Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22: Skeletons Night Out

On this day in 1929, Disney’s first Silly Symphony cartoon short The Skeleton Dance was released. Voted #18 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons (in 1994) the short features four human skeletons dancing and making music around an eerie graveyard.
Composer Carl W. Stalling (a pioneer and Disney’s first musical director) supplied the music and actually first
suggested the idea for a series of musical one-shot cartoons to Walt at a gag meeting in 1929. The Skeleton Dance is notable for being the first animated cartoon to use non-post-sync sound.
Although Ub Iwerks is given credit as the short’s animator – he was assisted by Wilfred Jackson and a very young Les Clark (who would go on to become one of Walt’s “Nine Old Men”).

Click HERE for more August 22 Disney history.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21: A Bear's Beginning

On this day in 1921, an 18" high Alpha Farnell teddy bear from Harrod's in London, England was given to Christopher Robin Milne on his first birthday. Christopher was the son of writer A. A. Milne. The bear was first named Edward Bear before being commonly known as Winnie-the-Pooh. (This is the exact bear that in 1987 was put on display at The New York Public Library.)
The manufacturer of this now famous teddy can be traced back to 1840 in Notting Hill and John Kirby Farnell – who made small textile goods such as tea cosies, pin cushions and pen wipers. But it was Agnus Farnell (John's daughter) who began making soft toys in 1870 with the backing of her father and Henry her brother.
After their father’s death in 1887 Agnus and Henry moved the company to
Acton and leased an 18th century house "The Elms" where they set up a soft toy business - originally using rabbit skins to make the toys! The company is believed to have produced its first Teddy Bear in 1908. In 1921, J. K. Farnell became a private limited company. That same year Agnus set up the Alpha works next to the existing Farnell factory and produced bears designed by Sybill Kemp.
Alpha Farnell bears were sold in most major stores, including Harrods in

Click HERE for more August 21 Disney history.