This Saturday, June 4th, The Orpheum Theatre will screen seven of Disney’s beloved “Silly Symphonies,” with the scores performed live by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO). Entitled LACO @ the Movies: An Evening of Disney Silly Symphonies, the event starts at 7pm and begins with “The Skeleton Dance” (1929), which happily makes its rounds on social media every Halloween. Created by Walt Disney and his musical director Carl Stalling, the 75 Silly Symphonies were conceived as music first, then story, then animation. They were often used to try out different special effects and camera techniques. “The Skeleton Dance” was the first Silly Symphony produced and directed by Walt Disney himself.
Next up on Saturday’s line-up is “Flowers and Trees” (1932) which was the first commercial short in color and won the first Academy Award® for Animated Short Subject! The remaining shorts all won Academy Awards® as well, except for “Music Land”: “Three Little Pigs” (1933), deemed by the National Film Registry in 2007 to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”; “The Country Cousin” (1936), based on Aesop’s “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”; “The Old Mill” (1937), the first short to experiment with the depth-creating multiplane camera – used later in “Snow White”; “The Ugly Duckling” (1939), the final Silly Symphony ever produced; and “Music Land” (1935), a unique, jazzy tale referencing Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
The music, composed by Stalling and other greats such as Leigh Harline, is arranged for live orchestra and the Orpheum’s 1927 Wurlitzer by six-time Emmy-winning conductor Mark Watters and Alex Rannie. Tickets for the event start at $38 and are available online or by calling 800-745-3000. The money goes to benefit education as well as LACO’s concert programs. One of the world’s premier chamber orchestras, Dustin Hoffman serves on its board as an Honorary Chair.