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.

[…] false teeth falling out and nipping the fanny of the Toreador; milking the hydrant like a cow; using pants for parachutes; pulling Minnie's leg out of shape and cutting out the slack; tying the cows tongue around her mouth; using the neck of an ostrich for a hitching strap; pig blowing up like a tire, and others, are forced and do not show relation to the characters or the story. They are painful and ineffective. The losing of pants, stripping of clothes, in many cases are uncalled for by the situation and they are not funny. Yet this gag is different in KING MIDAS, when the King's shorts begin to roll up in preparation for disappearing in accordance with the bargain the King made with Goldie. The picture of KING MIDAS is good stylization of the extremes - from the richest to the poorest man.

The little pigs fright was caught in one touch by the straightening out of their tails. Example of a gag used for symbolization was in the GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS - the Grasshopper's pursuit of the one remaining leaf in the winter scene. The gag excellently built up, with the comical situation developing from bad to worse, is the scene with Pluto and the fly-paper in PLAYFUL PLUTO. It is important that this is also entirely in keeping with the Pluto character.

It is a mistake to think that in order to produce the greatest amount of laughter, it is necessary to overload the story with gallons of gags. The rapid fire gag-machine-gun with the succession of quick surprises is not the best way to tickle the spectator's funny bone. The attention of the spectator cannot grasp and enjoy too many unprepared and unbuilt gags.

It would be a misunderstanding to think that the new trend does not need gag men with riotous and wild imaginations producing spontaneous screwy gags. On the contrary, this trend is opening new fields and topics for a greater variety of clever gags. They will have to be applied, however, more closely to definite characters and […]