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Piccolo, Saxo and Company

1958

Piccolo, Saxo & Co (1959)

Musical Trip around the World

A 14-minute cinema commercial for Philips Electronics.

The puppet film Piccolo, Saxo And Company tells the story of a family of stringed instruments on their quest to find other families of musical instruments. They succeed, and in the end the symphony orchestra is born.

Trivia

Camera and animation were in the capable hands of Joop Bekker and (his future wife) Geert Bekker-Knoef. Note the remarkably smooth camera work, particularly the opening scene.
As the story unfolds, the number of musical instruments grows; each one had to be animated. For the scenes showing all the instruments walking by, so-called replacement legs were used. In this technique, pioneered by George Pal, each musical instrument had a series of legs carved out of wood, one pair for one individual frame. The legs were replaced from frame to frame, thus creating smooth, consistent walk cycles for all the instruments. Günther Mandl (not credited) assisted in this process. Below are some production stills from the film.

Philips Sound System 

The film utilized the new Philips Sound System to achieve a superb, natural-sounding sound quality. Unfortunately the film's excellent video and audio qualities have suffered noticeably in this print, due to generational losses.

Still from

This is shown on screen

"Long, long ago ...."

Joop Bekker & Geert Knoef (Geert Bekker-Knoef) working in a set from

The set

This image shows that nothing more is build then recuired. (Left: Joop Bekker, right: Geert Bekker-Knoef)

Theo Doreleijer working on

Pre-Animatie

Theo Doreleijer was specialist in complicated models. In this technique, pioneered by George Pal, each musical instrument had a series of legs carved out of wood, one pair for one individual frame..

Academy Award ?

Some of the film's crew claimed that this was the only Dollywood production ever to be nominated for an Academy Award as best animated short. The film never won the Oscar, but picked up many other international awards.
Until the late '60's Piccolo and his musical company introduced elementary school children to symphonic orchestra music. André Popp's music is quite catchy. Release of an LP record in 1967 (voiced in Dutch by Cruys Voorberg), almost 10 years after the film's original release, is proof of the film's enduring popularity. The next year (1968), a sequel was released on LP, "Passport for Piccolo and Saxo", possibly with a film version in mind.

New Recordings

Crowning these achievements by end of the 20th century was a CD release of both LPs.
Different remakes and interpretations of the film can be found on the internet, like these ones in French, Spanish, or even as a live performance.
In 2018 a live performance was played during the screening of the movie.

Credits

Title:Piccolo, Saxo and Company
Client:
Philips
Year of production:
1958
Duration:
14 minutes
Music: 
André Popp
Director:
Jan Coolen
Animation & camera:Joop Bekker; Geert Bekker-Knoef
Camera assistent:Günther Mandl
Book:
Jean Broussolle
Musical instruments, props:
Theo Doreleyers
Instruments' heads & facial expressions:Harry Tolsma
Format:35 mm, Technicolor

Different remakes and interpretations of the film can be found on the internet, like these ones in French, Spanish, or even as a live performance of Piccolo, Saxo & Co.

English version

French version

Original soundtrack French version (1957)

Spanish version

Mexico. live registration 2012

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