Saturday, March 1, 2008

From The Scoop: The Seventh Dwarf

From the February 22 issue of Gemstone Publishing's The Scoop:

With its debut on December 21, 1937, Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the first full-length animated feature film and until Gone With the Wind was released, it was the highest grossing film of all time. In addition to its financial and critical success, the enduring value of Disney’s beloved masterpiece is evident through its impact on the animation industry, children, and adults who retain a piece of their childhood.

Creating such an incredible film was not an easy task, even for Walt Disney. He worked diligently to adapt the centuries-old fairy tale into a cartoon. Disney based his version on the tale from the Grimm brothers, though the story of Snow White was known in many places all over the world well before the Grimm brothers produced their adaptation. In their version, the seven dwarfs who care for the princess have no names. It was Disney’s talented team of animators who gave each of the dwarfs their names and individual personalities, including different looks, characteristics and voices.

Defining the characters of Grumpy, Doc, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, and Happy came easily enough, but for a long time during production, that last dwarf was simply called “Seventh.” That is, until animator Ward Kimball came across a vaudeville actor named Eddie Collins and observed one of his performances. Kimball used Collins’ pantomimes as the basis for the character that would later be named Dopey. It was one of the first times that live-action footage was recorded for an animated film, a technique that is still often used today. After Dopey’s look and movements were developed, production team members scrambled to find the perfect voice for him, but Disney decided that Dopey would simply not speak, and that would be what was special about him.

Many people love the “left-over” dwarf best out of the seven because they first watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when they were children, and they were able to identify with Dopey’s child-like curiosities and characteristics. Luckily, Dopey and Disney lovers alike now have the chance to relive some of the magic, with Geppi’s Entertainment’s Spring Toy Sale at Morphy Auctions. By bidding on lot 542, you will have the chance to own a set of Walt Disney Wind-Up Character Toys, including Dopey, Minnie Mouse, and Ferdinand the Bull. All three of these antique toys still function properly, and Dopey is especially adorable with his movable blue eyes.

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