Friday, 2 November 2012

Sleeping Beautyland

Ah, there’s nothing like a good Disney bashing and one of the funniest had to be “Sleeping Beauty” (1960), written by George Atkins and directed by Bill Hurtz. Doesn’t the prince look familiar?

There are a lot of subtle things going on in this cartoon, not the least of which is Walt Disney had laid off a whole pile of animators at the completion of the feature “Sleeping Beauty” only months earlier. Is it any wonder that “Sleeping Beauty” was the basis for this satire? Doubly delicious is the fact that the basic animation produced by Ward is the very opposite of the “illusion of life” that Disney strove for. The characters are rudimentary, the kind that appeared on TV commercials in the ‘50s.

The stand-in Disneyland is shown to be trite, with attractions that are little more than obvious ideas. And the Walt Disney stand-in is not only greedy, he’s a train lover, just like the real Walt. Notice the railway tracks.

Daws Butler uses his Phil Silvers voice in this cartoon. June Foray plays the wicked fairy and Sleeping Beauty.

1 comment:

  1. There's a bicycle print of one of the old NBC Bullwinkle shows, with the Bill Scott-voiced moose hand puppet who announces they're run out of time and have to end the show... "...and besides, Mr. Disney just walked into the studio with a baseball bat" (at a time when Ward's show was followed on Sundays by Walt's Wonderful World of Color).

    (Also, It amazing how much funnier some of the ex-UPA staffers got once they were away from UPA. Newton Minnow could bemoan the crassness of early 1960s TV, but everyone involved knew you had to entertain the audience, and not just please a bunch of highbrow Disneyphobic critics, to stay on the air. The FFT was the first in a long line of cartoons over the years that have have actually had fun tweaking the mouse factory, instead of acting as if being funny is beneath them.)