Monday, December 04, 2006

The Return of the Goof . . . and More!

Followers of this blog since it began in late September are likely aware of my passion for the original Disney cartoon shorts. Needless to say I'm beside myself with excitement over the just announced new slate of studio produced shorts coming soon to theaters. The New York Times has a great feature on Disney's return to its animation roots.

From the article:

“The impetus comes from John Lasseter, who takes the idea from Walt Disney and 100 years of film history,” said Don Hahn, producer of “The Lion King” and “The Little Match Girl,” in a recent interview at his studio office. “Shorts have always been a wellspring of techniques, ideas and young talent. It’s exactly what Walt did, because it’s a new studio now, with new talent coming up — as it should. I think the shorts program can really grow this studio as it grew Pixar, as it grew Walt’s studio.”

Although audiences today are more familiar with his feature films, Walt Disney’s reputation was originally built on shorts. In the 1930s “A Mickey Mouse Cartoon” appeared on theater marquees with the titles of the features, and Disney won 10 Oscars for cartoon shorts between 1932 and 1942. He used the “Silly Symphonies” to train his artists as they geared up to create “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” But after World War II Disney phased out short cartoons because of rising production costs and the minimal amount theater owners would pay for them.

Mr. Hahn said the new shorts would be screened in theaters along with Disney films. “You pay your 10 bucks to see a movie,” he said, “and you get a surprise you hadn’t counted on.” The new shorts will be done in traditional 2-D animation, computer graphics or a combination of the two media, depending on the story and the visual style.

I'm personally the most excited about Goofy's return with How to Install Your Home Theater. The original "How-to" shorts are among animation history's most underrated; it's a pleasure to see that particular theme revived.

The other shorts in production according to the article are The Ballad of Nessie, a stylized account of the origin of the Loch Ness monster; Golgo’s Guest, about a meeting between a Russian frontier guard and an extraterrestrial; and Prep and Landing, in which two inept elves ready a house for Santa’s visit. Each will be released theatrically with a Walt Disney feature film.

Great, great news!