Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Looking Back: Pinocchio And A Few 'Friends'

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Pinocchio happens to rank in my Top 5 favorite Disney films.  The story takes place in Italy, is a great story (the puppet Pinocchio's adventure to become a real boy) which involves many encounters with some unsavory characters...the conniving Honest John  (John Worthington Foulfellow) & Gideon, the puppet maker Stromboli and Lampwick, a naughty boy Pinocchio meets and befriends on his way to Pleasure Island.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection released these characters thru different formats between 1996 and 2006.

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Pinocchio ("Good-bye Father") sculpted by Kent Melton was released as an Open Edition release in September, 1996 as part of a scene that included Geppetto ("Good-bye Son"), Jiminy Cricket ("Wait for Me, Pinoke!"), Figaro ("Say Hello to Figaro") and an Opening Title.  The scene (all except the Opening Title) was retired in November, 1998.

The sculpture captures the innocence of Pinocchio after he has been brought to life by the Blue Fairy and skips off to his first day at school.  Little did he know the adventure (or trouble) he would come to face.

However the naive Pinocchio is spotted by con artist Honest John and Gideon who quickly decide to sell the living puppet for money!

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John Worthington Foulfellow (better known as Honest John) and Gideon were released in April 2003 as the Fourth (and Final) release in the Duos Series.

"Felonious Fox" (Foulfellow) and "Feline Flunky" (Gideon) sculpted by Kent Melton were Limited to Production Year 2003.

This was easily my favorite release of this short-lived series.  Both characters personalities were captured perfectly, Honest John's sly, ever thinking ways to trick the poor, innocent Pinocchio and Gideon, the simple side-kick, who like Dopey, never uttered a word in the film.

Special Note: Foulfellow & Gideon were packaged and sold separately differing from previous year releases.  The Walt Disney Art Classics originally had targeted to sell these pieces as a set and at a suggested retail price that was in line with past releases in the Duo Series. However, in order to create the characters properly and do them in the true Walt Disney Classics Collection quality, the development of the sculptures came in at a higher cost. Therefore, not wanting to compromise on quality in order to reduce the cost, Walt Disney Art Classics decided to offer the pieces individually so as not to make them prohibitive cost-wise for collectors to purchase.

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Stromboli, the bearded puppet maker forces Pinocchio to perform onstage in order to make money. He speaks in an Italian accent, though he is identified as being a gypsy. He is the only villain of the film to be part of the official Disney Villains line-up. He is not seen again after the scene when Pinocchio is locked up, so his defeat remains unknown, but it is likely that his career suffered a slump without Pinocchio.

Stromboli made his WDCC debut as part of the Villains Series in 2002.  "You Will Make Lots Of Money For Me" sculpted by Dusty Horner, was available to active Society members by Special Order with Redemption Certificate from 05/15/02 thru 09/30/02.

This was one villain I actively campaigned for and couldn't have been any happier. The release wasn't like the majority of previous Villains Series releases, where the villain and environment (turret, bed, throne, etc.) were all one sculpture.  Stromboli came with a Table Accessory but was separate of the sculpture and allowed for more display possibilities or as in my case, just kept the table in the box and was able to work the stand alone Stromboli sculpture in with my other releases from that film.

Special Note: With Stromboli, collectors noticed the Stromboli and Table Accessory set were not numbered and wondered if there would be dealer displays available as with past Villains Series releases. Due to the complexity of matching numbers for both the sculpture and table accessory, they were not numbered and dealer displays (marked with a DD denoting Dealer Display) were made available.
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Lampwick meets Pinocchio on the Coachman's stagecoach, and the two quickly become friends. Though Lampwick has never been to Pleasure Island, he has heard great things about the fun they can have there.

Lampwick ("Screwball in the Corner Pocket"), sculpted by Dusty Horner was released as an Open Edition release in September, 2006 as part of the Pool Table Scene (complete scene retired in March, 2011) which also included Pinocchio ("He's My Conscience"), Jiminy Cricket ("It Wouldn't Hurt You To Take Orders From Your Conscience") and Pool Table Base. 

I like how Lampwick's cocky, 'I don't care' attitude was captured and the sense of movement in the way he's holding the cue stick behind his back.  In recent years, there has been the removal of cigarettes in some Disney films, so was glad they didn't worry about political correctness and left him smoking on the cigar.  I like the detail of the cigar band which I never noticed until photographing the sculpture.  It's this attention to detail that sets the Walt Disney Classics Collection from other collectibles.

Nothing would make this Pinocchio fan any happier than if the Walt Disney Classics Collection would release the Coachman and Alexander :)

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Snow White Archive said...

Nice pics of Pinocchio and the gang. Thanks for sharing.

Matthew said...

Pinocchio has always been one of my favorite "Walt" films... the aesthetic design of the film is lush and beautiful.

Likewise, some of my favorite WDCC pieces have been the Pinocchio pieces.

Your retrospective of these pieces has really captured the terrific job that all of the sculptors and painters have done with these pieces.

Thanks for such wonderful pictures Don.

Looking forward to more retrospectives in the coming months.

Duckman said...

You're both very welcome! Agree Matthew, such a great film. Being one of my favorite films, feel very lucky the many great pieces we were treated to over the years.

Still not giving up on the Coachman and Alexander :)