Friday, July 17, 2015

Original Matched Pair of Production Cels of Mr. Snoops and Penny from "The Rescuers," 1977

Original hand painted production cels of Mr. Snoops numbered 23 lower right and Penny numbered C23 lower right, set on a lithographic background from "The Rescuers," 1977; Disney seal lower right; Size - Mr. Snoops 7 1/2 x 7 1/4", Penny 6 x 2 3/4", Image 10 1/2 x 15 1/4"; Unframed.
"The Rescuers" is an animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Productions; and was released on June 22, 1977 by Buena Vista Distribution. The film is based on a series of books by Margery Sharp, most notably "The Rescuers and Miss Bianca." The 23rd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film is about the Rescue Aid Society; an international mouse organization headquartered in New York; and shadowed the United Nations. The Rescue Aid Society, a mouse based group, was dedicated to helping abduction victims around the world at large. Two of these mice, jittery janitor Bernard (voiced by Bob Newhart) and his co-agent, the elegant Miss Bianca (voiced by Eva Gabor), set out to rescue Penny, an orphan girl being held prisoner in the Devil's Bayou by treasure huntress Madame Medusa.

Mr. Snoops production cel showing the Walt Disney seal and production number.

Mr. Snoops was Madame Medusa's business partner and her henchman. He was animated by the veteran Walt Disney animator Milt Kahl and voiced by Joe Flynn, an American character actor best known for his role in the 1960s ABC television situation comedy, "McHale's Navy." He was also a frequent guest star on TV shows, such as "Batman," and appeared in several earlier Walt Disney films. The role of Mr. Snoops was to be Flynn's last; he died on July 19, 1974 from drowning shortly after completing his performance in the film.

From Walt Disney animator Andreas Deja:
"Brilliantly drawn and animatedly by Milt Kahl, his part in the movie The Rescuers is relatively small. This is due to the fact that actor Joe Flynn, who voiced the character, died in 1974 during production of the film. Director Woolie Reitherman decided to build Snoop’s role around the already recorded dialogue, instead of using a sound-alike actor for further development.  Snoop’s design is based on animation historian and teacher John Culhane. Milt had given a talk at his class in New York and was inspired by John’s appearance. Snoops is one of many Kahl masterpieces. He is a chubby man, dressed in a baggy suit, wearing oversized glasses and 1970s platform shoes. Milt took great care and delight in defining the character’s bulgy anatomy. His arms are relatively short in contrast to his big pear shaped body. As in all of Milt’s characters, Snoop’s chubby hands are beautifully defined. They are worth studying frame by frame, because…they are just plain fun to watch in slow motion. There is as much personality in these hands as there is in Snoop’s expressions."

Penny production cel showing the production number.

Originally, the Disney animators were going to use the story of Bernard and Miss Bianca setting out to rescue an old poet from a prison in Norway; which was derived from Margery Sharp's first novel. This idea was scrapped, however, since the poet lacked personality; and it was then that Penny was created.
Penny was inspired by Patience, the orphan girl in Margery Sharp's 2nd novel "Miss Bianca." Patience's story was also centered with the theme of a diamond; in her case she is forced to polish several of them everyday. The animators felt that Patience was also the key to the book's heartwarming atmosphere, and so she was morphed into Penny. Penny was animated by Ollie Johnston and Glen Keane and voiced by Michelle Stacy, who was also the live action model for the character.

This is a wonderful matched two cel setup of Mr. Snoops and Penny. Both Snoops and Penny are eyes open and the two cels are key to each other. They have been placed over a great image of Medusa's abandoned river boat in the Devil's Bayou Swamp.