On February 4, 1938, something magical happened in the world of animation. Walt Disney had a dream, and his dream came true the day he released his very first feature-length animated film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the start of something truly amazing and began the tradition of happy endings and good conquering evil.
Walt Disney was a true genius in the art of capturing one’s imagination, and not just in kids, but also adults, as well. In fact, his idea of creating a full-length cartoon version of dwarfs who whistle their way to work, and a wicked queen who wants to kill a young princess seemed absurd to most people back then. According to History.com, even Disney’s wife Lillian was very skeptical about her husband’s idea. The Hollywood premiere a month earlier received high praise, but it was later in 1938 that the animated classic thrilled the rest of America when it hit the public theaters.
Little did they know that Snow White would go on to quickly gross $8 million, and that was during the Great Depression. The artistry of the characters and the music from the film were hailed as extremely creative and endearing to all those who saw it. All of these years later, it is still one of the most well-known and beloved movies of all time.
Snow White went on to win the Academy Awards special achievement prize in 1939. Shirley Temple, who was just 10-years-old at the time, presented Walt Disney with a full-size trophy and also seven smaller ones to represent his beloved dwarfs.
Walt was said to have been entranced by Snow White ever since he saw the silent version of the Brothers Grimm film. He also figured that dwarfs were very cartoon-worthy and chose to include them in his first feature film. He also loved the forest scenery, and it worked out well. The film included many animals and birds to capture the attention of small kids. All of these ideas in his head were incorporated into one endearing movie.
In order to make Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs happen, Walt Disney took a big chance by taking out a huge loan in the amount of approximately $1 million to make this movie. That was how much he believed in his dream of being able to entertain both children and adults for years to come. Once things got rolling along, it all started to take shape but not without a lot of hard work, imagination, and maybe even a little pinch of pixie dust.
According to Animated Views,the voice of Snow White eventually went to 19-year-old Adriana Caselotti after around 150 other girls had auditioned for the role. Deanna Durbin was one of them, but she was told that her voice was too mature for the young princess in the film.
Of course, the animation can’t happen without hundreds of sketches being drawn to get the perfect movement and timing to make the characters come alive. According to Oh My Disney, there were around 2 million sketches done for the making of Snow White, but only around 250,000 were actually used for the film.
Snow White is known for her jet black short hair, her porcelain skin, and, of course, that angelic child-like voice that she projects throughout the film. In addition, the songs “Whistle While You Work” and “Someday My Prince Will Come” are as familiar today as they were back in 1938. Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, and Doc became household names, and the poisonous apple has also become a famous prop.
In the past 78 years since the debut of this beloved movie, there have been many recreated flicks and shows that have been based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The most recent big hit came in the form of a TV series. Once Upon a Time is now in its fourth season and is one of the top rated dramas ever for ABC.
The show is based on Snow White and Prince Charming, but it has many twists and turns for the heroine. The fun part is that the dreams that Walt Disney had so long ago have now paved the way for shows such as Once Upon a Time where they can intertwine other Disney characters such as Belle, Elsa, and many other famous villains and heroes.
Who knew that one man with so many aspirations could create the start of something so magical with a princess named Snow White?
In celebration of this milestone, the Signature edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is now available in Blu-Ray.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]