The dwarfs, who began life as earthy, ugly little men, were animated in a rather more endearing style by Fred Moore (who had been responsible for the roly-poly look of the Three Little Pigs), Bill Tytla, Fred Spencer and Frank Thomas. Three of the studio’s youngest animators – Milt Kahl, Eric Larson and Jim Algar – drew the delightful birds and animals who befriend Snow White in the forest; Art Babbitt animated the Queen and Norm Ferguson handled her depiction as a hag, while Wolfgang Reitherman was responsible for the face in the Magic Mirror. Grim Natwick (an experienced animator of Betty Boop) had the thankless task of drawing the Prince as well as assisting Ham Luske to animate Snow White. Of Luske’s work on the film, Disney later said that it had “held the picture together”, while fellow artist, Dick Huemer, rated his Snow White drawings as “a sensational advance in the history of animation of serious human characters”.
The storyline was planned with meticulous care at regular conferences with Disney when everything would be discussed (and recorded by a stenographer) from character motivation and dialogue to costumes and props:
WALT: Happy has a waddle – he’s a little fat guy – Grumpy has that intent, matter of fact movement. Dopy is stumbling and tripping…
DAVE: We could open on an exterior of the mine, bringing in the song as they march out…
WALT: If you don’t attempt gags so much, we can get quainter things at the mine. Couldn’t we bring the animals in here more?
MAC: Could use more animals at the rock crusher.
WALT: If you take the pattern of the song, it might work in very well. You get all the pistons and what not working in the same rhythm. Work right into the vibration of the thing… Do you think the supports in the mine should be carved? A squirrel as a support, bracing himself. Figures of men in terrible straining positions — holding up the roof…
STALLINGS: It might be good to have an old forge in the background.
WALT: That’s good atmosphere – it could have bellows with faces to do the blowing. The tail is the pump handle. Some devils holding the pot some way.
STALLINGS: Squirrels bringing in wood for the fire…
From top to bottom: Prince Charming.
Prince Charming in person – Harry Stockwell.
Andriana Caselotti – model and voice of Snow White.
Luculle La Verne, film veteran (she was the hag in “Orphans of the Storm”), plays the Queen and the Witch.