Monday, March 15, 2010

Short Film: The Skeleton Dance (USA, 1929)


Time to go far back in time and look at a short that has another nine years to go before reaching the ripe old age of 100. The Skeleton Dance is an early and seldom seen classic from Walt Disney, the first of his numerous Silly Symphony shorts. He reused much of it that very same year in his Mickey Mouse short Haunted House. It was animated by Ub Iwerks who, in turn, remade it eight years later in colour as Skeleton Frolics for Columbia.
There is no real plot to The Skeleton Dance, it just features a bunch of skeletons having fun and making music in a graveyard one dark and scary night. The concept of the short was thought up by Carl Stalling at an idea meeting with Disney, who suggested making a cartoon short based simply around music. Silly Symphonies dominated the Oscars for years to come after Walt introduced colour (and won an Oscar) in 1932 with Flowers & Trees. The name Silly Symphony was, as one can imagine, a direct influence on Warner Bros. decision to use the (now) more familiar title of Looney Tunes.
In 1994, in Jerry Beck’s book The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals,
The Skeleton Dance was voted number 18. It remains a popular film to reference, and has been “quoted” or can be “seen” in films as varied as Forbidden Zone (1982 / trailer), Look Who's Talking (1989 / trailer), Corpse Bride (2005 / trailer) and Ghost Rider (2007 / trailer).
So, now that you know the trivia, sit back and enjoy 5.5 minutes of innocence from the days when animation was still learning to walk.

2 comments:

Jack J said...

Hey,
that's a cool old horror cartoon, thanks for posting. But if it's made in 1929 won't it take another 19 yrs before it reaches a 100? (not 9 as you said in the post). LOL.

Bryin Abraham said...

You're right, dude! I actually noticed my bad math while putting the post online, but decided to leave it in to see whether anyone else would notice. (For a blog with a many daily hits as mine supposedly gets, I get remarkably little feedback.) Your response at least lets me know that all the hits aren't just from spam trawlers... If you like that film, you should check out some of the old Betty Boop films on youtube (like Old Man on the Mountain, for example). They be pretty trippy, too.

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