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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Lady and The Tramp" (1955) [Series] - "Bella Notte" Setup

Part of the "Lady and the Tramp" series in the Cowan Collection [click Here to see all the images].

OK. Here's the last item we have in the collection from "Lady and the Tramp" -- a nice piece from the "Bella Notte" sequence.

To put this in perspective, about 25 years ago I had been laid off, Jenny had quit work a few months earlier to stay at home with our new daughter and I was trying to start a consulting company. We were trying to hold onto what little savings was in the bank and we decided to subscribe to the new "Disney Channel" on our cable system.

Shortly after we signed up, we started to receive the Disney Store Catalog. On the back of the cover page was a short blurb offering the opportunity to purchase an original cel from "Winnie the Pooh." Pooh had a special meaning to the two of us because I had read some passages from "Winnie the Pooh" on our first date. We really didn't know much about cels and talked a little about the process. Then we went back to watching the show.

Jenny decided that getting a "Pooh" cel for my 40th birthday in 1985 would be a great idea and robbed the "Penny Jar" to come up with enough money. When Jenny called Disney to place the order, she was told that they had sold out, but gave her the name of man and wife dealer that sold animation art. Long story short, it was a special birthday and the start of decades of collecting...

A short time after my birthday we were watching some Disney program that featured scenes from "Lady and the Tramp." Just after seeing the "Bella Notte" scene we turned to each other and said "Wouldn't that be a great cel to have!" Jenny called the woman she had dealt with and excitedly told her about our interest in the scene. As Jenny started to describe the scene, Jenny could hear the woman on the other end of the long distance call start to chuckle. The woman apologized and explained that it was one of the most sought after scenes and extremely rare. Jenny and I let out a collective sigh and didn't think too much of it.

Over the years (before the "internets"), we would check out the auction catalogs for various pieces and always let dealers know of our interest in the scene. In 2004, I received a call from a dealer that had found someone with 6-7 "Bella Notte" items and the dealer wondered if I was still interested in picking up a piece.

Now, we have a "Bella Notte" piece! It isn't the moment when the noses touch, but I like it because it's the moment when you and I suddenly realize what is about to happen -- long before Lady and Tramp figure it out!

[Click on images to enlarge]

Cels of Lady, Tramp, Table and Master Background

Now, here is the frame grab from the film. Notice change in the background, the positioning of the table cloth, etc. I should point out that the final image on the film can be different than the original art if, for creative decisions, the Director wants a different color configuration or brightness level.

Here's the sequence in sketch form found on page 101 of "Too Funny For Words" by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston (1987).

Finally, here is the art framed...

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

From “Lady and the Tramp” (1955). Lady and the Tramp “Bella Notte” setup - (1) a 22” x 10” Disney watercolor Master Production Background of the alley behind Tony’s Restaurant with (2 ) production cel of Lady, (3) production cel of Tramp and (4) very rare production cel cloth covered table. The cels have been trimmed and applied to a cover cel. [22”W x 10”H] Acquired 2004. SeqID-1142. Updated: 7/30/2005

Reference: Similar image on page 101. Thomas, Frank & Johnston, Ollie. Too Funny for Words. NY: AbbeVille Press, 1987. ISBN 0-89659-747-4. SeqID-1503

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