Walt Disney Studio Bulletin No. 5 : The Trend of the Development of Cartoon Stories, Characters and Gags

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From the collection of Patrick Malone.

Walt Disney Studio Bulletin No.5       October 23, 1934


I. Consequences of the changing public demand

A. The animated cartoon public has grown from the limited scope of provincial, rural, local theatre and children's audience, to the audience of all classes and ages, of big theaters, in cosmopolitan dimensions.

B. Experiences and relations of the public nowadays have become wider, more intense and various. You can no longer amuse the world audience by merely physical contortions formed to the beats of the measure, without motivation, purpose, feeling or idea behind them. The supply of gags of this kind is limited. They have lost their novelty, become stale, and they are too obvious to be funny. The shallow world of puppet-like characters, devoid of all personality, can no longer appeal to the enlarged, vital interests and imagination of the modern public.

II. Demand of the modern public.

The pictures which are approved by the cosmopolitan audiences, the most successful and memorable of Walt Disney's cartoons, show a definite trend in development which should be continued.

A. Trend toward more closely knit and coherent themes, characterization, and construction of the story.

1. Stories without unity and connection.

Many older pictures are little more than a loose string of gags, hanging artificially to the locale and the props placed therein, and selected for no other reason than for musical and rhythmical activities. In such pictures as CASTAWAY, WILD WAVES, pianos, xylophones, orchestras, and musical instruments appear on deserted islands and beaches as though by magic or coincidence, in order to give Mickey, […]