EVERYONE'S A CRITICIn a biography of actress Marlene Dietrich written by her daughter Maria Riva, Maria recalls her mother's reaction to the premiere of Disney's SNOW WHITE. (In fact on the SNOW WHITE DVD, you can see footage of the premiere where Dietrich attended with Douglas Fairbanks Jr.): "Now, tell me one thing: Who is going to see that? A full length picture of nothing but 'cutesy-po'? Except for the wonderful stepmother ... it is for two year olds! And all those ugly little men, like midgets, and that Prince looks *** ... You can't allow somebody who does Mickey Mouse to become a movie producer! Sweetheart, you have to see it! They have a 'cleaning scene' ... I nearly peed in my pants! Little 'birdie' and fluffy squirrels, all helping the village idiot! And that terrible music. All sugary doodle-doo ... They can't allow such things and then even have premieres for them. And for this abortion, I had to dress up? ... Sweetheart, I tell you one thing -- it will never make any money!"
A SECRETDisney's animated feature, SNOW WHITE, inspired a hit single almost three decades after its release. In the film, just before Snow White sings "I'm wishing," she says "Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?" Well, those two lines inspired Beatle John Lennon to write one of the Beatle's first hit singles: "Do You Want To Know A Secret?"
STEAL THE OTHER ONEIn the movie BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961), Audrey Hepburn's character for a lark decides to steal something from a five-and-ten store. At one point she almost steals a Huckleberry Hound Halloween mask until she decides to take a generic cat mask instead.
ROGER RABBIT INSPIRATIONWhen Robert Zemeckis came on board the ROGER RABBIT project, he called in Mike Giaimo who had done the original designs for the rabbit character when Darrell Van Citters was handling the project. Zemeckis felt that Giaimo's designs was a bit too clown-like. He kept suggesting to Giaimo to "make (Roger Rabbit) a little more like Michael J. Fox" whom Zemeckis had just finished directing in the movie BACK TO THE FUTURE.
THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO ITWriter Stephen King wrote a horror short story entitled "The Crate" which was later adapted for the 1982 movie CREEPSHOW. Inside a long forgotten crate stored in a university is a horrible monster that seems to be all teeth. King based the creature on Warners' Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. "One day my kids were watching one of these cartoons, and I thought, that's not funny; that's horrible!" claimed King. When King's agent tried to sell the completed story to PLAYBOY, the magazine's story editor reluctantly turned it down with the comment: "I think it's really scary but every time that creature pops up, I think of the Tasmanian Devil in the Warner Brothers cartoons!"
BIRTHDAY BLUESAt UCLA's "A Tribute to Walter Lantz" held in November 1992, animator Lantz surprised the audience when he revealed he had been going through some personal papers at his lawyer's office and saw his birth certificate for the first time. It stated he was born in April 1899, not April 1900 like his parents had always told him. So Lantz discovered he was actually a year older than he thought and all those articles listing his birth date as 1900 were wrong. Lantz could offer no explanation why his parents told him the wrong date.
THE BULLWINKLE TWINSOne afternoon at lunch, Bill Scott, the original voice of Bullwinkle Moose, was coaching voice artist Frank Welker on how to do the voice of the popular Jay Ward character. A very dignified waiter came up to their table to take their order and Scott proceeded to order his entire meal in the voice of Bullwinkle. The confused waiter, worried that this might be Scott's actual voice, turned to Welker for his order. Without missing a beat, Walker responded in the voice of Bullwinkle, "I'll have the same."
HIGH ON THE HOGJohn Kricfalusi, creator of REN AND STIMPY, has tried to develop many different projects over the years. One of those projects was He Hog, a dentist by day and a super swine at all other times. This superpowered pig would according to Kricfalusi have "the world's greatest superpowers, including x-ray nipples and ultra tastocity (extremely sensitive taste buds). He can lick a trail to the villain's hideout. He can taste guilt." The only thing that can neutralize him is "marmalade on his butt." The antidote? "Toast."
HAIRY PROBLEMAnimator Andreas Deja who was responsible for the villain Gaston in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST had no problem finding inspiration for the character in Los Angeles. "Just go to the gyms, the restaurants, the parking lots. They're everywhere, looking in the mirror, in love with themselves," stated Deja. The most difficult part about drawing Gaston, who boasts in song that "Every last inch of me's covered with hair," was keeping Gaston's chest hair consistent from one cel to the next. The solution? Computers, which later were used for a similar problem with the ornate carpet design in ALADDIN.
CUT DOWN TO SIZEPrince Charles of England wrote a children's book entitled THE LEGEND OF LOCHNAGAR which was translated into an animated special. Producer Mike Young claimed that it was the Prince's idea that at the end of the special he should be "shrunkled" (using morphing techniques) into a "twelve inch ruler. I remember he said, 'They've always wanted to cut me down to size. Here's their chance.'"
WET AND WILDWhen Disney was making the classic animated feature, PINOCCHIO, the studio had to solve the problem of how to make Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket sound as if they were underwater when they talked during their search for Gepetto. *** Jones who voiced Pinocchio nearly drowned when he tried to read his lines lying on his back while a director poured water in his mouth. (After several similar experiments, they determined they could put a filter on the microphone to muffle the sound.)
WHAT'S IN A NAME?Some people's legal name is actually "Donald Duck" showing that parents don't mind emotionally scarring their children. A young British Donald Duck saved his younger sister and brother from a fire in 1949; an American Donald Duck joined the Navy in 1967; in 1958, Donald Duck of London was fined for driving with a defective muffler. My favorite is the Southern California Donald Duck who in 1956 was arrested for strolling naked except for a duck hat.