101 Dalmatians

Written by Will Baum
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101 Dalmatians toys are some of the most beloved in collectible toydom. The Walt Disney Company made its first merchandising agreement--to market Mickey Mouse pencil tablets--in the early 1930s. Ever since then, Disney has been masterful at merchandising every nook and cranny of its empire.

A Brief History of 101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians appeared first as an animated film in 1961 and then again in 1996. The second version was shot with real actors and real Dalmatians--about 200 puppies were used in making the film. The classic animated version was the first to use a new Xerox process for taking drawings by animators and transferring them to cells. Previous films were made with labor-intensive hand tracing and hand-inking.

Based on the book by Dodie Smith, the animated 101 Dalmatians cost $4 million to make and was an instant success, warranting re-releases in 1969, 1979, 1985, and 1991. The 1996 Dalmatians, starring Glen Close and all those puppies, didn't quite replace the original in audience's minds. The image of two animated Dalmatians sharing a piece of spaghetti till in lands them in a canine kiss is still one of the key moments in Disney library.

Take care when spelling "Dalmatians." The misspelling, "Dalmations," is commonplace. Just remember that Dalmatia is a place. Creatures, human and otherwise, who hail from Dalmatia are Dalmatians just as U.S. natives are Americans and not "Americons." The Internet is a terrific place to find Disney toys of all kinds.


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