Disney live entertainment pioneer Larry Billman passed away

Disney live entertainment pioneer Larry Billman, as scene in the Disney movie "Miracle of the White Stallions"
Disney live entertainment pioneer Larry Billman, as scene in the Disney movie “Miracle of the White Stallions”

I’m so sad to report that Larry Billman has passed away. Larry was not only a very important of Disney live entertainment history, but a HUGE supporter of my Mouse Clubhouse. He was responsible for my interviews with people such as Chuck Corson (early Disneyland/Disney World director of entertainment), Miriam Nelson (Disneyland’s opening day choreographer) and Alyja Kalinich (Disney costume designer extraordinaire). As a historian of American Dance on Film, Larry was more than once there for me when I felt that my Mouse Clubhouse work was too overwhelming with little gratification, and he inspired me to keep going.

After I posted an interview with a friend of Larry’s who passed away, Larry wrote me the following, “…I am gratified that you have captured some of his memories for eternity. In my life now I find that most of my energies are spent writing about the dancers and choreographers of the Hollywood musicals. I write for a newsletter which is distributed by the Professional Dancers Society in California. I am currently writing 12 obituaries for the next issue – including Marc Breaux. As painful as it can be when I am writing about people I know well, I am happy that their accomplishments are being documented. After my theme park career ended, I became a “Dance Archivist” with books and articles about them and that may be my finest hour. My mission is that they (and the art they created) are remembered.”

Inspired by Larry’s own words, I invite you to listen to the voice and stories of this wonderful and truly talented individual who I will truly miss.  http://mouseclubhouse.com/interview-larry-billman/

TaleSpin series artwork

My TaleSpin credit
My TaleSpin credit

It’s been nearly 30 years since I had the honor of being the assistant producer on a bunch of TaleSpin episodes! Thanks to those of you who write me about your memories of the show! It means a lot! Hope you enjoy the artwork below!!

TaleSpin color key artwork 1
TaleSpin color key artwork 1
TaleSpin color key artwork 2
TaleSpin color key artwork 2
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book

Here’s some pages from the TaleSpin comic books,  given to me by my friend and neighbor, the late Joe Messerli, who inked the art! What a coincidence that the man who lived just two doors down from me for my childhood ended up working on the comic books for the TV series I worked on!

TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin comic book
TaleSpin artist Derek Carter gave me my own camera shop in this TaleSpin layout key
TaleSpin artist Derek Carter gave me my own camera shop in this TaleSpin layout key
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
TaleSpin size comparison
Rebecca rough construction
Rebecca rough construction
Rebecca details - I always thought it was amazing they got Sally Struthers to voice Rebecca, from one of the greatest sitcoms in history, All in the Family
Rebecca details – I always thought it was amazing they got Sally Struthers to voice Rebecca, from one of the greatest sitcoms in history, All in the Family
Molly mouth chart
Molly mouth chart
Molly details
Molly details
Head construction of Louie
Head construction of Louie
Kit Cloudkicker details
Kit Cloudkicker details
Various poses of Kit Cloudkicker
Various poses of Kit Cloudkicker
Rough drawings of Baloo's attitudes
Rough drawings of Baloo’s attitudes
Rough drawings of Baloo's attitudes
Rough drawings of Baloo’s attitudes

We sometimes had "Special Poses" designed such as Baloo in a hammock
We sometimes had “Special Poses” designed such as Baloo in a hammock

Where in Disneyland Resort would you find these eyes?

I took this photo somewhere in the Disneyland Resort. Who can guess where? (ANSWER IS BELOW)

Did you know… back in the ’90s, Shani and I did two books of Disneyland photography? The books were sold in Disneyland for years and featured closeups of things in Disneyland Park, so readers could try to guess where it is and then turn the page for the answers.

 

 

These eyes can be found in The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Disney California Adventure. (One reader was confused because I said this attraction is in the Disneyland Resort… don’t forget there are two parks in the Disneyland Resort.)

Pirates of the Caribbean 25th anniversary (1992)

Since today is the 50th anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Disneyland, I thought I’d post some photos I took back at the 25th anniversary celebration in 1992.

Disneyland executive vice president Norm Doerges, Pirates of the Caribbean contributors X Atencio and Marc Davis
Disneyland executive vice president Norm Doerges, Pirates of the Caribbean contributors X Atencio and Marc Davis

Disneyland executive vice president Norm Doerges was on hand along with two of the attraction’s contributors X Atencio and Marc Davis, both of whom I interviewed for Mouse Clubhouse! X wrote the script and the lyrics to the Yo Ho song and Marc designed the scenes you see as you ride by.

Pirates of the Caribbean contributors X Atencio and Marc Davis christen one of the boats

Pirates of the Caribbean contributors X Atencio and Marc Davis christen one of the boatsA boy was pulled up from the audience to help out as X and Marc christened one of the Pirates boats, with celebratory streamers, too.

A display of Marc Davis' concept art for Pirates of the Caribbean was presented in the Disney Gallery

A display of Marc Davis’ concept art for Pirates of the Caribbean was presented in the Disney GalleryAfter that, we were all invited to the Disney Gallery, above the attraction, for a display of some of Marc’s concept artwork for the attraction, such as the Jolly Roger pictured below. By the way, when you ride through, that’s X’s voice as the Jolly Roger, who asks, “Ye come seeking adventure in salty old pirates, eh?” and warns you, “Dead men tell no tales.”