Commemorating Walt Disney, 50 years after his death
The Walt Disney Studios are the most successful film studios in the world. Fifty years after his death, a new book takes a close look at genius cartoon artist and movie pioneer Walt Disney.
Walt Disney, born in 1901 in Chicago, was an ingenious cartoon artist - a fact lovingly documented in "The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921-1968." The coffee table book contains hundreds of sketches and drawings that give the reader an idea of how the most famous Disney movies were created.
Animation meets the real world
In the 1920s, long before Mickey Mouse and Snow White, young Walt directed and produced the "Alice Comedies" series, where a real-life little girl named Alice and a cartoon cat have all sorts of adventures in a cartoon world. The scene pictured above shows Virginia Davis on the set of "Alice's Spooky Adventure."
The new book with its more than 1,500 illustrations meticulously follows Disney's career from the early days to two years after his death on December 15, 1966. The focus is on the Disney motion pictures that amazed and drew crowds back then, and are still beloved today. The 1937 "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" was Walt Disney's first long feature film - and was a huge box office hit.
Legendary cartoon characters
The characters Disney dreamed up are known worldwide - for instance, Mickey Mouse. It's not certain, however, who the father of the famous mouse was. Walt Disney's art director Ub Iwerks is also credited with inventing the cartoon character. Disney stopped drawing in 1926, but - ever the perfectionist - he continued to pull the strings and no cartoon ever left the studios without his approval.
Dreams are forever
"Pinocchio," "Dumbo," "Bambi," "Fantasia," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" (pictured) were all released in the 1940s and 1950s. These full-length feature films were beautifully animated, whisking the audience away to dream worlds that seemed to be boundless.
The making of a cartoon film
Many thousands of people were involved in the production of Disney feature films, mainly graphic artists and painters. Hundreds of sketches were made, one of many steps on the path to the final finished product. The films then flickered across movie screens worldwide, but under just one single name: Walt Disney. Pictured above is a sketch for the 1959 animated film "Sleeping Beauty."
Browsing through the magnificent 600-page illustrated book brings back childhood memories of going to the movies to see the most recent Disney film, or watching the beloved old movies with one's own children on video or DVD. "That's not a bird, that's a butterfly!" The tale of "Bambi" (1942) is a classic to this day.
The Walt Disney Film Archives
"The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921-1968," published by Daniel Kothenschulte, was created in cooperation with the Walt Disney Archives and Libraries in the US. Numerous Disney experts give introductions into Disney's oeuvre and the individual films. The book is in English, with a German-language supplement.