The Skeleton Dance was the first animated short in Disney’s Silly Symphony series, produced in 1929 by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks.
The storyline is simple. After an opening that includes an hooting owl, a howling dog, and screeching black cats (classic spooky characters), four skeletons awake from their graves and begin to dance to classical music in a graveyard. The skeletons play some of the music with makeshift instruments, including a cat as a bass and one of their own as a xylophone. They use each other as pogo sticks and disassemble and reassemble themselves in humorous ways. At the crow of the rooster, they race back into the grave before morning.
The Skeleton Dance is highly regarded in the animation industry. It was named as number 18 in The 50 Greatest Cartoons, a 1994 book by historian Jerry Beck.
Silly Symphony Series
The 75 Silly Symphony shorts were produced from 1929 to 1939, and were each set to classical music. Flowers and Trees, the 29th short in the series, won the first Academy Award for Animated Short Film.