Chanticleer (partially found production material of cancelled Disney animated film; 1940s-mid 1960s)

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Chanticleer Duelling Poco Loco.jpg

Chanticleer duelling Poco Loco.

Status: Partially Found

Chanticleer was going to be a Disney animated movie based on Edmond Rostand's play Chantecler. It was in development from the 1940s up until the mid 1960s and never saw completion.[1]

Though the film was cancelled, its character designs later inspired the 1973 Disney animated film Robin Hood as well as the animatronics for defunct America Sings attraction in Disneyland.


The film takes place on a Parisian farm in the late 1800s, much like the play. Chanticleer is a vain rooster who has all the animals believe that his crowing is what brings up the sun each morning. He later realizes his arrogance and makes amends to find the strength to defeat his enemies.


In 1943, Walt Disney learned about the Chanticleer story and told story men, Ted Sears and Al Perkins to see what ideas they could get from the material, but they had trouble making the rooster a sympathetic character. Walt combined the project with another project going under the title Reynard the Fox, inspired by a French folktale. This gave Walt the idea to create an opposing villain character that would help boost sympathy on the rooster. Multiple films were already in development, so the project was put on hold for the majority of World War II.

In the 1960s, work was finished on the animated film 101 Dalmatians. Marc Davis and Ken Anderson decided to collaborate on a film inspired by the growing popularity of Broadway musicals. Going down to the Animation Archive Library, they both came across the Chanticleer concept art and liked what they saw. Hearing of this news, Walt urged the duo to scrap all work done on the project and start fresh, hoping that they could get it done this way. Though they were getting a significant amount of work done, other animators were more interested in The Sword in the Stone, however, Roy Disney, the headboard of the studio, was trying to convince Walt to halt production on all full-length animations in order to concentrate instead on his two theme parks in Anaheim, California, and Orlando, Florida. Although he disagreed to this proposal, Walt made the decision to cancel one of the two animated projects currently in production; Chanticleer was ultimately the animated project that got shelved due to it being cheaper to animate humans than animals.

In 1981, Mel Shaw proposed a story re-write. This would've depicted Chanticleer as "the most macho chicken in all of France". This was quickly rejected by the heads of the studio for the same reasons it had been in the past.

This Chanticleer animated movie concept was later revived and turned into the movie Rock-a-Doodle, directed by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth. Few elements from the Disney development remained, such as the Pheasant being made into Chanticleer's love interest and the fox being a villain character.



A video discussing the movie.

Concept Art

See Also


Animation (Disney)

Animation (Pixar)


Live Action

Short Films

External Links