Uncategorized, History, Disney Films, Animation

Today in Disney History: The Skeleton Dance

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 Story

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.

Disney Films, History

Today in Disney History: Flowers and Trees Released in 1932

 

Flowers and Trees
Flowers and Trees Theatrical Release Poster

Flowers and Trees, released on July 30, 1932, is part of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony series of cartoon shorts. Set to classical music, the film features flowers, trees, mushrooms, birds, and other living things waking on a lovely spring morning. Two young trees are in love, and a third, older tree is clearly jealous. The older tree starts a fire in anger after losing a fight, but the birds are there to save the day.

 

Flowers and Trees was the first commercially released film to use three-strip Technicolor, which helped propel the film to win the first Academy Award for Animated Short Subjects. Walt Disney would go on to win this category with other short cartoons the next 10 out of 11 years!

There are 75 short animated films in Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony series. Familiar titles include:

  • The Skeleton Dance (1929)
  • The Ugly Duckling (1931)
  • The Three Little Pigs (1933)
  • The Wise Little Hen (1934) – The first appearance of Donald Duck
  • The Tortoise and the Hare (1935)

The Silly Symphony series gave Walt the freedom to experiment with animation, special effects, and story telling. This undoubtedly paved the way for his future success in full-length animated films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was released in 1937.