Silly Symphonies Vol. 2: 1935-1939

Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 cover

This second of four volumes presents the spectacular Sunday pages from 1935 to 1939, featuring the first comic strip adaptation of a feature-length film—Snow White…the original Donald Duck series, plus the Three Little Pigs (and the Big Bad Wolf, of course), Elmer the Elephant, Pluto, Goofy, and the Three Little Kittens. The artwork for these rare strips has come straight from the Disney vaults, each page meticulously coloured using the original Disney file copies as a guide!

Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 1
Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 2
Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 3

The second collection of classic Disney films, shorts and now a full-length feature, adapted to the Sunday newspaper comics in-house by Disney writers and artists. Donald Duck gets center stage for a while and takes on his troublesome personality, while Snow White and her evil stepmother make the page. It’s interesting to see the elegant work presented here and wonder if Disney did the Sunday newspaper strip to promote the films or to create their all-encompassing multimedia empire.

In this volume, the strip goes from Silly Symphony to Silly Symphony Featuring to dropping the Silly Symphony name altogether. A bigger loss is when the strip drops rhyming for plain old dialogue; a little bit of the magic is lost. The stories seem to have dropped their moral lessons along the way as well: now it’s mostly comedy and conflict. A lot of characters make return appearances, including Donald Duck, the three little pigs, and Elmer. Plus new appearances by Pluto, three little kittens, and the Farmyard Symphony.

The Donald Duck strips stand out as he gets a stretch of solo stories. He’s become the Donald we know, with his blue sailor suit, causing issues for everyone with his pranks and invariably getting his just desserts. His “victims” and their cross selection of variety make the strip.

Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 4
Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 5
Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 6

It’s impossible to not look at these strips from the perspective of nostalgia, as Taliaferro captures the look of classic Disney, pulling the characters as if by magic from the screen to the page. And then Porter takes the look somewhere completely different for the Snow White adaptation, but in an equally skilled manner that ties the strip to the film so well. Tying the strip to the film visually appears paramount.

The design from Vol 1 continues here with the same exterior and interior colour choices, with the red and orange from the logo playing throughout. The cover image is again a pixelated enlargement, as are the endpapers. I don’t understand the black and white (or gray) side panels on the cover when these films were in colour, as are the strips.

The mystery from Vol 1 of why this series is 12″ x 8.5″ was solved partway through the first story of this volume when the strips enlarged to fill the page; you can see the transition in the second photo. As well I was informed that Disney licensing is significantly more than other newspaper syndicates and that caused the lower page count for the usual LOAC price of $50.

A colouring snafu during Snow White has her wearing her classic film outfit but in red from when she enters the forest with the huntsman until she falls asleep at the Dwarve’s home. As the birds cover her with a blanket her outfit is now in the film’s colours of blue and yellow.

Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 7
Silly Symphonies Vol 2 1935 1939 interior 8
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These Silly Symphonies continue to delight and entertain using classic Disney characters and comedic scenarios. All ages material with a very broad appeal.