Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse On A Courvoisier Background from "Dumbo," 1941

Original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse over a Courvoisier air brush background from "Dumbo," 1941, Walt Disney Studios; WDP stamp lower right; With original Courvoisier Galleries label; Size - Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse: 9 x 12 3/4", Image 11 x 14 1/2"; Unframed.

"Look out! Look out! Pink elephants on parade! Here they come! Hippety-hoppety. They're here, and there! Pink elephants everywhere!"
Pink Elephants On Parade

The Walt Disney full length feature film "Dumbo," released in 1940, introduced to the world one of the greatest characters in the Disney pantheon, Dumbo the flying elephant! Dumbo was the only character in the film who never uttered a single word, and yet he is one of the most remembered Disney stars. All of his feelings were conveyed through body movements and facial expressions. The extraordinary animation skill needed in order to do this with a human, but in this case a baby elephant, can not be underestimated.

Close up of the original Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse production animation cel.

The Disney Studio animation artists were still fairly new to feature animation, having only started in 1937 with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The film prior to "Dumbo" was "Fantasia," with one of the most successful sequences being "Night on Bald Mountain." Here again, the main character Chernabog, a huge winged devil, sitting on top of a mountain, commanding the undead below, and never uttering a single word; made a huge impression on the viewing public.

The Disney animator Vladimir "Bill" Tytla created the devil-giant for "Fantasia's" "Night on Bald Mountain," and for the next film he was given the task of animated the film's star, Dumbo. He said: 

"I gave him everything I thought he should have," said Tytla. "It just happened. I don't know a damn thing about elephants. It wasn't that. I was thinking in terms of humans, and I saw a chance to do a chracter without using any cheap theatrics. Most of the expressions and mannerisms I got from my own kid. There's nothing theatrical about a two-year-old kid. They're real and sincere- like when they damn near wet their pants from excitement when you come home at night. I've bawled my kid out for pestering me when I'm reading or something, and he doesn't know what to make of it. He'll just stand there and maybe grab my hand and cry... I tried to put all those things in Dumbo."

Close up of the WDP stamp.

Certainly the greatest theme of "Dumbo" was the wonderful friendship between the mute baby elephant Dumbo and his unlikely friend, a mouse name Timothy. Various Disney animators were involved with the creation and animation of Timothy Q. Mouse including Fred Moore, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Ward Kimball. Edward S. Brophy was an American character actor, voice artist, and comedian; and he provided the voice for Timothy Mouse even though he was not credited in the film for the role.

Original Courvoisier Galleries label.

This cel is from the scene when the clowns are celebrating a successful fireman act with bottles of champagne. They come up with a new idea for their next act, and while they are running to tell their boss, one of them hits the table and a bottle of champagne falls into a water bucket. Dumbo and Timothy come along and end up drinking some of the spiked water and become drunk. As Dumbo blows some bubbles, both he and Timothy begin to hallucinate that the bubbles are transforming into elephants that begin to move. These colorful hallucinations dance around and begin to frighten Dumbo and Timothy. This is a very large and impressive original production animation cel of Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse, poking out from under Dumbo's hat, to look at the brightly colored "Pink Elephants On Parade." This sequence is one of the most famous in the film. Both Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse are eyes open and the cel image is a very impressive 14 1/2 inches long! A wonderful addition to any animation collection.

To see the cel in the film, just click on the short video below: