Sunday, June 28, 2015

Original Production Drawing of the Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original production drawing in graphite pencil of the Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio," 1940; On watermarked five peg hole paper and stamped with production numbers lower right; Numbered 27 in pencil lower right; Size - Blue Fairy 8 x 3 3/4", Sheet: 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

    “As I live and breathe... A fairy!” 
    ―Jiminy Cricket upon witnessing the Blue Fairy for the first time

In a story meeting for the upcoming film "Pinocchio" on January 12, 1939, Walt Disney stated that the Blue Fairy was to "give the appearance of loveliness... (but not look like) a glamour girl." The early model sheets and preliminary sketches reflect this idea, depicting the character as an ethereal beauty with swirling, billowing clothes and loose, unkempt hair (to reflect the fact that the fairy has literally flown into the scene). At some point in development, the design was changed to a less ethereal figure with human proportions. This final version of the character, with her glittery dress, solid hair, and more human proportions, suggested the inspiration of Jean Harlow (the American actress and sex symbol of the 1930's who was dubbed the "Blond Bombshell") and thus ultimately resembling the 'glamour girl' Walt Disney had initially tried to avoid. However, Disney seemed pleased with this version of the character, whose newly-found sexual allure worked on both Jiminy Cricket and the male animators working on the film, who reportedly whistled on first seeing a color test of the Blue Fairy. 

Close up of the Blue Fairy drawing.

Jack Campbell's animation of the Blue Fairy closely followed live-action footage of Marge Champion (who was also the performance model for Snow White) under the direction of Hamilton Luske. The Blue Fairy, was the only female character (besides Cleo the fish) in the film "Pinocchio" and was voiced by Evelyn Venable, an American actress. Evelyn was also the model for the first ever Columbia Pictures Torch Lady.

Oskar Fischinger, a famous abstract filmmaker from Germany, who had been hired by Disney primarily to help with "Fantasia's" opening sequence of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. The segment consisted of live-action of the orchestra playing the piece, illuminated by abstract light patterns set in time to the music and backed by stylized and superimposed shadows. Fischinger went on to be responsible for animation of the Blue Fairy's magic, including the effects surrounding her when she first enters Geppetto's workshop and the beams of light eminating from the Blue Fairy's wand. 

Close up of the production, sequence, and scene number stamp as well as the individual sheet pencil production number.

This drawing is an absolute perfect image of the Blue Fairy. Her mouth and both eyes are open, her pair of wings are visible, as is her wand (with a little bit of shading for the magic around the star). In addition, her flowing gown is drawn beautifully tied at the waist by a sash.