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Western Animation: The Skeleton Dance

Dun-Dun-Dun-Dun-dunnnnnnnnnnnnnn-dun.

The first of the Classic Disney Shorts series Silly Symphonies, The Skeleton Dance, first appearing in 1929, —is certainly one of the earliest of the macabre type of toon. Did we mention it's also very catchy? It is noteworthy for being one of the earliest, if not the first, cartoon to be entirely musically themed and timed, with no dialogue whatsoever.

While many theaters refused to show it in its heyday, the short ultimately paved the way for future hits in the series, and the cartoon still holds up to this day. The animation was almost entirely done by Disney's then-right hand man Ub Iwerks, save for the xylophone bone bit that was done by Les Clark, as well as the Rooster that was animated by Wilfred Jackson, with the music composed by Carl Stalling (who suggested the idea of a fully musical cartoon to Walt) who would go on to compose for Iwerks in his own studio, and later on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of shorts.

The film would be remade in color by Iwerks for Columbia Cartoons in 1937 as "Skeleton Frolic." Though not a Shot for Shot Remake, as several new gags are incorporated and the character design is made considerably less creepy (not to mention the toon's entirely new soundtrack), the general structure is the same and much of the original animation is closely imitated.

Compare to the 1930 Talkartoons short "Swing, You Sinners!", which is somewhat similar (albeit much more swingin' and crazy) in tone.

Tropes Used By This Short:


Runaway BrainHorror Western AnimationHouse of Mouse
Steamboat WillieWesternAnimation/Classic Disney ShortsFlowers and Trees
Steamboat WillieFilms of the 1920sFelix the Cat
Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the SailorThe 50 Greatest CartoonsSnow White
SkatoonyWestern AnimationSkeleton Warriors
Silly SymphoniesThe Roaring TwentiesWalter Lantz
Runaway BrainAnimated FilmsSteamboat Willie

alternative title(s): The Skeleton Dance
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