“This isn’t happening anywhere else in the world right now. You’re seeing it live, right here at D23 Expo.”
When film historian Leonard Maltin said these words during Silly Symphony Celebration at D23 Expo, my Disney fanatic heart soared. Disney is known for giving their fans exclusive experiences, and attending a Silly Symphony was one of my favorite experiences at the expo.
I remember my grandfather telling me about Silly Symphony films he’d seen when he was younger. It was a big deal to go to the movie theater, especially in the south, and he would recall all the silly symphonies he was able to see. I was very young, but I can still hear my grandfather laughing hysterically when he found the Silly Symphonies playing on the Disney Channel. I’d asked him what was so funny, and he invited me to sit down and watch with him. To this day, I’m reminded of my grandfather when I watch these classic films.
Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony short films were a workshop for experimentation in the animation process. It also provided a venue to try out techniques and technologies that would eventually be used in feature-length animated films. Vast improvements were made during this time in creating believable character animation, special effects animation, and dramatic storytelling in animation. This is why these films are still celebrated today. When a classic is done right, it can stand the test of time. Walt Disney knew that, and Disney Animation Studios follows in Walt’s shoes to this day.
Watching The Silly Symphony in Action
As a guest of Disney, our group of 25 bloggers had the pleasure of experiencing A Silly Symphony Celebration –a live concert performance featuring a 32-piece orchestra celebrating the Silly Symphony animated short films and their accompanying music, hosted by film historian Leonard Maltin. It was amazing to watch this orchestra in synchronation with the pictures on-screen. There were many Silly Symphonies featured like The Old Mill, Flowers and Trees, and my favorite, Three Little Pigs.
I found myself singing “Who’s Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf” for the rest of the day. Did you ever notice the pictures hanging on the wall of the 3rd pig? The one picture of their Dad showed sausage links! I giggled when I saw that. I love how Disney feeds us those little chuckles in their short and feature films.
The Silly Symphony Collection
This year, Silly Symphony fans are getting a special treat. The Silly Symphony Collection is a first-of-its-kind box set from Walt Disney Records and Fairfax Classics featuring the complete restored soundtracks from all 75 Silly Symphony shorts from 1929-1939, with over 8 hours of music spread over 16 vinyl LPs. The collection is housed in 8 tip-on gatefold jackets with original animation art in a beautifully constructed foil-stamped and numbered slipcase. Soundtracks of Disney classics such as “The Skeleton Dance” by Carl Stalling, “Three Little Pigs” by Frank Churchill, and Donald Duck’s debut “The Wise Little Hen” by Leigh Harline will be presented in full for the first time ever on record. Each gatefold jacket includes detailed liner notes for every short by Disney historians J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt, authors of the definitive book on the Silly Symphonies.
This would be a fantastic gift for the biggest Disney fan in your family. You can pre-order this collection NOW, and it will be delivered to you before the holidays. Check out the Disney Music Emporium website to see what Silly Symphonies are included in the collection, and how to pre-order.