Disney Tries Out New Talent in Old Form

Moviegoers who have become inured to ads and trivia quizzes before the film may soon be getting something that’s old enough to seem new: cartoon shorts.


(NY Times) – After a hiatus of nearly 50 years, Walt Disney Studios is getting back into the business of producing short cartoons, starting with a Goofy vehicle next year. The studio has released a few shorts in recent years, but they were more artistic exercises than commercial endeavors. The new cartoons, by contrast, spring from an effort by a new leadership team at Pixar Animation Studios, now a Disney unit, to put the company back at the forefront of animation, with a form that it pioneered.

“The impetus comes from John Lasseter, who takes the idea from Walt Disney and 100 years of film history,” said Don Hahn, producer of “The Lion King” and “The Little Match Girl,” during a recent interview in his studio office. “Shorts have always been a wellspring of techniques, ideas and young talent. It’s exactly what Walt did, because it’s a new studio now, with new talent coming up as it should. I think the shorts program can really grow this studio as it grew Pixar, as it grew Walt’s studio.”

Although audiences today are more familiar with his feature films, Walt Disney’s reputation was originally built on shorts. In the 1930s, “A Mickey Mouse Cartoon” appeared on theater marquees with the titles of the features, and Disney won 10 Oscars for cartoon shorts from 1932 to 1942. He used the “Silly Symphonies” to train his artists as they geared up to create “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” But after World War II, Disney phased out short cartoons because of rising production costs and minimal revenue. Hahn said the new shorts would be screened in theaters along with Disney films. The new shorts will be done in traditional two-dimensional animation, computer graphics or a combination of the two media, depending on the story and the visual style.

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One Response to “Disney Tries Out New Talent in Old Form”

  1. junky says:

    Pretty cool.  I know WB was going to do this as a way of resurrecting the Bugs Bunny characters, but it never happened.

    And of course Disney did do a few Roger Rabbit cartoons in the 80s, along with a Goofy cartoon a few years ago.

    I think it’s a great idea, so long as the shorts are of good quality.  My hope is that instead of reaching back to copy the traditional toons of the past, they instead test new techniques and ideas by basically giving young, fresh animators a chance to do their thing.  Seems to be the direction, knowing Pixar.

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