30. The Skeleton Dance – Walt Disney


SUMMARY: In the first Silly Symphony, a group of skeletons dance and make music in a graveyard.

WHY IT’S HERE: Disney’s Silly Symphonys are a phenomenally important series of animated shorts in which music is prominently used alongside sychronised images. Walt used the series to experiment with and develop the art of animation, leading to some of the most beautiful moments in the medium’s history, as well as many series which imitated the song based slogan from other cartoon studios, such as Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Happy Harmonies.

The first Silly Symphony is still one of the very best. Animated by the legendary Ub Iwerks, ‘The Skeleton Dance’ goes one step further than the previous year’s ‘Steamboat Willie’, flawlessly synchronising sound and music with a full, mesmerising and charming dance routine. Many cartoons of this era chose a morbid or ghoulish theme, often being set in graveyards, castles and haunted houses, but ‘The Skeleton Dance’ offsets its graveyard setting with a joyous sense of fun which makes the ghoulishness all the more delicious. Another classic landmark from a studio that was building up a head of steam and quickly surpassing the achievements of the animation pioneers who inspired it.


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