animation trivia


DreamWorks’ Shrek was first released on May 18, 2001.

The song “All Star” by Smash Mouth, heard in the opening credits, was only placed in the film for test audiences until a new song could be found. But test audiences loved it, and the producers kept it in. When the producers decided to keep “All Star” they decided to let the band sing the last song in the movie, “I’m a Believer.” (x)

5 facts about Princess Mononoke

1) In Japanese mythology, dogs/wolves are male-voiced and cats female-voiced regardless of sex. This is why Akihiro Miwa provided his voice for Moro the mother wolf in the Japanese version of the film.

2) The film’s runtime is 134 minutes (2 hour and 14 minutes) which is the second longest animated film ever made. The longest is Final Yamato (1983) (165 minutes).  

3) Mononoke means monster or vengeful spirit. The people of Iron Town called San this because they thought her soul was stolen by the gods of the forest.

4) Since the film Nausicaa was greatly edited down in American releases one of Studio Ghibli’s producers sent the co-chairman of Miramax an authentic katana with a simple message: “No cuts.”

5) Director Hayo Miyazaki took 16 years to fully develop the characters and plot of the film.


6) Princess Mononoke was the first animated film ever to receive the Japan Academy Prize for picture of the year.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Aristocats

1. The Aristocats is based on real family of cats.
The film is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, which centers around a real family of cats that inherited a fortune back in 1910.

2. Scat Cat was originally going to be voiced by Louis Armstrong.
Animators modeled Scat Cat (originally named Satchmo Cat) after Louis Armstrong because they wanted him to voice the character. Everything down to the gap in his teeth to the way he played the trumpet was based on the singer. When Armstrong was too sick to play the part, Scatman Crothers was offered the role.

3. There were supposed to be four kittens.
The original script featured a fourth kitten named Waterloo, but he was removed because the writers thought four kittens was too many.

4. The film was intended to be live action.
Aristocats was meant to be a two-part live-action installment of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color back in 1954. It was Walt himself who decided the story was better suited for animation.

5. Some of Napoleon and Lafayette’s barks were recycled.
A couple of the barks heard in the film were actually recycled from the Twilight Bark scene in 101 Dalmatians.

6. A famous singer left retirement to sing the opening song.
Composers Richard and Robert Sherman convinced Maurice Chevalier to come out of retirement to sing the film’s title song “The Aristocats.” We’re glad they did, because that song is great.

7. It was the last film to be approved by Walt Disney.
The Aristocats was the final film to be approved by Walt Disney, the first to be completed after his death, and the last to include the phrase, “A Walt Disney Production” at the end.

8. O’Malley was based on and voiced by Phil Harris.
Phil Harris, who is famous for playing Baloo in The Jungle Book, was used as inspiration for Thomas O’Malley. In fact, the writers let the actor change some of his lines to better suit his personality. The first song he sings bears a strong resemblance to Baloo’s famous tune “The Bear Necessities.”

9. Eva Gabor (Duchess) and Pat Buttram (Napoleon) were co-stars on a famous TV show during filming.
While they were recording their parts for The Aristocats, the actors starred in the TV seriesGreen Acres.

10. Edgar was supposed to have a partner-in-crime.
In one of the earlier scripts, Edgar had a partner-in-crime named Elvira. Elsa Lanchester (Katie Nanna in Mary Poppins) was cast in the role.
Frozen Director Reveals Anna and Elsa's Secret Ties to Tarzan
Chris Buck, the director of Frozen, revealed in a new interview that Anna and Elsa have secret ties to Tarzan.

“While many viewers believed the royals died at sea, Buck said in the AMA, ‘They didn’t die on the boat. They got washed up on a shore in a jungle island. The queen gave birth to a baby boy. They build a treehouse. They get eaten by a leopard…'”

Here’s some fantastic concept art for Disney’s Pinocchio, illustrated by Cy Young - a pretty fascinating man to say the least.

Cyrus Young was born in Hawaii in 1900 to Chinese parents. While Young was still a student he worked as the lead animator for the 1931 short animated film Mendelssohn’s Spring Song. Walt Disney was so impressed with the film that he hired Young, along with Ugo D’Orsi, to be the head of his newly formed special effects department in 1934.

As a Disney animator, Cy Young is credited for working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Make Mine Music, and Blue Bayou. He was technically gifted, incredibly hardworking, and his work was always beautifully crafted. In their book, The Illusion of Life, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas spoke fondly of Young’s work:

Who could ever forget the lovely white blossom-ballerina in Fantasia floating gracefully to a caressing landing on the surface of the water, only to be reborn and rise up inverted, swirling and spinning as she danced off with her colorful companions? That was Cy Young at his best. Rarely could others create such poetry and sensuality in a mere blossom’s falling into a pond. (seen here)

For the majority of the early 1930’s Young and D’Orsi single handedly ran Disney’s special effects department. Both Young and D’Orsi were notorious for the tempers, almost always taking their frustrations out on each other. They even shared an assistant who’s primary job was to work as a peacekeeper between the two. There’s a pretty funny antidote from The Illusion of Life about the working relationship between D’Orsi and Young:

One day they were discussing a scene involving a witch’s kettle bubbling over a fire. As drawn on the layout it was an old pot, rusty and partially covered with soot from years of cooking. Cy felt that light from the flames would be reflected evenly over the whole pot; Ugo claimed that the light would be only on the portions not covered by the soot, since soot has no reflective power. Each man was adamant, and, since there was only one way of proving who was right, a fire was built in an empty film can in the middle of the floor, with the shade from a goose-neck lamp inverted over it as the pot. Soon the flames were dancing merrily.

While everyone else was screaming, “Put the fire out!” the discussion grew into an argument. The whole surface of the lampshade was indeed bathed in glowing light as the flames enveloped it, but there was no soot on it - as yet. People were running about, and excited protests were now coming from far down the hall, still the animators fanned the flames earnestly - their faces right down at the floor - and studied the curved bottom of the shade.

The linoleum had begun to curl on the floor before a brigade of Dixie cups could be organized to douse the flames and send the frustrated effects animators back to their desks - with the point still unproved. Maybe it was inconsequential anyway and hardly worth considering, but that intensity of feeling and the driving desire for knowledge were typical of their approach to assignments.

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Cy Young left Disney after the animators strike in 1941. Other sources state that he was fired the day before the strikes occurred. After working for Disney Young worked for the Army as a staff artist and as a clerk for the Air Force.

On January 16, 1964 Cy Young died of an apparent suicide. Almost to the day, a month later on February 12, 1964, Ugo D’Orsi passed away at the age of 66. Young and D'Orsi are probably somewhere in the afterlife still arguing with each other and trying to figure out which parts of the kettle bubbling over a fire are reflective.


Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove was first released on December 15, 2000.

This film was originally planned to have been a dramatic, sweeping Disney musical named “Kingdom of the Sun”, to be directed by The Lion King (1994) director Roger Allers and Mark Dindal, director of Turner’s Cats Don’t Dance (1997), with six original songs written by Sting, that was essentially an Incan re-telling of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper.

The resulting film tested very poorly, and the production was suspended, even though the film was 50% complete. During the production hiatus, Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer, story man Chris Williams, and screenwriter David Reynolds completely overhauled the film, eventually throwing out Wilson, the Prince and the Pauper angle, the completed footage, and all but one of Sting’s songs. (x)