Early in 1903, the success of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland, was a rousing success. Thirty years later it was made into a movie starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst production. [more inside]
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing. Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree (while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention). The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic to Icelandic to Zulu gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog, debuted in more than forty tongues. Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes and one-line comparisons, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights: "One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali," and "A Whole New World" (Aladdin) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," and "Luau!" (The Lion King) - "Under the Sea" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (The Little Mermaid) - "Belle" and "Be Our Guest" (Beauty and the Beast) - "Just Around the Riverbend" (Pocahontas) - "One Song" and "Heigh-Ho" (Snow White) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Cinderella) - Medley (Pinocchio) - "When She Loved Me" (Toy Story 2) - Intro (Monsters, Inc.)
Cubic Mouth is a series of plush dolls and toys designed by Satoshi Fumihara, creator of MTV Japan's The World of Golden Eggs and some rather interesting ads for Nissan. (previously) If the dolls look familiar, it's not a coincidence nor is it an artistic imitation; these are legitimately licensed Disney products. (most links in Japanese but self-explanatory) Oh Disney, why do you have to be so buttoned up at home?
Right Wing Radio Duck "Donald's life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck. "
The Muppets at Walt Disney World is a television special starring Jim Henson's Muppets at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This was the last Muppets project that Jim Henson worked on before his death. parts: intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 [more inside]
Always wished you could listen to a scene from Full Metal Jacket [imdb] with the voices provided by Disney(tm)-sounding characters? Well, then you'd like Full Metal Disney. (SLYT - nsfw - swearing).
Take a solo trek through the back streets of toontown or gaze upon pastoral fantasia. You'll find an astonishing variety of familiar and fantastic locales at Bob Richards' Animation Backgrounds blog. [more inside]
Chilean graphic designer Juan Pablo Bravo (Flickr profile, blogspot blog) makes some pretty awesome character infographics. (Warning: the following links go to large sized flickr photos) 70 Disney Villains : 250 Disney Characters :
100 200 Pixar Characters (sorta previously) : 50 Movie Cars : and his most recent (and my personal favorite) 600 Hanna-Barbara Characters (via). [more inside]
Those old Disney cartoons too slow-paced for you? BLAM! (Original.) Are you confounded by physical humor? BLAM! (Original.) BLAM! (Original.) Does a cartoon without wisecracks leave you unsatisfied? BLAM! (Original.) BLAM! (Original.) BLAM! (Original.)
Daft Punk's Tron Legacy Score Leaked Online Youtube user alexdaft26 has uploaded the entire soundtrack in nine films on youtube.
Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
Joshua Glenn and anti-middlebrow blog Hilobrow present their generational periodization scheme: from the Prometheans born in 1844-53 and the technologically transformative Plutonians born in 1854-63, to the hiply earnest Revivalists (those who were teenagers in the 90s) and the Throwbacks (my generation, and an article that horrifyingly includes pictures of tweens and the Mickey Mouse Club). [more inside]
Disney restyles "Rapunzel" to appeal to boys. Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies. After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, "The Princess and the Frog," executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office. Brace yourself: Boys didn't want to see a movie with "princess" in the title. Dear Disney: Boys Aren't Stupid, but renaming "Rapunzel" is.
Mean (Disney) Girls [SLYT]
David Lynch's A Goofy Movie (slyt)
Last spring Young Jean Lee, an American playwright and director, spoke plainly on the state of American theatre to the Nation. She described it as "our most backward art form."
Coloring the Kingdom: the story of the all-female “finishing school” of hand-drawn animation that worked behind the scenes to create the first animated full-length Disney feature, Snow White. (via.)
Roy E. Disney, son of Disney Company co-founder Roy O. Disney and nephew of Walt Disney, and the last Disney family member actively involved with the company, passed away today from stomach cancer. While he worked for the Disney Corporation on and off over the course of his life, he produced some of the "True-Life Adventures", and heading the Disney Animation through a second golden age (Little Mermaid, Alladin, Beauty and the Beast, etc). He was also integral in replacing the head of the company not once (his cousin's husband and Walt's son-in law, Ron Miller in 1984), but twice (Michael Eisner in 2006, ironically, the person he helped install in 1984). For those of us born after Walt passed away in 1966, Roy's uncanny resemblance to his uncle helped created a public face to keep the Disney ideals alive for later generations.
River County, Disney's first water park has been shut down since 2001 and permanently closed since 2005. It has not been dismantled. It was smaller than the two other (currently operating) water parks, and frequently much less crowded. In only a few years, relatively, weather, growth and neglect have damaged the slides and pools, many of which are still full of water. The entire thread with many more pictures is here [more inside]
Oh hai here's a flow chart showing the creative/organizational process of a (Walt) Disney film. Stay away from the morgue.
Last year, Spotify made news as a revelation in music availability, by providing ad-supported free access or paid subscriptions to more than 6 million streaming songs. This year, Sweden is the home to another streaming media landmark, with Voddler. Currently limited to Sweden but with goals of reaching the world, the streaming video-on-demand provider was well-received, but initial movie selection did not impress all. That should change, as Voddler recently expanded the potential list of movies when they signed The Walt Disney Company Ltd and Paramount Pictures, netting access to the Disney assets and the Paramount library. A deal with Sony may be forthcoming. [more inside]
As parents scramble to get one of the 25,000 items in the Disney Princess range, this article, What's Wrong with Cinderella?, gives perspective from a mother and feminist. [more inside]
Jeff Altman took some of his grandfather's 16mm Kodachrome home movies and made some really nice HD transfers out of them: San Francisco circa 1958, Disneyland in 1956 (part 2).
Last month, Virginia Davis passed away at 90 years of age. She was the real life (warning: lousy formatting) little girl (warning: teh kyoot) whom Walt Disney sent into the land of cartoons, responding to the popularity of Max Fleisher's Out of the Inkwell series, which used his "rotoscope" and brought cartoon figures into filmed space. Walt reversed the formula, and found his first star.
1923: Alice's Wonderland [more inside]
1923: Alice's Wonderland [more inside]
Religious Studies 101: A Handful of Thorns - A Radio Play Crossover Event (Intro, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3). Producer and scriptwriter Greg Weisman unites the characters of the critically acclaimed animated series Gargoyles and The Spectacular Spider-Man in a script originally performed at the 2009 Gathering of the Gargoyles fan convention. Please be warned that the script contains spoilers for the aforementioned shows. [more inside]
Iron Mouse? Disney to buy Marvel for 4 Billion dollars. This is good news for Marvel Shareholders but is it good news for Marvel fans?
Seven gay friends who summer on Fire Island Pines [note: autoload music] decided on a whim to make a lip-sync video (in Speedos) of tween favorite Miley Cyrus' song "Party in the USA". She loves it. And it turns out that the family-oriented, intellectual property "überprotective" company that represents Miley also loves and endorses the fan video. [more inside]
Mickey Mouse's early road to fame (yt playlist with ~160 videos) has some odd twists and turns. One of Walt Disney's early cartoon creations was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the star of Trolley Troubles (5:45, 1927) and other early shorts. Disney had big plans for the popular little rabbit, and wanted to increase his budget from Universal Pictures. Unfortunately, Charles B. Mintz wanted to scale back the budget, and in the end Universal kept control of Oswald Rabbit. Without Oswald, Disney needed something new. Jack Dunham, one of Disney's Nine Old Men recalled animating Oswald and "the one without the ears." Initially, this one was called Mortimer, but Lillian Disney, Walt Disney's wife, believed the name "Mortimer" sounded too pompous and suggested the name Mickey, though Mickey Rooney claims he was the inspiration. Either way, the mouse was renamed Mickey in short order, and he starred in Plane Crazy (video, 6:00, 1928, previously). By 1929, he was wearing his iconic gloves (and talking), in The Karnival Kid (video, 7:41). But Mortimer returned, as Mickey's Rival (8:16, 1936), eventually getting his own themesong (1:56, modern recording off of TV; better quality song with a still image, 1:35) and again in a modern short (1:30, 2000), amongst other appearances. Then there's Uncle Mortimer, who first traveled with Mickey Mouse in Death Valley, though it's not always clear whose uncle he is. And in the alternate universe that is Bloom County, Mickey's fraternal twin is Mortimer (technically, he resides in Outland).
Disney's Man and the Moon (1 of 6). One-horned unigoats versus SCIENCE! featuring Werner von Braun who, to the nose adds a small atomic reactor in preparation for [cue dramatic music] a trip around the moon. [via]
Epic Mickey: a dystopian, steampunk version of the Disney world and characters we all know and love (we love them, right?) from Junction Point Studios. [more inside]
In 1946 legendary surrealist Salvador Dali formed an unlikely friendship with Walt Disney, and they spent some time collaborating on a short film called Destino. Dali and Disney artist John Hench worked on a lot of storyboards, but only 18 seconds of test footage were shot before the project was abandoned. [more inside]
Early this morning, Two monorail trains collided at Walt Disney World, causing the death of one of the drivers. The Walt Disney World Monorail System first opened in 1971 with two routes servicing The Magic Kingdom, and then expanded to a third line servicing Epcot in 1982. This is the first incident resulting in a fatality in 38 years of operation. The most serious incident previously was a fire in 1985 caused by tire failure in which two cars were burned badly, but there were no injuries. The monorail trains have numerous safety features, including a "Moving-blocklight anti-collision system", referred to as MAPO (the term was coined by Walt Disney himself, who formed a new company to deal with Disneyland's transportation system directly from the profits made by Mary Poppins). As of this morning, the monorail system at Walt Disney World is out of service pending investigation.
And now presenting the 10 Best Uses Of Classical Music In Classic Cartoons!
Mike Jittlov worked in special effects back before computers took over. His legendary film short, The Wizard Of Speed And Time, was actually a self-created remake of an earlier short. [more inside]
Video excerpts of the panel discussions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' recent Milt Kahl tribute. [more inside]
Fallen Princesses : Dina Goldstein explores what life might have been like for Rapunzel, Snow White, and others after happily-ever-after. (via)
You've probably seen (and heard) his version of Alice in Wonderland, but have you seen The King and I, Harry Potter, The Sword in the Stone, or Mary Poppins?
Bill Peet (born Bill Peed) 1915-2002, was a Disney animator and children's book author. His work defined the Disney style, served as an inspiration for the movie Cars, and has amazed readers with the depth and expression of its characters. An exhibit of his work is running at the Art Institute of Chicago through May 24, 2009 (this Sunday). [more inside]
If you've ever heard the song Aquarela do Brasil (often called simply "Brazil" -- here's my favourite cover), then you'll probably enjoy this classic 1942 animation which first made it famous. The clip is the finale from the feature Saludos Amigos (hello friends), created during a US government-funded goodwill tour of South America aimed at strengthening Pan-American relations, which some argue may have helped bring South America onto the side of the Allies in World War II. [more inside]
People have been trying to make the appearance of three-dimensional movement almost as far back as the first movie cameras. The very first efforts used stereoscopy (more pre-vious-ly), which wasn't functional for theater-settings. In 1915, the first public test of 3D film was deemed unsuccessful, as images presented with green/red lenses detracted from the plot, but that didn't stop people from trying to make 3D films. Polarized glasses are another inexpensive method of simulated 3D, while shutterglasses are a more costly method. Up to 1998 or so, there were approximately 187 3D movies made, not counting porn, cartoons and shorts (which bring the 1998 total to 263). 2009 is supposedly the year that 3D movies really take off, as it has been reported that 3D films are expected to gross over $1bn (£700m) at the box office next year, a five-fold increase on their $200m haul in 2008. There are some really big titles coming, including the "3D drug trip" that is Avatar, and all of the announced future Pixar releases will get the Digital Disney 3-D treatment. But 3D isn't limited to the big screen and big companies. The next format war could be over 3D TV. And now the independent production company MeniThings has released the feature-length movie, Battle for Terra. [via mefi projects, and a bit more on the movie after the jump] [more inside]
Disney made one movie, and they've been tracing it ever since.
This month marks both the birth and the death of Bobby Driscoll, child star, Peter Pan, "Walt Disney's golden boy." He was penniless, drug-addled and buried in an unmarked grave by the age of 31. [more inside]
A Jonas Brothers Guide for Adults . "If you're expecting them to fade away...think again." Tweens unite! "It's full scream ahead!" Ohhhh, myyyyy! [more inside]
Little Big Star (free software, currently in beta - video) it's the first guitar rythm game with support for real instruments. In the next months two more products of the same kind should be released, Disney Star Guitar and Guitar Rising. [more inside]