I want to let you know that I changed servers for my podcasts and as a result you may not be seeing all of the interviewss. Although it may still show that you are subscribed, be sure to go to the iTunes Store and resubscribe. You will see all the interviews I’ve already posted and a couple new ones, too! And I’ve got plenty more to come as well!
I thank you so much for your support and allowing me to share the wonderful stories of these fantastic people with you!
Thought I’d share my newest treasure. This button that reads “I’ve had Fun with Music” was given to elementary and middle school students in the mid-1970s, who attended a very special private show in Disneyland in the original Fantasyland Theatre (previously the Mickey Mouse Club Theater – about where the Pinocchio attraction and Village Haus reside now.)
The theater was open to the public, and was used to show Disney short animated films, guest performers, and also for private company events. With the title borrowed from one of the days of the “Mickey Mouse Club” television series, “Fun with Music” was exclusively for students on an exciting field trip and, with the help of characters Father Time and Melody, Harmony,Rhythm and Boogie Man, it formed an appreciation of music by teaching the basics. The show was written by Larry Billman, who wrote, directed and produced hundreds of live shows for Disneyland, Walt Disney World and the international Disney resorts.
The band was led by Bruce Healey, who would become the Senior Music Producer/Director, Disneyland Entertainment and is responsible for much of the music you hear in Disneyland’s parades and shows.
Father Music was portrayed by Jim Adams. Although Jim wore a number of hats (literally, as an entertainer, and figuratively) during his time as a performer in Disneyland, he is best known as Pecos Bill from the Golden Horseshoe Revue from 1970 to 1982, alternating performances with the legendary Wally Boag.
Besides the show, students got to learn more about music by attending a concert performance of the Disneyland Band and visiting the attractions “America the Beautiful,” “Country Bear Jamboree,” “America Sings,” “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” and “It’s a Small World,” which is pictured on the button.
Although most Disneyland park Guests are not aware this program existed, the cast and crew were comprised of Disneyland’s greatest! (In addition to the names above, some of you might be familiar with some of the other participants such as Jim Christensen, Dick Cook, John Anello, Judy Nuzum, Reid Shibata, Greg Killingsworth, Terry Robinson, Joyce Hodges, and Chellie Campbell!)
I hope to bring you much more about the very unique, but little known “Fun with Music” show in the future, but I just had to share this photo of my newest treasure.
It’s official, the Disney Cruise Line is returning to California, New York and Texas and I can help book them for you immediately!
Cast off the coast of Florida, Texas or New York to enchanting Bahamian ports of call. Sail from California on Baja and Mexican Riviera cruises. Or, discover magical New England and Canadian voyages departing from New York!
Here’s more details:
Soak up the natural beauty and vibrant cultures of 3 tropical ports of call—Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica—during a 7-night roundtrip cruise from Port Canaveral that includes a fun stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Disney Cruise Line sails to the Bahamas on a variety of sun-soaked itineraries. All cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. And now, on special sailings from New York, Guests can take advantage of a convenient stop in Florida to visit Walt Disney World!
Sail from New York to handsome ports of call with a selection of itineraries featuring destinations like St. John, Charlottetown, Bar Harbor and fascinating cities in beautiful Nova Scotia.
Baja and Mexican Riviera
Relish a weekend getaway from San Diego to Ensenada—known for its stellar surfing conditions, innovative cuisine and legendary hot springs. Or, extend your vacation to visit lovely Cabo San Lucas. Take a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise to explore Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and beyond!
Delve into the rich history of several port cities—including Cadiz, Spain and Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal. There’s a bounty of sights for you to discover over the course of your 11-night sailing.
Savor top-notch amenities aboard a 14-night coast-to-coast cruise that takes you through the world-famous Panama Canal. Call upon blissful port cities in Mexico, Colombia and the Caribbean before arriving in Galveston, Texas.
We’re so sorry to hear about the passing of our friend Jack Lindquist. We’ll sure miss getting together with him and hearing his wonderful stories, but we’re pleased to share some of them with you below! He was truly Disney royalty!
Jack Lindquist was Disneyland’s first advertising manager, beginning in 1955. He continued with the company in marketing for Disneyland. Walt Disney World and international Disney resorts. His many accomplishments include the creation of the Disneyland Ambassador program, the creation of the Walt Disney Travel Company, the international waters ceremony for the opening of the it’s a small world attraction, Disney Dollars, and in 1990 Jack became the first president of Disneyland.
Below are links to four conversations I had with Jack, that I think you’ll really enjoy!
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.
Set sail for the perfect balance of high-seas adventure and theme park magic—all in one Disney vacation!
With close proximity to Walt Disney World Resort, it’s easy to combine the best of Disney by land and sea if you’re departing from or arriving in Port Canaveral, Florida on a Disney cruise. From relaxing adult time to unforgettable family activities, our itineraries offer something for everyone! Choose from a variety of departure days to set sail on a tropical voyage aboard the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy or Disney Magic.
Next, extend your vacation by visiting Walt Disney World Resort—experience your favorite attractions, entertainment and non-stop fun at the parks you love! Convenient transfers can be arranged to take you to and from Port Canaveral, Walt Disney World Resort and Orlando International Airport. With a big blue ocean to explore and four amazing theme parks, your enchanted vacation awaits!
Example of a 7 night Land and Sea vacation for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children):
Sail on a 3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
Stay 4 nights at a Walt Disney World Resort
Includes 5, 1 day-1 park tickets for everyone
TOTAL: approximately $4300
The Golden Horseshoe Revue performed a record-breaking 47,250 performances at Disneyland, and was a staple in Disneyland from its opening until 1986.
Wally Boag (pictured, above, left) originated the role of the traveling salesman who would break up the audience with his antics, and then return later in the show as Pecos Bill. During a song, a fellow cast member would “hit” him and he proceeded to spit out his teeth. In reality, they were beans, and he spit out more beans in each performance than the human mouth has teeth! With each bean, the audience roared more and more!
As the years went on, Disneyland was open seven days a week, not just five, and starting in the 1960s, it was even open after dark! While Wally is best remembered in the role and was certainly the longest running performer of the role, there were a number of others who filled in as the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the Wild West!
Pictured from left to right are Dick Hardwick, Jim Adams and Dana Daniels, all of whom I’ve had the chance to get to know and interview for Mouse Clubhouse, so watch for that audio in the future! For now, I thought it would be fun to catch up with each of these gentlemen and find out what they’re up to now!
Dick Hardwick took over the role of Pecos Bill when Wally left in 1982 and continued with the show until its final performance in 1986. After Disney, Dick continued performing and even won on Star Search in the category of comedy. He toured with the likes of Reba McEntire and Johnny Mathis, and has made multiple tours to entertain the troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the Middle East. Dick recently became a became a coveted “Navy Tail Hooker” having been flown out to, then launched off of the USS Stennis aircraft carrier where he performed somewhere off the coast of Mexico. In 1996, Dick hosted the Fruit of the Loom All-Star CountryFest ’96 to a record-breaking crowd of an estimated 275,000! He also received an Honorary Doctor of Performing Arts from Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Interestingly, Dick started out as a musician in Disneyland, and he continues to have a parallel career in music today. In fact, he received a Grammy Certificate for Best Folk Album for his participation playing the washboard on John Prine’s record, “The Missing Years.” His handprints and signature in cement are on display at the Nashville Music Walk of Fame. In recent years, Dick is still going strong, performing for corporate events, celebrity golf tournaments, conventions, on cruise ships and even at several Disney events.
Dana Daniels performed in the Horseshoe from 1983 to 1986. After the Golden Horseshoe Revue ended, Dana had his own one man show in the Horseshoe, and eventually took that show on the road. His longtime partner in the act, Luigi, continues with him today. Oh, Luigi is a parrot. And a “psychic parrot” at that. Dana has opened for such stars as Ray Romano, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Randy Travis, and Charo. He’s appeared on shows such as Evening at the Improv, CBS Morning Show, The Golden Girls, and Masters of Illusions. His blend of comedy and magic has earned him accolades including Comedy Magician of the Year and two time Stage Magician of the Year from the Academy of Magical Arts. A regular at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood, California and Warren and Annabelle’s in Maui, Hawaii, Dana most recently joined the cast of The Illusionists 1903, as The Charlatan. The show is the most successful touring magic show in the world, and both Dana and Luigi will be touring from Sydney to Dubai.
Jim Adams began subbing for Wally Boag in the Horseshoe in 1970 and continued with the show until 1982, when he and Wally both left to pursue new projects, including work on an animated movie together. Jim had been working at Disneyland in the Entertainment department when he decided to knock on Wally’s dressing room door, simply wanting to learn how to do the show. He ended up filling in for Wally for the next 12 years. Before leaving Disney, Jim appeared in numerous television productions and commercials, as well as traveling on national tours for Disney. Since then, he has had several educational shows including “Adventures in Reading” and “James and the Professor,” which he has performed across the country and abroad. Today, Jim continues to entertain with his one man show of comedy, ventriloquism and music, and he recently performed for the Disneyland Alumni Club’s 60th anniversary gala.
Jim told me all the cast and crew of the Golden Horseshoe Revue would give him little hints during his days in the show, “Mainly though, it was Wally and Fulton (Burley, Horseshoe co-star) that helped me all the way! They were incredibly generous with their time and efforts! I never would have made it without them!”
Be sure to sign up for our Email Updates so you don’t miss when I post the interviews with these great performers!
I’m really excited for the new Tangled: The Musical show premiering on the Disney Magic this month. Below are some behind-the-scenes secrets and fun facts I think you’ll enjoy!
Tangled: The Musical is a masterpiece of dazzling production numbers and captivating music based on the hit Disney film. Be transported to Rapunzel’s fairytale world as the animated characters from the screen come to life on stage. Sing along with favorite tunes from the film, and delight in brand-new songs created just for this show.
The story remains true to the Disney movie with just enough of a twist for a live stage production, reuniting such characters as the spirited yet sweet Rapunzel, handsome bandit Flynn Rider, evil villainess Mother Gothel, and of course, the palace horse Maximus—a steed bent on a personal mission.
Follow Rapunzel’s journey as she escapes the confines of her tower and the clutches of her evil sham of a mother who conceals the truth about Rapunzel’s royal roots. Rapunzel and Flynn strike up an unlikely friendship and, when an unexpected romance blossoms between the adventurous pair, together they face down ruffians and thugs. But dare they defy Mother Gothel?
Disney Cruise Line assembled an all-star creative team to develop this live stage adaptation of the popular animated film.
Three New and Original Songs
Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater—the talented twosome behind the soundtrack for Tangled the Disney feature film—team up again to adapt the score and story for the stage, creating 3 new sure-to-be-hit songs: “Flower of Gold,” “Wanted Man” and “When the Princess Returns.”
Costumes, Set Design and Puppetry
Pioneering puppetry, intricate costuming and superb set designs transform the stage into a fanciful Bavarian kingdom, immersing audiences in Rapunzel’s magical world!
Master puppet designer Michael Curry elevates the art of puppetry to a whole new level in Maximus the palace horse. Tony Award-winning designer Paloma Young creates a stunning assemblage of costumes in a brilliant use of colors, patterns and textures. And, the sets are a delight—from Rapunzel’s tower and the Snuggly Duckling tavern, to the vibrant village kingdom and a breathtaking night-sky scene lit up with floating lanterns.
Bringing Maximus to Life
New Costumes for Tangled: The Musical
What to look for during the show:
Bavarian inspiration: Everything from set designs to costumes to choreography was inspired in some way by the sights, sounds and heritage of early German culture.
Flowers: Rapunzel’s story begins with a magical flower, but many more have been “planted” in the show’s design. Look for more than 200 physical flowers—plus dozens of others that have been drawn, painted, carved and sewn—in scenic elements, costumes and even Rapunzel’s hair!
Immersive moments: The creative team designed the show to totally immerse you in the story as characters interact with the audience; scenes spill over the stage and lanterns float overhead.
The guitar: Legendary composer Alan Menken’s score was inspired by folk rock music, so listen closely to hear undertones of the guitar thread throughout the show. You may even see a character strumming away!
Glowing scenic elements: A magical flower, Rapunzel’s hair, floating lanterns, burning candles and glowing murals … There are definitely a lot of bright spots to see in this show!
Organic choreography: Choreographer Connor Gallagher developed each dance number to feel natural and folksy, focusing on loose movements, lower centers of gravity and personal touches by each character.
Nods to the movie: Of course, this is still the story of Rapunzel’s grand adventure, so you’ll see and hear many of your favorite characters, scenes, songs and quotes
I just posted my interview with Connie Swanson Lane on my Mouse Clubhouse website. In this conversation, Connie discusses Walt Disney, and her time as the 1966 Disneyland Ambassador to the World, including the grand opening of it’s a small world. CLICK HERE for the interview
Learn about the resurgence of Disney marketing after Walt, from an author who lived it! I first learned about Lorraine Santoli when I was working for Disney in the ’90s, and I’d receive the weekly Corporate Synergy communications. That let us know all the latest happening within the company to see if there were opportunities to work any of it into our own products in our department.
It was such an exciting time at Disney! After Walt passed away in ’66, the company kept going, but not really strong. With a new President, Frank Wells, and CEO, Michael Eisner, the company started to become alive again.
Lorraine’s new book, Inside the Disney Marketing Machine – In the Era of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, reveals, through exclusive access to top-tier Disney management, how the magic was made in an era of explosive company growth.
Focusing on the “Disney difference,” Inside the Disney Marketing Machine not only details how marketing concepts were derived, executed and sold to consumers at that time (Part One, Marketing Outside the Company), but how corporate priority projects were marketed internally across all Disney business segment boundaries through a never-before-revealed synergy process (Part Two, Marketing Inside the Company).
The story begins when Lorraine arrives at Disney in the late ‘70s (her tenure was from 1978-2000) when the studio that Walt built was in a rut turning out formulaic films mostly targeted to kids. The arrival of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells in 1984 brought revolutionary change to how the company operated and, more importantly, how it marketed its products that were derived from its over fifty diverse business segments from Motion Pictures and Television to Theme Parks, Theatrical Productions, Home Entertainment, Consumer Products and Sports, among others.
Eisner and Wells were in fact the first Hollywood executives (only after Walt Disney himself) to aggressively cross-promote from within using synergy in addition to employing traditional marketing strategies. By adding a synergy component to marketing plans across business segments, the root product, whether a film release, theme park event, corporate celebration or other company priority, became more profitable than it would ever have been standing alone. For Eisner and Wells 1 + 1 = 3.
Following the pair’s directives, a corporate synergy program was developed and led by Santoli (under the guidance of a synergy VP). She held that role for a decade, from 1990 to 2000, and managed all internal marketing communications across every business segment of The Walt Disney Company. The process ultimately eradicated the business-binding mentality of silo-based thinking. The successful operation of that Disney synergy process is detailed in this book.
Overall, Inside the Disney Marketing Machine shows you what it was like to reshape a faltering and much-loved company into a media juggernaut. Her humorous anecdotes and stories, along with exclusive contributions from senior Disney management takes readers inside the world’s most powerful marketing machine in a special time when it felt like everything that Michael Eisner and Frank Wells touched, turned to gold.