Silly Symphonies was a series of animated short films produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1939. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoon universe (with the exception of the Three Little Pigs and most notably Donald Duck who made his first appearance in the 1934 short The Wise Little Hen), Silly Symphonies did not have recurring characters and each one was depicted as a stand-alone production. A total of 75 Silly Symphonies cartoons were made and the series is mostly remembered as being a platform which Disney used to experiment with different processes, techniques, characters, stories, and technologies for which the then-fledgling company could use to refine and perfect its animation style; making the series a key part in aiding Walt Disney's efforts to expand into feature-length animated films. Over its ten year run, Silly Symphonies would go on to win Disney seven Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film (eventually tying with Joe Barbara and Bill Hanna's Tom and Jerry's record for most Oscar wins for a series in the category) and spawned numerous imitators, some of which (such as Warner Bros' Merrie Melodies) would go on to be major competitors with Disney.
- 1 Filmography
- 2 Specials
- 3 Post-Walt Animated Shorts
- 4 Mickey Mouse Works Silly Symphonies
- 5 Legacy
More than a decade after the Silly Symphony series ended, Disney continued to produce more Silly Symphony-esque one-shots, aptly referred to as Specials. Shorts released under this banner include:
- Adventures in Music: Melody
- Football (Now and Then)
- Adventures in Music: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom
- Ben and Me
Post-Walt Animated Shorts
These cartoons were made after the Animated Short Department was closed in 1962. Some were made for film festivals and have generally stayed out of public viewing since their release. Starting in 2011, Disney began producing short films to play before each of their movies' screening in theaters.
- Oilspot and Lipstick (Created for the 1987 SIGGRAPH convention in Anaheim)
- Pedal to the Metal (Released with the movie Three Ninjas)
- Redux Riding Hood (Released at many film festivals)
- Three Little Pigs (Released at many film festivals)
- John Henry (Released with the Direct-to-Video Short Compilation "Legends and Tall Tales")
- Destino (Released at many film festivals)
- Lorenzo (Released with the movie Raising Helen)
- Glago's Guest (Created for the 2008 Anneccy International Animation Film Festival)
- Tick Tock Tale (Created for the 2010 Anneccy International Animation Film Festival)
Mickey Mouse Works Silly Symphonies
These are shorts released as part of episodes of Mickey Mouse Works which were titled as Silly Symphonies. These shorts feature the familiar Disney characters (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, etc.) as opposed to being one-shot cartoons of the past, and they generally do not have any dialogue.
Silly Symphonies brought along many imitators, including Warner Bros. cartoon series Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, and MGM's Happy Harmonies. The television series Mickey Mouse Works used the Silly Symphonies title for some of its new cartoons, but unlike the original cartoons, these did feature continuing characters. Disney also produced comic strips and comic books with this title.
The Symphonies also changed the course of Disney Studio history when Walt's plans to direct his first feature cartoon became problematic after his warm-up to the task The Golden Touch was widely seen (even by Disney himself) as stiff and slowly paced. This motivated him to embrace his role as being the producer and providing creative oversight (especially of the story) for Snow White while tasking David Hand to handle the actual directing.
Years later after the Silly Symphonies ended, Disney occasionally produced a handful of one-shot cartoons, playing the same style as the Silly Symphony series. Unlike the Silly Symphonies canon, most of these one-shot shorts have a narration, usually by Disney legend Sterling Holloway.