Sunday, August 31, 2008

We Need to Stand Together

As we get closer to the 7th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks I thought this was an appropriate post. This button is part of a set that were made right after the attacks in 2001 for the Epcot cast members and to be given out to guests. It was the reaction that a lot of us were going through early after that disaster. A feeling of let’s stand together against whoever had caused such destruction and loss of life. However, it was decided that it might not be sensitive enough so it was not released. My friends and I had a friend who worked and died on one of the top floors of Tower #2. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about or talk about Larry and how he’s missed. I look at this button, maybe a mistake at the time it was made, and only feel a sense of unity. And in a way, I miss the way we all stood together after the attacks. As we go through the election process I hope that all involved from the voters to the politicians remember that it is the UNITED States of America not the ‘Half That Think Their Right, More’ States of America.
We actually were on a trip to WDW in Nov. of 2001. We decided to keep the trip we had set-up pre 9/11. It was a very empty kind of 'forget the real world' kind of trip. Maybe that was the reason not to release the buttons. Keep the Maigc alive by keeping the real world just out of reach for those visiting the parks. (Once you got through the bag checks)
This button is not as rare as you might think. We got this one at MagicMeets this year. There are a couple of listings on Ebay right now. Have a great Labor Day and Remember those lost on 9/11.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Laughing Place has some Great Videos

For those that are in-between trips to the Disney parks, here is a link that'll help you get through it. Laughing is an all around Disney Web site. There is a lot of great information here. What really stood out was the amount of Videos they have posted on their site. There are all types of videos from rides, to Disney events, with red carpets and fireworks and parades.

Enjoy the Vids!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Looking back at the Animalympics

As we watch the 2008 Summer Olympics I can't help but think of an animated tribute to the Olympics that came out in 1980 that I had watched as a kid and my kids have just discovered this year. It was called the Animalympics. This was a great tribute/spoof of the modern Olympic games presented as the animals of the earth would approach the games. Voices were done by Gilda Radnor, Billy Crystal and Harry Shearrer. The writing is well done with a lot of great subtle humor. You will recognize a lot of classic stereotypes of Olympic athletes and commentators from the summer and winter games. Not Disney related at first glance, the studio that produced this was Lisberger Studios. However, when you see the credits you begin to see some pretty recognizable names.

This movie seemed to be the testing ground back then for a number of successful people today. Since TR2N is in the news let's start with Steven Lisberger. He directed and co-wrote Animalympics. One of the Art Directors is Roger Allen. He went on to work on Lion King 1 1/2, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast to name a couple. He also went on to direct a minor picture named the Lion King. Another of the art directors was John Norton. He went on to work on Tron and the Goofy Movie and he wrote Brother Bear and The Emperors New Groove. Bill Kroyer is listed as the Animation Director. Along with a number of animation credits in movies like, Garfield, Scooby Doo and the Green Mile he is listed as the animation director for the Making of Me, the Martin Short movie in the closed down Wonders of Life Pavilion in Epcot. One other name that stood out in the list of animators for Animalympics was the name of Brad Bird. He went on to direct two of the best Pixar movies in The Incredibles and Ratatouille. One last note, the music is done by Graham Gouldman from the band 10CC. The theme song is permanetly stuck in my head which is not really that bad a thing. it's pretty good. Below is a link to part of the movie that highlights the song 'We Made it to the Top'.
Here is a link to a nice site to give more information on the movie. Enjoy the movie and the Olympics!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Disney Legend: Marvin Davis

As the Disney Legend's website says, the Disney Legend award was created "To acknowledge and honor the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney Magic" There have been 216 Disney Legends awarded since the inception of this award in 1987. Many of the names on this list are known to most Disney enthusiasts, but for every well known legend there are 10 that you might have never heard of. These are their stories.

When I was looking through the list of Disney Legends I came across Marvin Davis. At first I mis-read and thought it was Marc Davis, but no, there's Marc further up the list. When I first looked at Marvin Davis' Disney Legend write-up I was very intrigued. Mr. Davis appears to be a true example of the thin line at the Disney Studios between the Movies and the Amusement parks. Marvin Aubrey Davis was born in Covis, New Mexico in 1910. He attended UCLA and USC and graduated with a degree in Architecture. And then the next logical step? A job with 2oth Century Fox working on such movies as Gentlemen Prefer Blonde's and the Asphalt Jungle as an Art Director. After a couple of years in the motion picture industry, Dick Irvine, a friend of Marv's from Fox, hired him on at W.E.D. Enterprises. 'Marvin developed the first diagrammatic plan for Disneyland and remembered that on August 8, 1953, Walt dropped by his office and picked up a No. 1 carbon pencil and drew a triangle in the middle of the plan and said, "That's where I want the railroad to run." While Walt had the idea, it was up to Marvin to make it workable.With a degree in architecture, it was Marvin's job to translate Walt's ideas into workable site plans. Marvin was the one who scaled the park to match the acreage.'

Marvin did most of the layout that Herb Ryman used to create his concept art of what Disneyland was to look like. After the park opened up he showed his versatility by moving back to the camera side of the company in movies and TV. He worked for Disneys as Art Director on such movies as Follow Me Boys, Big Red and Moon Pilot. He worked on all of the Disney TV shows of the 50's and 60's; Zorro, The Mickey Mouse Club, Davy Crockett and Disneyland/Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. He won an Emmy in 1962 for Wonderful World of Color. Mr. Davis returned to WED in 1965 and was working on the Florida Project. "In addition to the master plan for the theme park, Marvin contributed to the design of such resort hotels as the Contemporary, the Polynesian and the Golf Resort. " Marv was responsible for the design of Main Street and the External views of the Haunted mansion. He also worked on early plans for Walt's dream community EPCOT. He was quoted, when discussing Walt and his ideas for the Florida Project, "...he(Walt) designed the whole traffic flow around EPCOT on a little napkin." After Walt's death, Marvin still felt it his responsibility as project lead to present the plans that had been completed for EPCOT to Roy Disney. 'When Marvin Davis presented his plans to Roy, they were met with a sad, simple, answer. "Marvin," Roy Disney spoke, "Walt's dead." So was the city known as EPCOT.' The entire EPCOT project reverted into the EPCOT Center that opened in 1982.
Mr. Davis retired from the company in 1976. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1994 and passed away in 1998. For all he has done for the Disney Company in so many ways, Marv was honored with a Window on the Main Streets of both Disneyland and WDW's Magic Kingdom.

He shares the window over the Bank in Disneyland with Dick Irvine and the one in Florida says; Walter E. Disney Graduate School of Design & Master Planning “We Specialize in Imagineering” Headmaster, Richard Irvine Dean of Design, John Hench Instructors Edward Brummitt Marvin Davis Fred Hope Vic Greene Bill Martin Chuck Myall .

The Walt Disney Family Museum has a great interview with Mr. Davis with video clips of many topics. Please check this out.

One interesting note, Marvin was married to Marjorie, daughter of Bill Cottrell, a Disney executive for over 40 years and niece to Lillian and Walt. Marjorie had actually co-starred in a couple of the early Alice series of live action/cartoon's Walt had directed.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

YouTube Gold: Disney Animation Special:The Illusion of Life

I was very well rewarded on this trip onto Youtube. Have you ever heard of the book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, written by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas? According to the Disney Books Web-site, "The Bible. Does not request any further comment. This is THE best book about Disney animation. Period. Found on every animator's desk (even non-Disney ones) and in every serious library about Disney." I was well aware of the book although not fortunate enough to have ever read it. I was more than surprised to find a 1981 TV special title: Disney Animation Special: The Illusion of Life. This was posted in 5 parts by Yensidtun over on Youtube. This special is hosted by Hayley Mills. The first part is an intro by her and then a storyboard and recording session withPearl Bailey as Big Momma from the Fox and the Hound. Part 2 has Ward Kimball discussing the early animation at the studio including all of those rubber hoses.
Frank and Ollie than step in and discuss showing a characters emotion and how important the right voice could be as we see with Snow White.
Part 3 has Ken Anderson talking about Walt's intro to the idea of SnowWhite to the animators. Frank and Ollie discuss various characters from features they had worked on.
John Musker and Hayley Mills look at animated facial emotion. Eric Larson talks about personality in characters such as Figaro and how the Live Action session with Peggy Lee helpedhim with Peg from The Lady and the Tramp. Marc Davis then shows a little of how live action helps the animator with help of Cruella. '...somehow out of your own experience there is a way this character should behave. This is the way they should do something.' Live action provided that experience. Part 4 has Marc Davis talking about the child like manor of Fred Moore which came across all to well with Mickey Mouse. And the worldliness of Bill Tytla that comes out on his work of Night on Bald Mountain and his work in Pinocchio.Mill Kahl continues about Bill Tytlas methods. Milt goes on about his own challenging work. Ward returns and talks about personality characters and abstract animation. "I would fight Boredom with Innovation." Part 5 has Glenn Keane getting inspiration from the Morgue from Woolie Reitherman's Bear attack scene and Woolie talks about it.Hayley takes us through the Ink and Paint, Camera, and Dubbing depts. We see some of the camera design and background art and even some character design from the Black Cauldron. Hayley ends with a quote she remembers from Walt, "The only limit to imagination is animation. How else could you see an elephant fly." Please enjoy these looks back. I did. Don't forget Disney Fans Youtube is your Friend. See you next time.

Sources: Wikipedia, Disney Books,