Animation &Disney 18 May 2010 10:29 am

Roustabouts – 2

- As stated yesterday, the Roustabout sequence of Dumbo is one of my favorite sequcences in any Disney feature. I love the fact that it is blatantly political in its scope while completely servicing the feature.

The bold and dramatic artwork represents nothing so much as Russian poster art of the 20s and 30s. Whether this is accidental or not is open to question, but given the political nature of many of the workers (pre-strike) I think they knew what they were doing. You can see that in the strong chalk drawings, done as preliminary art, and you can see it in the final.

The men’s chorus singing the piece just underscores that theme, and is entirely supportive. (Go to AFilm LA to hear the original recording of this with the King’s Men singing.)

Hans Perk has been posting the drafts for Dumbo, and Mark Mayerson has been posting his excellent Mosaics he creates for the film.

Here, are frame grabs detailing the sequence.

__________________(Click any image to enlarge.)

From A Film LA:
Seq. 04.0 “Roustabouts”
Directed by Sam Armstrong, assistant directors Lloyd Richardson and W. Hays, layout Dick Kelsey.

Jack Campbell seems to have animated most of the Roustabouts. Then we find Hugh Fraser, Edwin Fourcher, Jerome Brown, Karl Van Leuven, Russ Dyson, Frank Grundeen, Jim Escalante, Vern Witt, Claude Smith, Sandy Strother, Cornett Wood, Ed Aardal, Miles Pike, George Rowley, Josh Meador and John Reed, most of whom are effects animators.

4 Responses to “Roustabouts – 2”

  1. on 19 May 2010 at 12:43 pm 1.Eric Noble said …

    I really like this scene. I love the almost expressionistic way the Roustabouts are drawn. It shows you what true artists the Disney staff had on hand. True masters of the medium of animation. Thank you for sharing these with us Mr. Sporn. You have a wonderful blog that I visit everyday.

  2. on 20 May 2010 at 1:33 pm 2.Bill Benzon said …

    Thanks for this, Michael. I agree with you about the importance of Dumbo and of this scene, which is excellent both in thematic terms and technical terms. It’s just a superb piece of work. I couple of years ago I published an essay about Dumbo at Mike Barrier’s site. That essay focused on social relations in the film and, in particular, on the relationship between Dumbo and the crows, obviously modeled on black Americans (which puts that post in the same arena as my current series on race symbolism, particular the posts on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Huck Finn). Here’s my concluding paragraph:

    The emphasis is certainly on Dumbo as an individual. But, by establishing a contemporary setting, an egalitarian sentiment, middle-brow snobbery, and those African-American crows, Disney embraces a wider social context. This leaves me with the odd feeling that, in some ways Dumbo is a more ambitious film than, say, Pinocchio. The Pinocchio story seems strongly self-contained within the relationships between the three central characters; it’s an entirely personal story. Dumbo, though intensely focused on a very important relationship—that between mother and child—embeds that relationship in the larger world in a fairly open-ended way. Disney was reaching for more than he had in Pinocchio. Is it too much to see in Dumbo the first step down a path that Disney chose not to explore?

  3. on 20 May 2010 at 2:22 pm 3.Michael said …

    I certainly agree with everything you have to say, Bill. Dumbo is one of my two or three favorite Disney features. A small, tight, brilliant film.

  4. on 21 May 2010 at 1:58 pm 4.Steven Hartley said …

    I knew that Jack Campbell could have done the roustabouts, because they’re more of his work, the roustabouts are more human-like than all goggly eyes and cartoonie faces, Jack (I think) was a well-drafted animator for real animated-humans, I animated one of the most complicating characters to draw, Snow White, did the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, the Centaurs in the Pastoral Symphony segment in Fantasia, and I don’t know what he did for Lady and the Tramp, probably the Darlings!

    Thanks for your posts, keep it up!

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