Books &Mary Blair 25 Jun 2007 07:30 am

Retta Scott & Cinderella I

Retta Scott‘s name was always an intriguing one for me.

She was an animator on Bambi, Dumbo and Plague Dogs. She was layed off at Disney’s when they hit a slump in 1941 but came back to do a number of Little Golden Books for Disney. The most famous of her books was her version of Cinderella, one which was so successful that it remains in print today as a Little Golden Book.

When asked why females weren’t animators at the studio, the Nine Old Men who traveled the circuit, back in the 1970′s, often mentioned her. They usually also said that she was one of the most forceful artists at the studio, but her timing always needed some help (meaning from a man.)

Ms. Scott was known predominantly for her animation in Bambi. Specifically, she’s credited with the sequence where the hunter’s dogs chase Faline to the cliff wall and Bambi is forced to fight them off.

The scene is beautifully staged and, indeed, is forceful in its violent, yet smooth, movement. I was a young student of animation, so this sequence had a long and lasting impression on me.
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Here are some of her illustrations for Cinderella published in 1950 to tie in with the Disney film. Oddly, the illustrations don’t completely look like the film’s characters. The cat and mice are close, but Cinderella, herself, is very different, less realistic. She looks more like a Mary Blair creation. When I was young, I was convinced that these were preproduction illustrations done for the film. If only.

To do justice to this book, though I’m not posting ALL of the illustrations, I’ll break it into two postings.


(Click any image to enlarge.)

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12 Responses to “Retta Scott & Cinderella I”

  1. on 25 Jun 2007 at 11:24 am 1.Bill Robinson said …

    Wow, thanks for posting these Michael. I collect the old Disney Golden Books (amazing illustrations!) but this is one that I don’t own. I did recently purchase a copy of an Italian-language Disney Cinderella story. (Called ‘Cenerentola’) The name on the cover is “Arnolodo Mondadori Editore”…I’m not sure if that means he was the artist or the editor. But the pictures are definitely different, tho the stepmother looks very similar. Maybe I will scan in my version and post it sometime.

  2. on 25 Jun 2007 at 1:28 pm 2.Ward said …

    I loved Retta’s work on BAMBI. Still amazing to watch after all these years.

    You know, Michael, if you had a Flickr account, we’d love to have you submit the scans of the Cinderella LGB on The Retro Kid! (I mentioned this post in our discussions, just so you know.)

  3. on 25 Jun 2007 at 2:20 pm 3.Michael said …

    Hi Bill:

    Arnolodo Mondadori is a very large Italian publisher that produces a lot of beautiful art books and children’s books.

  4. on 25 Jun 2007 at 6:48 pm 4.David N said …

    Michael,

    I found a photo of Retta Scott on a website which no longer appears to be up (I went back to the link I had bookmarked and it’s gone now …). I think it’s the same photo which appears in the Christopher Finch book. I’ll send it to you . In the Finch book he mentions that she also animated on the Pastoral sequence in Fantasia .

  5. on 26 Jun 2007 at 1:22 am 5.Thad Komorowski said …

    Gee, those are really nice drawings, but for some reason (to me anyways) I can’t connect these to the Disney film.

    I watched Cinderella last year (for the first time in ages) and was surprised at what a good film it was. Not a favorite I’ll watch over and over again, but it definitely can serve well in a thesis for what’s wrong with most animation today.

  6. on 26 Jun 2007 at 6:25 am 6.Stephen said …

    I also thought they were preproduction illustrations thank you for insite.

  7. on 26 Jun 2007 at 8:07 am 7.Michael said …

    David, thanks for the info about Retta Scott’s photo. I’ll use it in tomorrow’s post.

  8. on 03 Jul 2007 at 3:09 pm 8.John Sutich said …

    I inherited a watercolor painting of a “shanty town” done by Retta Scott. My mother knew her in Seattle. Anyobody know if it has any value? Whom would I contact?

  9. on 01 Nov 2007 at 11:04 am 9.Andrea Jagar said …

    Please post all of illustrations of retta scott Cinderella, hole my family loves this version of Cinderella.

  10. on 18 Apr 2008 at 2:25 pm 10.amardeep kaur said …

    respected sir i m a teacher and i want to show cinderella story to my pupils but i can afford to buy your illustration on cinderella. kindly mail me the story of cinderella with animations or pictures if you can. i shall be thankful to you for this.

  11. on 13 May 2013 at 2:50 pm 11.Nick Stern said …

    I found this five year old post and felt I could add something to the conversation. I assisted Retta Scott when she worked on The Plague Dogs. A few things stand out in my mind. We had a Lyon Lamb video pencil test unit. Interns were available to shoot pencil tests but Retta preferred to lock herself in the video room and shoot her own tests. Then she would carefully erase her test. Similarly, when one of the artists would ask for her autograph she would take the book or whatever home and produce a lovely drawing the next day. Retta’s method was to draw a bunch of keys, test them and only then number them. I thought that rather odd. But it gave her animation a great fluidity.

    At the time I knew her, around 1980, she was still living up to her hard drinking reputation mentioned in “The Illusion of Life”. She drove up to the San Francisco studio from her house in Foster City and there were many evenings when we worried about her getting home after a stop at the bar.

  12. on 03 Jul 2013 at 7:06 am 12.exclude foods said …

    I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your content. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your Feed too.

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