Monday, November 10, 2014

"I'll be gone, no oh no... they'll be gone!" - Edgar cel from "Aristocats," 1970

Original hand painted production cel of Edgar holding a basket containing Duchess and her kittens from the 1970 full length animated feature film "The Aristocats" from Walt Disney Studios; Set over a non-matching lithographic line overlay background; Cel is hand signed by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston in black marker lower center - photograph taken during the actual signing of this cel is included; Framed using a black wood frame, three mats, and plexiglass.

It is Paris 1910 and Madame Bonfamille tells her lawyer Georges Hautecourt that she has decided to leave all of her stocks, bonds, mansion, treasures, jewels, and her entire fortune to her beloved cats rather than to her butler, Edgar Balthazar.  When Edgar overhears this he fears the cats will outlive him, and that he will never see a penny of the inheritance.  He then realizes that he has to get rid of the cats; "I'll be gone, no oh no... they'll be gone," he says.  Edgar decides to put sleeping tablets into the cats milk and when they fall asleep, he takes them in a covered basket on his motorcycle far away from the city of Paris.  

The character of Edgar was voiced by Roddy Maude-Roxby, an accomplished English actor.  He was just wonderful in the role with the delightful snooty English butler voice, that could also morph into a scheming cunning timber perfect for a Disney Villain.  In this wonderful full figure cel, Edgar is carrying the cats Duchess and her three kittens Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse in the draped basket to his motorcycle.  The cel is signed by two famed Walt Disney animators, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.  Frank and Ollie were the best of friends in and out of the Walt Disney Studios.  When they both married they purchased houses next door to each other and also wrote several books about animation art together.  

Photograph taken during the actual signing of this cel by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

Years ago, when Frank and Ollie were still alive and in good health; galleries could pay and fly them  to do book, cel, and/or drawing signings.  The cost to the gallery was $150/signature and several different galleries took advantage of this wonderful and rare opportunity.  Other animators did this as well, such as Ward Kimball, but in a much more reduced capacity.  Today, Frank and Ollie's signatures still add value to the cels, drawings, and books that they inhabit, such is the case for this wonderful cel of Edgar.

Framed Edgar cel