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A Concert of Color

2/23/35 - marks a landmark transition for everyone's favorite mouse in color! Mickey Mouse's 1935 short The Band Concert introduced audiences to Mickey and friends in their full Technicolor glory!

Color had been well established within Disney animation, but relegated to the successful Silly Symphonies shorts. Early tinted film stocks were utilized on Night (1930) and Frolicking Fish (1930) to expand the believability of the animated worlds the artists were creating. Hand-painted full color animation was first explored in the Silly Symphony Flowers & Trees (1932) short, which became the very first animation to win an Academy Award, thanks to the advent of color.

The women of Walt Disney's Ink & Paint Department, led by Hazel Sewell, refined and processed the world of animation into full, three strip Technicolor vibrancy. By the time The Band Concert was in development, Hazel and her teams were well-versed with the language of color and its application to animation. While not in his familiar togs, Mickey sports a vibrant red band uniform which causes our hero to stand out within the early appearances of familiar characters: Goofy, Clarabell Cow, Horace Horsecollar and an early appearance of Donald Duck, round out this animated treasure.

The advent of this film is also 'noteworthy' as it signals Disney Studios as the first 'all-color' animation studio. Black and white animation would return during WWII as various pigments and materials were in limited supply. The black and white approach was also cost effective for the various military training films created there during the war, but in 1935 -- color was indeed the fashion!

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