It all started with a mouse part 2: 1937-1939

If you haven’t read the first part click Here

In this part of my timeline I will be covering the years 1937-1939 which means we have come to our first Disney full length animated film; Snow White and the seven dwarfs.

So with the success of his animated shorts Walt set his sights on and new and harder challenge of creating a full animated movie. Walt believed the story of Snow White would be the perfect story to tell. However the human characters presented the animators with their biggist challenge. No one had ever animated a realistic girl before but Walt was determined to create a beautiful fairy tale princess that was believable. So he pioneered a landmark method of training sending his animators to act classes to study the human form and movement. He hired artist that specialised in traditional painting and sculpture. So the animators would find ways to make Snow White more believable one of which was to apply real make up to here to give her cheeks a rosey glow.

The next challenge was the dwarfs. The filmmakers spent hours discussing everything about the dwarfs how they move, act and even hold there hands. The animators managed to convey personality and attitude just though the shape of there body. However Dopey was more of a challenge. At first he didn’t have a suitable voice or even a name. eventually Fred Moore drew the seventh dwarfs with the simple child like appeal that Disney wanted. Walt was the one who made the decision that he wouldn’t talk and gave him the name Dopey.

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Four year of work and a record shattering $1.5 million budget Disney unveiled Snow White on 21st December 1937. However that almost never happened. Walt and his team only just meet their deadline and 2 prints of the completed film were deliver to theatre just hours before the premiere.

Snow white was one of the first films to have related merchandise available at the time of the premiere.

Snow White became the top of the box office for a year until it was knocked off by gone with the wind. Snow White made $418.2 million at the box office.

A “special” academy award granted to the film in 1939. This award is made up pf a regular sized award and seven smaller sized awards.

Fun Facts:

  • There was a song written for the film that never made it into the final version called “music in your soup”
  • Roy Disney created the sound of the floor creaking with Dopey slow footsteps by slowly bending an empty leather wallet back and forth.
  • Walt Disney wanted to keep Snow White’s voice as a special one-time sound, and held Adriana Caselotti to a very strict contract. Except for a tiny bit part in The Wizard of Oz (1939), she never had a real singing part in a movie again, though she was a classically trained singer.
  • Storyboards for a sequel to this movie were discovered in the Disney Company vault titled “Snow White Returns”. Upon examining the length of the script and storyboards, it seemed like it was meant to be a short film than a full length movie. It was also meant to include revised versions of the “Soup” & “Bed Bulding” scenes that were excluded from the movie itself. The real reason for why this sequel never went further than preproduction is anyone’s guess. It’s unknown if Walt Disney really wanted this to be made in the first place.

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1938- SillySymphonies merbabies

Merbabies is a collaboration between Walt Disney and Harman and Ising, the latter studio having donated artists to Disney to work on the production of Snow White. You can watch merbabies in full here.

1939- the autograph hound

The Autograph Hound is a 1939 Donald Duck cartoon which features Donald Duck as an autograph hunter in Hollywood. Many celebrities from the 1930s are featured. This is the first cartoon where Donald Duck is featured in his blue sailor hat. You can watch The Autograph Hound here.

Thank for reading the second part of the history of disney in the next part I will be doing 1940 – 1941. These years include Pinoccihio, Fantasia and Dumbo.

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