Released on May 28, 1953, MELODY was the first cartoon ever filmed in 3D. It was shown at Disneyland in the Fantasyland Theater as part of the 3D Jamboree. As I mentioned earlier with TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK and BOOM, this film was the first in a proposed series of shorts teaching the principles of music, called Adventures in Music. TOOT was the only one made after MELODY. I would've loved to have seen the opening credits in 3D, as the mobile concept for the opening title sequence probably looked great.
All the prinicple artists and creative geniuses who produced MELODY are pretty much the same from TOOT (check out the details here). Ward Kimball, being the director, kept the flow of the piece quick and precise. Again, some great character designs by Tom Oreb, as well as some fantastic background and color designs by Eyvind Earle. The story is similar to TOOT, where we are introduced to a schoolhouse with the Professor Owl presiding over the class. As he talks about the subject of the day, we are presented with some interesting side examples of melody in action. My favorite is the "Steps of Life" segment, demonstrating how melody is evident throughout the life of your average guy. As we go though the stages of this one guy's life, his early life and childhood steps go up. When he marries and has children, that is considered his "prime of life," and is depicted at the apex of the stepbridge of his life. Then, as he gets older, the steps go down. All at the same time, the overall colors shown for each step changes subtlety, as warm ochres, yellows and reds, suggesting growth and vitality, are for his childhood and school years, up until his marriage. When he gets older, the color scheme subtlety changes from reds to purples to blues, depicting maturity and loss of vitality. A nice gag that is barely seen, but for an instant, is when we see him get married, a shotgun slowly flies across the frame, suggesting that perhaps there were more than one reasons why our boy got married!
Another slip of fun that got overlooked somehow, was a shot of the dunce of the class glancing over at the Mae West-wannabe chick, Suzy Sparrow. He's not looking at her eyes, if you know what I mean. You can check that frame out below. And yes -- the frames! I couldn't stop with the frame grabs. I believe there are 46 here. It was very difficult in trying to find out what exactly to grab as every single shot looked fantastic. The colors, the backgrounds, the characters, everything. This short is probably not as fun as TOOT, but it's just as tight. (By the way, MELODY is found in the bonus features of the FANTASIA 2000 DVD, and more recently, is included in the Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities DVD set.) And don't forget -- all images below are clickable to view in a larger, 800 pixel-wide size. Enjoy!
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.
As I was watching the end of MELODY, I noticed the nice pan that goes from the schoolhouse, up to the end frame, and I thought, you know that'd be pretty cool to see in its entirety. So, I grabbed some of the frames from that shot and put them together via Photoshop. Here's the final result (you can, of course, click on image for a larger size):
You can help me out by ordering MELODY through Amazon directly here: