Saturday, April 25, 2015

Original production cel of J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox), from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Foulfellow (Honest John) from "Pinocchio," 1940; Set over a Courvoisier air brush background with a calligraphy titled mat; Framed with two mats, gold wood frame, and glass; Size - Foulfellow: 6 1/2 x 5 1/2", Image 6 3/4 x 7 1/2", Frame 15 x 14 1/2".

Norm Ferguson (Fergy) was the animator responsible for bringing both J. Worthington Foulfellow (The Fox) and Gideon (The Cat) to life.  Fergy is most remembered for his creation of Pluto, but his animation of both Foulfellow and Gideon was one of the true highlights of the film "Pinocchio."  The inspiration for Foulfellow (also called Honest John) was the classic vaudeville acts; with the actor's overdone dialogue and skill at improvisations.  Foulfellow was a very fast talking and persuasive Fox, who would not give poor Pinocchio time to think or respond before moving forward with his own plan to better himself, at the expense of his poor victim.  Although dressed in a top hat, gloves, and a cape; all of his clothing is old, ragged, and with patches throughout.

Walter Catlett provided the voice of Foulfellow and endowed the character with a wonderful sophisticated style, that added to the level of sophistication to this petty criminal.  Catlett had started is own career in vaudeville and new how to impart that style into his reading of Honest John.  In addition, Walter Catlett's voice was also great for Fergy's animation; as it allowed for facial expressions and for mannerisms that enhanced the feel of Honest John.  This combination was perfect and really helped in the development of a much more brilliant character, and one of the most entertaining in the film.

This is a wonderful cel of the Honest John from the very famous scene in "Pinocchio" which occurs at the The Red Lobster Inn where the Coachman meets with Honest John (Foulfellow) and Gideon.  All three are seen smoking, Honest John and Gideon both have cigars and The Coachman has a pipe.  Foulfellow is always looking to make some money and in this cel he is wondering how to make a deal with the evil Coachman; the dialog is below:

Foulfellow: So, Coachman, what's your proposition?
The Coachman: How would you blokes like to make some real money?
[pulls out a big bag of gold pieces, which he drops on the table with a loud clank]

Framed original production cel of J. Worthington Foulfellow (Honest John or The Fox).

To see the cel made from this drawing in the film, just click on the short video below: