Walt Disney

I'll tell you, I was a big Bugs Bunny fan as a kid. If you would have posed the "Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse?" question to me..it would have been Bugs all the way. He had so much personality, and Disney cartoons...well, they just didn't have the same sass.

Disclaimer: this attitude did not reflect my attitude toward Disney live action. I couldn't get enough Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, or Parent Trap when I was little.

But now that I'm all grown up, I see the artistry of Walt Disney animation in a whole new light. This shift actually began when my daughter was about four, and her very favorite movie was Snow White. I had never actually seen it...and well...it was just lovely. No other way to say it. You could see the hand in the animation and the care taken to block out every frame with artistic balance. My mind had been changed.

Sure, I could take or leave some of the more recent animated Disney efforts, but there is a special place in my heart for the original classics like Snow White, Pinocchio, or Peter Pan.

I was fortunate enough to get to see a traveling exhibit of treasures of the Walt Disney archives in Chicago last month. That (mostly hand-made) collection of props, models, and original artwork on display reinforced my newish respect for Disney.

Take a look at what really caught my eye:

This is a hand-made prop of the submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was absolutely stunning. I could have sat there all day and just counted the rivets.

This is an actual early Disney animation desk. It is a work of art in itself.

This is a close-up of an original Disney animation title card. I was knocked out by the subtle color pops in the shading.

If only I could have stolen this beautiful background painting from Pinocchio...

This is part of the costume worn by the artists model who posed live and on video for the animators reference on Snow White. My gosh it was beautifully sewn. (It was tiny. Had to be a size 0.)
It's hard to see, but this is a contraption where they slid in painted clear glass panels and then shot through with the camera for a 3D effect. This one was used on their first animated feature, Snow White.
The book at the opening of Snow White was carved out of wood by hand and gilded.

Storyboards for the penguin scene in Mary Poppins. Again, I could have studied this all day.

I don't need to tell you what this is.
Or this.
The color harmony, hand lettering, and composition took my breath away on this poster for an early Disney short.

This is the hem of Alice's skirt from the recent Alice in Wonderland. Yeah...I'm calling them out on that machine embroidery. Tisk-tisk.

If you get a chance to go see this exhibit yourself, please do! It's worth the price of admission.


PS - I still love Bugs Bunny too! I mean really, everything I ever learned about opera was from him.

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