Toon Talk: Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies
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ACCENT ON MUSIC:
The Skeleton Dance
August 22, 1929. Directed by Disney. Black and white.
Summary: The bones of the dead rise from their graves for a midnight jamboree.
Behind the Scenes: The very first Silly Symphony, with animation by Ub Iwerks and music by Carl Stalling.
The China Plate
May 23, 1931. Directed by Jackson. Black and white.
Summary: Intricate artwork on the title object comes to life, telling the story of a little Chinese girl whose adventures begin when she chases a butterfly.
Behind the Scenes: An enchanting musical score highlights this forgotten short.
August 27, 1931. Directed by Jackson. Black and white.
Summary: A spider wanders into a pyramid and discovers dancing mummies and animated hieroglyphics.
Behind the Scenes: Considering their dance moves, those mummies appear to have seen The Skeleton Dance.
Flowers and Trees
July 30, 1932. Directed by Gillett.
Summary: In an enchanted glade, the anthropomorphic title characters find love and battle a nasty old tree who threatens their happiness.
Behind the Scenes: Production on this short was already started in black and white when Walt learned of the Technicolor process for animation. All footage was scraped and redone in color, at considerable expense. The first color cartoon, the short was a huge success and won the very first Academy Award for animated short.
The Cookie Carnival
May 25, 1935. Directed by Ben Sharpsteen.
Summary: A boy cookie helps a girl cookie enter a beauty contest to become Cookie Queen.
Behind the Scenes: Clever characterizations of such treats as devil's food cake and rum cookies.
October 5, 1935. Directed by Jackson.
Summary: In this Romeo and Juliet story, the two royal descendants of the battling Land of Symphony and Isle of Jazz fall in love.
Behind the Scenes: A purely original story, with all dialogue provided by musical sounds.
March 13, 1937. Directed by Jackson.
Summary: All the caterpillars join in for this ugly bug ball.
Behind the Scenes: More Hollywood caricatures, including Lionel Barrymore.
October 14, 1938. Directed by Jack Cutting.
Summary: The animal inhabitants of a farm come to musical life, most notably an amorous rooster and his pretty hen.
Behind the Scenes: Many famous classical themes, such as Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody, can be heard in this animal opera. Cutting's directorial debut. Listen close to the duck, and you may recognize his voice.
Easter Egg: On the "Accent on Music" menu, click on the saxophone's "hat". Walt reviews the history of Chanteclair the Rooster, the Canterbury Tales character that inspired this short.