Sunday, January 8, 2017

Original Production Animation Cel of Raggedy Andy from "Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy," 1941

Original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of Raggedy Andy from "Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy," 1941, Fleischer Studios; Numbered in ink upper right; Size - Raggedy Andy: 3 3/4 x 2 1/4", Cel 9 x 11"; Unframed.

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Fleischer Studios was founded in 1921 by brothers Max and Dave Fleischer. The animation studio was located at 1600 Broadway in New York City; and it was the premier producer of animated theater cartoons. The Walt Disney Studios would not become its chief competitor until the 1930's.

Fleischer Studios created the most famous cartoon characters of it's time including: Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Bimbo, Popeye the Sailor, and Superman. Unlike other studios, whose characters were anthropomorphic animals, Fleischers' most successful characters were humans. The concept and animation was unique and has resulting cartoons were rough rather than refined, and commercial rather than aesthetically artistic. The studio's approach was sophisticated and focused on surrealism, dark humor, adult psychological elements, and sexuality. The backgrounds were grittier, urban, and often set in poor environments; which was a reflection of the Depression as well as the German Expressionism art movement.

"Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy" is a two-reel, seventeen minute cartoon produced by Fleischer Studios and released on April 11, 1941. The film was the first time that the two dolls had appeared on screen, and the cartoon was directed by Dave Fleischer, produced by Max Fleischer, and with voice characterization performed by Jack Mercer, Pinto Colvig, Cecil Roy, and Tommy Bupp. Music was by Sammy Timberg, Dave Fleischer, and Lou Fleischer; and animation was accomplished by Myron Waldman, Joseph Oriolo, William Henning, and Arnold Gillespie.

Close up of the original production animation cel of Raggedy Andy.

The story of "Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy" begins when a little girl in a toy shop sees two rag dolls whose hands are sewn together. Because she could not afford to purchase both dolls, she asked the toy shop owner if he would be willing to separate the hands so that she could buy "the beautiful girl doll." He turns down the little girl's request, and the owner goes on to explain why he could not separate them.

One evening in Ragland, everything came to life; needles, threads, scissors, and paintbrushes; and those now animated objects create Girl Rag Doll and Boy Rag Doll. When Paintbrush had completed the dolls' faces, he tells them that they needed to visit the Castle of Names before sunset or they would forever spend their lives as nameless rags. On their way to the Castle, the rag dolls meet The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, who offered them a ride to the Castle. But on their way, the Boy Rag Doll falls under the spell of a beautiful Spanish doll, causing the poor Girl Rag Doll's candy heart to break.

When the Girl Rag Doll was taken to the Castle's hospital, the doctors were unable to treat her broken heart; so Camel rushed out to find the Boy Rag Doll. He had gone to "Glover's Land" with the beautiful Spanish doll; however when the Spanish doll asked the rag boy's name, he told her he did not have one. She rejected him saying, "without a name, you are just a nobody."

The Camel arrived in "Glover's Land" and gave the Boy Rag Doll a ride to the Castle where he applied for a name. When the Boy Rag Doll finally found the Girl Rag Doll in her hospital room, she was in a broken heart sleep. He had the Certificate of Names and told her how much he loved her and sang the song "Raggedy Ann." She woke up and gave Raggedy Andy his first love hug. Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy skipped down the Castle's wedding aisle, and had their hands sewn together so they would never again be separated.

The story ends and the little girl sadly understands now why the two dolls could not be sold separately. She turned to leave the toy store, but the shop owner stops her and says, "Just because I cannot sell you one doll, does not mean I can not give you both of them." He handed both dolls to the little girl, she thanked him, walked home, and an embracing Raggedy Ann and Andy followed behind.

This is a very rare original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of Raggedy Andy from the scene when he and Raggedy Ann come across the beautiful Spanish Doll. A wonderful full figure and eyes open image of Raggedy Andy, and a great piece of very early animation artwork.