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Original Key Setup of Duchess, O'Malley, Three Kittens, Three Geese from "The Aristocats," 1970


Original Key Setup of Duchess, O'Malley, Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz, Abigail, Amelia, and Uncle Waldo from "The Aristocats," 1970
Original Key Setup of Duchess, O'Malley, Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz, Abigail, Amelia, and Uncle Waldo from "The Aristocats," 1970

Original hand painted production animation cels of Duchess, O'Malley, Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz, Abigail, Amelia, and Uncle Waldo from "The Aristocats," 1970; Walt Disney Studios; Set on their original key master hand painted production background; With Walt Disney Certificate of Authenticity & Walt Disney Productions letter of Provenance hand signed by Disney President Donn B. Tatum; Size - Image: 11 1/2 x 16", Mat 16 x 20"; Matted with calligraphy titles.

 

"Uncle Waldo. I do believe you've been drinking." - Amelia

"Oh, dear! What happened to your lovely tail feathers?" - Abigail

"Girls, it's outrageous! Why, you won't believe what they tried to do... to your poor old Uncle Waldo! [Hiccupping] Look. Look at this! It says here. [Reading] Prime Country Goose a la Provencal. Stuffed with chestnuts? And basted in... [ Sniffles ] white wine. [ Hiccups ]" - Uncle Waldo

"Basted? He's been marinated in it." - O'Malley

"Dreadful! Being British, I would have preferred sherry." - Uncle Waldo


"The Aristocats," 1970 is an animated feature film produced and released by Walt Disney Productions. This was the last film project to be approved by Walt Disney himself, as he died in late 1966, before the film was finally released to theaters by Buena Vista Distribution on December 11, 1970. "The Aristocats" featured the voice talent of Eva Gabor, Hermione Baddeley, Phil Harris, Dean Clark, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, and Roddy Maude-Roxby. 


The film is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, and centers around a family of aristocratic cats. After the mistress's butler kidnaps them (to gain his mistress' fortune which was intended to go to the cats) an unlikely alley cat acquaintance helps them escape and be returned to their home.


Duchess is a long-haired purebred white Turkish Angora cat with blue eyes (shining like sapphires) and wearing a gold and jeweled collar that is studded with diamonds. She is the mother of three kittens; Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse and her owner is the aristocratic Madame Adelaide Bonfamille. Duchess was voiced by Eva Gabor who was a Hungarian-born American socialite and actress. Robie Lester who was an American Grammy-nominated voice artist and singer, provided the singing voice for Duchess.



Walt Disney Certificate of Authenticity
Walt Disney Certificate of Authenticity

According to veteran Walt Disney animator Andreas Deja:

"Duchess was animated by quite a few artists, I would say that Ollie Johnston did some of the nicest scenes, educating the kittens etc.. Frank Thomas came up with good acting scenes as well, when Duchess meets O'Malley for the first time, and when she says goodbye to him at the end of the movie. Milt Kahl set her basic design based on Ken Anderson's drawings."


Abraham DeLacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley (simply known as Thomas O'Malley) the alley cat was also animated by Ollie Johnston and Milt Kahl. O'Malley was marvelously voiced by Phil Harris, who was an American singer, songwriter, jazz musician, actor, and comedian. Harris also worked as a voice actor for two other Walt Disney animated feature films: "The Jungle Book," 1967 as Baloo the Bear and "Robin Hood," 1973 as Little John (another bear).


Marie is a slender white Turkish Angora kitten, and the only female of Duchess's three kittens. She is a hopeless romantic and daydreamer, with her two most famous lines in the film being "Ladies do not start fights, but they can finish them!" and "How romantic!" Marie frequently is seen lost in her daydreams and tends to sigh often and deeply. Unfortunately she is somewhat danger-prone, as she is consistently in harm's way throughout the film; including a perilous fall off of a railway bridge and into a stream. Marie was wonderfully voiced by Liz English. 


Toulouse is the oldest of the three kittens, he has green eyes, orange fur, a lighter orange stomach, and he wears a bright blue bow tie around his neck. He aspires to be an alley cat and he is known to puff up his chest and hiss to prove he is tough. Toulouse is a city in Haute-Garonne region of southwestern France; and because he aspires to be a painter and paints daily, he was very likely named after the famous French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrc. Toulouse was animated by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas and voiced by Gary Dubin.


Berlioz has blue eyes, dark gray fur with a lighter colored stomach. He wears a small red ribbon bow tie that is loosely tied around his neck, and that will occasionally fall apart. Berlioz is usually very quiet but can be mischievous, and he enjoys playing the piano. There is a wonderful scene in the film when his mother Duchess asks him to practice his "Scales and Arpeggios" with his sister Marie. Berlioz is not easily impressed and can get annoyed quickly, as he is usually the first to make a snide comment or give a skeptical look if things don't go his way. He as named after the French romantic composer Hector Berlioz, animated by Ollie Johnston and Eric Larson, and was voiced by Dean Clark (who was only 8 years old at the time).



  Walt Disney Productions letter of Provenance hand signed by Disney President Donn B. Tatum
 Walt Disney Productions letter of Provenance hand signed by Disney President Donn B. Tatum

Abigail and Amelia Gabble are a pair of British geese who are twin sisters and the nieces of Uncle Waldo. The pair first appear in the film when they are seen walking down a path adjacent to a river, when they spot Thomas O'Malley attempting to get to shore by grabbing onto a tree branch. They mistakenly think he is trying to learn to swim, but soon realize he is about to drown and they end up diving into the river to save him. Abigail wears a blue bonnet and was voiced by Monica Evans, who also would later provide the voice of Maid Marian in "Robin Hood." Amelia wears a pink bonnet and was voiced by Carole Shelley, who would later provide the voice of Lady Kluck in "Robin Hood." Both Abigail and Amelia were animated by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas.

 

Uncle Waldo is the uncle of Abigail and Amelia Gabble, he is an obese goose, has a buck orange beak, and is missing his tail feathers (that were lost as he was escaping from the Chef of Le Petit Cafe). Waldo wears a green top hat with a black satin ribbon, and is open at the top. Throughout the film Waldo is in an inebriated state, but is very good-natured and friendly. He has a distaste for white wine preferring British sherry, he can be loud and silly, but has a great relationship with his nieces.

 

Uncle Waldo was animated by Ollie Johnston and voiced by veteran Disney voice actor Bill Thompson. William Henry "Bill" Thompson, Jr. was an American radio comedian, actor, and voice actor whose career stretched from the 1930's until his death. He is best known as the original voice of Droopy in most of the MGM theatrical shorts from 1943-1958. He had a long career with Disney beginning in the 1950's. His roles include White Rabbit and Dodo from "Alice In Wonderland," Mr. Smee and Pirates from "Peter Pan," Jock, Bull, Joe, and the Policeman from "Lady and the Tramp," King Hubert from "Sleeping Beauty," and many more! Thompson's last role was Uncle Waldo, and he sadly died of septic shock at the young age of 58 in 1971; one year after "The Aristocats" was released.


Uncle Waldo first appears in the film as Duchess, O'Malley, Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz, Abigail, and Amelia are making their way back to Paris. As they pass in front of Le Petit Cafe, Waldo comes running out of the front door and the Gabble twins immediately notice that he is their uncle. Uncle Waldo is missing his tail feathers and looks very disheveled. Waldo shows the group the Le Petit Cafe's outside posted menu for the evening which he reads aloud, "Prime Country GOOSE A la Provencale Stuffed with Chestnuts Basted in White Wine." Waldo apparently was about to become dinner but managed to escaped unharmed (except for his missing tail feathers). Waldo states that because he is British he would have rather have been basted in Sherry. O'Malley, realizing Waldo is drunk, remarks that he must have been marinated rather than basted. Waldo becomes very loud and so Amelia and Abigail decide to lead him safely home and get him to bed. The dialog from this scene is below:


"Uncle Waldo. I do believe you've been drinking." - Amelia

"Oh, dear! What happened to your lovely tail feathers?" - Abigail

"Girls, it's outrageous! Why, you won't believe what they tried to do... to your poor old Uncle Waldo! [Hiccupping] Look. Look at this! It says here. [Reading] Prime Country Goose a la Provencal. Stuffed with chestnuts? And basted in... [ Sniffles ] white wine. [ Hiccups ]" - Uncle Waldo

"Basted? He's been marinated in it." - O'Malley

"Dreadful! Being British, I would have preferred sherry." - Uncle Waldo

 

This is an amazing key setup of original hand painted production animation cels of Duchess, O'Malley, Marie, Toulouse, Berlioz, Abigail, Amelia, and Uncle Waldo from "The Aristocats," 1970; all set on on their original key master hand painted production background. Given how few backgrounds that would be present in the film, such that all five cats could be placed to complete a key setup, having this many characters on their key master background is exceptionally rare! The piece was was prepared by Disney "especially for the Channel 28 Auction of 1971." The accompanying Walt Disney Productions letter is dated April 9, 1971 and hand signed in blue ink by the President of Disney Donn B. Tatum. KCET, virtual, and UHF digital Channel 28, is a PBS member station licensed to Los Angeles, California, United States, and is owned by the Public Media Group of Southern California. The key setup was used as both an auction fund raising item for the PBS station, as well as being used as a marketing tool for the Walt Disney Company. Also included with the key setup is the original Walt Disney Productions Certificate of Authenticity, as well as the original calligraphy mat with "Walt Disney's" lower left, "Aristocats" center, and the "Original WDP" stamp lower right. An absolutely beautiful image of the famous Aristocats family together with the three delightful geese characters of the film. Key setups are the holy grail for animation collectors, having the provenance letter, Walt Disney original certificate of authenticity, and calligraphy mat; all makes this a gem of any serious animation art collection! 


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