Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Walt Disney Family Museum Celebrates the Art of Stop Motion Animation

I came up with a number of reasons to post this story:

1. I haven't plugged the Walt Disney Family Museum in a while.
2. I need to mention how cool the Museum's new website looks.
3. I've loved stop motion animation since the first time I saw King Kong and Jason and the Argonauts.

These are all quite valid. But, the real reason I'm writing this is it's an excuse to post stuff about Gumby.

Hey, Disney meant a lot to me growing up, but Gumby wasn't that far behind.

"He was once a little green slab of clay..." Pokey. Prickle. Goo. Blockheads. Gentle morals to every story. And all presented in Art Clokey's inspired claymation stop motion style.

Memories [sigh].

The Walt Disney Family Museum will celebrate Clokey's work, as well as that of other stop motion masters like Ray Harryhausen, Willis O'Brien and Henry Selick, when the special exhibition Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation debuts in the Museum's Theater Gallery next month.

Stop motion animation has been around nearly as long as motion pictures themselves. The meticulous manipulation of three-dimensional objects filmed one frame at a time has been used in such diverse movies and TV shows as The Lost World (1925), Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Robot Chicken. Even in Walt's day, the Disney Studios dabbled in stop motion animation like in this 1959 Oscar-nominated short film Noah's Ark:

It's hard to go wrong when you have Paul Frees as the voice of God. It also doesn't hurt to have future Disney Legends Bill Justice and X. Atencio providing the "character movement."

Between Frames will display original armatures from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, puppets from Robot Chicken and a Digital Input Device (DID) used in Jurassic Park. There will also be behind-the-scenes photos from O'Brien's The Lost World and Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts plus original storyboards from Selick's James and the Giant Peach.

And did I mention Gumby? Because if you have a heart then Gumby's a part of you.

Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation is curated by WDFM Registrar and Curatorial Assistant Anel Muller. The exhibit will run from September 27 through April 28, 2013. 

For more information on the Walt Disney Family Museum, visit

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