“Disney Cats & Dogs,” a traveling exhibition originally presented in 2021 by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, and Disney Japan will be arriving at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco this summer.
In conjunction with this year’s celebration of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary, this unique and exciting exhibition will be on view for the first time in the United States from Saturday, June 24, 2023 through Sunday, January 14, 2024.
“Disney Cats & Dogs” explores the evolution and innovation of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animal-inspired animation and storytelling through the decades, and the massive undertaking involved in bringing their iconic cats and dogs to life on screen.
From loveable main characters like Mickey Mouse’s best pal Pluto, Lady and Tramp from “Lady and the Tramp” (1955), Pongo and Perdita from “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1961), Duchess from “The Aristocats” (1970), and Oliver from “Oliver & Company” (1988), to supporting sidekicks such as Lucifer from “Cinderella” (1950) and Percy from “Pocahontas” (1995), Walt Disney’s love for animals and proclivity for starring cats and dogs in his films has led to their endearing portrayals and prominence in Disney’s animated and live-action films to this day.
This exhibition also gives visitors an insight into Walt’s love of animals with archival photographs, quotes, and personal stories on display.
Walt’s family cared for many cats and dogs throughout his life, and he often found inspiration for sequences in his films from these animal friends.
Even in the early days of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio…known today as The Walt Disney Company…Walt would create roles for his Uncle Robert Disney’s German Shepherd, Peggy. Her live-action debut in the “Alice Comedies” in 1924 marked the first appearance of a real-life Disney dog, and she quickly became a fan favorite.
By 1930, Walt had supported an animation training program for his artists to better understand both human and animal anatomy, with live animals often brought into the Studios for the artists to observe and sketch up close.
As evidenced in “Bambi” (1942), Walt’s artists were able to successfully bring their cast of animal characters to the big screen with realistic movements and mannerisms, while also elevating their individuality and attitudes, ultimately solidifying them as some of Disney’s most beloved animated characters for generations to come.
The wide array of drawings, paintings, photographs, and posters on view in Disney Cats & Dogs have been provided by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) and Walt Disney Archives.
The Animation Research Library works to conserve the heritage of the Walt Disney Animation Studios. Most importantly, the ARL carefully stores, digitizes, and archives works of art related to Disney animation so that they can be studied and appreciated by future generations.
“Disney Cats & Dogs” will be housed in The Walt Disney Family Museum’s Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall.
Family-friendly interactives and public programs offered throughout the run of the exhibition will include a pet portrait drawing station, rotating activities with the museum’s Studio Team, community events with local shelters and organizations, and monthly screenings of films showcased in the exhibit.
The Museum Store will also have imported exhibition merchandise from Disney Japan, created especially for this exhibition.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is located at 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio, in San Francisco, CA. Hours are Thursday through Sunday 10am to 5:30pm.
For more details on the museum, including admission, please visit WaltDisney.org.