Not only did a Silly Symphony introduce the world to the cantankerous Donald Duck (The Wise Little Hen), but Flowers and Trees was the first cartoon ever presented in full color!
Released between 1929 and 1939, these animated shorts flipped the animation world on its head: allowing the music to take center stage while the action flowed around it. This style freed the animators, allowing them to explore a variety of different characters and scenarios.
The Symphonies also allowed Walt’s engineers and inventors, like Bill Garity and Ub Iwerks, to test their groundbreaking film-making technologies, including the multi-plane camera. In short, Snow White never gets made without the Silly Symphonies. They completely revolutionized animation and films as we know them.
Which is why today’s letterhead is so incredibly cool:
Oh yea, it also bears a letter written by Walt himself!
Read it over: it’s a request, basically, for more information from a job applicant. Say what?! I really can’t imagine Walt ever being this in-the-weeds with regard to the hiring and firing of his staff, but there you have it. An absolutely awesome piece of Disney history, signed by the man himself.
In honor of this lovely piece of paper, here are my two favorite Silly Symphonies:
Flowers and Trees (ca. 1932), the first Academy Animated Short Subject Award winner
The Skeleton Dance (ca. 1929), the first Silly Symphony
What’s your favorite Silly Symphony? Tell us in the comments below!