Original Production Animation Cel of Mr Smee from "Peter Pan," 1953
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Original hand inked and hand painted production animation cel of Mr. Smee from "Peter Pan," 1953, Walt Disney Studios; Set over a lithographic background; Size - Mr. Smee, Tray, & Pirate Arm: 8 1/2 x 6 1/4", Image 8 3/4 x 8 1/4"; Unframed.
"Good morning, shipmates." - Mr. Smee
And what's good about it, Mr. Smee? Here we are, collecting barnacles on this miserable island." - Pirates
The author J. M. Barrie first used Peter Pan as a character in a section of the adult novel "The Little White Bird" in 1902. He returned to that character with his stage play entitled "Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up," which premiered in London on December 27, 1904. The play ran until 1913, and it was later adapted by Walt Disney for the animated feature film entitled, "Peter Pan," in 1953.
Captain Hook was animated by legendary Frank Thomas and voiced by Hans Conried. Conried was also the voice of George Darling, which is consistent with the roles of "Peter Pan" for the stage. Conried was also an accomplished actor, appearing on "I Love Lucy" where he played an English tutor as well as playing the character Wrongway Feldman on "Gilligan's Island." His voice was so distinctive and so memorable that he was perfect for the role of Captain Hook; as he had a wonderful way of conveying both the rough gruff pirate role as well and the sly calculating villain.
The legendary Frank Thomas animated Captain Hook, and his first sketches were much more menacing than the final product. Walt Disney felt the character was going to be too frightening for children and so Thomas toned down his drawings. The result is a wonderful villain and always rated as one the top male villains in the Disney film world.
From Disney animator Andreas Deja:
Many of you would agree that Captain Hook is one of Frank Thomas' best creations. To some Frank is the best animator who ever lived. - He used live action reference for a number of his characters. In this case it was character actor Hans Conried who provided the voice and acting reference for Hook. Frank was very critical about the way other animators used live action. To him the acting ideas were all you needed, but you still had to pass judgement on the footage and interpret what the actor gave you. His animation never has that roto, floaty feel to it. For one thing Frank was way too talented and smart to let that happen."
Mr. Smee was animated by Ollie Johnston and voiced by Bill Thompson. Smee was a wonderful pirate henchman sidekick for Captain Hook and the remarkable friendship that existed between Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, which is well documented; may account for why the villainous pair seemed to work so well together. Of course the voice talent of Bill Thompson was also a fantastic addition. Thompson was well known already at MGM for his voice of Droopy and of Droopy's nemesis Spike. At Walt Disney studios he would have a long career as the voice of the White Rabbit and the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland, of course Mr. Smee (and some of the other pirates) in Peter Pan and King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty. Bill Thompson's largest showcase for his voice skills was in Lady and the Tramp (1955), where he performed five different dialect parts, as Jock the Scottish Terrier, Bull the Cockney bulldog, Dachsie the German dachshund, Joe the Italian cook, and the Irish policeman in the zoo.
This is a wonderful and rare cel of Mr. Smee being grabbed by his shirt by a Pirate aboard the deck of "Jolly Roger!" The cel is from the first appearance of the Captain Hook's Pirates when they sing the song "A Pirate's Life For Me," however they are very unhappy about being stuck in Neverland and not in the open seas pirating. They complain to Mr. Smee and even throw daggers at a crudely drawn picture of Captain Hook. When Smee appears with his tray of shaving supplies for Captain Hook he says "Good morning, shipmates." The Pirates reply "And what's good about it, Mr. Smee? Here we are, collecting barnacles on this miserable island." One of the large pirates grabs Mr. Smee by his light blue and white stripped shirt. This is a fantastic cel of Mr. Smee; he is eyes and mouth open, full figure, holding his tray of shaving supplies, and a great action oriented image that is perfect for any vintage Disney animation art collection!
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