The Making of Walt Disney's Fun and Fancy Free by J.B. Kaufman
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|Publisher||Hyperion Historical Alliance Press|
|Number of pages||144|
The behind-the-scenes story of Walt Disney's Fun and Fancy Free, a 1947 "package feature" composed of two different stories, Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk. Both were originally planned as separate feature-length films in the early 1940s; both were shelved during the war and resumed production in 1946, then combined in a single colorful package with animation by some of the all-time great Disney animators. Here is the full story of the film, profusely illustrated with sketches, paintings, and photos, many never previously published.
The Making of Walt Disney's Fun and Fancy Free is the first volume in the Hyperion Historical Alliance Monograph Series. J.B. Kaufman is an author and film historian who has published and lectured extensively on Disney animation, American silent film history, and related topics. His books include "Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic", "The Fairest One of All", and "South of the Border with Disney"; he is also coauthor, with Russell Merritt, of "Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series" and the award-winning "Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney".
Leonard Maltin, LeonardMaltin.com:
Few authors are as well-versed in Disney history as J.B. Kaufman. Every book he composes is an event for Disneyphiles and this one is no exception. We are all indebted to the Hyperion Historical Alliance, a society devoted to the study of all things Disney, for making it a reality. Fun and Fancy Free was one of the studio's so-called "package features" of the 1940s, intended to keep the animation pot boiling and not break the bank while everyone geared up for a new, full-length fairy tale in the years following World War II. Kaufman traces this particular film's winding road, as a proposed Mickey Mouse short based on "Jack and the Beanstalk" wound up being paired with a fable called "Bongo" based on a story by literary lion Sinclair Lewis. A plethora of concept artwork, animation drawings, model sheets and the like fill this book and provide eye appeal to match its scholarship. Kaufman even provides extensive credits so we can learn which animators worked on every scene in the feature.
Jerry Beck, Cartoon Research:
Well, I don’t know where to begin. But, spoiler alert, here’s the bottom line: Buy this book!
It goes without saying you should buy every book authored (or co-authored) by Disney historian J.B. Kaufman, but this one is special for several reasons. This time JB sets his sights on one of Disney’s “package films” of the 1940s—the first time any such feature (not counting Fantasia) has received such treatment. The Making of Fun and Fancy Free turns out to be more vital than Disney fans and enthusiasts may have thought.
The main reason is to learn the story behind Mickey and the Beanstalk—originally intended to be its own full length feature. Here is that story in lavish detail, explaining what was planned and what was deleted. Of course, the book also details the issues with adapting Sinclair Lewis’ Bongo, also planned to be a feature, and the decision to combine both into a “double feature” of a new type—something Roy Disney was initially wary of doing.
This feature became another opportunity to expand the studio’s effects animation and combination live action/animation technology; and another opportunity to boost the stardom of Mickey, Donald and Goofy—as well as Jiminy Cricket. Kaufman’s book is the first of a series of historical monographs to be published by the Hyperion Historical Alliance, edited by Jim Hollifield. The Alliance has the support of the Disney Archives, and the visual material to support the text here is outstanding. Rare behind the scenes stills, model sheets, storyboards, etc.—a gold mine!
The Making of Walt Disney’s Fun and Fancy Free is a bit of a limited edition—so I urge you to buy it for yourself, right away for Christmas. You won’t regret it.
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