Monday Morning Inspiration: Melody

MELODY

The Ward-O-Matic has an excellent post about Ward Kimball’s classic 1953 Disney short MELODY. The film is filled with incredible graphics, which animator/director Ward Jenkins has thoughtfully documented with dozens of frame grabs. It is even more impressive when one considers that it’s the first film Ward Kimball had ever directed. Most directors would be lucky to achieve a film of this caliber once in their entire career, but Kimball surpassed himself immediately with his follow-up film TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK AND BOOM (also released in 1953). Though MELODY is somewhat disjointed in its story construction, it’s a visual delight the entire way through — one can feel Kimball’s giddiness and newfound freedom as he experiments with all the different graphic styles (greeting card cut-outs, children’s-style drawings, off-register lines over shapes, etc.) that had been off-limits while he had been an animator on the Disney features. Besides Kimball’s designs, the film also features solid graphic contributions from Eyvind Earle and Victor Haboush. Earle has unfortunately passed away, but Vic is still around and doing well. He designed the film’s Calder-esque opening titles, among other styling duties on the film. (And lucky for me, I get to see Vic later this morning.)