5.03.2005

TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK & BOOM


TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK & BOOM is one of my favorite Disney shorts of all time. Point blank. And so, I was elated beyond belief when I found out it was FINALLY out on DVD a couple of years back when it was listed as part of the bonus features on the FANTASIA 2000 DVD. (It is now also available on the Walt Disney Teasures: Rarites set.) Originally released in theaters in 1953 as part of an educational series titled, "Adventures in Music," TOOT was directed by the one and only Ward Kimball. Well, he was listed as co-director with Charles Nichols, but it can be said that it was all Ward. It was cool to note that the Academy honored the short for the Award for Best Short Subject Cartoon of that year. Icing on the cake, I guess.

And what great animated icing! The overall color and character design is pretty much top notch. The short film garners a closer look, so I've had this idea of grabbing some screenshots for you all to check out -- something I've always wanted to do ever since I started this blog. But fear not -- I didn't want to skimp on the quality of the images. Oh no! I'm a generous guy, so I've got nice, big. 800 pixel-wide screenshots of the short for everyone to enjoy. To ease the page loads, they're posted here as thumbnails so you can simply click on the thumbs to download the larger images.

Some background first:

You can check out specifics on TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK & BOOM here, but there were some brilliant minds at work here and oftentimes these incredible talented guys get overlooked. The art director was Ken O'Connor (scene layouts and continuity, mostly), with Vic Haboush as assistant art director to Ken. The major stylist on the film was Thomas Oreb, a "lost legend" and true artistic hero of the time. He was the one responsible for all the fantastic character design on the film. Working in tandem with the characters was background artist and designer, Eyvind Earle. He's often mentioned for his gothic/medieval backgrounds in SLEEPING BEAUTY.

After seeing all the thumbnails of TOOT here, it's interesting to note the color scheme of the entire film. There are a good amount of warm reds and purples that stand out to me, offset by cool blues and indigos. When you look closer at the images, take special note of the flatness of the characters, typical of the early- to mid-50's design of the time. You can thank UPA for spawning a great interest in this limited, yet modern style, as they had that look pretty much cornered. But here, Oreb almost out-UPA'd UPA. I love how the musicians have white lines with no color fill for their heads. Brilliant stuff.

DISCLAIMER: The following images are owned and copyrighted by Disney. I am not making any money off of this presentation, just posting these wonderful images merely for the sake of resource and historical purposes. If you have any questions about all this, please feel free to email me. Thank you.

Onto the images:
























And now, for the Special Edition part of this post: the following rare story sketches are by Tom Oreb for TOOT, along with their respective scenes from the final film for comparison. Some great fluidity in the pencil lines here. (And please don't ask me where I got these, as I have so many animation drawings, model sheets, sketches, and resources accumulated throughout the years, it's sad that I can't remember. Sorry.)

The story sketch:

And now the final:


The story sketch:

The story changed a bit and so I found two instances where the scene was similar to the story sketch:



Well, there ya go. If this proves successful, I plan on doing more posts like this, where I'll grab more images than humanly needed from other great animated short films. Up next: MELODY, the first of the "Adventures in Music" series, also from 1953, and also directed by Ward Kimball. Enjoy!

UPDATE: I've now posted 46 wonderful images of MELODY. You can check it out HERE. Hope you like!

You can help me out by ordering TOOT through Amazon directly here:

27 comments:

  1. Those are great! Thanks Ward

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  2. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing these screenshots with those who really appreciate great design, illustration, and animation.

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  3. Very cool post! I haven't had the chance to read through all of it... but just skimming through it makes me so excited that I can't stand to wait. Thank goodness for long work days! Thanks for another great read! Your posts are always a blast.

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  4. Ward- I'm so glad you posted those screenshots. I'd completely forgotten about that movie. Absolutely gorgeous, of course. What really amazes me is how timeless and powerful the graphic style is. Despite the obvious influences of Klee, Chagall, Picasso, etc... the work was so original! I'll keep coming back to these images for inspiration today!

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  5. Fantastic!! Even though I'm a diehard full animation fan, I've always loved this short - thanks for posting these shots!

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  6. Awesome!

    Thanks for doing all the hard work so that us slubs can just click and enjoy!

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  7. cool post - i especially like the font in "the end" frame. it reminds me of jax - now i'm on the hunt for a jax font. anyone?

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  8. I love watching this one with ava. so fresh and modern-looking (even today... ESPECIALLY today)... I do remember seeing it as a child but now I am really able to appreciate the superb character design, the colors, the humor behind the narration and sound effects. or maybe that's just what being married to an animator has done to me. oh well- that's not too horrible of a side effect, I guess.

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  9. Oh, wow....you've made the day of a plethora of artists, Ward! I've been thinking about this very short lately, too...the story sketches are fabulous. Thanks a million for doing all the work(no mean feat)!
    -jen

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  10. Ward;
    thanks for doing the legwork. I don't think I've ever come across anyone who didn't revere this little gem. The Oreb sketches are a great comparison; it's one of the real oddities of TOOT that the finished frames seem pushed much further than the conceptual art, which sure runs counter to most modern productions (Disney's own Hercules and even Beauty and the Beast are loaded with great develpment art that ended up watered down for the final product-Heck, some of the gods in Fantasia's Pastoral Symphony suffered the same fate.)

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  11. Thanks for all the great stills...this is one cartoon I can never get enough of!

    Those interested should also check out "Melody", a similar Kimball film made the same year as"Toot" and also available for viewing on the Fantasia 2000 DVD.

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  12. Great job, good writeup, love the cartoon. I've alwase liked this style of animation.

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  13. Fantastic article! I recently discovered this gem, and am still reeling from the sheer creative genius. Thanks for posting the scene comparisons as well. Always great to see rare concept art.

    Definitely looking forward to the next article on Melody.

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  14. magnificent. the stylized look of those egyptians is priceless. and i agree with several of the above comments -- thanks gabillions for taking so much time to present all these cool artifacts as well as you do.

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  15. awesome post Ward. Thanks for taking the time to post that...Good stuff no doubt!

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  16. I really remember this short! It's definitely one of my personal favs (and still the funniest after several years since I first watch it as a child) and I think Ward Kimball has done a brilliant job in bringing such personal works to life. It's kinda sad that shorts like this one are often overlooked because of what they look like. Perhaps they should take a careful look at them, especially the very heart of these shorts.

    Thanks for these wonderful shorts! I'd love to keep them as future referrences!

    -Glen!

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  17. I love that short so much! I actually put in the "Fantasia 2000" DVD a lot just to watch the shorts on it! Thank you for the wonderful write-up and all the really great pictures! I would love to see lots more things like this about other shorts!

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  18. Thank you all for your kind words. It was indeed a labor of love, so it's nice to get some welcome feedback.

    And yes, I do plan on posting frame grabs of Ward's other short from '53, MELODY, shortly. It's all a matter of time making all those thumbnails! Sheesh...

    I wanted to talk more about how TOOT really influenced me as well as offer some interesting observations, but I felt that the images were far too important to keep you all from seeing them. Maybe I'll do an in-depth critique about both short films sometime later on.

    Thanks again, guys!

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  19. From one Ward in honor of another!

    (WARDOMATIC,good title in regard to BOTH blogger AND obejct of honor.Cool!)

    Thansk for posting those open titles..I've seen this on aDisney owned staiton (KCAL here in Calif) and they NEVER put open credits, just the titles. Thanks!

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  20. Some Pokemon-loving dudeMay 29, 2005 3:50 PM

    I've seen this short and it was good,it had alot of music in it,I also liked the latin dancer.

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  21. The joy of the old Disneyland TV program in the early days (besides Walt's own personal appearances) was the airing of great material like these short subjects. I first saw "Toot, etc." in 54 or 55 on a music-themed episode of Disneyland, along with the latin parrot and probably snippets from "Fantasia" and anything musical that Goofy or the other characters might have done in their cartoons. Odd that a lot of us seem to be thinking about "Toot" again after all this time. I'm also looking to see the Mission to Mars again (remember the Von Braun 3-stage rocket, the solar-powered Mars "umbrella ships," the martian concepts, and the self-contained spacewalk suits for the astronauts?). Great stuff. Thanks, Ward.

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  22. This a real masterpiece, perhaps the most creative and colorful of all Disney short films.

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  23. Thanks, Ward. This is great background on a piece of my childhood I never thought I'd find. I grew up with the 45rpm record of TOOT. I loved the abstract style of it although back then I'm sure I didn't know why I liked it so - it was just different than anything else. I think it was an early inspiration for me to study music through my first year of college. Thanks for this touchstone.

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  24. Isn't the Internet fantastic! For some reason, not obvious even to me,the title 'Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom' suddenly came into my mind - I saw the film once, probably about 1954 if released in '53, as a small child. It has obviously stuck in my mind almost forgotten until today. To feed the title into Google to see if anything came up and it led to all this instantly is amazing!
    I certainly did enjoy...
    Many thanks.

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  25. It was very exciting to read about TOOT - I didn't realize that something I had enjoyed so much was so popular with others too. It seems to me I saw this in elementary school in the 1950's, along with the other Disney Ed films which I dearly loved - esp. the Jiminy Cricket safety and health "filmstrips". I wonder what the chances are of them ever coming to DVD.
    I do have a question. When my daughter was a girl during the 1980-90's and the Disney Channel was still playing the original Disney stuff, I recorded a program that included "Toot", "Donald in Mathmagic Land"(where I really learned about Pythagoreus)"Once Upon a Wintertime" and another short about a Boy who is learning about Plants - all I can really think of now is the phrase "pho-to-syn-the-SIS". Why I ever lost/taped over that VHS I will never know, it was marvelous.
    The Disney way of using art and animation to inspire learning is amazing. I agree with whoever mentioned the Wonderful World of Disney television programs, there is nothing to compare to the magic.
    I guess I am preaching to the choir here. Thank you so much for your Disney/Ward Kimball blog posts.

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  26. I was hoping to find "Toot" or clips on youtube but a search returns nothing. It would be so cool to watch this again.

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  27. This is more educative than Melody, it not have as many funny scenes as Melody, but is a very good animated short film because shows ina simple and creative way the evoluton of musical instruments. What I really loved of it is that my favorite characters, the Canary Sisters, have more starring than in Melody

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