TWO DISNEY MASTERS EXAMINE THEIR CRAFT
Too Funny For Words: Disney's Greatest Sight Gags
By Frank Thomas and Oliver Johnston
Abbeville Press; $39,95
In this new book by veteran Disney animators Thomas and Johnston, film historian John Culhane is quoted as saying, "An animator was like the princess in the fairy tale who had to spin Straw into gold." At no time does this simile ring more true than when being used to describe the classic bits of Disney animation the book reproduces to help explore and analyze "the Disney humor." Six years after the publication of their first magnum opus, Disney Animation: the Illusion of Life, Frank and Ollie have returned to the vaults to amass over 100 incidents from Disney shorts that best typify the studio's brand of humor.
The book is divided neatly into two parts, with the first half a reminiscence about life at the Disney studio when its rising cast of characters were still bouncy, flexible, black and white, and in service to the vaudevillian, lowbrow stunts that they were created to perform. As the Disney characters began to grow (and as the animators grew with them), their personalities began to lend themselves to certain kinds of gags, and consequently certain gags which were funny in and of themselves seemed even more funny when performed by a certain character.