Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pecos Bill Mosaic: Part 1

I often quite like mosaics; like the Studio drafts; the mosaics are just like the draft except it has a frame from that scene that goes with it - and that's what I do like about them. Now, we all know that Mark Mayerson is known for his mosaics and has done some on some of the Mickey shorts, and features like Pinocchio and 101 Dalmatians, and is nearing completion of Dumbo.
This here, is my first ever attempt of making a mosaic; and the mosaic I've produced is a segment of Walt Disney's Melody Time, and you guessed it: Pecos Bill. Now, I remember when Hans Perk had scanned the entire Melody Time draft and at the time; I hardly knew Melody very well at all - and then I started to watch the film on YouTube and then I looked at one of their's and that was "Pecos Bill", and I immediately chose it as my favourite segment of the picture. Why? Because I find it very entertaining, funny, and the animation is just very fun - and it's just the type of gags I would enjoy from a cartoon.
So, I've learnt how to make a mosaic and I've produced the first part of Pecos Bill:
Ofcourse, the star of the segment is Ward Kimball and in the second part is Milt Kahl; but the first part mainly shows a lot of animation from Ward Kimball - along with other animators like Cliff Nordberg, Ken O'Brien and Ed Aardal, and a scene by John Sibley. However, Ward Kimball mainly animates the scenes of Pecos Bill and his horse Widowmaker about their adventures; while in the second part Milt Kahl animates the parts with Pecos Bill and Sweet Sue.
You have to admit - that the songs by the Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers are just fun, humerous and they're great! I think the Pecos Bill song is one of the great cowboy songs ever - I love those dry humour they put into the scenes like the Gulf of Mexico, Them Thar Hills or the Painted Desert in Arizona. Brilliant.
Animator Ken O'Brien does some good communication scenes of Bill as a child and the coyotes; which is touching; Cliff Nordberg does some multiple scenes of Widowmaker as a baby stuck in a desert while vultures are surrounding him, and Nordberg also animates some Pecos and horse closeups. Ed Aardal, is probably the main effects animator in this segment. Aardal handles a lot of the effects animation of certain scenes like (The golden teeth in THEM THAR HILLS, or the scenes with Bill taking the rain from California to Texas which forms the Gulf of Mexico); Aardal also does some character animation scenes in a couple of shots.
My favourite animation in this film is probably Ward Kimball's because it's so Kimball's style in there - and if you are a Kimball fan or an animation historian, it's pretty obvious that you would see Kimball in there, because's he's all over the comedy scenes.
Ward Kimball's animation on the early scenes with Bill as a young lad eating a bone while the young coyotes tried to take a nibble of the bone - also with Bill "out-hissing" the snake, or "outjumed" the rabbit - are probably my favourite Kimball scenes in this picture - even though it probably doesn't make sense, not just because it's funny because I love it when Kimball put a huge amount of weight on Bill and the snake, and it's just great stuff. I think Ward must have enjoyed working on it.
Shot 64 with the line "and that's the reason why there's gold in Them Thar Hills" is very funny because it's an old saying that in "Them FAR hills, there would be a lots of gold there - and what I find funny is that the rustler's who tried to steal Bill's herd of cow - and Bill knocked out all their golden teeth with gold in "Them far hills".
At the beginning of the film, we see that Josh Meador and Marvin Woodward handle the animals walking at a cold desert at night - and the tumble weeds are moving; beautiful animation - but I thought that at the beginning it just felt slow and tedious, but I thought it didn't need to go in there, but beautifully animated and set up.
Although, the segment did have some controversial on the smoking scenes - and when Pecos Bill was available on VHS or on DVD, the censors tried to edit most of the smoking scenes with Bill, and I'm guessing that they took off shot 54 - and almost taking off most of the cyclone stuff, and I don't know why they had to edit it - although I knew that smoking stuff could maybe encourage children to smoke and damage their lungs - but it's just entertainment!
I think I'll leave it here for Part 1 of Pecos Bill; I will hopefully get around and do Part Two next Monday, not tomorrow on Monday; but the Monday following...
This is my first mosaic and I think it's a great attempt, and I feel proud of it. :)


Eric Noble said...

I love the designs of the characters in this film. Beautiful use of caricature. I think one of my favorite parts of the film is the song by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.

I think it's so stupid how censors have destroyed the film. People are so damn sensitive; nothing can offend their delicate sensibilities. Anything that does must go. They completely removed The Martins and the Coys segment from MAKE MINE MUSIC. This is how Fahrenheit 451 started out.

Pete Emslie said...

Good work on your first mosaic, Steven! "Pecos Bill" is also a favourite of mine. In fact, I consider it the most perfect cartoon, in that animation is really the only way you could put over this classic American tall tale with all of its exaggeration and pure whimsy. The humourous narration in song by Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers just adds the right finishing touch, too.

I'm glad you were able to find an unedited version of the film, as the cuts they made to the commercially released video were just tragic. In fact, the cyclone sequence gets cut so badly that there's a bad jump in the music as a result, so the audience just knows that something isn't right.

For such a relatively young fellow, it's refreshing to see how interested and knowledgeable you already are on classic Hollywood cartoons. I look forward to reading your comments on Mark Mayerson's blog and I'll pop in to your own blog to see what you're writing about from now on too!

Steven Hartley said...

Eric - I think it's pretty stupid of why the censors removed the smoking scenes because it's just entertainment - and a lot of US censors are extremely sensitive over bad-language or sex content. I've seen the "The Martins and the Coys" segment before and I have no idea why they removed it, I don't see what's wrong or what's inappropriate about it?

Peter: Thank you for your compliment. I found the unedited version on YouTube and you're right - I think removing all smoking scenes are just tragic - because I hate when in edited versions of films that the music has a bad jump, it's not right! The puns by the Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers are funny - like I've mentioned about my Them Thar Hills.

Yes, I'm only 14 years of age - and I only created this blog several months ago and it's pretty amazing of how I've learnt so much and quick and how interested in animation I'm into!

Zartok-35 said...

Pecos Bill is my favorite Disney production, and I'm glad to see it's getting the royal treatment. The mosaics look great, you're doing a fine job!

Steven Hartley said...

I can understand why you like Pecos Bill; it's got a mixture of great comedy, warmth in it and also some dark elements in the film like, the ending.

Thanks for complimenting on my mosaic; this is my very first attempt and I'm glad to see some praise...

Eric Noble said...

Steven, I believe they removed "The Martins and the Coys" from MAKE MINE MUSIC because of the supposed violence of the gunplay. I guess they don't quite understand slapstick or hillbilly humor. That's been part of American humor since the beginning. I think it's pretty stupid myself. I want to see fully restored versions of these films, the exact versions the public saw all of those years ago.