Silly Symphony

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Silly Symphony is a series of 75 animated short films (shorts). They were produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1939.[1]

Disney studios[change | change source]

After the movies changed to sound, Walt Disney began making Mickey Mouse and musical Silly Symphony shorts.[2] To keep costs down Disney produced his own music. Disney's first music director and composer was Carl Stalling. The Mickey Mouse shorts used pop music while the Silly Symphony cartoons used Classical music.[3] In 1932 the studio produced its first cartoon in Technicolor, Flowers and Trees.[4] The success of the song Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?, from the Silly Symphony short Three Little Pigs (1933), convinced Disney to keep producing original music.[2] It was at this time Disney introduced the characters of Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Minnie Mouse. Over its ten year run, Silly Symphonies had won Walt Disney the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film seven times. [5]

Franchise[change | change source]

The series also spawned a Disney media franchise which included the newspaper comic strip Silly Symphony, the Dell comic book series Silly Symphonies, as well as several children's books, many of which were based on Silly Symphony cartoons.

List of movies[change | change source]

# Title Release date Director Notes
1 The Skeleton Dance August 22, 1929 Walt Disney Clips of this short have been featured in both Disney and non-Disney productions.
2 El Terrible Toreador September 7, 1929 Walt Disney
3 Springtime October 24, 1929 Ub Iwerks Seen in One Hundred and One Dalmatians
4 Hell's Bells October 30, 1929 Ub Iwerks Featuring Satan, the Grim Reaper, Cerberus, and various unnamed demons of Hell.
5 The Merry Dwarfs December 16, 1929 Walt Disney
6 Summer January 6, 1930 Ub Iwerks
7 Autumn February 13, 1930 Ub Iwerks
8 Cannibal Capers March 13, 1930 Burt Gillett
9 Frolicking Fish May 8, 1930 Burt Gillett Introduced continuous movements or ’overlapping action’ in animation, instead of the old stop-and-go movements.
10 Arctic Antics June 5, 1930 Ub Iwerks
11 Midnight in a Toy Shop July 3, 1930 Wilfred Jackson
12 Night July 31, 1930 Walt Disney
13 Monkey Melodies August 10, 1930 Burt Gillett
14 Winter November 5, 1930 Burt Gillett
15 Playful Pan December 28, 1930 Burt Gillett Featuring Pan
16 Birds of a Feather February 10, 1931 Burt Gillett
17 Mother Goose Melodies April 17, 1931 Burt Gillett Featuring among others Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Little Bo Peep, Little Boy Blue, Little Jack Horner, Mother Goose, Old King Cole, and Simple Simon.
18 The China Plate May 25, 1931 Wilfred Jackson Retelling of the Willow pattern legend.
19 The Busy Beavers June 22, 1931 Burt Gillett
20 The Cat's Out July 28, 1931 Wilfred Jackson
21 Egyptian Melodies August 21, 1931 Wilfred Jackson
22 The Clock Store September 30, 1931 Wilfred Jackson
23 The Spider and the Fly October 16, 1931 Wilfred Jackson
24 The Fox Hunt November 18, 1931 Wilfred Jackson Remade in 1938 as the Donald & Goofy film The Fox Hunt
25 The Ugly Duckling December 16, 1931 Wilfred Jackson Based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen; remade in 1939
26 The Bird Store January 16, 1932 Wilfred Jackson
27 The Bears and the Bees March 12, 1932 Wilfred Jackson
28 Just Dogs April 16, 1932 Burt Gillett Featuring the first starring role of Pluto (Mickey Mouse does not appear)
29 Flowers and Trees July 30, 1932 Burt Gillett First cartoon produced in Technicolor; won the inaugural Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
30 King Neptune September 17, 1932 Burton Gillett Featuring Neptune as the "King of the Sea"
31 Bugs in Love October 1, 1932 Burt Gillett Last black-and-white Silly Symphony
32 Babes in the Woods November 19, 1932 Burt Gillett Featuring Hansel and Gretel
33 Santa's Workshop December 3, 1932 Wilfred Jackson Featuring Santa Claus
34 Birds in the Spring March 11, 1933 David Hand
35 Father Noah's Ark April 8, 1933 Wilfred Jackson Featuring Noah, Ham, Japheth, Shem and their respective wives, as well as a cavalcade of animals. The "building the ark" music is an adaptation of Beethoven's Contradanse in C Major, WoO 14 No. 1. The short itself would be referenced several times in the Pomp and Circumstance segment of Fantasia 2000
36 Three Little Pigs May 27, 1933 Burt Gillett Featuring the namesake characters and the Big Bad Wolf; won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
37 Old King Cole July 29, 1933 David Hand Featuring the namesake character along with various nursery rhyme characters
38 The Pied Piper September 16, 1933 Wilfred Jackson Adaptation of The Pied Piper of Hamelin
39 Lullaby Land November 11, 1933 Wilfred Jackson Featuring the Sandman
40 The Night Before Christmas December 2, 1933 Wilfred Jackson Featuring Santa Claus
41 The China Shop January 13, 1934 Wilfred Jackson
42 The Grasshopper and the Ants February 17, 1934 Wilfred Jackson Based on a fable by Aesop
43 Funny Little Bunnies March 10, 1934 Wilfred Jackson
44 The Big Bad Wolf April 14, 1934 Burt Gillett Featuring the title character along with the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood
45 The Wise Little Hen May 19, 1934 Wilfred Jackson Debut of Donald Duck
46 The Flying Mouse July 14, 1934 David Hand
47 Peculiar Penguins October 20, 1934 Wilfred Jackson
48 The Goddess of Spring December 8, 1934 Wilfred Jackson Featuring Persephone and a version of her uncle-husband Hades/Pluto, identified here with Satan. The Disney animators' first attempt to create visually realistic human characters.
49 The Tortoise and the Hare January 19, 1935 Wilfred Jackson Featuring Max Hare and Toby Tortoise; won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
50 The Golden Touch February 16, 1935 Walt Disney Featuring Midas and Goldie the elf
51 The Robber Kitten April 13, 1935 David Hand
52 Water Babies May 11, 1935 Wilfred Jackson
53 The Cookie Carnival June 15, 1935 Ben Sharpsteen A homage to the Atlantic City boardwalk parade and bathing beauty contest of the 1920s and 30s (which became the Miss America Pageant)
54 Who Killed Cock Robin? July 6, 1935 David Hand Includes caricatures of Mae West (Jenny Wren), Bing Crosby (Cock Robin), Harpo Marx (the cuckoo), and Steppin Fetchit (the blackbird); incorporated into Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage.
55 Music Land September 14, 1935 Wilfred Jackson
56 Three Orphan Kittens October 19, 1935 David Hand Won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
57 Cock 'o the Walk November 9, 1935 Ben Sharpsteen
58 Broken Toys December 14, 1935 Ben Sharpsteen Some toys are caricatures of Hollywood stars.
59 Elmer Elephant January 18, 1936 Wilfred Jackson
60 Three Little Wolves March 14, 1936 David Hand Featuring the title characters along with their father the Big Bad Wolf and his rivals the Three Little Pigs
61 Toby Tortoise Returns April 18, 1936 Wilfred Jackson Sequel to The Tortoise and the Hare; featuring cameo by Elmer Elephant and a parody of Harpo Marx
62 Three Blind Mouseketeers June 20, 1936 David Hand
63 The Country Cousin August 15, 1936 David Hand Won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
64 Mother Pluto October 10, 1936 David Hand Featuring Pluto mothering a number of newly hatched chicks
65 More Kittens November 7, 1936 David Hand,
Wilfred Jackson
66 Woodland Café January 17, 1937 Wilfred Jackson Contains animator Ward Kimball's first animating assignment
67 Little Hiawatha February 21, 1937 David Hand The last Silly Symphony distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists
68 The Old Mill October 22, 1937 Wilfred Jackson Disney's first use of the multiplane camera and the first Silly Symphony distributed by RKO Radio Pictures; won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
69 Moth and the Flame April 1, 1938 Burt Gillett
70 Wynken, Blynken and Nod May 27, 1938 Graham Heid
71 Farmyard Symphony October 14, 1938 Jack Cutting
72 Merbabies December 9, 1938 Rudolf Ising,
Vernon Stallings
Outsourced to Harman and Ising after the studio donated inkers and painters to the Disney studio to complete Snow White
73 Mother Goose Goes Hollywood December 23, 1938 Wilfred Jackson Last film showing a Silly Symphony title card; features multiple caricatures of Hollywood film stars and a cameo by Donald Duck
74 The Practical Pig February 24, 1939 Dick Rickard Featuring the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Wolves; released as a Three Little Pigs standalone short
75 The Ugly Duckling April 7, 1939 Jack Cutting Remake of the 1931 film and the only Silly Symphony story to be remade; won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film

References[change | change source]

  1. Pietro Frassica, Her Maestro's Echo: Pirandello and the Actress who Conquered Broadway in One Evening (Leicester: Troubador Publishing, 2010), p. 90
  2. 2.0 2.1 Maureen Furniss, Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics (Sydney: John Libbey, 1998), p. 94
  3. The Cartoon Music Book, eds. Daniel Goldmark; Yuval Taylor (Chicago: A Cappella Books, 2002), p. 24
  4. Wheeler Winston Dixon; Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, A Short History of Film (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008), p. 127
  5. Choice, Vol. 45, Issues 4-6 (2007), p. 827