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IT was in 1831 that the first animated cartoon was drawn by a French-man. Nearly ninety years later, in 1920 to be exact, Walt Disney started on the career that was to make life gayer and brighter for untold millions through the medium of his animated cartoons, a career that has been spent in continuous experiment.

In 1928 sound was added to the first Mickey Mouse film, Steamboat Willie — and sound was then in its infancy. His colour cartoons began in 1932. In 1938 he produced his first full-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Fantasia was another experiment, and is his own favourite. It provided a visual interpretation of famous musical compositions, and a special recording method was used for the music, conducted by Stokowski.

In 1945, still experimenting, he gave us The Three Caballeros, taking about twenty-two months to make and costing about two million dollars.

When the war ended Disney produced Song of the South, adapted from the "Uncle Remus" stories by Joel Chandler Harris, beloved since they were first published in 1870. The live people appeared in a story of a lonely little boy staying at a plantation in Georgia. He becomes friends with a gentle, kindly old negro, who enchants the boy — and us — with his stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear... . And it is this imaginary world which Disney showed us through the medium of cartoon, based on "The Laughing Place Story," "The Tar Baby" and "The Cornfield Story."

[img]The wicked, sly Brer Fox conspires with the strong but dull-witted Brer Bear to outwit cheeky little Brer Rabbit.[/img]

[img]"Bred and born in a briar patch" was Brer Rabbit. He is insulted when Tar Baby fails to say "good morning."[/img]

[img]"The Three Caballeros" combined cartoon with live actors for the first time. We accompanied Donald Duck in a riotous tour of Mexico and Brazil, with Joe Carioca, the Brazilian parrot, and Panchito, the Mexican rooster and see them romp on the beach at Acapulco.[/img]

[img]James Baskett as Uncle Remus, the great story-teller, with Bobby Driscoll as Johnny.[/img]

[img]Right : Hattie McDaniel brings news that Johnny has run away to his mother (Ruth Warrick) and grandmother (Lucile Watson).[/img]