It has recently come to light that The Walt Disney Company was utterly careless when it came to the preservation of its earliest animation cells. The delicate, now vintage art was handled very indelicately at the time. Classic animation canvasses were routinely thrown onto the floor after they were finished and sometimes even used to skate around on the floor of the animation offices! While modern Disney fans were horrified at these anecdotes, enthusiasts will be happy to see these pencil drawings survived!
In celebration of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 1955 feature film Lady and the Tramp, Disney shared hand-drawn line art from the film’s opening sequence. A pencil was used to draw directly onto the animation cels, and luckily these four were preserved and reside in the Walt Disney Animation Research Library.
Throughout this article, you can see the four cels and admire a classic animation style that existed long before computer animation became the norm. The first drawing shows each title character, Lady and Tramp, outside in the backyard with a bone sitting between them. In the next frame, the Disney animator depicted the dogs Lady meets inside the dogcatcher’s pound.
Next, you can see Lady jubilantly chasing a flock of birds in one still of many that, when combined, would show her in motion. Finally, admire a pencil animation of Lady and Tramp’s shadowed silhouettes snuggled atop a grassy hill. The hand-drawn animation will bring you back to a different era of Disney film and technique.
These few animation cels are just a part of bringing an animated character to life. Lady and the Tramp follows the love between a privileged American Cocker Spaniel and a streetwise stray. After sharing an iconic spaghetti dinner, Tramp must rescue Lady from the dogcatcher’s pound. The couple has puppies and happily lives as a family with Lady’s original owners, Jim Dear and Darling.
Fans enjoyed getting a glimpse into Disney’s classic animation days and fervently hope that the spaghetti scene escaped those destructive office skates.