Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of The Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio," 1940

Original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of the Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio," 1940, Walt Disney Studios; Set on a hand prepared custom background; Size - Blue Fairy: 6 1/4 x 5 3/4", Image 8 x 8 1/2", Frame 20 1/2 x 18 1/2"; Framed with two acid free mats, gold wood frame, custom engraved brass title plaque, and plexiglass.

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"You see, Pinocchio, a lie keeps growing and growing until it's as plain as the nose on your face." - Blue Fairy

"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.

Close up of the original production animation cel of the Blue Fairy.

"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."

In a story meeting for the upcoming film "Pinocchio" on January 12, 1939, Walt Disney stated that the Blue Fairy was to "give the appearance of loveliness... (but not look like) a glamour girl." The early model sheets and preliminary sketches reflect this idea, depicting the character as an ethereal beauty with swirling, billowing clothes and loose, unkempt hair (to reflect the fact that the fairy has literally flown into the scene). At some point in development, the design was changed to a less ethereal figure with human proportions. This final version of the character, with her glittery dress, solid hair, and more human proportions, suggested the inspiration of Jean Harlow (the American actress and sex symbol of the 1930's who was dubbed the "Blond Bombshell") and thus ultimately resembling the 'glamour girl' Walt Disney had initially tried to avoid. However, Disney seemed pleased with this version of the character, whose newly-found sexual allure worked on both Jiminy Cricket and the male animators working on the film, who reportedly whistled on first seeing a color test of the Blue Fairy.

Framed original production animation cel of the Blue Fairy.

Jack Campbell's animation of the Blue Fairy closely followed live-action footage of Marge Champion (who was also the performance model for Snow White) under the direction of Hamilton Luske. The Blue Fairy, was the only female character (besides Cleo the fish) in the film "Pinocchio" and was voiced by Evelyn Venable, an American actress. Evelyn was also the model for the first ever Columbia Pictures Torch Lady.

Oskar Fischinger, a famous abstract filmmaker from Germany, who had been hired by Disney primarily to help with "Fantasia's" opening sequence of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. The segment consisted of live-action of the orchestra playing the piece, illuminated by abstract light patterns set in time to the music and backed by stylized and superimposed shadows. Fischinger went on to be responsible for animation of the Blue Fairy's magic, including the effects surrounding her when she first enters Geppetto's workshop and the beams of light eminating from the Blue Fairy's wand.

Close up of the custom engraved brass title plaque.

This is an extremely rare original production cel of the Blue Fairy. The cel is from one of the greatest scenes in the film, which occurs after Pinocchio has become Stromboli's star attraction as a marionette who is able to sing and dance without strings. Pinocchio wants to go home, but Stromboli locks him inside of a birdcage. Jiminy Cricket arrives to try and help him, but is unable to free Pinocchio from the cage. Suddenly the Blue Fairy appears, and asks Pinocchio why he is not in school. Although Jiminy urges Pinocchio to tell the truth, he starts telling lies; which causes his nose to grow longer and longer. This cel is from that famous scene when Pinocchio is telling the Blue Fairy that he wasn't in school because he had met somebody, two big monsters with green eyes. The Blue Fairy then asks, "Monsters? Weren't you afraid?" This is a wonderful cel from that exact point in the film. Original production cels of the Blue Fairy are very rare, with only a handful existing in the open market. The image of her is absolutely spectacular; she is eyes and mouth open, holding her magic wand, and her wings are clearly visible. This would make a great addition to any serious animation art collection! The complete dialog for the scene is below:

Blue Fairy: "Pinocchio, why didn't you go to school?"
Pinocchio: "I was going to school till I met somebody."
Blue Fairy: "Met somebody?"
Pinocchio: "Yeah. Two big monsters... with big, green eyes."
Blue Fairy:  "Why... Monsters? Weren't you afraid?"
Pinocchio: "No, ma'am, but they tied me in a big sack."
Blue Fairy: "You don't say!" And where was Sir Jiminy?"
Pinocchio: "Oh. Jiminy?"
Jiminy Cricket: "Leave me out of this."
Pinocchio: "They put him in a little sack."
Blue Fairy: "No!"
Pinocchio: "Yeah!"
Blue Fairy: " How did you escape? - I didn't."
Pinocchio: "They chopped me into firewood! Oh! Oh, look! My nose! What's happened?"
Blue Fairy: "Perhaps you haven't been telling the truth, Pinocchio."
Pinocchio: "Oh, but I have. Every single word! Oh, please, help me. I'm awful sorry."
Blue Fairy: "You see, Pinocchio, a lie keeps growing and growing until it's as plain as the nose on your face."