Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND California (June 3 & June 4, 2017) includes new Star Wars LEGO displays, activities such as the LEGO Star Wars™ Family Build Challenge, LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Scavenger Hunt, Jedi™ Trivia, costume contests more.
Special thanks to LEGOLAND California for inviting me to your annual Star Wars Days!
I just posted my interview with John “Doc” Anello, who started in 1975 as production manager for Disneyland, became the head of education for the entertainment department and in the 1990s and 200s led his own band in Disneyland, “Doc Anello and the Swing Machine.” CLICK HERE for the interview and more photos
This beautiful balloon was calling to me, “Take my picture! Take my picture!” Floating in front of King Arthur Carrousel in Disneyland, I just love how you see the reflection of Fantasyland in the ears. It just seems so peaceful and I hope it gives you a nice feeling, too.
I’m sad to report that Mouse Clubhouse friend John “Doc” Anello has passed away. Doc had a fascinating Disney career, and I had fun interviewing backstage at Disneyland’s Carnation Plaza Gardens a few years ago, which I’ll share on here really soon! After leading his own big band, Doc began his Disney career as Production Manager at Disneyland in 1975, making sure all entertainment venues in the park were up and running smoothly. In his second year, Doc took over another great Disney tradition, the All American College Band Program, giving top college musicians a once in a lifetime music, performance, and educational opportunity. Doc told me, “I set up auditions around the country and auditioned students from the various colleges. We then chose those students who would be invited to participate both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. My title at that time was Education Program Director. I left Disney in 1980 to accept a professorship at College of The Desert in Palm Desert and was there for eight years. We developed a singing, dancing performing group and performed locally and at various locations around the country. After I left the college, I returned to Disney in 1992 and I was assigned as Manager of Talent Booking (for Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel). Sonny Anderson was working primarily in Florida at that time. I left that position I believe in 1996 and decided I would just kick back and start my band again. Stan Freese was working here and I told him I’ve got the band, and we started playing here and I’ve been here ever since, just playing the one night a month. It’s been a great association.” “Doc” will be missed.
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.”
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!!
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!
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.)
Mother Nature was so nice to me when I took this photo of Peter Pan’s Flight in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World! Look at how she placed those beautiful clouds perfectly to complement this marquee!
Jamie Gunyuz in front of Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World, still under constructionEnjoyed interviewing Jamie Gunyuz, head engineer for the opening of Walt Disney World. I’m looking forward to sharing the fascinating conversation with you. Here’s a photo of Jamie in front of Cinderella Castle, still under construction.