FILM & THEATRE DESIGN
Previous pages: Tin Man, Jackanory and Kaiser Chiefs.
This page: Skeletons and Henson Creatures.
One that got away
I don’t know if Ub Iwerks was the first to animate dancing skeletons, but he certainly wasn’t the last. With the thought that there’s always room for one more, these sketches were for a planned stop motion ad featuring a top-hatted tap dancing skeleton, which never made it to production.
While developing the design for this character, it occurred to me that Fred Astaire could make a good model, not just for the look, but also for movement. Astaire had a relaxed carefree style that sometimes made it appear as if he was just blowing in the wind, barely catching himself from tipping over. In a skeleton, a bunch of bones with nothing holding it together but some supernatural will, this style would be appropriate and funny.
Looking at Popeye also helped - sure he could dance too.
Click for enlargements.