Saturday, January 19, 2008

MICKEY Does a Fred Astaire!

I'm a baby boomer born just a bit too late for the debut of the original Mickey Mouse Club. However, encore performances (aka reruns) were going strong in the sixties, and I absolutely LOVED this show. Who wouldn't? Between Sunday nights and weekday afternoons, Disney TV with Walt defined my childhood. (Not to mention theatrical releases!)

Today's setup is the story of a truly classic piece of animation art: Mickey in one of his daily intros to the Mickey Mouse Club.

The original cel was released at Disneyland's Art Corner, trimmed and placed on a plain piece of powder blue art board. I acquired the cel in 2007. It needed minor restoration, as you can see, in these scans of both the Art Corner setup and the cel itself.

With the restoration accomplished, the next step was to digitally re-create a key Master background.

The original moment of animation looked like this:

I was able to digitally re-create the key Master background with the honky-tonk piano. But the setup looked odd displayed this way, with Mickey floating in mid-air. As a piece of in-between animation, Mickey was jumping off the piano bench onto the stage. Great energy and style in the cel, but the re-created setup just looked odd to my eye, displayed as an art piece.

So I chose to use another digitally re-created background of the empty spotlit stage:

It's the very rare occasion that a related but non-key background does a better job of showcasing the art. The animators imbued Mickey with style and charisma, and I believe the familiar stage of the Mickey Mouse Club (uncluttered by the piano, with Mickey planted firmly in the spotlight) is the perfect presentation of this wonderful cel.

The finished setup is the image that begins this post. What a treasure! I have several pieces of art from the Mickey Mouse Club. This is my favorite. Ya gotta love Mickey!

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