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.

[…] This cyclic building of a series of gags into units of scenes and sequences weld stories into more closely knit continuity. This, as a consequence, helps the work of animators. It gives them a clearer idea and feeling of the character and the scene they have to animate. It helps the director to coordinate the characters and their actions, and to blend the picture into a unity. (If you wish to verify this statement, please try to remember some of the best animations, and find the conditions which contribute to the excellent of animation. You will find that the best work of animators has always been the work with a definite situation of clear purpose or idea, and with a definite character, whose actions, gestures, and expressions portrayed a feeling or mental attitude.)

Gags based on exclusively physical or physiological activities are very limited in choice of devices. In order to make the public laugh at any price, they resort to the crude and coarse suggestiveness or to the painful accidents and misfortunes of others. This type of humor, in many cases, is not funny at all, because these gags are dragged in by the hair, and are not called for by situation, or are not in keeping with the characters.

The use of the pot, landing on two heads in KARNIVAL KID, or its use as a missile in GALLOPING GAUCHO, scarcely could be justified; whereas its use in LULLABY LAND or NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is in connection with the baby's world and is appropriate. The excessive and elaborate spitting, as it curls back and rings a bell in STEAMBOAT WILLIE, or dances in a cuspidor in EL TERRIBLE TOREADOR, or spitting of the cat down a knothole in BARN DANCE, and the exaggeration and emphasis on the size of Clarabelle's udders, would not create any enthusiasm or liking in the modern cosmopolitan audience. Yet spitting as a mannerism, in keeping with a certain character, as in the case of the third little pig, or the Grasshopper, is not objectionable. Such gags as […]