VOTD: How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made

Check out this vintage Disney-produced short informational documentary How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made which shows how the the studio created the first animated feature film ever produced. The documentary played before feature films in 1939.
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What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 32 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 22 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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24 Frames has learned that Walt Disney Pictures is in talks to acquire Tiki, a screenplay written by musician Ahmet Zappa (yes, son of Frank Zappa) and writing partner Michael Wilson (Shark Tale, Ice Age, Burn Notice, Monster Witness Relocation Program). While the story is not directly related the the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction at Disneyland, Zappa and Wilson were inspired by the animatronic show and decided to write “an action-adventure that mixes in Polynesian mythology.”

I was just at Disneyland a couple weeks ago and visited the Tiki Room, which is one of the older attractions which many of the Disneyland visitors passby on the way to Indiana Jones. It’s one of the most underrated gems in the park, an attraction opened by Walt Disney himself in June 23rd 1963 featuring a room which would come to life using the latest in Audio-Animatronic technology.

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On December 23, 1935, Walt Disney wrote an eight page letter to a gentleman named Don Graham at the Chouinard Art Institute (now Cal Arts) asking him to help train new, and improve old, Disney animators. Walt felt that many of the men he employed weren’t working up to their potential and that by focusing on a few simple things, the studio’s output would improve exponentially. Well, after this letter, the studio released – in order – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. So, it seemed to have worked.

The letter is a fascinating look into the genius mind of Walt Disney, as it details the unique way he looked at movies, humor, drawing, running a company and much more. He details the minutia – such as body type and rhythm of movement – of animation and implores animators not to ignore these incredibly important things. Animators, or just fans of Disney, should really enjoy this. Check out scans of the letter and link to the full transcript after the break. Read More »

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Below the break are the first installments of The Frogumentary, my videoblog from Walt Disney Animation Studios. It takes us behind the scenes of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and the studio’s return to hand drawn animation. If you, like me, live in the UK, today’s the day the movie opens nationwide for you and, not to put too fine a point on it, I can’t really recommend it enough.

You may choose to watch all of the videoblog installments in order, and get an overview of the entire production pipeline for a modern hand-drawn animation movie, or you may choose to watch only the chapters that particularly interest you. After the break are the first two episodes. I hope you’ll agree that they push to go places that typical DVD supplements or TV coverage of movies don’t.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

VOTD: Walt’s Ashes

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Remember when Disney characters were allowed characters to smoke on film? I thought we’d follow up Ressemblance, the video which compiles the many recycled animated sequences from Disney history with Walt’s Ashes, a compilation of smoking scenes from the animation studio’s classic films. Watch the video after the jump.
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Mickey Mouse’s 80th Birthday

Happy Birthday to the world’s most famous animated mouse – Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney‘s Steamboat Willie premiered on November 18th 1928 at the Broadway Theater.

In the new issue of Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola’s slept-on literary magazine, John Hughes has written an elegant and amusing foreword to his short story, “Vacation ’58,’ which became the classic road-trip comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation. It’s a whirlwind tale, with Hollywood quietly snapping up the rights, and Hughes, to his amazement, finding himself adapting the screenplay, suddenly outfitted with the sine quibus non of show biz.

“This was all happening during Hollywood’s post-Shampoo era of gold chains, red Ferraris, and big sideburns. As a print humorist—envisioning myself as Chicago’s Booth Tarkington Jr.—I willfully knew nothing of show business. …When I arrived at the incipient powerhouse Creative Artists Agency in my poplin suit and rep tie, I was mistaken for an IRS agent. Despite my contrastive definition of hip, I passed the audition and got the Agent and the requisite accessory, the Lawyer.”

Hughes discusses switching out the short story’s Walt Disney for the film’s Roy Walley, a blatant and arguably more effective knockoff. The gig also marked his first encounter with infamous test audiences. It resulted in a new ending for the film, one he still favors less than the original…

“…the ending—was thoroughly despised by preview audiences. Roy Walley and his executive committee dancing and singing with neckties on their heads and Clark W. Griswold heading off to jail was better on paper. I was hired again for a rewrite, and I wrote my first happy ending. I preferred the original and still do, but the rewrite gave me an introduction to John Candy, with whom I would eventually match the coherence of cruelty, sorrow, disappointment, and farce that underpinned ‘Vacation ’58.'”

If you’re interested in the history of American comedy and/or a fan of the film, this is a must read. The republished short story is only available in the print edition—the issue was designed by Devo’s Mark Motherbaugh, cool—but Hughes’s entire foreword is now online.

via Alex Blagg

Discuss: Is National Lampoon’s Vacation the best road-trip comedy? If not, what is?

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