By Stanley Morison
First approved version. recognizing to covers. 29 pages. cloth.. 12mo..
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Sammy, who has an enormous list of great Hollywood song credits, is an engaging little guy. He sat at a stubby little piano and played and sang the songs from Alice. He has no singing voice, but he worked magic and almost carried the day for Alice to go into production before Cinderella. The rest of us saw heart and warmth in the story of Cinderella and none at all in Alice. Cindy carried the day, and a good thing it was, too. Unfortunately, you just can’t rush animation and it was several years before Cinderella went before the public in 1950.
My earlier raves about Snow White being a new art form were certainly borne out with Fantasia. This was indeed a new art form and I knew the picture would be a tremendous success. Alas, it was not to be. While some critics gave high praise to the film, others panned it mercilessly. Look magazine praised it as a masterpiece. ” Pare Lorentz in McCall’s Magazine wrote: “I advise you to disregard the howls from the music critics; Fantasia is a Disney and not a classical conception of a concert, and even though the music is broader and more powerful than any you’ve ever heard from the screen, it is the imagery and not the scores you will follow during the show.
He had been skeptical of the project right from the start. Yet in 1956, when he authorized me to set up a record company, he gave me the green light to produce an elaborate three-LP set of the soundtrack of Fantasia packaged with a beautiful book of art from the film. There is no question that Fantasia was far ahead of its time when first released in 1940. But there were other reasons for the initial lack of success. World War II was uppermost in everyone’s mind and people were not looking for anything new and experimental.