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  • Blog Post: Original Disneyland train cars reunite at Carolwood Foundation's Combine event

    I am not nearly old enough to have attended Disneyland in the 1950s. The first time I went to the park, I was five years old. This was the 1970s. But I have long been interested in the park as it existed in those early years: how art directors and set designers used their cinematic skills to recreate...
  • Blog Post: Disneyland history comes to life at D23's first anniversary party

    Though I must admit that back in January, when the D23 Anniversary event at Disneyland was first announced, I was skeptical as to how Disney would put together a three-hour party on a Wednesday that was worth a three-hour drive to the park.Three hours, each way, I might add. Having just attended the...
  • Blog Post: Disney Legend Harriet Burns: A model (maker) of a mother

    If you ask Pam Burns-Clair to describe her mother, she’ll tell you that Disney Legend Harriet Burns was not your typical 1950s housewife. “When I was a girl, the shows on TV were Ozzie & Harriet , Leave It to Beaver and I Love Lucy . These women were very much stay-at-home moms with the chocolate...
  • Blog Post: Blaine Gibson remembers Harriet Burns, the First Lady of Imagineering

    Last year, after Disney Legend Harriet Burns passed away, Pam Burns-Clair decided to put together a book about her mother. Mind you, what Ms. Burns-Clair had in mind wasn't a traditional biography. But -- rather -- a gathering of memories. Which is why -- in partnership with noted Disney historian Don...
  • Blog Post: “Milt Kahl : Animation’s Michelangelo” paid tribute to a true Disney Legend

    Known for both his temper and his stunning draftsmanship, Milt Kahl has been described as Disney’s “Jekyll and Hyde” figure, a man who defined animation and defied his fellow animators. More than any other artists, Freddy Moore and Milt Kahl defined the Disney style. Freddy Moore designed the studio...
  • Blog Post: CalArts celebrates the 100th birthday of animation pioneer Jules Engel

    This past Saturday, film directors and animators gathered to pay tribute to Hungarian-born artist Jules Engel , a man whose work combined a modernist orientation of serious art with the commercial leanings of animated films. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of his birth. A small man, usually...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : A tribute to Ollie Johnston

    Last Tuesday night, I traveled down to one of the cities I most dislike in all of Southern California: I went to Hollywood . Good ol’ Tinsel Town, with its sidewalk hucksters wearing eBay costumes of Bugs Bunny and SpongeBob , with its endless food courts and faux-trendy boutiques. Hollywood, that theme...
  • Blog Post: Remembering Harriet Burns (1928 - 2008)

    This past Friday, the Disney community lost one of its celebrities. Harriet Burns passed on at the age of 79. She was the first woman hired by WED as an artist. She was born in San Antonio and remained in Texas for most of her young life, venturing only to Dallas to pursue a college degree in art in...
  • Blog Post: Looking back on the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot project -- Part 4

    Picking up where we left off yesterday ... The real problems for Disney began to emerge in the fall of 1987. Though the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot had originally been budgeted at $150 million to $300 million, in September Disney received new estimates from architecture and construction firms that placed...
  • Blog Post: Looking back on the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot project -- Part 3

    Picking up where we left off yesterday ... Despite the two MCA lawsuits, Disney continued to develop plans for the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot in Burbank . At the helm of the Disney project were two Imagineers: a young Joe Rohde (then 32-years-old) and Rick Rothschild . Their mission was to seamlessly...
  • Blog Post: Looking back on the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot project -- Part 2

    Picking up where we left off yesterday ... During the first five months of 1987, Burbank city officials worked toward an agreement with Disney to build a theme-park-slash-shopping-center in their downtown district. At issue was the money: Disney wanted to buy the land for next to nothing. Disney also...
  • Blog Post: Looking back on the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot project -- Part I

    Most longtime Disney fans know that Disney’s California Adventure was not Michael Eisner ’s first attempt at establishing a second Disney theme park in California. There was, of course, WESTCOT in Anaheim and Port Disney in Long Beach . But hardly anyone talks about Eisner’s first attempt to bring a...
  • Blog Post: A steam blast from the past: Welcome aboard the original Disneyland Railroad!

    Last summer, while visiting Disneyland with friends, we discussed which attractions presently at Disneyland were also at Disneyland when it opened in 1955. Surprising, our list was short. Virtually all of Fantasyland was redone in the early 1980s, leaving only the carousel and the Casey Jr. as attractions...
  • Blog Post: "Disneyland Hotel" takes a detailed look at the history of this Anaheim resort

    After the war, when Walt Disney Studios was once again making money, Walt returned to his cherished idea of building a theme park. Initially he pictured his theme park across the street from his Burbank studio as a neatly developed 7-acre park. Its name back then was Mickey Mouse Park. The attractions...
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