg. by the Unsafe Safe Co.” (2) The short ends with Alice chasing him away and turning to the camera to grin, as we see her two front teeth missing.

4) Alice Comedies 5: Alice's Fishy Story - June 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Alice steals away from piano practice to go fishing and tells her friends a tale about fishing at the North Pole.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Animation: Walt Disney, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, Leon Holmes, Tommy Hicks, Walt Disney, Peggy the Dog

Here's Julius:

NOTES: (1) The animated portion of the short opens with Julius the cat, who has not yet been named as such, but we know that is what he will soon be called. (2) Walt drew the cat character in "Alice's Spooky Adventure," and the cat didn't appear in Wild West Show. Margaret Winkler (the distributor) asked Walt to bring the cat back for this short. (3) As the year went on, more artists were added to the staff. One of the more important additions was a girl who was hired to ink and paint cels, Lillian Bounds, who was eventually to become Mrs. Walt Disney. (4) One gag has Julius luring fish to the top of the ice with tobacco and then clubbing them when they come up. It was reused by Goofy in the 1935 short, "On Ice." Observe:

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) Alice manages to trick her mother by training the dog to play piano while she sneaks out the window. (2) Alice and Julius feed the Eskimos like seals.

5) Alice Comedies 6: Alice and the Dog Catcher - July 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Alice presides over a secret club which proposes to rid the town of dog catchers and free the dogs!

Part 1, Dutch titles:

Part 2, Dutch titles:

Animation: Walt Disney, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton

Live Action Camera: Harry Forbes

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, Leon Holmes, Tommy Hicks, Joe Allen, Peggy the Dog

Wow the dogcatcher is huge:

VIOLENCE: (1) It's kind of funny that Alice frees the dogs by blowing up the pound with TNT (it rains dogs). (2) Tubby nearly drives the stolen dogcatcher car into a guy on the street. (3) The kids laugh at the dogcatcher in the car going over a cliff at the end.

RACISM NOTES: Although it wasn't intended to be racist at the time... (1) Alice leads a meeting of the Klik Klak Klub, an unfortunate name in light of the later associations for KKK. (2) All the kids are wearing bags over their heads, reminiscent of hoods. (3) The one African-American kid is included almost as a servant of the other kids. (4) The black member wears a bag with blackface on it (supposed to be a joke).

6) Alice Comedies 7: Alice the Peacemaker - August 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

No video.

Alice tries to break up a fight between two newsboys by telling them a story of a feuding cat and mouse.

Characters: Alice, Ike the Mouse, Mike the Cat

Animation: Rollin "Ham" Hamilton, Ub Iwerks

Live Action Camera: Harry Forbes

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, Leon Holmes, "Spec" O'Donnell

NOTES: (1) The cat's name is Mike here, but he is later known as Julius. (2) This is Ub Iwerks' first Alice Comedy (other than Alice's Wonderland), and it shows. The animation is much more fluid and enjoyable, with smarter gags. (3) Also due to Ub's influence, this mouse looks a lot like what Mickey Mouse will look. (4) For the first time, because Ub is there, the quality of the animation is back up to the level of the Laugh-o-gram shorts. Walt knew it too, because he was using animation less and less. This short relies heavily on the animation.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) The cat and mouse hang a sheet in front of a horse’s rear, paint their pictures on it, and watch as the dog attacks the sheet, gets kicked by the horse and goes sailing through the air. (2) The cat’s tail is used as a paintbrush. (3) Then the horse giggles after kicking the dog. =^)

7) Alice Comedies 8: Alice Gets in Dutch - November 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

Alice misbehaves in school and is forced to sit in the corner. She falls asleep and dreams, but schoolwork intrudes even into her dreams.

Director: Walt Disney

Animation: Ub Iwerks, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton

Live Action Camera: Harry Forbes

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis, "Spec" O'Donnell, David F. Hollander, Marjorie Sewell, Mrs. Hunt (?), Peggy the Dog

The cat is prominently featured in the title card:

NOTES: (1) It's interesting that the cartoon animals are the dog, cat, and donkey. These are three of the four Musicians of Bremen characters from the Laugh-o-gram in 1922. (2) The technique of combining live action and drawings is suffering in this short; at some scenes Alice is rendered so light, she's almost invisible.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) The not-yet-named Julius fires a pepper cannon that makes the teacher and the books sneeze. (2) The teacher grows horns at one point.(3) The teacher sneezes her hair off, and the books sneeze all their pages off, ending their threat. (4) Julius sneezes his face off. (5) They sneeze a hole into the ground, which the animals jump into to get away from the teacher.

VIOLENCE: (1) The teacher and books pull out cannons and start firing them at Alice and her animal friends. (2) The teacher chases down Alice with a sword and pokes her.

8) Alice Comedies 9: Alice Hunting in Africa - November 15, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

No video.

Alice and Julius hunt wild game in Africa with differing results.

Animation: Walt Disney; touched up by Ub Iwerks, "Ham" Hamilton, and Thurston Harper

Live Action Camera: Roy Disney

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis

NOTES: (1) Even though it was the third Alice short made, it was not released until this time (November) because of Margaret Winkler's dissatisfaction with it (she's the distributor). For this official release, parts of the animation were redone by Ub Iwerks, "Ham" Hamilton, and Thurston Harper. (2) The animation still wasn't very good, and so the live action footage was reused later in 1925's "Alice in the Jungle." (In other words, they remade it with new animation so that it was a better, finished piece.) (3) Alice becomes animation, in places where the live action Alice would not show up.

VIOLENCE: (1) Alice is chasing a bear with a shotgun. (2) The elephant launches a cannonball from it's trunk that knocks a hole in a sleeping hippo. (3) Julius shoots the spots off a cheetah.

9) Alice Comedies 10: Alice and the Three Bears - December 1, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

In a twist on the traditional story, Alice comes across three bears operating a still, and she and Julius have to fight their way free.

Director: Walt Disney

Animation: Ub Iwerks, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis

This is Walt's second and last take on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (his first was the 1922 Laugh-o-gram fairy tale). Walt was thinking of doing a Mickey Mouse short on this tale, but it never happened.

NOTES: (1) The bears start in a still, making beer. (2) This is the first short to completely take place in the animation world. They don't even bother setting up the cartoon dream sequence.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) To get more hops for the beer, the baby bear chases a frog and nets the word "Hop" as the frog hops away. (2) Julius summons his nine lives to attack the bears. (3) Julius gives his ninth life beer/moonshine, which gives it the strength to beat the bears.

10) Alice Comedies 11: Alice the Piper - December 15, 1924 - Dir. by Walt Disney

No video.

A take on the story of "The Pied Piper on Hamelin" as Alice and Julius are hired to rid the town of rats.

Animation: Ub Iwerks, Rollin "Ham" Hamilton, Thurston Harper

Live Action Actors: Virginia Davis

Disney later revisited the Pied Piper story in the Silly Symphony, "The Pied Piper," in 1933. In that version, the rats are led off to a rat utopia (and not drowned in the river) and the children are led off into a special child utopia dimension in the mountain side that is closed off (and a child throws away his crutches as he enters; kind of like heaven for kids).

NOTES: (1) You'll notice that the cameraman isn't credited anymore because the only live action is Alice now. (2) Recent showings on The Disney Channel (1998) omit the final scene showing Alice and Julius vacuuming up the King after finding out their reward was less than they expected. This is probably not a deliberate cut, but the result of Disney having to use the only print available to them.

NOTABLE GAGS: (1) The king posts a reward sign, offering $5.00 (five dollars) to anyone who can rid the kingdom of the rats. The mischievous rats, meanwhile, change the sign to read $5,000 reward. This is a clever setup to how the Pied Piper (Alice and Julius) get stiffed. The king gives them $5.00 and not the $5,000 they expected. (2) Since the music isn't working, they use a vacuum cleaner.

Click here for Part 2 of this series, 1925-1927.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tim Burton's first Short after CalArts - Vincent

Tim Burton studied at CalArts 1976 - 1979 and was hired by Walt Disney studios. Vincent is the first short film, Tim Burton made after he graduated CalArts (California Institute of the art), founded by Walt Disney.


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