TBT: Lotte Goslar Modeling a Hapless Fairy Godmother for an Animated Cartoon

December 7, 2023

The December 1958 issue of Dance Magazine featured a story on Lotte Goslar. The German American dancer and choreographer was trained by Mary Wigman and Gret Palucca but developed her own style melding dance with miming technique, which Dance Magazine­ described­ as “warm-hearted and witty comedy mime.” She left Germany­ in 1933 and, after touring with a cabaret company in Europe­ for a few years, landed in Los Angeles, where she began appearing in revues in 1943 and founded Lotte Goslar’s Pantomime Circus in 1954. The Hollywood-based troupe toured widely and successfully, and Goslar also picked up work serving as a model for animated cartoons.

The December 1958 story—and that month’s cover, above—showcased some of the photos of Goslar that Playhouse Pictures used for reference for a series of animated recruitment trailers commissioned by the U.S. Navy,­ which won a gold medal for the best complete television animated film of 1957 from the New York Art Directors Club. The film is the story “of a young man who wants excitement from life. His Fairy Godmother, bumbling, turns him first into a chicken, then into a horse, then into a medieval knight—and, of course, none of these are what he wants. Then she reaches triple-hard to transform him with a touch of her wand, and in her enthusiasm whacks him, getting him what he wants—a chance to join the Navy. The wand flies wildly off, Fairy Godmother explodes into thin air.”