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September 19, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 Page 5 THOUGHTS BY DAN .'~ A Frank De Paso uale Venture :~ ABOUT THIS & THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso Histor of American Animatgion Part !!! Walt Disney's competition led him to his breakthrough. Despite the popularity and critical success of his car- toon shorts (the Silly Sym- phonies were winning the Best Animated Short Subject award each year), he feared that without expanding, his domain would be just an- other cartoon studio like Max Fleischer's and the growing one at Warner. He had popularized both sound and color in cartoons, but by the early 30s Max Fleischer had also caught on. He needed a new novelty. Animated feature films had been thought of before and a number had been done abroad, two from Argentina by pioneer animator Quirino Cristiani (El Ap6stol and Pelud6polis) and one from Germany (The Adventures of Prince Achmed) by Lotte Reiniger, but no one in Hol- lywood thought them a wor- thy endeavor. If not in his bankers, Disney had faith in a tale that had been dear to his heart since 1917 when he saw a silent live-action ver- sion of Snow White. Since that moment, the fairy tale lingered in young Walt's mind and the influence that the Brothers Grimm had on his early work, especially the Laugh-O-Gram series, is obvious. But, he soon be- came occupied with the Alice Comedies, Oswald, and then Mickey. But with The Silly Symphonies, he returned to his fairy tale roots. It was, in fact, a Silly Symphony that got him to think big. In 1934 his team made The Goddess of Spring, one of the most elaborate Silly Symphonies. It's innovations were subtle, but direction changing for Disney. The "human" char- acters (Persephone and the villainous Hades) were, for the first time, modeled on real people with realistic movements. Gone were bendable tubular arms of early cartoons (a trait hardly unique to Disney's cast), re- placed by arms that bent at the joints and proportionate bodies. Work was ready to begin on what would become Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It's hard to imagine today what kind of reactions the Disney animators and in- vestors had when Walt an- nounced his intention to make an animated feature. Undoubtedly, it was a risk many didn't want to take, dubbing the project "Disney's Folly." The main objections were the budget and the distraction from what they already had that was working; the shorts. But Walt pushed forward and practically rearranged his entire Hyperion Studio. New technologies had to be taught and new technology had to be invented. If he had to convince the world in the profitability of his ambition, Walt had to break ground. The new technology came in the form of the multi- plane camera, a handy new tool that created the illusion of depth to scenery. To de- scribe it crudely, three dif- ferent images were stacked up beneath the lens. The lower one was the fore- ground, the one just above that was closer scenery (trees, bushes, etc.), and the one closest to the camera and Bar At " he Wharf Sunday Brunch Buffet * I lam-2pm Voted Best Brunch Come try our famous clam chowder! Join us for the TOM PITTMAN 78 ,9.3798 featured the character. As the scene moved, the photo- graph layers were removed accordingly to create the sensation of moving along with the camera. Walt tested it on another Silly Sym- phony, The Old Mill, and it won the award in 1937. The novelties worked, but the lingering question was whether the public would sit for over an hour to a medium they were accustomed to seeing in seven minute increments. This was the real challenge, but ended up being the most rewarding aspect of the film for Disney, reinventing the formula. There was the heroine to work with, and Snow White herself goes through the familiar points of the story. She dreams of Prince Charming, the jealous Queen attempts to have her killed but she flees into the forest and is adopted by seven dwarfs. Out of spite, the Queen poisons her with a hexed apple, but she is awakened by a kiss from the prince. To carry the story, the movie needed more and Walt found his magic ele- ment in the supporting characters, especially the dwarfs and the woodland creatures that befriend Snow White. This became Disney's golden formula that continues with the company that holds his name to this day; the appeal of the mov- ies relies on the supporting characters. Walt was warned early on that the public, reared on fairy tales, would not warm up to elves. The solution? Walt gave each of them a distinct and memorable per- sonality or trait (Dopey, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Bash- ful, Sneezy, Doc) and turned them into clownish little men, devoting entire comic sequences to their antics. But it wasn't just comic sidekicks that made Snow White memorable. There were moments of sheer ter- ror that have made genera- tions of children sleepless. The wickedness of the Queen may be too nuanced for them to grasp, but the moment she transforms herself into a dastardly old crone, audiences still can't help but shiver. The animation, richer than anything Disney or anyone had offered to that point, enhanced all emo- tions from the warm comfort colors of the dwarfs' cottage to the dark spooky forest. Before the release of Snow White, Walt tested his audience's patience by re- leasing a compilation of five of his award winning car- toon shorts and then re- leased his magnum opus at the Carthay Circle Theater in December of 1937. Audi- ences were enthralled and the naysayers were instantly silenced. The film received a standing ovation and be- came one of the studio's (Continued on Page 8) Quattro Grille, Rosticceria & Pizzeria OOO 266 Hanover St. 617,720.0444 Bricco Boutique Italian Cuisine OOO 241 Hanover St. 617.248.6800 Mar( Seafood & Oyster Bar OOO 135 Richmond St. 617.723.MARE Traftoria II Panino Boston's tst Original Trattoria OOO 11 Parmenter St. 617.720.1336 Umbria Prime 5 Story Sfeakhouse Oyster Bar & Night Club OOO 295 Franklin St. 617.338.1000 Bricco Panetteria Homemade Artisan Breads OOO Bricco Place 241 Hanover St. 617.248,9859 Bricco Salumeria & Pasta shoppe Over 50 Varieties OOO Bricco Place 241 Hanover St, * 617.248.9629 (next to Bficco Panetteria) Lounge & Night Club Coming Soon OOO 150 Kneeland St. Gelateria & Cannoli Factory Homemade Getato & Cannolis OOO 272 Hanover St, 64 Cross St. 617.720.4243 Ma3sachusettsDepartmentofTranspo~r~on THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND THE BOSTON REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (BRA) Invite you to the second public meeting on the Central Artery Ramp Parcel Study TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 6-8 PM at the BRA (Boston City Hall, 9th Floor, BRA Board Room) MassDOT is required to consider options for covering the open ramp portions of Central Artery/Tunnel Parcels 6, 12 and 18 along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, resulting from environmental commitments made as part of the Central Artery/ Tunnel project. MassDOT and BRA officials have initiated a study to define potential cover alternatives and kicked off the work at an initial public meeting that was held on June 26t". At this next public meeting, staff from MassDOT and the BRA, along with their consultant team, will provide an update on current and planned study activities, present information on existing conditions and potential redevelopment options, and also offer the public an opportunity to provide input on potential alternatives for the ramp parcels. Visit our project website at If you have any specific questions, please contact: John Romano Legislative Liaison, MassDOT email: John.Romano us Lauren N. Shurtleff Senior Planner, BRA emaih Lauren.Shurtleff @ This meeting space is accessible to people with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation (such as American Sign Language Interpreters, assistive listening devices, handouts in alternate formats, etc.) and/or language assistance to fully participate, please contact John Romano at MassDOT at or 857-368-8905 before September 20th. Such accommodations will be provided free of charge.