An all-new special and unprecedented look at Walt Disney's journey to create the historic first full-length animated feature film
In 1934, then up-and-coming filmmaker Walt Disney decided to take a big creative, financial and personal risk: He put his small animation studio - until now dedicated to turning out comedy shorts - to work adapting a fairy tale into a full-color, full-length animated feature film.
No one ever made a full-color feature length cartoon before, and it seemed far-fetched. Who would want to watch a cartoon for 90 minutes? Most people, including the two most important in Walt's life, his wife and brother, believed it would be his undoing. And they were almost right.
From the seemingly insurmountable creative challenges, to an expanding budget and looming deadlines, to an exhausted and all-consumed Disney, the production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" became a harrowing journey - one that almost destroyed the man who conceived it.
"Behind the Magic: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" airs Sunday, Dec. 13 (8 p.m., EST), on ABC.
The special explores the moment where folklore met filmmaking. With dynamic visuals, including clips from the 1934 movie, film and audio recordings, and snapshots from Disney's own personal archive, the special creatively showcases how the team at Disney stayed true to the message of the original story while tackling the creative and technical challenges of putting this humble fairy tale on the silver screen, creating history.
The special also features live-action moments based on the original tale, shot with dramatic special effects treatments, as well as some cut scenes and characters from the animated film, uniquely transporting viewers to the making of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The hour also explores how Disney was possessed with making the film - leveraging everything, including his relationships and reputation, as well as mortgaging his home, smack dab in the middle of the Great Depression.
"Behind the Magic: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is narrated by Ginnifer Goodwin (ABC's "Once Upon A Time") and features interviews with John Lasseter (chief creative officer, Walt Disney & Pixar Animation Studios), "Frozen" directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee; Byron Howard (director, "Tangled" and the upcoming "Zootopia"); Alan Menken; Richard Sherman; Disney supervising animators Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn; as well as some of the original talent from the 1937 film, and historians and experts from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives and beyond.