Someone once told me that if you have a single favorite song, then you haven’t listened to enough music. I think the same goes for Disney films! Yet, when I think of my favorite Disney movies, I always come back to an animated one. Classics like Cinderella, 101 Dalmatians and the Jungle Book never stray far from the top of the list. I just can’t get enough of Disney’s animation style. On the other hand, I love any vintage live action film as well, like Mary Poppins and the Absent Minded Professor. So, I tend to come across a dilemma that I’m sure most D-Heads can relate to, how do you pick a small handful of favorites? Sometimes it’s tough to love Disney so much! Only kidding, I wouldn’t change Disney for the world!
Now, why is it that I lean towards classic animation? What is it that these films have over the other animated features? Well, for me, the mid 20th century animation has that little extra touch of Magic. I know that’s a big statement! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore today’s Disney generation. Minds like Alan Menken and Brad Bird are one in a million and the new technology developments are magical in their own right. I cherish beauties like the Little Mermaid and the Lion King and I look forward to being swept away by the future animated features, but there is just a certain X factor that defines classic Disney animation.
Perhaps it is the atmosphere of the mid 40s through to the 1960s that captivates me. When I think of the Nine Old Men that are accredited with creating some of the studio’s most memorable moments, I think of excitement and adventure. These men were at the forefront of entertainment, taking story telling to new places. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the room when Walt was describing story boards and bringing experimental characters to life. Just think, the Jiminy Cricket that we all respect had his origins in a small Burbank studio, with one man and his storytelling team. It was the inclusive teamwork, lead by Walt and Ward Kimball that transformed from a mere Italian Talking Cricket to a heartwarming friend. The process of film making in any element or genre is fascinating, but Disney’s process was and still is breathtaking.
The humble origins of Disney’s classic animation make the final product, something incredible and timeless, but only a final product nonetheless. Maybe it is the glamorous nature of the classic era, or my rose colored (Mickey shaped) glasses, but for me it cant get any better than the nine old men, a crew of trained specialists and Disney’s Sweat Box. Magic is made with passion, determination and a spirit of adventure. As Walt once said “the real trouble with the World is that too many people grow up”. So, I like to think that it is with the classic animated features that Walt tried to help the world dream that bit harder. Every second of animation is full of passion and has the capacity to take us to far off lands. Thank goodness for Disney.
What’s my current animation highlight? It would have to be Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother ball gown scene. The simple beauty is enchanting and awe-inspiring. It doesn’t get better than that. Interestingly, I also read that it was Walt’s all-time most treasured scene! You know it has to be special! So, if we just suspend our disbelief for a moment, Disney really encourage us believe that dreams can come true. After all, Walt’s dreams have come true and more! Classic animation is priceless and nothing short of magical.