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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Dumbo" (1941)-Dumbo Cel On Master Background

This image from "Dumbo" is one of my favorites and I feel fortunate in being able to acquire it. As I mentioned in "Buy For The Decisive Moment," images that capture the essence of a character and/or a significant moment in the story line have more fundamental appeal and value. Much as we are drawn more to the Villains than the heroes, we are also drawn more to the moments of terror than elation. For the audience, this is that breathless split-second just before Dumbo believes in himself and starts to fly. The smile that comes over Dumbo's face when he realizes that he can fly is another great moment, but it would be my second choice. Or, buy both!

"Dumbo" (1941)-Cel On Master Background

The image's vertical format is striking and is consistent with the downward rush toward the center of the ring. But on closer inspection, I noticed that the background was hit with a varnish layer. I had used a similar technique to put a matte finish on images printed on glossy paper. It never crossed my mind that a similar technique would be necessary in animation.

Here, I've included an enlargement of the lower left corner of the image. It's difficult to see, but the varnish terminates about a 1/4" from the edge of the background. There is a slightly heavier density of varnish over the shadow areas.

Images very similar to this one have appeared in John Canemaker's "Treasures of Disney Animation Art" as well as in "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation" by Frank Thompson & Olllie Johnston. [Note: there are color variations between my scanned image and the images in the books - plus my own ability to induce color variations when I scan in pages from a book!]

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Dumbo” (1941). Cel on master background of Dumbo falling to earth holding a rattle. An unusual vertical pan cel and background. Back: "Used in inking 1/14”; “officer of the company." [11.75”W x 15.25”H] Acquired 1997. SeqID-0266 Updated: 8/1/2005

Reference: Shown on page 187 -- Canemaker, John. Treasures of Disney Animation Art. NY: Abbeville Press, 1982. ISBN: 0-89659-581-1. [15"W x 12"H] SeqID 1512

Reference: Shown on page 132 -- Thomas, Frank & Johnston, Ollie. The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. NY: Hyperion, 1981. First edition. ISBN: 0-7868-6070-7. [10.75”W x 11.75”H; in slip cover] Limited Edition: 736/3,000. Signed by Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston. SeqID 1535

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