A long time ago… Star Tours took flight at Disneyland with a 60 hour party! It was on this day in 1987 that Guests were first able to hop aboard a Starspeeder 3000 for an exhilarating trip to Endor, even if that meant waiting in a line which stretched from Tomorrowland, down Main Street, and past the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln theater. The new attraction replaced Adventure Thru Inner Space, and rather than inner space, would now blast off Guests to outer space. Although the lines for the popular new thrill ride subsided throughout the sixty hours, Guests were also able to enjoy such things as the new Captain EO 3-D film, eat at the all new Big Thunder Barbecue, enjoy the new Golden Horseshoe Jamboree stage show, or get caught up in the upbeat Totally Minnie parade. Although the new updated Star Tours: The Adventures Continue debuted five years ago, here are some of my photos I took back when the original was just five years old.
I just posted my interview with Peter Marshall on my Mouse Clubhouse website. Peter Marshall reminisces about his career as a big band singer, actor, and television and radio host including “Hollywood Squares” and “Big Bands at Disneyland. CLICK HERE for the interview and more photos
Happy New Year to all of you from Scott and Shani! We are grateful for all of you who have been enjoying our blog and posts! Back in 1995, when we were married for less than two years, we had the privilege of photographing the Tournament of Roses for Disney, who not only had a beautiful float in it, but provided the pre-show as well. We thought you may enjoy these photos from that New Year’s day 21 years ago!
Somehow, it seemed appropriate to post this cover of the 1980 record album, “Christmas in the Stars.” Released on both record album and cassette, this album featured Anthony Daniels, reprising his role of C-3PO from “Star Wars.” It featured such classics very interesting songs such as “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and who can ever forget “What Can You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)”, which made it to the Billboard top 100 songs! According to one newspaper, that called the album, “The funniest Christmas album since the Chipmunks, claims that the dialogue in the album was taken from a script by George Lucas.
Here’s a taste of the album, featuring C-3PO singing the title song, “Christmas in the Stars.
Lastly, below is an ad featuring “Christmas in the Stars,” right next to one of my personal favorites, “John Denver and the Muppets.” Notice the top of the ad mentions “Disney Christmas albums” and despite that no Disney albums are shown, the two of albums pictured below it are “Star Wars” and the Muppets, both of which would be owned by Disney in years to come. It coincidentally appears
Robert B. Sherman was born on December 19, 1925. With his brother, Richard M. Sherman, he wrote some of the most well-known songs in the world. The songs for Disney’s “Mary Poppins,” “Winnie the Pooh,” and such theme park favorites as “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” and “It’s a Small World” are just a very small sampling of the great scope of their work.
Today, I remember Bob, on what would have been his 90th birthday.
I remember the first time I went to Bob’s house. I rang his doorbell, which played the first few notes of “It’s a Small World,” before Bob answered the door. I had some photographs for him that he had requested. We sat in a room and he was happy to answer my questions about his Disney days. He told me how he and his brother Richard wanted to donate their proceeds from “it’s a small world” to Unicef, but Walt told them no, Walt was making sure Unicef gets a good donation, but “it’s a small world” was going to put their kids through college!
Right from that first time, Bob felt like an old friend or favorite uncle, which made it easy to forget the awards next to us on the mantle, like his Grammy and Academy Awards.
We had a wonderful conversation and I was sure I was close to overstaying my welcome, but Bob offered me a cup of coffee. I didn’t drink any caffeine at that time, but I said, “Sure!” and knew that would buy me some more time. Somehow we got to talking about some of my favorite singers and I mentioned Michael Feinstein. Bob moved me into another room where he then played several then unreleased Sherman Brothers recordings by Michael, “The Ugly Bug Ball” from “Summer Magic,” a duet with another one of my favorites, Rosemary Clooney on “Ten Feet Off the Ground” from “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band,” and “The Eyes of Love,” written for Mary Poppins, but which did not make it to the film. Boy, was I glad I had that cup of coffee!
Then there was the time that I introduced B0b to Shani and he so sweetly and sincerely said to her, “You’re name means beautiful… and you are.” I also remember him telling me that both he and I had something in common, that the first time we went out with our wives, we both talked about marriage. Shani and I agreed we were going to get married on our first date, and Bob asked Joyce to marry him on their first date. She said yes on their second date.
One time, I was having lunch with Bob and his son, Robbie, along with our mutual friend, Randy Thornton, a producer for Disney Records. We had lunch at the Garden Terrace restaurant on the Disney Studios lot. Randy was telling us his proposed playlist for the Sherman Brothers CD set he was working on at the time, and he mentioned the song “On the Front Porch” from the film “Summer Magic.” That’s when we learned that was Bob’s favorite song! Bob started singing it, and I just had to join in. Then all of us were singing “On the Front Porch” at our table in the Disney Studios. Later, when Randy produced another Sherman Brothers CD collection called “The Sherman Brothers Songbook,” he included that story in the liner notes as one of his favorite memories.
In recent times, I’ve heard people who never met Bob describe him as “dark” or “grumpy.” Perhaps it’s because although Bob cherished his Disney days, he didn’t care for the spotlight, unlike his brother, Richard, who is a natural onstage entertainer. I believe that Bob’s lack of desire for public attention translated into the public thinking that he was distant to people, but I never felt that way. He was proud of his work, but very humble and he was always happy to talk about his Disney days with me.
As time marches on, people, particularly those in the public eye, are sometimes remembered in ways that were not reality, but the Bob I was fortunate enough to be friends with was kind, funny, warm and generous, and that’s the way he should be remembered.
I just posted my interview with Barry Lane on my Mouse Clubhouse website. In this conversation, Barry discusses his time as a tour guide at Disneyland in the 1960s, and as a skipper on the Jungle Cruise. CLICK HERE for the interview
Blaine Gibson began his Disney career in animation in 1939, and worked on some of Disney’s early classic features, animated shorts and even military films during World War II. Eventually Blaine began sculpting for Disney, creating the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, Abraham Lincoln for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all the president before Barrack Obama for Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Mark Twain and others for the American Adventure in Epcot, and much more. Blaine also sculpted the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.
1:11 Blaine Gibson’s start in Disney animation; His first drawing
5:26 Learning that he got a job for Disney while chopping wood in 1939
9:44 At the Disney studio on Hyperion Avenue; Beginning in “traffic”; Listening to the Philadelphia Symphony recording for “Fantasia”; Exploring the Disney Studios
12:35 Getting into production as an in-betweener; Working on his first scene in the Pluto short “Bone Trouble”; Fantasia, Pinocchio and Bambi
14:26 In-betweeners/assistant animators/breakdown men and about the animation process; working for Ken Hultgren on Bambi; Art classes at the Disney Studios, and instructor Rico Lebrun
17:57 Walt’s goals in animation; Believability – not real, but believable
26:56 Sculpting, starting at five years old; The thrill of drawing; Effects animation; World War II films; Becoming assistant to great animator Frank Thomas
After our last post of the new Colortopia exhibit about color at Epcot, I thought it would be fun to post this photo I took of the creative Animator’s Palate aboard the Disney Wonder. It may look like a black and white photo, but it’s not! Completely colorless, this fun restaurant is sure to chase your blues away! It’s representative of the initial artwork of Disney animation, but before your dinner is finished, you just might see some color!
This newspaper clipping is from November 28, 1928, 87 years ago today, the day that Mickey and Minnie Mouse were introduced to public audiences in their film release, “Steamboat Willie.” It’s a marvel to think that sound was new in movies and that color was still a dream away. Although Mickey went on to become Walt Disney’s most famous character, his nemesis, Pete (sometimes known as Pegleg Pete), was a cartoon veteran, having already appeared in Walt’s “Alice” comedy shorts in 1925, which combined live-action and animation.
“Steamboat Willie” is actually a parody, loosely based on Steamboat Bill, Jr., a silent movie starring Buster Keaton which was released that same year. In that film, the good-hearted Willie, similar to Mickey Mouse’s role, is the son of the rough and tumble Steamboat Bill, parodied in Disney’s version by Pete. While Willie’s father wants to teach him how to be a great steamboat captain, Willie is more interested in winning the hand of Kitty King.
The music you hear at the beginning of “Steamboat Willie” is actually a song from 1910 entitled “Steamboat Bill,” which tells the story of a steamboat captain who is given orders to beat the record of another steamboat, the Robert E. Lee.
The first time the world heard Mickey Mouse is when he whistles the chorus to “Steamboat Bill.” For those of you who want to sing along, now you can! Below are the lyrics.
Steamboat Bill, steaming down the Mississippi Steamboat Bill, a mighty man was he Steamboat Bill, steaming down the Mississippi Trying to beat the record of the Robert E. Lee