Skeleton Dance Analysis

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Skeleton Dance(1929) was a short animation created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks to practice syncing animation with music tailored to it specifically. While the short was groundbreaking in the world of animation (and even found new life on the internet 87 years later), it was limited by the technology available to Disney and Iwerks. So while Iwerks was under a contract with MGM, Iwerks created a remake of the short called Skeleton Frolic in 1939.

Skeleton Dance opens with the credits of Ub Iwerks, the animator, and Carl W. Stalling, the composer. It was recorded using the cinephone system while Skeleton Frolic uses early Technicolor. The composer also goes uncredited in the Columbian version. Both shorts begin with a lightning strike, however Frolic makes use of its color advantage
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Instead of showing random shots of animals, in Frolic one of the trees come to life and approaches them one at a time before being startled by the skeletons. While watched the films an repeat you can see the balance Iwerks was trying to establish with the skeleton’s character; he didn’t want to make too silly or too frightening. However its conveyed better in Frolic due to the characters design and animation. In Skeleton Dance, the skeleton’s look a tad too realistic and lacks in exaggeration and appeal. This them look genuinely scary when they jump out at the camera and still a little unintentionally disturbing when they start acting goofy. In Frolic however, Iwerks draws their skulls and bones with a lot more curvuture and plays around with their proportions making them look more like cartoons. So when they start mocking and playing pranks on the living tree it makes more visual sense. After introducing the skeleton’s in Frolic the short displays another beautiful example of its use of color, with a shot of a black cat howling in front of a bright red sunset while the light reflects on the
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