|"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937).|
|Walt Disney took a huge gamble with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."|
|Walt Disney drawing Mickey Mouse.|
|The pivotal moment in "Snow White."|
|Adriana Caselotti and Snow White look a lot alike.|
|Snow White is gentle and kind.|
|Adriana takes the apple and makes a Faustian bargain.|
|Lucille La Verne as the Evil Queen.|
|Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.|
The dwarfs gradually came to life. Each was based on a real person, though exactly who isn't known. The thing many people remember the most about the dwarfs is their distinctive bushy eyebrows. The Disney animators copied Walt's own eyebrows for them, though Happy was given bushy white eyebrows to make him stand out.
The dwarfs were important because they gave the very intense drama underlying "Snow White" a comic and musical edge. It was tough, however, to differentiate seven different characters who basically looked and acted the same. Walt told his staff that anyone who contributed a gag for one of the dwarfs that made it into the film would receive $5, which wasn't that far from a full day's pay for many of them. This worked, and suggestions flooded in. Ward Kimball, later one of the famous "Nine Old Men" of Walt Disney Studios' fame, earned his five dollars by suggesting that the dwarfs spy on sleeping Snow White by popping their noses over the bedboard one after the other.
|The unsung women of ink and paint.|
"Snow White" premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937. It was a major studio premiere, and many top stars of the day were in attendance. One thing that stood out to audiences was that the animated film was in vivid color, a rarity in those days. The film was very well received, and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was on its way.
|"As exciting as a Western, as funny as a haywire comedy, as sad as a symphony....."|
|The very first soundtrack album in Hollywood history.|
One thing that confuses some people about "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the name itself. Shouldn't the word "Dwarfs" be spelled "Dwarves"? The answer is no - and yes. "Dwarfs" was the accepted spelling for the little guys at the time, and "dwarves" was unknown. However, the 1930s was a time of great flux for the English language, as portrayed in the Gary Cooper/Barbara Stanwyck comedy "Ball of Fire" (1941), which was inspired by "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and even directly references it. Writer J.R.R. Tolkien (purposefully, no doubt) misspelled the word in his fanciful novel "The Hobbit." That novel grew in popularity over the years and now is accepted as a literary classic, but in 1937 it was just another novel. When Tolkien eccentrically spelled "dwarfs" as "dwarves," he likely had no idea that he was changing the English language forever. However, only long after "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was finished did "dwarves" become the more common spelling.
|The spelling "dwarves" was incorrect and derived from "The Hobbit."|
|A scene from the "Snow White" trailer.|
|The "Snow White" Oscar is at the top. Walt Disney still holds the record for most Oscars with 22.|