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Pinocchio Trade Ad from 1940

Pinocchio Ad

While researching a book that I’m currently working on, I discovered a four-page ad published in the March 4, 1940 edition of The Hollywood Reporter. The ad, taken out by the Disney studio, congratulates the crew who worked on Pinocchio. These type of ads are nothing special nowadays but this particular one is fascinating to see in the context of Disney history.

One of the commonly heard lines about why the Disney strike happened is that Walt never credited his artists publicly and wanted everybody to believe that he made his films alone. This ad proves that that statement is patently false. In fact, this ad appeared over a year before the strike happened. It credits the lead animators, voice artists, background and layout crews, storymen, musician, designers, fx animators, and even the live-action models. The first page of the ad is above, the following three pages are after the jump.

Pinocchio Ad

Pinocchio Ad

Pinocchio Ad

  • These slices of animation history are always fascinating, especially when we have the benefit of historical context. Thanks for posting this!

  • And even earlier evidence would be this trailer for Snow White that makes explicit point of the fact that many artists worked on it.

    I like the way the voiceover barks out every line as if the Empire of Japan had just attacked Pearl Harbor.

  • There must be a mistake. Why do the animators have top billing? What about:
    Associate Producer, Development Coordinator, Production Coordinator, Development Coordinator, Focus Group Research Director, Production Assistance and Research, Writer, Writers, Co-Writers, Production Manager.

    Dang. The Disney studio sure was ass backwards back then!

  • It’s interesting to see the characters juxtaposed to their respectful animators like this…It’s really fun. And to think it took so many pages in the Hollywood Reporter. Pretty neat!

  • Amid Amidi: Animation Mythbuster! :-D

  • Looney Lover

    Didn’t Shamus Culhane animate a lot of Honest John?

  • Jenny Lerew

    That’s a beautiful tribute. Just fantastic. What a layout. The film had been out long enough at this point(a month) for this to have real resonance for the motion picture industry at large: “here’s who was responsible for our second picture”.

    There was footage of various of these characters that went to other animators…for instance, Fred Moore did some animation of Gepetto. Every single shot wasn’t Babbitt’s, just the lion’s share. Culhane left while Pinocchio was in production to work at Fleischer’s in FL and as he told it, Walt wasn’t thrilled about it. Animation credits weren’t (and largely aren’t) contractual.

  • Bill

    Two thoughts: I’m glad to see that ASIFA-Hollywood has honored so many of those names with Winsor McCay awards. But I’m also wondering how many of those names are left with us? I think Dickie Jones and Don Lusk. Any others?

  • gman

    Lovely tribute!!

  • No mention of Tenggren?

  • I wish I would have seen this before teaching a chapter on the Disney Strike from The Cultural Front by Michael Denning. This would have allowed for a rather effective counterpoint to a portion of Denning’s argument.

    Great find!

  • cliffclaven

    When did animators start getting screen credit for specific characters?
    I somehow remember the Richard Williams Raggedy Ann movie as being among the first, with Disney and others eventually making it standard practice.

  • Steve, good point about Tenggren, no mention of his contributions at all. Maybe because his contributions were “conceptual”? I can say that some of the most gorgeous works of animation art I’ve seen have been Tenggren pieces. Still, very cool post.

  • RobEB

    Just when you think you’ve seen everything, something like this comes along. Great stuff! Thanks, Amid!

  • Jason

    What a terrific find! Congrats, Amid. And it’s cool to see the Evil Greedy Egotistical Meglomaniac Walt Disney caricature take another hit. I could do with more of those…

  • Tim Hodge

    Along with Looney Lover, I also notice that Shamus Culhane’s name is missing from this list (But then he was still going by James Culhane).

    According to his books, he was the driving force behind Honest John.

    I know he left Disney for Fleischer’s Florida studio (to work on Hoppity & Gulliver) for health reasons. Perhaps Walt felt betrayed. Or perhaps it was just an oversight.

  • Gerard de Souza

    It’s a cool document and a generous appreciation from Walt the man but I think it’s far from a history-buster. There were alot of remaining issues for the Disney worker who wasn’t Walt’s pet.

  • Gerard de Souza

    As for Tenggren, if I recall correctly from John Canemaker’s book ( Before The Animation Begins), He tried to take a young niece of Milt Kahl’s (who was working at the studio) camping and Kahl hit the roof. I’m not sure if that had to do with his departure.

  • Manning

    Was just reading the Wikipedia entry on the Disney Strike

    No mention about the “Walt taking all the credit” accusation. There is mention of the bonuses issue following the commercial success of Snow White, and also mention of the fact that Disney animators were the best paid at the time.

  • Jenny Lerew

    I know [Culhane] left Disney for Fleischer’s Florida studio (to work on Hoppity & Gulliver) for health reasons. Perhaps Walt felt betrayed. Or perhaps it was just an oversight.

    In his book, “Talking Animals” he goes into detail about it. According to him Walt did feel betrayed, and while Culhane thought at the time he had no choice about leaving CA due to his health issues, he also understood why Walt felt that way. But he-Culhane-wasn’t happy about being left out of the credits. He was furious.

  • As someone who has done considerable research on the Disney strike, including interviewing many of those who were on the picket line, I don’t recall that the lack of credits was anything more than a minor factor in the strike (if even that). The strike had more to do with traditional labor issues, including wages and working conditions, as well as recognition of the Screen Cartoon Guild; the immediate cause of the strike was, of course, the firing of Art Babbitt, who was head of the Guild’s Disney unit.

  • What a terrific rebuttal to the pipsqueaks who like to marginalize Walt’s capacity for decency to his crews. It’s so easy for anyone to demonize a man after his death, but this is an anomaly… Thanks for posting this.

  • Ray

    The ad was a nice touch but it ran only in a Hollywood trade publication. To the unwashed public, Walt was the star and apparent creator of everything that spooled out of his studio. When Christopher Finch’s “The Art of Animation” book came out in the early 1970’s, it was hailed in the pages of Time magazine for crediting many underpublicized Disney artists, though Bob Thomas’s “The Art of Animation” volume featured an appendix naming dozens of Disney creative people in the late 1950’s. Neither book served to make these lost hordes into household names, since they sold primarily to artists and avid Disney fans.

  • Professor Widebottom

    I recall how insistent Bill Melendez was about calling Walt a “rascal” in regard to his business practices. He really seemed to revel in making public his personal axe to grind. So you’ve got to factor in ego and rivalry amongst creative people, which can be bitter enough to last a lifetime.

  • Harvey Deneroff is right, the credits were not a major factor in the strike, but they were one more annoyance on the employee’s list. It’s nice to say Walt grave credit in a TRADE MAGAZINE, that is only read in the main, by professionals. Go to any mass publication newspaper of the time like the LA Sun, and they still refer to “anonymous Disney elves” as his artists. And go to the Roy Disney’s bio BUILDING A COMPANY, where Ken Anderson directly quotes Walt as saying ” The only name up on that screen is Walt Disney. If you’re okay with that, then you’re my man…”

  • Jason

    In Bob Thomas’ excellent biography of Walt, he mentions an interview he had with the Old Mousetro in which Walt talked about his name being on everything. He said he wanted that so the public would know what they were getting with a Walt Disney film – that the name “Walt Disney” was a brand, not *him*. He also talked to Thomas about his desire to put together a book about the people who really made his movies possible (the result was Thomas’ book “The Art Of Animation”). I guess that’s yet another example of Walt’s desire to give credit where credit was due.

  • Brad Bird

    (Tim Hodge says:
    Along with Looney Lover, I also notice that Shamus Culhane’s name is missing from this list (But then he was still going by James Culhane). According to his books, he was the driving force behind Honest John.)

    Ferguson was the driving force behind Honest John & Gideon. He supervised the characters and he and Lounsbery (who did the best work on the character, I think) did their most important scenes.

  • Funny, I’d never bothered to look up the name of Stromboli/Coachman voice artist Charles Judels before, but I see he’s been in tons of films I’ve already seen (Ninotchka, Gold Diggers of Paris, Stranger on the Third Floor). Maybe a Judels movie night is in order…

  • If you look at the Pinocchio draft on Hans Perk’s website, A Film L.A., Michael Sporn Animation, Inc., and Mayerson on Animation, you’ll see the draft that each scene credits an animator for what they did, and in it, you’ll see that Norm Ferguson is only credited for a few animation scenes on Honest John and Giddy, and they don’t credit him as Sequence Director, (the draft only credits: animator, effect animator, director, layout man [art directors for Pinocchio], assistant director, and secretary), and yet Shamus Culhane isn’t credited on any animation, only his assistant Norm Tate, he probably got his scenes and re-animated them, also no mention of Charles Philippi or Charles Payzant, (they’re Art Directors and probably didn’t do layouts), also Ham Luske is also credited on some animation scenes as well as Supervising Director (he also directed a lot of the sequences), and there’s more to see and you should really check it out, its really interesting…