Friday, December 21, 2012

The 75th Anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In 1933, there was a letter written that stated that as far as animation is concerned, it should be limited to short subjects with funny animal characters because animating humans properly was beyond understanding. A year later Walt Disney accepted the challenge and began work on the first ever full length animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." No one thought it should be done, even Walt's brother Roy and wife Lilian did not think that anyone would sit and watch a full length animated film. But Walt soldiered on insisting he could do it for $250,000. As time passed that number sky rocketed to $1,488,422.74, a massive sum for a feature film in 1937. The news media called it  "Disney's Folly" while it was in production. Walt fought to get it made, mortgaging his house in the process to help finance the film. Walt hired a total of 750 artists to work on the film. Over 2 million sketches were made and the final film featured a whopping 250,000 pictures. The animators most of which had a background in newspaper cartooning were given grueling anatomy courses to be able to animate the human form and live models and dancers were brought in to be studied. All of this resulted in the creation of whats been called the greatest animated film of all time by the American Film Institute.
The film premiered on December 21st, 1937 at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood to a wildly receptive audience, many of whom that had dubbed the film "Disney's Folly", and received a standing ovation from the audience comprised of the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, and Jack Benny to name just a few. The film became the highest grossing film ever but became displaced by Gone With the Wind in 1940. Walt received an honorary Oscar featuring a full sized statuette and seven tiny ones presented to him by Shirley Temple. So today we honor possibly the greatest achievement in the history of animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Happy 75th Anniversary.

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