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Raggedy Ann & Andy and Disney Dance Band

Raggedy Ann & Andy

Don Brockway’s IsntLifeTerrible.com is a new entry on the blogging scene and well worth checking out. He’s done a couple posts in the past week that have caught my attention. The first is a nicely written appreciation of Dick Williams’s feature Raggedy Ann and Andy – A Musical Adventure which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The other post offers a stellar collection of downloadable MP3s of 1930s and ’40s British dance band recordings of Disney songs. My iPod thanks you Don.

  • Asifa-Hollywood is planning a 30th annual artists reunion (and screening) of Williams’ Raggedy Ann and Andy for this fall. Details will be announced in several weeks.

  • uncle wayne

    what a treat to slap mine eyes this morning….my dear old friend, “Poor Babbette!” One of my favorite films….absolutely gorgeous!!! (I actually did a “Kiddie Kabaret” one time….and HAD to, of course, use “Song Blue!”)

  • Brad

    My original thought, when I saw RA&A on its release, was that it needed half the songs, half as long. Then I read that the songwriter was one of the producers and thought, “That explains it!”

    No kidding, the king’s first song and the “You’re My Friend” dirge in the brig can be dropped entirely — the film stops dead — and the “Without a Sweeeeeeeeetheart” bit needs to be shortened by two-thirds.

    Otherwise, it tends a little towards the sickeningly-sweet, but that can be chalked up to the source material.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    At least ASIFA-Hollywood’s doing something about it. It was one of those guilty pleasures of my childhood to watch that one a lot. Interesting reading the blogger mention how he was told this was a ‘cartoon’ when he went to see it 30 years ago. I probably would’ve felt the same way too if I was told that in my face if I went to see an animated feature.

  • John Canemaker’s excellent book documenting the making of this film was the first real look at the making of an animated feature, and one of the first books on animation that took it seriously. My copy’s all dogeared now, but I still pull it out to show people at work just how far back then-youngsters like Eric Goldberg, Dan Haskett, Michael Sporn and a host of others go. I’ve since worked with many people I felt I already knew from devouring that book. It doesn’t pull any punches about the troubles in the production, either, while still being(in my opinion)very sympathetic to Dick Williams, whom I absolutely worshipped after reading it. Ditto Corny Cole and Tissa David.

    One question: whatever happened to Chrystal Russell? Noted at the time for being that rara avis, a female animator.

  • Ogg

    Wow, I’m at least happy to find out who owns this film. This was one of my favorite films as a child and remains one (even at age 23). I think the episodic quality is rather nice, considering a lot of it is based on the original stories. The songs are a lot of fun (especially No Girl’s Toy, Blue, and the Greedy’s song). It’s neat to see this film years later and notice how well it’s aged. You’d never think it was made in the 1970s!

    I’m totally behind a move to get this released on DVD. I’d love to finally see it in the original Panavision format. Hopefully the 30th anniversary screening will get good coverage here?

    By the way, you can watch the entire film on Google Video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6706642381871663196

  • John Ellis

    The film is a complete and total mess, with many character designs hideously ugly, and many of the songs going on a bit -too- long.

    Still, it has a lot of imagination.

  • Jenny wrote:

    “One question: whatever happened to Chrystal Russell?”



    Look for Chrystal under her married name, Chrystal Klabunde .


    Her IMDB listing is incomplete and ends at 1992’s “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest” . However , I know I’ve seen her name crop up on other projects over the years as a storyboard artist ,character layout artist, or animator, most recently on “The Tigger Movie” (2000) if memory serves .

  • JH

    This was a somewhat guilty favorite of mine, too — back in the early 80’s when HBO played it a lot. It simply didn’t look like anything else. It’s looseness was its most winning feature, and I still enjoy it more than some of the other “cartoon” movies of that time. (The dreary Secret of NIMH comes to mind.)

  • David C

    As Jenny noted, John Canemaker’s book is excellent. As a kid, it was the first book on animation that really went behind the scenes, and gave some indication of the kind of people who worked on the film. It’s also filled with wonderful illustrations. I was lucky enough to track down a copy of the book, and it’s as good as I remembered it.

    Despite having read about the film so much, I’ve only recently been able to track down a copy of it. I was starting to doubt that a video of it had even been released.

    I hate to admit it, but it (literally) put me to sleep! The film just didn’t seem to click for me. The animation was too loose, there was too much singing, no compelling plot…

    I think this review here sums it up well. I *really* wanted to like it, and I feel guilty that I didn’t. I’m thrilled that other people enjoyed it. There’s some wonderful stuff in there, but (from what I recall) it just doesn’t hold together as a film.

  • I also love John Canemaker’s book on the making-of Raggedy Ann. It’s probably the best thing to result from the film and continues to be one of the best making-of books on the process of traditional animation. A huge influence on me .

    I do wish the film were available on DVD . It is a film where the parts are greater than the whole and I’d rather watch bits and pieces of it rather than sit through the whole thing. It is a flawed film for the reasons noted: too episodic, too many characters singing way too many songs , inconsistent animation (especially in the last 1/3 of the film) , but I still have a soft spot for it. There is some really good work in it and the credits read like a Who’s Who of Old Generation meets New Generation. Tom Sito posted some of his memories of working on the film on his blog last year.

  • Thank you very much for the link to the RA&A article! I was very very small when that film came out and grew up on it. I would buy a DVD in a heartbeat (I have a VHS-to-DVD transfer which is okay but not ideal). I’d like to see the soundtrack re-released too but that’s probably too much to ask…

  • Lucy Daly

    Firstoff, Ogg, I don’t know if you’ll revisit this post, but you have my eternal thanks for posting a site to watch the movie from. I’ve watched it maybe…. Three times since you posted it?

    Sure, this isn’t the Citizen Kane of animation, by far, but I have very good memories of this film, and the songs are just wonderful, as is the voice acting. I never realized exactly WHO was attached to the film, but my jaw dropped as I read off the names in the opening credits. I loved the story in the one article about Tissa Davis, the animation of Raggedy Ann, in particular. Being a Hungarian woman interested in animation myself, I think I found a new role model in
    Ms. Davis.
    There was a good deal of bizarreness with the film, that’s been stated many times, but re-watching this, I’m shocked I wasn’t more terrified by a number of the characters. Then again, at the time this was shown they also showed ‘Felix The Cat: The Movie” and “The Secret of NIMH” had just come out… Yeah, in my opinion, kids movies today aren’t terrifying ENOUGH.

    Beautiful, bizarre, wonderful movie, though. I’d love more than anything to get my hot little hands on a copy of the DVD… Heh, hey, if “Dot and the Kangeroo” can get put out on DVD, I think there’s hope for this movie, too.

  • David C

    Heh. Despite my negative comments above, I decided to have another go at the film last night, playing the YouTube version on my computer. It goes a lot faster when you skip through the songs!

    I was zipping through the last bit, when my older daughter begged me to back up so she could see the “King Koo Koo” segment in its entirety. I may have been sleeping the first time through the film, but she certainly remembered! She refused to go to bed until she saw it all.

    And the girls watched it the entire film again this evening. I guess it goes to show how little my opinion is worth.