ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

The Golden Age of American animation was a fantastic time for cinema. It started in 1928 with the advent of sound cartoons and continued until the '60s when the rise of television animation started to beat out the epic feature length films.

Disney Animation Studios produced some of their most iconic works during this time, right up until Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966. Characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, who are still insanely popular today, are products of the Disney Golden Age.

Check out some of the more famous films from that time period and some of the insane trivia about the films you may not have known:

1937 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Over fifty ideas for the dwarfs' names and personalities were proposed, including: Awful, Biggy-Wiggy, Blabby, Deefy, Dirty, Gabby, Gaspy, Gloomy, Hoppy-Jumpy, Hotsy, Jaunty, Nifty, and Shifty. Dopey was the last name to be developed.

The women of the ink and paint department of Disney Animation Studios applied real make-up to cels of Snow White, to give her a more rosy and life like complexion!

1940 - Pinocchio

Although the character of Pinocchio is very well known for his nose growing when he lies, it only happens once in the film!

Figaro, the cute kitten belonging to Geppetto, was Walt Disney's favorite character and he pushed for the kitten to appear in the film as much as possible.

1940 - Fantasia

The animators of the film secretly modeled elements of the Sorcerer on Walt Disney - the eyebrows were the main giveaway, as well as the name they called the character, Yen Sid, or 'Disney' spelled backwards. Talk about cheeky!

Fantasia, at 125 minutes long is Disney's longest ever animated film. The next longest is Frozen which clocks in at 102 minutes.

1941 - Dumbo

This is the only Walt Disney animated feature film that has a main character who doesn't speak!

Cels for Dumbo are very rare in the industry, for quite a funny reason: when the scenes for the movie were finished, the animators would spread the used cels along the corridors and slide down the hallways on them! Also the grey paint that was used so often for the elephants skin would 'pop' when the cels were flexed.

1942 - Bambi

Bambi was intended to be the second feature film for Disney, after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and went into pre-production in 1936. However due to Walt Disney's perfectionism, the project was delayed for so long that Pinocchio, Fantasia, The Reluctant Dragon and Dumbo were all released before Bambi.

When the voice actor for Thumper, 6-year-old Peter Behn, first auditioned for an angry casting director who shouted, "Get that kid out of here! He can't act!" However, when the Disney animators heard the tape, they loved the sound of Behn's voice so much the character of Thumper was created based on his vocal performance.

1950 - Cinderella

The beautiful scene when Cinderella's torn dress transforms into the white ball gown is considered to be Walt Disney's favorite piece of animation.

Cinderella was Walt Disney's biggest hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and if the film hadn't succeeded it may have been the last film for Disney Studios. Luckily it succeeded and the profits allowed Disney to finance more animated and live-action productions, establish a distribution company, enter television production and begin building Disneyland!

1951 - Alice in Wonderland

The Doorknob was the only character in the film that did not appear in Lewis Carroll's book.

Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice, also narrates the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland.

1953 - Peter Pan

Even though Peter Pan was successful, Walt Disney didn't like the finished film at all, in particular he felt that Peter Pan was a cold and unlikeable character.

Captain Hook originally lost his right hand in the play, however the Disney artists thought it would limit his actions too much and swapped it to his left hand instead.

1955 - Lady and the Tramp

Even though the spaghetti-eating scene is one of the most iconic moments in Disney films, Walt Disney originally didn't want to include it!

The film's opening sequence, when Darling unwraps the hat box with Lady inside, is apparently based on in Walt Disney's life. After he'd forgotten a dinner date with his wife, he offered her the puppy-in-the-hat box surprise and was immediately forgiven!

1959 - Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty was the last fairy tale produced by Disney until The little Mermaid in 1989, which is when the Disney Renaissance began.

The scene where Briar Rose meets Prince Phillip for the first time during "Once Upon a Dream," was a very difficult scene for the animators to get right. Walt Disney rejected it repeatedly and it had to be done four times over before it was accepted, almost bankrupting the studio in the process.

1961 - 101 Dalmatians

Unfortunately, the commercial failure of Sleeping Beauty meant costs needed to be cut for 101 Dalmatians and a process called Xerography was used instead. The Xerography technique is the reason why the animation had the scratchy, hard outline look and it took until The Rescuers in 1977 for technology to catch up and allow a softer look. Apparently Walt Disney hated the rough style the Xerography process brought about.

Apparently there is a crazy 6,469,952 spots in the movie: 72 on Pongo, 68 on Perdita and 32 on each pup.


Which film from the Disney Golden Age is your favorite?

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11


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