Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Walt Disney (1901 - 1966)

A name that has become synonymous with animation, Walt Disney started his career creating "Alice Comedies", short films that combined live action and animation.  Whilst the early works were popular, declining audiences led Disney to develop his first comercially successful animated character, Oswald the Rabbit.  A lawsuit by Disney's distributor led to him loosing the rights to Oswald, forcing him to develop a new character, Mickey Mouse (As a result of this, Disney ensured that he kept the rights to all of his subsequent characters) (, 2011). 

Fig. 1 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
  The dispute with his distributor had resulted with Disney losing all of his animators except his friend Ub Iwerks, forcing him to produce his next animation on a shoestring budget (according to some sources, Disney's wife was drafted in to ink the animation cels (Peter, 1990)).  The first two Mickey Mouse films were not commercial successes; however, following the debut of The Jazz Singer, the first film to succesfully synchronise film and sound, Disney used the technology to add sound to the third film, Steamboat Willie.  As well as being the first animated film to feature synchronised sound, Steamboat Willie was a massive comercial success.
Fig. 2 Steamboat Willie [Film Still]
Disney continued to push the developement of animation; he created the first animation in colour (Flowers and Trees (1932), which was also the first animation to win an oscar), the multiplane camera (which enabled the use of up to 7 different layers in the creation of animations), the first talking animated character (Mickey Mouse, voiced by Disney himself whilst he was alive) and finally, the first feature length animated film (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)).
Fig. 3 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
 The animation studio founded by Disney is credited with being one of the most important institutions in the history of animation; as well as pioneering animation technologies, it was responsible for formalising "the 12 rules of animation" that are used by animators to this day.

List of Illustrations

Figure 1.  Universal Pictures (c1927) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit [Digital Image] At: (Accessed on 05/04/2011)

Figure 2.  Walt Disney Productions (1928) Steamboat Willie [Film Still] Online At: (Accessed on 05/04/2011)

Figure 3.  Walt Disney Productions (1937) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [Digital Image] At: (Accessed on 05/04/2011)

Bibliography (2011) Walt Disney (1901 - 1966) [Online] At: (Accessed on 05/04/2011)

Peter, T (1990) Walt Disney - Biography In: [Online] At: (Accessed on 05/04/2011)

TCM Staff (2011) Walt Disney: Biography In: [Online] At:|153163/Walt-Disney/ (Accessed on 05/04/2011)

No comments:

Post a Comment