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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Ferdinand The Bull" (1938)-Cel, Master Background & Pencils

Here is an unusual set of items. The cels of Ferdinand and the flowers on a production background from "Ferdinand the Bull" (1939) and the associated pencil sketches.

"Ferdinand the Bull" (1938) is one of those great little films that is both touching and funny. Probably one reason it won the 1939 Oscar in the category of "Best Short Subject, Cartoon." This is a good moment for Ferdinand and captures for us the problems associated with stereotyping. In Ferdinand's case, he was a gentle, flower loving creature who was mistakenly assumed to be a vicious bull ready for the Bull Ring. The more material you have associated with an individual cel, such as the backgrounds, sketches, concepts and storyboards, the greater the overall value to the serious collector. For those interested in a colorful image, a more complete set of items has little additional value.

This image was also included in my commentary Buy For The "Decisive Moment."

The film was based on the children's book of the same name by Munro Leaf. The film was also written by Robert Lawson, who returned years later to do the story for "Ben and Me" (1953).
Ferdinand was voiced by Milt Kahl (1909-1987), a Disney animator and was part of the group known as the "nine old men." Kalh worked for Disney from 1934 to 1976. Kahl married Phyllis Bounds, Lillian Disney's niece and became Walt Disney's "nephew." The narrator for the film was Don Wilson (1900-1982), who was well known on radio for being part of the Jack Benny Program and later joined Benny on his TV show.

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

From “Ferdinand the Bull” (1938). Cel of Ferdinand mounted on a production background and also includes the matching pencil sketches of Ferdinand and the flowers. [Image: 10 7/16"W x 9-3/8"H] Acquired 1997. Cel SeqID-0268.

Seller’s comments: I have seen only one other example in which there is a 100% match between the pencil sketches and the cel.


  1. It is indeed rare to have the drawings to the cell setup. In this case, the animation of Ferdinand is according to the draft attributed to the very Milt Kahl you mention as Ferdinand's voice.

    The initials on the clean-up are HK, which maybe could be Hal King, who was born June 5th., 1913, started work at Disney July 20th., 1936, worked most of his life as animator, retired August 28th., 1973 and passed away in Laguna Beach at the age of 73 on October 28th., 1986. I believe I read somewhere that Pete Docter is working on a book about him, which is high time.

  2. Hans- This is what I love about getting stuff out and about. Great information that I didn't know previously! Here in rural Colorado I don't have many folks to talk to!

  3. What would a piece like this be worth today?