Pinocchio: The little puppet made of pine is 75

This post is based on an entry to my gBlog.

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

On 7 february 1940, Pinocchio, Walt Disney’s second animated feature, premiered at the Center Theatre in New York City. The story of course, is familiar: Woodworker Geppetto’s wish to have a real boy is fulfilled as his creation, the wooden puppet Pinocchio, proves himself to be brave, truthful, and unselfish.

While the film was considered a financial failure at the time – unable to recoup its roughly $2.3 million budget – Pinocchio has since earned millions in its reissues and video/DVD sales.

The more interesting story for me is the breakthrough visuals and animation that the film employed. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston animated Pinocchio’s early scenes. But Walt Disney was not on board until a young animator, Milt Kahl evoked a more innocent and coy personality for the character.

Joe Grant’s department built three-dimensional clay models (maquettes) of the characters. The artists then observed the characters from every angle and the results were transferred onto animation cels, giving the film a groundbreaking depth and character integration in animation. The film also used live actors to observe human movement and stop-motion effects for action sequences.

The handwork throughout the film is truly beautiful art in its own right: From sketches and character studies through storyboards and animation cels. Time Magazine, among other reviewers, praised the art of the film:

“In craftsmanship and delicacy of drawing and coloring, in the articulation of its dozens of characters, in the greater variety and depth of its photographic effects, it tops the high standard Snow White set. The charm, humor and loving care with which it treats its inanimate characters puts it in a class by itself.”

Pinocchio went on be the first animated motion picture to receive competitive Academy Awards, winning for Best Original Song (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) and Best Original Score.

The artistry of the film set the standard for future animators. Live on Pinocchio!

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

animation cels, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, entertainment, drawings, notable anniversaries, drawings, storyboards

Images: Cels, Animation Sensations / Drawings and storyboards of Pinocchio, The Blue Fairy, Jiminy Cricket, Stromboli, Geppetto and Cleo from around the web.

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