Winnie the Pooh

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Random House Value Publishing, Dec 12, 1988 - Animals - 48 pages
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The "jolly, little, silly, old" bear and all the other lovable characters who inhabit the Hundred Acre Wood are in a delightful full-color format taken from the classic Disney animated film.

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About the author (1988)

After driving an ambulance during the final months of World War I, Disney went to work as a commercial artist in Kansas City, where he met Ub Iwerks, another artist who became his lifelong collaborator. In 1923 they moved to Hollywood where, with Disney's older brother, Roy, they produced a series of cartoons called Alice in Cartoonland. Mickey Mouse was born in 1928, the star of two silent cartoons, Plane Crazy and Gallopin' Gaucho, and then the sound experiment, Steamboat Willie (1928), in which Disney himself supplied Mickey's high, squeaky voice. Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto followed, helping the Disney name become a household word across America long before Disney's death in 1966. Disney is especially known for his innovations in animation. In his Silly Symphonies series, he matched the action to the beat of prerecorded music, rather than the other way around. One cartoon in the series, Flowers and Trees (1933), was the first film done in full Technicolor. Disney also made the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). A smashing success, it ensured the viability of the animated motion picture in America and was quickly followed by such other Disney feature-length productions as Pinocchio (1939) and Bambi (1943). The more experimental Fantasia (1940) created some controversy by "animating" classical music with popular images, which enraged musical purists and bored the general public. In The Three Caballeros (1944), Disney once again combined cartoons with live action, as he had in Alice in Cartoonland. The Disney team also developed the multiplane camera, which enabled them to make animated films with more intricate action and a greater illusion of depth. The years of World War II were difficult for the Disney company, for a number of reasons. The government imposed production restrictions and recruited Disney to make propaganda films. The company was also affected by worker unrest. In 1941, Disney animators went on strike to protest Disney's autocratic rule. Eventually, there was a mass resignation from the studio, and the protestors formed United Productions of America (UPA). This was perhaps the beginning of a recognition that a Disney film could be propaganda even if Disney was not making propaganda films per se. Disney films embody certain values and assumptions, not only about drawing style and narrative, but also about the world that the cartoons represent, however indirectly and humorously. Disney offers family entertainment with a distinct view of the family and the proper behavior of family members (parent-child relationships, gender roles), as well as of America and the proper American. By the postwar years, this ideology was being exported worldwide, not just in Disney's animated features. In the 1950s, the company began to make live-action films, following the success of the first such effort, Treasure Island (1950). Disney expanded into the production of nature documentaries and developed an immensely popular weekly television show. In 1955, Disneyland was opened in Anaheim, California, followed by similar amusement parks in Florida, Japan, and Europe. Perhaps even more than the films, these amusement parks have provoked critical commentary about Disney's marketing of a fantasy of American life and the family, which many in Europe, in particular, have decried as cultural imperialism. Disney himself and the Disney company have won numerous awards over the years, including several Academy Awards, although they have all been special awards or awards for shorts (no animated feature-length film has ever won the Oscar for "Best Picture"). Disney was also twice honored by the U.S. government for contributing to "the American dream." Since Disney's death, his company has continued carrying on his tradition for quality family entertainment.

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