When I was eight or ten years old, I saw an ad in The American Boy magazine of a dancing skeleton, and I got my dad to give me a quarter so I could send for it. The Skeleton Dance was released in 1929, the first Silly Symphonies animated short. Museum Temporary Closed beginning Sunday, November 29. Thank YOO!!!! Iwerks went to the local library for inspiration. Required fields are marked *. The music did sound familiar, but I could not place it. As Disney wrote, “Carl’s idea of the ‘Skeleton Dance’ for a Musical Novelty has been growing on me. And — let’s not forget the brilliant contribution of MARY TEBB — who single-handedly did all of the Inking & Painting on THE SKELETON DANCE at Disney Studios! 2. He is coauthor, with Russell Merritt, of two essential reference works on Disney animation history: Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney and Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series. Part of the animation appeared in the 2007 film Ghost Rider. Then come the suave, effervescent skeletons. The very ending, where the skeleton arm pulls the skeleton feet into the crypt, comes from Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, which, like the march, was in every silent film organist’s repertoire, along with J. Bodewalt Lampe’s “Villain’s Theme”, heard earlier in the cartoon. As Disney wrote, “Carl’s idea of the ‘Skeleton Dance’ for a … Geraldinebisset47. What is your reaction? Loved this from the moment I first saw it on TV as a kid. For a great Disney cartoon with a jazzy vibraphone solo, please see “The Plastics Inventor” (1944) starring Donald Duck. Stalling had pitched an idea for a film he called “The Skeleton Dance,” set in a graveyard, that would not only be a pilot, but also a template for a series built on comic dance routines and classical music. But most intriguing, it provided the chance to break away from gag-centered cartoons in favor of atmospheric mood pieces. The Skeleton Dance, A Disney Silly Symphony HAPPY HALLOWEEN! The Skeleton Dance screen art and logo; Sculpted ''bone'' handle; Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of Walt Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon series; The Skeleton Dance premiered in theatres on August 22, 1929; The bare necessities. Interesting that Disney seemed to rely a lot on Pat Powers’ judgment on this cartoon, as he later compares Powers to a crooked street car conductor who throws his hat full of money in the air and whatever doesn’t stay up in the air he pockets! It was the first time in history that a cartoon had had a second engagement at the theater. J.B. Kaufman is a Disney author and film historian on the staff of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, and he has published extensively on topics including Disney animation and American silent film. It resembles a xylophone or marimba, but with bars and resonators made of aluminium, and is likewise played with mallets. Insensitive racial, cultural, ethnic, and religious cartoons of the past were in a small way a mirror of what the United States was, and unfortunately on several fronts what it continues to be — which is evident by the current unsettling racially divisive political and social climate that has tragically seeped into the landscape of America from “sea to shining sea.” One cannot escape the reality that the United States of America has from day one been more like the Divided States of America or simply the States of America. In Walt Disney: First animated cartoons …Symphonies with a picture entitled The Skeleton Dance, in which a skeleton rises from the graveyard and does a grotesque, clattering dance … Russell Merritt teaches courses at University of California Berkeley in national cinemas, animation, and film styles and genre. The Danse Macabre was a popular subject of late medieval allegorical art in the aftermath of the Black Death, notably the woodcuts of Holbein the Younger. ‘Maybe he can get him to look at your skeleton film’. The first, on 20 September 1928, indicates simply and idea for a “musical novelty,” some combination of music and animation. Between each bar and its corresponding resonator is a disc; these discs are connected to an axle that can be made to rotate by means of a motor, producing the characteristic vibrato or tremolo effect. A fan has remastered Disney’s 1929 animated short ‘The Skeleton Dance’ completely in 4K, and it looks as impressive as one could imagine. The first of the Classic Disney Shorts series Silly Symphonies, "The Skeleton Dance", first appearing in 1929, —is certainly one of the earliest of the macabre type of toon. I think it has dandy possibilities.” And by the time of the historic opening of Steamboat Willie at the Colony Theatre in mid-November, both Disney and Iwerks were busy working with Stalling to create their pilot. Wash throughly before first use; Microwave and dishwasher safe; Ceramic; 5 1/2'' H x 3 1/2'' Diameter (5 1/2'' W at handle) Holds 16 oz. . our special selection of haunted cartoon shorts such as The Skeleton Dance, The Mad Doctor, Pluto’s Judgment Day, and more. It turned out to be a pasteboard cut-out of a loose-jointed skeleton, slung over a six-foot cord under the arm pits. 3) © Disney. She later left Disney and headed up the I&P team at Iwerks animation and their early work on the ComiColor cartoons. In “Danse Macabre”, the spectre of Death is represented by a solo violin with its high E string tuned down a semitone, creating a dissonance known in early music as the diabolus in musica (the devil in music), which church composers were taught to avoid at all costs (mainly because it’s very hard to sing). Footage from this short was used in the Disney Sing Along Songs volume Happy Haunting: Party at Disneyland for the song \"Spooky Scary Skeletons\". The short was so important in 1994 it was declared one of the 50 greatest cartoons. Stalling suggested the idea for a series of musical one-shot cartoons to Disney at a gag meeting … The Skeleton Dance is a 1929 Silly Symphony animated short subject produced and directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks. It was also a bonus on the original Sony DVD (now out of print). *Breaking News* I don’t know whether Stalling used it in any cartoon prior to “The Skeleton Dance”, but it was a brand new instrument at the time; the first commercially available vibraphone with motor and sustain pedal, known by the brand name “Vibraharp”, only came on the market in 1927. Your email address will not be published. Father’s friend sent him to a salesman on Film Row. In the 1929 Silly Symphony, “The Skeleton Dance,” a group of bony buddies awaken to strut in silly syncopation through a cemetery. ‘Leave your picture here, Disney,’ the Kelly player said. But after getting poor reactions from exhibitors who felt the film was grotesque, Pat Powers wrote back tersely: “They don’t want this. Dark Disney Illustration. A single skeleton quadruples itself behind a tombstone and four bodies present themselves to perform an eccentric dance. Every year, I show this cartoon to a new group of ESL students at Halloween. Flash frames set the scene: black and white blank cels, alternating with frames of jagged white spikes drawn against black background create the lightning. It’s astonishing to me that Carl Stalling is not an official Disney Legend. As a result, Miller showed The Skeleton Dance with a feature picture he was running. While not specifically stated to be Halloween, merely a supernatural frolic during the midnight hour, this five-and-a-half minute innovative short cartoon certainly encapsulates the imagery and spirit of the spooky holiday. It ran at the Carthay Circle theater along with the feature Four Devils starting on June 10th, 1929. ‘We’re looking at some other things this morning,’ the man … In early August, Columbia Pictures signed a contract to distribute the Silly Symphonies nationally and made the short available in late August. Appreciate your comments, too. ) first ever “Silly Symphony” was released in 1929, the orchestral... 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