Sunday, August 23, 2015

Original Production Drawing of Pinocchio from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original production drawing in red, green, and graphite pencils of Pinocchio from "Pinocchio," 1940; On watermarked five peg hole paper with production stamp lower right; Numbered C-41 in pencil lower right; Size - Pinocchio and shadow 6 1/4 x 7", Sheet: 10 x 12"; Unframed.

"Pinocchio," 1940 was the second animated feature film produced by Disney, and followed on the success of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." 1937. It was released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 23, 1940 and was based on the Italian children's novel "The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi. The general plot of the film involves an old wood-carver named Geppetto, who carves a wooden puppet that he names Pinocchio. One night the puppet is brought to life by the Blue Fairy, who informs him that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be "brave, truthful, and unselfish". Pinocchio's journey to become a real boy is challenged by his encounters with an array of scrupulous characters.

"Pinocchio" became the first animated feature to win an Academy Award; it won for both Best Music - Original Score and for Best Music - Original Song for "When You Wish Upon A Star." Most critics and audiences agree that "Pinocchio" is among the finest Disney features ever made, and one of the greatest animated films of all time. In 1994, it was added to the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Close up of the Pinocchio production drawing.

Due to the huge success of "Snow White," Walt Disney wanted more famous voice actors for "Pinocchio." He cast popular singer Cliff Edwards (who had made the first record selling over a million copies) as Jiminy Cricket. Disney also wanted the character of Pinocchio to be voiced by a real child. The role ended up going to twelve year old actor Dickie Jones, who had previously been in Frank Capra's enormous Hollywood hit, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Animation began in September 1938 and just as in "Snow White," live-action footage was shot for "Pinocchio" with the actors playing the scenes; which was supervised by Hamilton Luske. The animators then used the footage as a guide for their animation drawings by studying the human movement and then incorporating many of those poses and scenes. The title character was animated by Milt Kahl (initial design), Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston. "When I was doing Pinocchio," Johnston said, "I thought of the character being real, a living person, not a drawing."

Close up of the production stamp and the production number.

"Give a Little Whistle," one of the memorable songs featured in "Pinocchio," was composed by Leigh Harline with lyrics by Ned Washington. The song is sung by Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards), and the performance and animation is one of the nicest sequences in the film. In the song, Jiminy tries to explain the matters of being a conscience to Pinocchio, and tells him if he needs him all he has to do is "give a little whistle." In this drawing, Pinocchio is imitating a motion done by Jiminy by whistling into his hat and then covering it with his hand. Unfortunately, unlike Jiminy, when he lifts his hand from the bottom of the hat the whistle can not be heard. This is a wonderful drawing from the "Give a Little Whistle" sequence and the image of Pinocchio is perfect. He is eyes and mouth open and his hand is covering the bottom of his hat. The drawing is rendered in red, green, and graphite pencils on peg hole animation paper.