“Jiminy Cricket” must have been a popular expression back in the thirties. Did you know that one of the Seven Dwarfs actually says, “jiminy cricket!” in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?” This was years before the Disney Studio completed “Pinocchio.
I found this hand inked and painted cel in a box in my garage. But before you get excited, let me explain that it’s not from Walt Disney’s classic animated film, “Pinocchio.” You see, we did a lot of crickets over the years. Much of the animation was for television. That’s a dead giveaway if you look closely at this cel. Even though the cel is beautifully hand inked and painted it’s no match for one of the original crickets from the Walt Disney feature film which had a more delicate ink line and a softer choice of colors. This is clearly art for a commercial or a segment of The Mickey Mouse Club. By the way, did you know that Cliff Edwards was still voicing the famous cricket as late as the fifties? Though getting on in years, the original voice of Jiminy was as energetic as ever. For some reason, Edwards like to hang around the Animation Building, and we would often see him in the hallways. Maybe the old guy just felt at home at the Disney Studio, and Walt didn’t seem to mind.
Speaking of “Pinocchio,” I was fortunate enough to spend time with another famous voice actor from the Walt Disney movie. Of course, I’m speaking of Pinocchio’s voice, Dick Jones. Sadly, Mr. Jones passed away recently, but I’ll never forget what he told us about working for Walt Disney and doing the voice of the little wooded boy. Decades later, Dick Jones remembers tearing up with each release of the Disney classic. He considered it such a wonderful thing to have been a part of this extraordinary motion picture that continued to bring joy to so many people. To the best of my knowledge, Dick Jones never voiced another cartoon character for the Disney Studio. However, the Disney Legend will always be remembered for “Pinocchio.”
Finally, this animation cel is in pretty good condition considering it was painted many years ago. Of course, by then we were using cel vinyl paint which was more long lasting and resilient than the old Disney water based paint. In any case, it’s pretty cool to see actual artwork you can hold in your hand. It’s a totally different experience from todays cartoon filmmaking where everything is virtual and never truly exists.