Standard Oil ad

Standard Oil

This short film of almost 8 minutes directed by Riley Thomson, and initially screened in March 1939, is composed of two parts: the first one in black and white which uses a lot of promotional images of the studio also used in other documentary productions, and the second one newly animated in Technicolor (barely 2 minutes and a half) which is in fact an advertisement for an oil company, Standard Oil of California. It seems that this film sanctions a partnership with Disney Studios. The stakes must have been enormous to have created this film for their exclusive attention. In fact, a big publicity campaign ensued that year on several media (newspapers, posters, etc.).

A remake

The animated part is a remake of a scene from the Silly Symphony Mother Goose Melodies, itself remade into an animated short in 1932, already intended for a limited audience because it was made to celebrate the winners of that year’s Oscar ceremony. It had been projected during the banquet. It is a long sequence shot of a parade led by Mickey, seen here for the first time in color, followed by all the nominees. We notice that his famous red panties with gold button had been originally thought green with white button.

Parade of the Award Nominees (1932)
Recreation of Bill Tytla’s animation for the deleted scene 3 in sequence 4B.

Reusing old animation

In this new version, Mickey now has his classic colors, has gained pupils, again for the first time, and instead of actors, we can see all the famous characters of the studio of the time (The Three Little Pigs, Donald, Mickey, etc.) walking in rhythm and praising Standard Oil on panels. The seven dwarfs are featured prominently, since they carry each of the eight letters of the company’s name (Dopey carries the last two letters). We notice that, except for Grumpy, all the dwarfs have their mouths open in a characteristic shape. It should be noted that this scene was originally animated by Bill Tytla to be included in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was to introduce the dwarfs when he left the mine. However, the shot in question was cut for timing reasons. Originally, the dwarfs were supposed to move left and right, and were “flipped” here, and of course, they each carried their pickaxe and not a sign as here. The reason Dopey is running behind is because in the previous shot of the feature, we see him running to catch up with the group. And the shape of the dwarfs’ lips is because in the song Heigh Ho, at that moment, the dwarfs were supposed to whistle. If you want to hear this cut piece of music, I suggest you get the original soundtrack, or the reissue CD.

The film Standard Parade for 1939 is now available on DVD in the Mickey Mouse the Color Years 2 – 1939 to Present box set.

Production information

Production number : 2602
Director : Riley Thomson
Assistant Director: Jack Bruner
Music Supervisor: Charles Wolcott

Photo Gallery

Watch the Short