Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of Jiminy Cricket from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Jiminy Cricket from "Pinocchio," 1940; Set on a lithographic background; Size - Jiminy Cricket: 6 1/2 x 5 1/2", Image 10 1/4 x 13"; Unframed.

Pinocchio: "What's a conscience?"
Jiminy Cricket: "What's a conscience! I'll tell ya! A conscience is that still small voice that people won't listen to. That's just the trouble with the world today..." 

"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 original production animation cel of Jiminy Cricket.

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."

Jiminy Cricket was animated by Ward Kimball, with Joe Grant working up early rough model sketches.  Kimball would go on to work on many characters for the Walt Disney studios, including the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat in "Alice In Wonderland;" however the great Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston thought that Kimball's animation of Jiminy Cricket was "the most sincere he ever did."

Original production animation cel of Jiminy Cricket without the background.

From veteran Walt Disney animator Andreas Deja:
"Ward Kimball surely was looking forward to animating Jiminy Cricket, after the bad experience he just had on Snow White. His brilliantly animated "Soup Eating Sequence" had been cut from the film, and now it was time for a fresh start on the next feature film Pinocchio. Even though Walt Disney personally assigned the Cricket to Kimball, the animator didn't seem to be able to please the boss with his initial designs. Not appealing, too grotesque and insect like! After many revised versions in which Ward de-insectified the design, Walt finally approved a design that though very appealing had very little to do with the anatomy of a real cricket."

The is one of the finest original production cels of Jiminy Cricket that exists. He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and his pose is just wonderful. He is leaning on his umbrella with his top hat in his hand, his eyes and mouth open, and he has a fantastic happy and smiling expression. A great addition to any animation art collection.