Thursday, 28 April 2011
Fantasia Mosaic (XXV)
Here is the final sequence of the Dance of the Hours segment - it includes the alligator dance and the finale sequence where all the elephants, hippos, ostriches and the alligators all reprise together into the final dance. I must say that I do want to get this mosaic finished by May 13th because I have a Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition which happens on 20-21st May.
This is probably my favourite part of the segment because all the dancers appear in the finale - straight after the alligator dance. We see lots more animators from the previous sequences come back again - and even the first time seeing the likes of John Lounsbery, or Art Elliott. Probably the most memorable animation in this segment is John Lounsbery's alligator ballet. The timing and staging of the animation is brilliant including the angles in Lounsbery's scenes. Shot 23 with the alligator jumping off the pole, is another one of Lounsbery's squash and stretch.
It's good to find that we see more of animators like Norm Tate appearing again (as Tate appeared one scene earlier) he animates some of the finale scenes of the Hippo and Alligator chase, including a scene of the elephants holding on to their tails and dancing. Art Elliott appears in three shots here although he doesn't get much footage here. He doesn't seem to do any acting scenes and maybe that's why he wasn't brought much. Although, Fantasia was a difficult film to animate and maybe that they needed animators to do few footage - and he ended up in the credits. I always thought for some reason that Elliott was an effects animator and he is a character animator instead, I don't know why I thought of that.
Each of those animators appear cast again: John Lounsbery animates a lot of the alligators here and he's the star of the sequence, obviously. Hicks Lokey, Norm Tate, Howard Swift, Preston Blair and Art Elliott animate Hippos and Alligators combined in the scene. Hugh Fraser animates the alligators, ostriches and elephants.Harvey Toombs does a scene here of the elephants and alligators. Howard Swift seemed to be the main animator overall the Dance of the Hours segment, followed by Preston Blair and John Lounsbery.
Hicks Lokey animates a very funny shot of the alligator and the hippo with the hippo running up and the croc tries to catch it - but ends up being squashed by the hippo. That is a great shot in terms of weight. The hippo obviously weights tons more than an alligator, and that's what makes it entertaining. Although, what's interesting is shot 50 by Preston Blair and the alligator seems to have a lot of strength to hold the hippo, while the Lokey alligator struggled. I think Hicks Lokey handles the shot better because it shows that Ben Ali Gator is struggling to lift the Hippo up. However, when Blair handles the shots, the alligator seems to do some very quick movement and changing round the positions of the hippo and then finally drops to the ground. I suppose, that he finally had the strength for the final dance and then drops the ground and concluding the finale and the show. It goes to show that there are unknown animators back in those days who were as great as the Nine Old Men were.
John Lounsbery animates a very beautiful shot in scene 28 with the alligator moving the hippo carefully in a circle like a ballerina in a music box - when I showed that to a therapist, she described it as "cute", I described it as excellent timing. It's a very long scene which is 39 feet long and more than 600 drawings there, and also 26 seconds in. Lounsbery seems to have animated loads of several shots with the small footage output, but he gets a very large output for the 39 feet and 37 feet scene (shot 15). He has contributed so much to this sequence, and he was the only member of the Nine Old Men working on this segment.
Norm Tate's scenes are interesting to me, I always thought that the shot with the pole, with the hippo and alligator peeking in and out is a funny shot. It really fits well with the music and good music and animation timing. Tate had to be careful that it was a comedy shot and not concentrate on its broadness, but the music as well. Norm Tate is an animator that we don't hear much about these days, but he was a Pluto animator in the early '40s on the Clyde Geronimi shorts. He was Shamus Culhane's original assistant on Pinocchio before taking over the final animation. He later had a career in advertising and died in 2006 at the age of 91.
Hugh Fraser pops back up and he animates the alligator struggling to get the elephant stuck on the two narrow poles. Good comedy here, and Hugh was a squishy animator, who also animates the ostriches here, also.
Cornett Wood takes over the final shot of the finale sequence, and the whole segment ends with the doors colliding each other with a BANG! Since I was 8 years old when I first saw that, I sure thought that it was a funny shot. T. Hee couldn't escape the sound effects here. It seems that Wood was the main effects animator here or Brad Case and haven't had luck of their names in the screen credits.
Well, that's the whole segment completed. Next up is the final segment which is the scary Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria segment, we are nearing completion I have to say.