October 29, 1938

The 36-page issue 29 of the 10th year of this Belgian magazine contains an article on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which, in the form of an article written by Walt Disney himself, reproduces most of the elements of the February 26, 1938 article in the British Picturegoer, which was also adapted in Italy in Cinema magazine. An illustration in the center shows the appearance and English names of the seven dwarfs. Here is the text.

The genesis of “Snow White” – My first feature film by Walt Disney

It was as much from a feeling of the heart as from a practical point of view that I was inspired to choose “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” as the basis for our first programming film for R.K.O.

First of all, I remember going to the theater to see “Snow White” as a kid. I used some of my newspaper route savings to buy a ticket, and was so deeply impressed that I wanted to see the play a thousand times over.

From a practical point of view, we knew that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was a universally known and loved subject. We also knew that these characters would be “natural subjects” for the medium of our films, not only because of their physical appearance, but also because of their little ways, individuality, words and actions. We were certain we could popularize them by imbuing their irresistible little selves with an infectious charm, full of swagger and gaiety. Their little cottage deep in the woods would be a delightful canvas into which we could introduce, in turn, all the little birds and animals that had once been our success.

And, last but not least, these quirky little human characters would provide us with an endless source of treats. And as far as I can remember, my idea of putting this film on the screen crystallized in 1933, but I don’t know how long I nurtured this dream. For years, our audiences had been begging us to create a great film. Naturally, this had a great influence on us, as it was an indication that the time was ripe to launch our new project.

I didn’t call in the studio staff and tell them outright that we had to venture into making a big film. On the contrary, little by little, I shared my ideas with them, because no one realized better than I that this would be a revolutionary step. But because my fellow artists were gifted with extraordinary vision and a pioneering spirit, it wasn’t long before everything was underway.

By 1934, the script was almost complete, and we already had thousands of sketches, comic dialogues and backgrounds, as well as many experiments with characters of all kinds.

Because of the novelty of our undertaking, many of our preliminary experiments were put aside – material that represented hours of labor.

Consequently, almost all our final results were the culmination of a long and arduous series of trials and errors.

We experimented with hundreds of voices. We had to make sure that the ones we chose suited the characters we had created. Our musicians composed songs and searched for themes appropriate to our staging and sets.

In 1935, the selection of voices was made and we set to work on the script. Every little detail belonging to a particular character was noted, both in appearance and personality, which meant we could embark on the cartoon experiment.

Many people want to know why “Snow White” cost over a million and a half dollars to make. If you realize that over a quarter of a million dollars was spent on preliminary experimental work, you’ll have a better idea of the costly extravagance of our film.

Animators had to draw, discard and draw again before they could get the action of their characters defined. Background artists had to try all kinds of things before achieving the necessary effects.

The real cartoons began in 1936. The best artists were chosen and put to work on “Snow White“. There were also directors, writers, actors, animators, background and set artists.

Almost all of us took turns working day and night on “Snow White“. Our second film, “Bambi“, is already underway.

Now that all the problems with “Snow White” have been cleared up, we’ll probably be able to make one big film a year using the experience we’ve gained, but we all think it’s wiser to leave it at that, lest the quality suffer.

We don’t intend to produce another major film for another year and a half, if not two. We hope our audience will enjoy “Snow White“. The generous welcome they have always given our films suggests that they will receive our new star and her seven dwarfs with just as much enthusiasm as they displayed for the arrival of Mickey, Minnie and Donald.