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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of Friend Owl Over A Courvoisier Background from "Bambi," 1942


 Original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of Friend Owl over a Courvoisier air brush background from "Bambi," 1942, Walt Disney Studios; WDP stamp lower right; Size - Friend Owl: 2 3/4 x 4 1/4", Image 5 x 6 1/2"; Mat 9 3/4 x 13"; Matted.

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"Ugh. Twitterpated." - Friend Owl 
"What's "twitterpated"?" - Flower 
"Oh, I'll, uh, tell you when you're older." - Friend Owl

"Bambi," 1942 is a full length animated film by Walt Disney Studios and based on the book "Bambi, A Life in the Woods" by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 13, 1942. "Bambi" received three Academy Award nominations: Best Sound (Sam Slyfield), Best Song (for "Love Is a Song" sung by Donald Novis), and Best Original Music Score. In June 2008, the American Film Institute presented a list of its "10 Top 10" (the best ten films in each of ten classic American film genres) and "Bambi" placed third in the animation category. In December 2011, "Bambi" was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.


Close up of the WDP stamp.

The story centers on Bambi, a white-tailed deer, his parents (the Great Prince of the forest and his unnamed mother), his animal friends Thumper (a pink-nosed rabbit), Flower (a skunk), and his childhood friend and future mate, a doe named Faline. Walt Disney wanted all of the animals to be more realistic and expressive than those in "Snow White". He had Rico LeBrun, a wildlife animal painter, come into the Disney Studios to lecture to the animators on the structure and movement of animals. The animators went on excursions to the Los Angeles Zoo and Walt Disney set up a small zoo at the Disney Animation Studio with animals such as rabbits, ducks, owls, skunks, and a pair of fawns aptly named Bambi and Faline; so that the artists could see first-hand animal movement. Animator Marc Davis created the final design of Bambi by incorporating LeBurn's realistic study of deer anatomy but exaggerating the character's face by making his proportions baby-like; including a short snout and big expressive eyes.

"Bambi" was Walt Disney's favorite film he ever made, and it is not too surprising given his love of nature films. The special effects, particularly the water, and the lush hand painted backgrounds create a wonderful environment that allows the viewer to be totally immersed into the film. Combined with a great story of friendship and complete success in the creation of characters; the film is able to provide amazing feelings of both happiness and sadness, as the viewer watches Bambi grows up from fawn to deer.


Matted image of the original production animation cel of Friend Owl.

Friend Owl was animated by Eric Larson and Preston Blair and was voiced by Will Wright; who was an American actor that was frequently cast in westerns and as a curmudgeonly old man. In Bambi, Friend Owl is the first character seen in the movie. Later he is awaken by Thumper the rabbit, who tells him that "the new prince is born." Friend Owl joins the other animals in the forest, where they first see the newborn Bambi and congratulate Bambi's mother. Friend Owl watches the fawn take his first steps, and makes a brief appearance during the song "Little April Showers." He is not seen again until he is rudely awakened by the "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song."

When the birds ignore his attempts to quiet them, Friend Owl moves to another tree; only to be awakened by a stag sharpening his antlers on the tree. Friend Owl suddenly realizes that the stag is Bambi, now a young adult. After Thumper and Flower join Bambi, the three notice some birds acting very strange. Friend Owl explains that they're "twitterpated" (in love). He then explains what being twitterpated involves, and the three promise that this won't happen to them (which of course it promptly does). Friend Owl isn't seen again until the very end of the film, when he once again goes into a thicket to meet some newborns; this time the twins of Bambi and Faline.

This is a wonderful original production animation cel of Friend Owl. He is eyes open, full figure, and has been placed on a hand-painted original Courvoisier background. A beautiful and lush cel setup that would make a great addition to any animation collection.