p. 394 p. 395 p. 412 p. 413

THE audience roars with laughter as a frustrated Donald Duck hops up and down, blistering the sound track with belligerent squawks. Sitting on the edges of their seats in the darkened theatre, everyone from Grandma on down to Baby Daughter squeals with delight as Mickey Mouse and Pluto romp about in a burst of Technicolored hilarity.

Little do these delighted spectators realize that at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, 184 technicians worked a total of 16,502 man-hours to turn out 14,907 separate paintings, in order that those nine minutes of animated laughter might appear on the screen.

The making of an animated cartoon is not a simple affair. It involves a series of precise, lengthy, and completely fascinating processes. The medium is, in itself, a happy marriage of art and science skill fully blended to create a unique form of screen entertainment.

By now, almost everyone knows the basic theory behind the production of an animated cartoon. They know that a cartoon, like any other motion picture, consists of thousands of separate still pictures recorded consecutively on a narrow length of film—that each succeeding picture or “frame” records the action at a slightly more advanced stage—and that when these pictures are flashed on a screen at the rate of 24 per second, an illusion of motion is produced. In cartoon production, each of these individual frames must be hand-drawn, painted, and separately photographed one after the other onto a strip of film.

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