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October 31

October 31, 1956 – The Disneyland Anthology Episode “The Plausible Impossible” Premieres

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“The will illustrate the principle in animation which we call the ‘plausible impossible.’ [It] means taking something that is against the laws of nature – something impossible – and making it appear rational, and acceptable.”

On October 31, 1956, the episode of the Disneyland anthology series “The Plausible Impossible” premiered on ABC. The episode was written by Dick Huemer, with animation sequences directed by Wilfred Jackson, and live action sequences directed by William Beaudine.

The episode begins with Walt showing some drawings that were made for a scene in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that was never used. He then introduces the term ‘plausible impossible’ from the Disney book The Art of Animation, and explains that this was not a term the animators invented, but an animation principle that goes back centuries. The history begins with the Egyptians, with the animations of the gods, and the Chinese animating dragons. The segment from Fantasia – “The Rite of Spring” – then is shown, along with the theory that the Chinese conception of dragons may go back to the stories of the dinosaurs. The explanation then moves on to Greek mythology, before applying plausible impossible techniques to the animated cartoon. Disney then relates how impossible cartoon scenarios have some sort of basis in fact. He also introduces the concept of “correctness in sensation,” using the feeling of riding an elevator to demonstrate the squash and stretch techniques. Each “plausible impossible” concept has its roots in the physical and psychological. This then moves into giving life to inanimate objects, and introduces the Mickey Mouse short film Thru the Mirror.

Walt introduces a recently drawn Donald, asking him to be his volunteer

Walt introduces a recently drawn Donald, asking him to be his volunteer

After the short, Walt then shows how an animated character is created, with a magic pencil drawing Donald Duck. When Walt mentions the importance of sound, Donald starts to talk, and agrees to help Walt with a demonstration. As Walt explains different sound effects, poor Donald bears the brunt of the demonstration. Donald flees the demonstration and hides on Walt’s desk, with Walt continuing the demonstration without him, though Walt manages to tempt him back with food. This then leads to the Donald Duck short film Donald’s Cousin Gus. Walt then surprises the audience with the complete showing of the unseen test animated sequence drawn for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs after some accompanying scenes from the finished film. The final segment of this episode is about program music, which is a story put to music. Using the classic piece “Night on Bald Mountain,” Walt places it in several animated features, including “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Fantasia, and a scene from Bambi. The true scene from Fantasia with the music is shown, with the music driving the story.

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