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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Original Production Animation Cels of Duchess and Thomas O'Malley from "The Aristocats," 1970


Original hand painted production cels of Duchess numbered 217 lower right and Thomas O'Malley numbered 117 lower right; Both from "The Aristocats," 1970; Set over a lithographic background; Size - Duchess: 6 x 4", Thomas O'Malley: 6 1/2 x 5 3/4", Image: 10 3/4 x 14 3/4"; Unframed.

To purchase this cel or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE

"The Aristocats," 1970 is an animated feature film produced and released by Walt Disney Productions.  This was the last film project to be approved by Walt Disney himself, as he died in late 1966, before the film was finally released to theaters by Buena Vista Distribution on December 11, 1970. "The Aristocats" featured the voice talent of Eva Gabor, Hermione Baddeley, Phil Harris, Dean Clark, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, and Roddy Maude-Roxby.

The film is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, and centers around a family of aristocratic cats. After the mistress's butler kidnaps them (to gain his mistress' fortune which was intended to go to the cats) an unlikely alley cat acquaintance helps them escape and be returned to their home.

Duchess is a long-haired purebred white Turkish Angora cat with blue eyes (shining like sapphires) and wearing a gold and jeweled collar that is studded with diamonds. She is the mother of three kittens; Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse and her owner is the aristocratic Madame Adelaide Bonfamille. Duchess was voiced by Eva Gabor who was a Hungarian-born American socialite and actress. Robie Lester who was an American Grammy-nominated voice artist and singer, provided the singing voice for Duchess.

According to veteran Walt Disney animator Andreas Deja:
"Duchess was animated by quite a few artists, I would say that Ollie Johnston did some of the nicest scenes, educating the kittens etc.. Frank Thomas came up with good acting scenes as well, when Duchess meets O'Malley for the first time, and when she says goodbye to him at the end of the movie.
Milt Kahl set her basic design based on Ken Anderson's drawings. Below are a couple of beautiful exploratory sheets by Milt. As always it's great to see his mind at work in these drawings, he is trying hard to avoid formulas and to find unique arrangements of shapes that bring out her personality. There is so much knowledge of feline anatomy here, after all, Milt had just finished animation on Shere Khan and Bagheera."


Original production cels of Duchess and Thomas O'Malley without the background.

Abraham DeLacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley (simply known as Thomas O'Malley) the alley cat was also animated by Ollie Johnston and Milt Kahl. O'Malley was marvelously voiced by Phil Harris, who was an American singer, songwriter, jazz musician, actor, and comedian. Harris also worked as a voice actor for two other Walt Disney animated feature films: "The Jungle Book," 1967 as Baloo the Bear and "Robin Hood," 1973 as Little John (another bear).

This is one of the finest pair of cels of Duchess and Thomas O'Malley that I have ever seen! Both are large images, full figure, and both are eyes open (even though Duchess is looking down in a very coy fashion). A rare and beautiful setup of the famous Disney cat duo!