Walt Disney Studios is returning to it’s old ways with the production of a new cartoon short series starring Goofy.
For Disney, Something Old (and Short) Is New Again
By Charles Solomon
Published: December 3, 2006
MOVIEGOERS who have become inured to pre-show car ads and trivia quizzes may soon get something old enough to seem new: cartoon shorts.
After a hiatus of nearly 50 years, Walt Disney Studios is getting back into the business of producing short cartoons, starting with a Goofy vehicle next year. The studio has released a few shorts in recent years — Destino, Lorenzo and The Little Match Girl — but those were more artistic exercise than commercial endeavor. The new cartoons, by contrast, are an effort by a new leadership team from Pixar Animation Studios, now a Disney unit, to put the Burbank company back at the forefront of animation with a form it once pioneered.
“The impetus comes from John Lasseter, who takes the idea from Walt Disney and 100 years of film history,” said Don Hahn, producer of The Lion King and The Little Match Girl, in a recent interview at his studio office. “Shorts have always been a wellspring of techniques, ideas and young talent. It’s exactly what Walt did, because it’s a new studio now, with new talent coming up — as it should. I think the shorts program can really grow this studio as it grew Pixar, as it grew Walt’s studio.”
Although audiences today are more familiar with his feature films, Walt Disney’s reputation was originally built on shorts. In the 1930s A Mickey Mouse Cartoon appeared on theater marquees with the titles of the features, and Disney won 10 Oscars for cartoon shorts between 1932 and 1942. He used the Silly Symphonies to train his artists as they geared up to create Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But after World War II Disney phased out short cartoons because of rising production costs and the minimal amount theater owners would pay for them.
Mr. Hahn said the new shorts would be screened in theaters along with Disney films. “You pay your 10 bucks to see a movie,” he said, “and you get a surprise you hadn’t counted on.” \
The new shorts will be done in traditional 2-D animation, computer graphics or a combination of the two media, depending on the story and the visual style.
This is easily the best idea I have a major studio come up with recently. What could be better than when you go to a movie and instead of endless trivia questions and commercials, you get to watch a delightful animated short.
Plus, you’d actually be getting something that is worth 10 dollars.
Disney gets a big thumbs up from me for just making my day.