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The Walt Disney Family Museum
July 29, 2016
Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio

Wish Upon A Star: The Art of Pinocchio

The Wish Upon A Star: The Art of Pinocchio exhibit has ended. Please visit The Walt Disney Family Museum for current exhibitions.


On view from May 18, 2016 to January 9, 2017, The Walt Disney Family Museum presents Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio. This never-before-seen exhibition allows visitors to step behind-the-scenes and explore how one of the most influential animated films in history was produced: Walt Disney’s 1940 feature-length masterpiece Pinocchio.

Guest-curated by John Canemaker, an Academy Award®, Emmy Award, and Peabody Award-winning independent animator and author, this immersive exhibition showcases the production processes of the pre-digital era and how this innovative classic became a cinema masterpiece of unsurpassed quality. Pinocchio inspired advances in character development and three-dimensional design, and the exhibition showcases more than 300 objects — including original hand-drawn artwork, cels, paintings, artifacts, film clips and much more — to present the intricate processes of traditional hand-made animation as developed at the Studios. The story of Pinocchio’s creation is presented in six sections: story, design, production, art direction, character development, and animation.

Published as an illustrated serial in Italy, the original story of Pinocchio by Carlo Lorenzini, better known by his pen name Carlo Collodi, (1826–1890) presented Walt Disney with the challenge of adapting a rambling novella into a succinct story. In order to keep the film’s characters and narrative consistent, the artists relied on an improved method of storyboarding — pinning sketches to a corkboard in comic strip fashion — which became a method of storytelling that is still used throughout the film industry. Numerous sequential story sketches are displayed in the exhibition.

Also showcased is a model of a horizontal Multiplane Camera, developed and perfected by The Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s. This innovative camera setup allows various planes in a scene—each painted on separate panes of glass—to be filmed simultaneously, creating a perception of depth previously unattainable in conventional 2D animation, a method used extensively in such memorable scenes as the “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” sequence when Pinocchio is taken to Stromboli’s Caravan.

In addition to the presentation of these tangible innovations and mechanical and photographic visual effects, the exhibition also takes a closer look at the settings, color, mood, character relationships, style, and costumes of this remarkable film, which has dazzled audiences for over 75 years.

Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio runs May 19, 2016 through January 9, 2017. For tickets to this special exhibition and for general admission, please visit The Walt Disney Family Museum online.

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