ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

Today we're used to big animation studios like Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks releasing multiple pictures a year. But back in the heart of the Golden Age of American Animation, it wasn't quite as easy, so reusing drawings from other films was commonplace.

Even though this is relatively well-known, Disney's ability to nearly-seamlessly slip certain frames into multiple movies just goes to show how great Disney is at what they do.

To see just how much effort goes into each of these movies and the fascinating, yet painstaking, animation of yesteryear, check out this video outlining the process below:

So why did Disney reuse their own work? Keep reading to find out and see some examples:

The Sword in the Stone (1963) and The Jungle Book (1967)

When Disney started making feature-length animated films in the 1930s, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs being the first, the studio wasn't exceptionally wealthy.

The Jungle Book (1967) and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)

Even after Snow White was released, the Walt Disney Company still struggled financially and hiring animators up to Walt's standards was no simple task.

In an age where everything was hand-drawn, reusing these cels saved a lot of time for the animators and money for the company. In short, every frame was a piece of art.

The Jungle Book (1967) and Robin Hood (1973)

Not only did these artist have to be fantastic, they also had to be extremely hard-working and willing to work for a long time with little reward. For example, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs took 250,000 colored cels to create the movie.

The Aristocats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973)

Because they were able to reuse the scenes from other movies, Robin Hood ended up being the lowest budget Disney movie costing only $1.5 Million but grossing $32 million in the box office.

Robin Hood (1973) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Also, movies like Robin Hood were used as a training for young animators to learn Disney's preferred method.

Disney's animation studios finally stopped using cels in 1990 and switched to Computer Animation Production System software. While I'm a fan of the older animation style, newer technology definitely helps make the process faster, meaning more movies for us!


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