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Excavation project

“I had heard about the projected sequence through an early version of the Dumbo script,” says Ghez, “and knew that one of the artists featured in They Drew as They Pleased, James Bodrero, had worked extensively in the project. What I never realized is that Bodrero had created not just dozens but hundreds of stunning drawings for that abandoned sequence.”
(Credit: James Bodrero/Disney/Chronicle Books)

The 'Dumbo' scene that never was: Exclusive art from Disney's archives

In his multibook series They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Late Golden Age, Disney historian Didier Ghez has performed his own Indiana Jones act, delving into the recesses of the Mouse House’s storied animation archives to unearth the rarest of cinematic treasures. With the third volume coming out next week, Ghez gave Yahoo Entertainment a sneak preview of his archaeology, stunning artwork created for Disney features and shorts in the 1940s, including such masterpieces as DumboFantasia, Bambi, and Alice in Wonderland.

“Half of the pieces in the book come from the Disney vault and half from the collection of the families of Disney artists. More than 90 percent of them had never been seen before in book form,” Ghez says. “Most of them had not been seen by anyone outside of the Disney Studio in more than 75 years. 

“Rescuing these pieces of art created by some of the most talented artists of the 20th century is immensely rewarding.”

Contained here are illustrations for “The Mouse’s Tale,” a scene from Dumbo that was ultimately cut from the film, as well as the image Ghez calls “the most exceptional document featured in the book.” Click through to see.

They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Late Golden Age: The 1940s — Part Two (Chronicle Books, $45) will be available on Oct. 10. 

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