Nowadays Disney iconography is so ubiquitous, it's forever in your face. It wasn't always thus, beyond the immediate perennial face of Disney Enterprises, Mr Mickey Mouse and his cranky stable mate Donald Duck. If like me you were a devotee of the full length animated films, you had definite problems of access. I'm talking here about growing up in the 1960's, when there weren't DVDs, videos let alone the internet. Films like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" would be released occasionally, so you might see that film twice as a child. A film like "Pinocchio", you'd be lucky to see at all as that was not considered such a box office pull and a film like Disney's weird but box office resistant. "Alice in Wonderland" you would probably only see as an occasional excerpt in grainy black and white on the BBC's Christmas broadcasts of "DisneyTime".
There was one source however that although not quite perfect from a purists point of view was nevertheless a charming means of soaking up some of the exquisite atmosphere that Disney animation evoked. The firm of Charles Chappell in London's New Bond Street had for years provided a source of entertainment for lovers of family sing songs. Yes dear reader (cue Disney intro book with self turning leaves and slushy heavenly choir) there was once upon a time in a land far away long, long ago, a world where televisions didn't occupy every living room (parlor as they were referred to in those distant days). The space that was created by the absence of this drain on people's self motivation was instead often occupied by an upright piano, where Auntie Mabel would bash away on the thing, while the rest of the family would join in for a round of "My Old Man Said Follow The Van".
earlier posting on this blog. The rest of the artwork looks to have been based on the cinema stills which were created after the event as no one during the course of the filming of Snow White had considered making production stills, which needed to be photographed, often with the acetate elements arranged specifically for that purpose.
All images © The Walt Disney Company 2010.
Iain M. Banks (Wired, June 1996)
11 hours ago