On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Two Dogs in Love
And a Sunday Comic Dick Tracy
The love story begins on Christmas morning when Jim Dear surprises Darling with a Cocker Spaniel puppy. The beloved story Lady and the Tramp actually begins on Christmas morning and ends the following Christmas. Ironic since we usually don’t think of Lady and the Tramp as a Christmas story. It’s not long before this dog tale wags into gear, and romance, adventure, and humor ensue.
Mary Blair painted the concept illustration to the left initially for a film about “Lady”, but Walt Disney later turned it into a story about two dogs in love. Though not directly used in the final film, the painting creates an interesting backstory for collectors. For the second trip down Christmas Memory Lane, let’s look at some art that went into the making of a classic animated film. As an aside, Mary Blair’s painting is currently up for auction.
From Concept Art to Animation
The most memorable scene of the film involved cartoonish Italian accents and a shared plate of spaghetti. While the song Bella Notte played, a streetwise dog and a proper lady fell in love. Someone loved the concept art for the Beautiful Night to the tune of $22,200. Notably, the painter, Eyvind Earle was a renowned Disney concept illustrator. The most iconic scene is always a great place for a collectible. And, if no one has opened a place called Tony’s Ristorante that specializes in Spaghetti and Meatballs, an opportunity was missed!
Lady and the Tramp stroll through the park after their extravagant meal. Eyvind Earles’ concept painting and color key fetched $9,600 in 2019. Heritage Auctions has hosted dozens of sales for Eyvind Earles’ other Disney concept paintings. The most spectacular pieces feature Sleeping Beauty.
Other Collectibles On Christmas Memory Lane featuring Lady and the Tramp
Lady and the Tramp collectibles are not limited to concept paintings. Production cels (art used directly for animation of the film) excite investors and hobbyists. However, I’ll not talk about them in this article.
High grade copies of the 1955 comic book movie tie-in tell an interesting story. A graded 9.6 fetched $920 in 2003, however a similar comic fetched only $399 in 2014. Four sales from 2003 to 2014 followed that downward pattern.
The original cover art from Lady and the Tramp 1 sold in 2011 for $956. That’s a little more than twice the price paid for a high grade comic version in 2010. The painted centerpiece and line art were done by an unidentified Dell artist, but I’m surprised the movie tie-in didn’t provide a little more “meat on that bone”. However, unidentified artists usually reduce the value of the art.
Finally, something different from my usual pursuits. For the 1972 re-release of the film, Lady and the Tramp posters and lobby cards were distributed. The lobby cards capture the sentimentality of the movie well. The poster and cards sold in 2016 for $215.
If you missed our first trip down Christmas Memory Lane, A Sunday Comic Strip Classics, please check it out. In the next article in the series, I’ll focus on someone with a heart two sizes too small!