How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made: 1939 Documentary Gives an Inside Look

Walt Dis­ney’s 1937 pro­duc­tion, Snow White and the Sev­en Dwarfs, broke new ground on a num­ber of fronts. It was 1) the first cel-ani­mat­ed fea­ture film ever pro­duced; 2.) the first ani­mat­ed film made in col­or — tech­ni­col­or actu­al­ly; and 3.) Dis­ney’s first ani­mat­ed film, one of many com­mer­cial and artis­tic hits to come. (Catch a quick clip here.)

Two years lat­er, Dis­ney pro­duced an in-house doc­u­men­tary, How Walt Dis­ney Car­toons Are Made, that walks you through the stages of Snow White’s devel­op­ment – the writ­ing of the first sto­ry lines, the draft­ing of the ani­ma­tion sequences, the hand paint­ing of 250,000 cel­lu­loid frames (done by “pret­ty girls,” as they say) and beyond. Back in the day, Amer­i­can film­go­ers watched this footage in the cin­e­ma, the trail­er before the main fea­ture film.

Mean­while, you can also watch online Para­moun­t’s 1939 answer to Dis­ney’s big hit — Gul­liv­er’s Trav­els, anoth­er cel-ani­mat­ed Tech­ni­col­or fea­ture film direct­ed by Dave Fleis­ch­er, who lat­er brought us an ani­mat­ed ver­sion of Super­man (1941).

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Don­ald Duck Wants You to Pay Your Tax­es (1943)

Disney’s Oscar-Win­ning Adven­tures in Music

Don­ald Duck Dis­cov­ers Glenn Beck: A Remix

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