Kausler's Closet
July 22, 2019 posted by Jerry Beck

Disney Rarities

This week, two Disney oddities collecting dust for several decades in Mark Kausler’s film closet – one, a lost educational film from the 1940s, the other some rare behind the scenes footage from Pinocchio.

Jiminy Cricket Roto Footage. Says Mr. Kausler: “It demonstrates how an old vaudeville comic who posed for some of the opening stuff on Jiminy Cricket pantomimed warming himself on a hot coal, and the business of entering Gepetto’s house. Ward Kimball, Wilfred Jackson, a Disney layout artist and a lot of the technical staff appear in this silent home movie reel, shot in 1938 or so at the Hyperion studio. It also shows the individual photostats derived from the live action film frames being printed out by big machines that do several frames at a time. A great reel that shows that even a relatively “cartoony” character like Jiminy was based on live action reference. The footage was shot in Oct. of 1938.”

According to J.B. Kaufman’s book on Pinocchio, Jiminy’s model was Val Stanton. He appeared with his brother Ernie in Vitaphone shorts.


Here’s an obscure educational subject which Kausler had a nice Kodachrome print of. Environmental Sanitation was produced by Walt Disney for the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs as part of their “Health For The Americas” series in 1946. Says Kausler, “It has a few scenes of animation and a lot of pans over nicely painted backgrounds. It tackles some pretty gruesome subject matter involving untreated human waste, rats, typhus and other picture postcards.” Perhaps J.B. Kaufman or Dave Bossert can illuminate us further on this short.

10 Comments

  • You’re right, Jerry, this was produced for the Coordinator’s office, and in fact it was one of the last nontheatrical educational films produced by the Disney studio for the Good Neighbor program. It followed the path of most of those nontheatrical films: proposed by the CIAA staff in 1944, developed at Disney and extensively reviewed and revised by the Coordinator’s experts, and finally completed and delivered in April 1946.

    Also like most of those films (and as Mark suggests), it was produced along extremely economical lines. A grand total of three animators worked on it: Fred Jones, John Reed, and Hal King. Also, by that time the studio had assembled a number of stock scenes, animated for earlier films, that could be reused indefinitely for still greater economy of production. One example here is the hand-washing scene, animated several years earlier by effects animator Ed Aardal.

  • It’s one thing to read histories and descriptions of the processes that produced a feature cartoon like Pinocchio, but to actually see how much work went into just one small bit of the film – from minutiae such as notebooks full of detailed prop drawings, logistics planned out in checklists of tasks, the equipment and crews at work, it really hits you in the gut what a monumental effort went into accomplishing the whole.

  • The Opening Song of Environmental Sanitation is “Saludos Amigos”. Was this short from the media blitz campaign regarding the Good Neighbor Policy?

    • Not exactly, but it was one of the numerous educational/health films produced for the Good Neighbor program (see above). Ned Washington and Chuck Wolcott wrote the title song for “Saludos Amigos,” and the studio continued to use that tune for some of these nontheatrical shorts and got a lot of mileage out of it.

  • ..and by the way, that’s Art Baker playing the part of the town in “Environmental Sanitation”. You will also hear a lot of the underscoring from “Bambi” in at least two sequences, and a small helping of the underscore from “Donald at Lake Titicaca” from “Saludos Amigos”. Thanks Jerry, for doing the film chaining chores on these films; you’ve cleaned your gate! The edges of the frame looked spotless!

  • The Pinocchio footage appears to have been prepared as a B-roll for a promotional film, with every step of the process clearly laid out in sequential order. All it needed was narration and a music track. It looks like it was shot by a professional newsreel cameraman, rather than someone taking candid home movies.

  • My favorite line in that Jiminy Cricket sequence is, “As I stood there warming my… my SELF…”. I laugh every time I hear that.

  • This is amazing! Thanks for sharing them with us, Jerry.

  • A look back in time…..a real treasure!!! I enjoyed watching all phases of production and animation

  • We start on Ham Luske, with layout man Hugh Hennesy (who later looks through the camera viewfinder at 4:04). At 1:39 layout man Charlie Philippi with their chief carpenter (he appears in photos shot for Pinocchio publicity in April/May 1939 as well). Note the lines on the floor of the sound stage around 3:57: they outline Walt’s badminton court! At 6:33 Ward Kimball, Luske, Hennesy and Philippi. Every time I saw this footage I enjoyed the machine that developed the photostatic prints at 9:00. (And I thought back to the days we animated for Don Bluth, where we had to use the stats incredibly literally)…

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