Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Blabs on Dumbo (XII)

This is it...after a while of delay, I'm talking about the crows sequences in the film Dumbo, and in its going to be in two parts One part will be talking about the sequences and animators, and the second part will be about the controversial and stereotypes. I'll have my Blabs on Dumbo stuff finished by August 1.
Sequence 19 - "Up in a Tree"
Sequence 19.1 - "I've Seen Everything song"
Sequence 19.2 - "Dumbo Learns to Fly"
All three sequences were directed by Jack Kinney and the layouts by Don DaGradi and John Hubley, Hubley does layouts for Dumbo Learns to Fly, yes this is becoming quite popular this year, as very early this year, Michael Barrier was doing some talks about the crows.
As we all know, that genius-animator Ward Kimball has been long credited for his work on the crows in this film, and that's something that most animators or animation historians should know about, although when the drafts were posted, it seems that Ward Kimball animated some Timothy and Dumbo shots as well, and some of the shots really looked like Kimball's stuff. Look very carefully at scene 11 on the sequence Up in a Tree, and look at how Ward handles Timothy as well as the crow with the cigar. If you watch it here, you'll see that when Timothy Mouse is snoring, his whiskers move upwards and downwards, which does look a little bit like Kimball's style to me.
This scene of Timothy snoring was animated by Ward Kimball and the cigar-smoke by George Rowley.
Speaking of Rowley, have you actually noticed that in the crows sequences, that a lot of George Rowley's name is in the draft, and that's mainly like the cigar effects and some shadows, he could have been in the onscreen credits, but in the film: effects animators like Josh Meador, Art Palmer and Cy Young, who are only in a few scenes of the draft, and couldn't that have been big effects and the other effects animators that are minor effects: well, some of the uncredited effects animators in this entire draft: Don Tobin, Jerome Brown, Paul Kossoff, Ed Aardal, etc. have got some big effect scenes there but maybe there wasn't enough room for the credits, or could they have been saving money to have little credits?
As well as some Dumbo and Timothy shots by Ward Kimball; Don Towsley (who's worked with Kimball in his Disney years, animated Jiminy Cricket as well, the Beethoven section in Fantasia) Towsley worked close with him on the film, mainly on the crows sequences and he bascially animated the scenes of Timothy and Dumbo walking away from the crows and Tim thinking how they got up the tree, Don probably animated the most famous scene of Dumbo flying the first time.
Both original animation sequences go with the same frame. Animation by Don Towsley.
What I like about this sequence are the puns by the crows, well I like they're puns and the dialogue is quite funny, and when Timothy thought that Dumbo flew up that tree, here's what the crows thought:
'Have you seen an elephant fly?'
'No, but I've seen a horse fly...'
'and I've seen a dragonfly...'
'and I've seen a housefly...'
Well, what about 'I've seen a butterfly', or EVEN, 'I've seen a firefly', maybe the casts didn't want a lot of exaggeration. The song 'When I See an Elephant Fly' is all mainly animated by Ward Kimball except for a scene by Walt Kelly, and Cliff Edwards (voice of Jiminy) has voiced the crow (NOTICE that Ward Kimball animated both characters voiced by Cliff Edwards?), don't forget the composer was actually Oliver Wallace, who went on to do the music for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, etc. or the voice of Mr. Winkie in the Ichabod and Mr. Toad feature.
I like the crows dances in this song sequence, and I like that small crow with the thick goggly-glasses, and does those funny sound stuff along with Jim Crows a bit like beat-boxing. Oh, I knew that Walt Kelly animated a few scenes of the crows, as it says on his Wikipedia profile.
I almost forgot to mention, that Fred Moore also animates Timothy Mouse (the most appealing and juicy scenes), and he basically animated the mouse telling off the crows, and did some scenes of Timothy woken up by Jim Crow after the cigar puff. Bill Tytla gets one scene in the crows sequences and that's when he attempts to fly and the dust fills the screen.
However, Michael Barrier has a very interesting article, about the talks off the crows with Ward Kimball's, Jack Kinney's and Cliff Edwards' involvement in the sequences.

This photo shows a recording session of Jack Kinney and Cliff Edwards (standing).
That's all with my Part 1 talk about the crows in Dumbo, and part 2 will either be tomorrow or the following day. Patience is a virtue.

1 comment:

Eric Noble said...

Very interesting. I wonder if Kimball ever thought about the coincidence of him animating two characters voiced by the same man. Either way, I enjoy the crows. I love the more stylized animation of the crows. Those scenes are fun to watch, with a lot of funny characters in it. Very nice work.