Fantasia animation cels are one of the most popular animation cels. Many collectors in the hobby feel this way. The most desirable Fantasia animation cel is probably one of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice preferably with a broom.
Fantasia was produced by Walt Disney and released in 1940. It really broke ground combining animation and classical music. Story direction was by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer. The production supervisor was Ben Sharpsteen. It was the third Disney animated feature film released. The first two were Snow White and Pinocchio. Fantasia consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Deems Taylor, also a composer and music critic serves as the film’s Master of Ceremonies. He introduces each segment in live action. Some collectors want a Fantasia animation cel from each of the eight segments.
The first segment is set to Bach’s Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor. Animated lines, shapes and cloud formations reflect the sound and rhythms of the music. The second is to The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. A variety of dances are presented with fairies, fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves. They include “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, “Chinese Dance”, “Dance of the Flutes”, “Arabian Dance”, “Russian Dance” and “Waltz of the Flowers”.
The third segment of the film is set to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas. Mickey Mouse stars as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The Sorcerer is named Yen-Sid; Disney spelled backwards. Mickey casts a spell which goes horribly wrong for him. A Fantasia animation cel of Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice is still the gold standard of any Fantasia animation cel.
The fourth segment is the Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky. A visual history of the Earth’s beginnings is depicted to selected sections of the ballet score. The sequence progresses from the planet’s formation to the first living creatures. This is followed by the reign and extinction of the dinosaurs. The fifth is a jazz jam followed by a humorously stylized demonstration of how sound is rendered on film is shown. Next is Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. A Fantasia animation cel from this segment would be from a mythical ancient Greek world. With centaurs, cupids, fauns and other figures from classical mythology. Of course portrayed to Beethoven’s music. Seventh is Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli. It is presented as a comical animal ballet. Finally the film closes with Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky and Ave Maris by Franz Schubert.