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Friday, May 15, 2015

Old Hag (The Witch) Production Cel Setup from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937


Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of the Old Hag (The Witch), the boat with basket of apples cel, and water effects cel; all over a hand painted Courvoisier background from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937; Size - Witch and boat: 4 1/2 x 6 1/2", Image 9 1/4 x 11 1/2", Frame 21 x 22 3/4"; Framed using a tan frame, triple matted with calligraphy title on the inner mat, and plexiglass.


The famed animator Joe Grant created the initial sketches of the Witch, which had some basis in the early Witch drawings from Arthur Rackham's illustrations from "Hansel and Gretel." After Walt Disney approved the character design; Norman Ferguson was given the task of animating her. There were early concerns that the Witch would be viewed by the audience as more of a laughable and entertaining clown rather than an evil old hag; however, Norm's animation skill won out and the character seems even more menacing than her prior Queenly form. The Witch is the only character in "Snow White" to look directly into the camera and therefore address the audience. With her one tooth, expressive eyes, and boney hands; Ferguson had a lot of choices in which to invoke fear and to scare. Despite her slow movements and apparent frailness, we all know there is pure evil afoot!

The voice of the Queen was provided by Lucille Leverne and she also wanted to read for the part of the Witch. Leverne was a veteran stage actress and was perfect for the Queen, with a real regalness to her voice. When she was in the sound booth and Walt Disney heard her reading the role of the Witch, he stopped her and said that her voice just did not work for that role. Lucille said to just wait one minute and left the sound booth and then quickly returned and started the reading again. Now her voice had changed to that wonderful raspy, gummy, and single toothed sounding Witch. Disney was amazed and asked how she had managed to get that perfect character voice, and Lucille replied, "Oh, I just took out my false teeth."


Framed Old Hag (The Witch) Production Cel Setup.

In this wonderful multi-cel setup of the Old Hag (The Witch) she has completed the making the poisoned apple to give to Snow White; and places the bright red apple into a basket containing other yellow and green apples. She makes her way down the stairs of the castle from her laboratory to a landing adjoining a small river. She gets into a small wooden canoe, places the basket containing the apples into the canoe, and begins to row the boat using a wooden pole. This is an extremely nice three cel setup, containing an original hand painted and hand inked production cel of the Old Hag (The Witch), an original hand painted and hand inked production cel of the wooden boat with basket of apples cel, and an original hand painted and hand inked production cel of water effects; all placed over a hand painted Courvoisier background. There is a calligraphy title on the lower mat, with two outer mats, and the entire piece is framed.

To view the scene in which these cels was used to create, click on the short video below:

video