September 3, 1996
"Walt Disney's Unseen Treasures" isn't quite ready for release.
Scott MacQueen, the chief archivist, still narrates portions live and introduces
each segment. But this compilation was nevertheless one of the most-clamored-for
productions at the Telluride Film Festival.
A short that was made to be shown only at the 1932 Academy Awards dinner
lampooned Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler and Frederick March. No one had
seen it since that 1932 showing, and MacQueen even said there was no record
of it having been made. A 1939 Nabisco/Mickey Mouse short has also remained
unseen since made, probably because no one had heard of synergy then. Minnie
burns the cookies she is baking for Mickey, and to make her feel better
he runs out and buys a Nabisco assortment. Come to think of it, that one
may yet show up on TV! "Pluto's Judgment Day" was found as unfinished
tests in pencil that one of the artists had saved from a trash bin. It
was matched with the actual cartoon for comparison and demonstrated more
about animation than three books on the subject could cover. One of the
oddest pieces was a test done by Salvador Dali and Disney on the prospect
of working together. Two Dali faces on a typical Dali landscape converge
and a ballerina emerges from the meeting place. Economic concerns kept
the two from working together, although they remained friends.
Ward Kimball, one of Disney's eight original animators, was at the screening
and gave his personal insights. On the "Ferdinand the Bull" short,
Kimball was responsible for the picadors and matador entering the ring.
Each is one of his fellow artists with Walt himself as the matador, followed
by Ward Kimball as the matador's lowly sword carrier. Kimball was slighted
when his eight months of work on the Seven Dwarfs soup scene was cut by
Walt. But we got to see it in pencil drawings along with the deleted "Claire
de Lune" segment from "Fantasia" which had even been color-completed.
Kimball had his chance to get even when he was assigned the opening number
for "Three Caballeros" and broke all the rules of animation.
"I had characters exit left and return right. I had serapes floating
in air; I had a gun that talked. And Walt loved it!" said the aging
Kimball. It is unfortunate that Walt isn't around to make sure that MacQueen's
and Kimball's comments aren't preserved along with the other treasures.
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