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August, 2010

  • Jim Hill

    Tune Tuesday: "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" is kind of 'S Wonderful

    • 4 Comments
    " Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin " ( Disney Records Pearl Series, August 2010) really shouldn't have worked. After all, Broadway legend George Gershwin is almost the quintessential New Yorker. Whereas Wilson - as the co-founder of the Beach Boys - is most strongly associated with the surf-sounds of Southern CaIifornia. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Which is why - when you initially hear that a cappella version of "Rhapsody in Blue" (which actually...
  • Jim Hill

    Figuring out what was wrong with Disney's original Abraham Lincoln AA figure

    • 2 Comments
    Back in the late 1950s, when Corky Wilds was working for Mitchell Camera Corporation , he'd make the trek from his home in North Hollywood out to Glendale. "This was before the highway got built. So the only way to get to Mitchell Camera's offices in Glendale was to drive up Riverside Drive. Which took me right by Walt Disney Studios ," Corky remembered. "And every day as I drove by that place, I wondered about what it might be like to work there." Walt Disney Studios...
  • Jim Hill

    Disneyland favorite Dana Daniels to appear at Wizardz Magic Theater on Monday night

    • 5 Comments
    Ask any performer who ever got to see Wally Boag during their formative years. Who sat in the audience at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon and then watched as this master comedian - day in & day out - wowed the crowds at Disneyland . And they'll pretty much admit (just as Steve Martin did in his 2007 memoir, " Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life ") that ... ... My fantasy was that one day Wally would be sick with the flu, and a desperate stage manager would come out and ask the audience...
  • Jim Hill

    Fear will be made real at Universal Orlando's 20th anniversary edition of Halloween Horror Nights

    • 1 Comments
    Four weeks from tonight, the Universal Orlando Resort will be premiering the 20th anniversary edition of Halloween Horror Nights . "And just what should we expect as HHN reaches this special headstone ... er ... milestone?," you ask. Well, to hear show director Mike Aiello talk, the 20th anniversary version of this hugely popular seasonal event will feature something old, something new, nothing borrowed and something ... BOOO! As for the Something Old ... For the XX edition of HHN, the...
  • Jim Hill

    Picture book version of "Day & Night" preserves the wit & charm of this Pixar short

    • 7 Comments
    For those of you who haven't already seen Pixar 's latest short, " Day & Night " is a charming if somewhat impossible to describe film. Given that ... Copyright 2010 Disney / Pixar. All rights reserved SPOILERS ALERT: If you haven't yet seen "Day & Night" and don't want to learn about key plot points of this sure-to-be Academy Award-nominee before you eventually view this new animated short, now would be a very good time to bail out of today's JHM article...
  • Jim Hill

    Knott's Berry Farm rises above the competition with its new WindSeeker ride

    • 15 Comments
    Southern California is an incredibly competitive market. Especially when it comes to themed entertainment. So what with the Disneyland Resort rolling out its new World of Color nighttime water spectacular this past June and Mickey's Soundsational Parade & DCA 's " The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure " coming on line in 2011 ... Not to mention that " King Kong 360 3-D " sequence that just got added to Universal Hollywood 's tram tour as well as that...
  • Jim Hill

    Mickey always plans a few moves ahead when it comes to Walt Disney World

    • 22 Comments
    There have been lots of looky-loos lately over that Fantasyland Forest construction fence. Which has resulted in an equally large number of theories floating around online about what's currently going on with this $300 million project. Take - for example - all that soil that's been piled up towards the very back of this construction site. There are those who will tell you that this dirt was deliberately moved there so that the Imagineers could then sculpt the Fantasyland Forest hills. Or...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking back at Star Wars Celebration V

    • 5 Comments
    Okay. So it wasn't "... a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." It was just last week in a place called O-Lando. Photo by Angela Ragno But Star Wars enthusiasts from all over the planet (some 35,000 of them. Or so say my sources at the Orange County Convention Center ) made their way to Central Florida August 12 - 15 th . So that they could then be on hand for Star Wars Celebration V . Which was supposed to be " ... THE official Lucasfilm fan convention and the biggest Star...
  • Jim Hill

    Discounted admission tickets & VIP packages are now on sale for the 2011 D23 EXPO

    • 11 Comments
    It's a pretty common refrain among Disneyana fans. That - because they didn't know what the inaugural D23 EXPO was actually going to be like - these people opted out of being in the Anaheim area September 10 - 13, 2009. Which is how they missed out on seeing Johnny Depp making that surprise appearance (in full Captain Jack Sparrow garb, no less) ... Former Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook and Johnny Depp at the 2009 D23 EXPO. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... or...
  • Jim Hill

    "Mousejunkies!" takes an affectionate, irreverent look at Walt Disney World's appeal

    • 16 Comments
    Okay. It's confession time. I know that the following statement may be hard for Disney hardcores to hear. But when you make your living as I do -- writing about The Walt Disney Company five days a week, 52 weeks a year, year in, year out -- there really is such a thing as too much Mouse. So when I start to feel Bibbidi-Bobbidi-burned out ... Well, I just reach for my copy of " Mousejunkies!: Tips, Tales, and Tricks for a Disney World Fix: All You Need to Know for a Perfect Vacation "...
  • Jim Hill

    Toon Tuesday: Creator of Disney XD's "Kick Buttowski" recalls his own days as a suburban daredevil

    • 17 Comments
    Back in the days before video games, kids (to be specific, young boys who lived in the suburbs) lived differently. 9-to-13 year-old males would get up on a Saturday morning and then select that day's weapon of destruction (i.e. their skateboard, bicycle or scooter). They'd then ride out in their neighborhood looking for adventure with the only hard-and-fast rule to live by: That they had to head back home when the streetlights came on. Sandro Corsaro remembers that world vividly. As a kid...
  • Jim Hill

    D23 staffers puts the finishing touches on Great Disney Scavenger Hunt, Destination D event

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    Steven Clark was a very busy man in July. When he wasn't down in Anaheim, helping Tony Baxter dispatch StarSpeeders full of D23 Members at last month's "Star Tours Final Flight" event ... (L to R) Steven Clark and Tony Baxter actually suited up in this July 26th members-only event, donning the very same flight suit that Disneyland cast members wear when they worked at this Tomorrowland attraction. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... Clark was back in Burbank...
  • Jim Hill

    Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom event to look back at the history of Audio-Animatronics

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    "This is the latest thing we've done ... Audio-Animatronics," Walt (Disney) said. "We are using the new types of valves and controls developed for rockets. That way we can get extremely subtle motions." "About that word," I said, "Audio-Animatronics." "It's just animation with sound, run by electronics," he smiled. "Audio-Animatronics. It's an extension of animated drawings. Photo by Thomas Nebbia. Copyright National Geographic Society...
  • Jim Hill

    Imagineering Field Guide goes in for a close-up on Disney's Hollywood Studios

    • 10 Comments
    It's the Disney's Hollywood Studios icon that makes fan boys foam at the mouth. That 122-foot-tall Sorcerer Mickey Hat which stands of Hollywood Boulevard, blocking the view of the Chinese Theater. So if this icon is so controversial, why then did Alex Wright opt to put the Sorcerer Mickey Hat on the cover of " The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios " (Disney Editions, July 2010)? Copyright 2010 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved To my way of thinking...
  • Jim Hill

    Is "Camp Rock 2" one too many TV musicals from the Mouse?

    • 10 Comments
    Do you hear that vague whirring sound? That's Mickey's massive marketing machine dropping into gear. As the Mouse begins its final push for what the Company hopes will be its next big hit to come from the Disney Channel , " Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam ." Demi Lovato returns as Mitchie in this Disney Channel Original. Photo by John Medland Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Okay, I know. Clips and music videos from this TV movie have been airing on the Disney Channel...
  • Jim Hill

    "Forgotten Dreams" proves that Sherman Bros. music isn't just for kids

    • 1 Comments
    If you grew up humming songs like " Chim-Chim-Cheree " and " Winnie the Pooh ," then you have Richard M. & Robert B. Sherman to thank. These Disney Legends provided the soundtrack during many a baby boomer's formative years. Of course, as you grew older, your taste in music changed. Which is why all those albums featuring the Sherman Bros. music got pushed towards the back in your record collection. To then make room for recordings that featured the music of Bob Dylan...
  • Jim Hill

    "Restless Nights and Disney Afternoons" webinar looks back at the early, early days of Walt Disney Television Animation

    • 6 Comments
    Okay. Everyone knows how to get to Carnegie Hall (i.e. practice, practice, practice) and/or return from Oz (i.e. click your heels three times and say "There's no place like home" ). But when it comes to the entertainment industry ... To be honest, there's no one clear path when it comes to success in Hollywood. Sometimes - if you're looking to make it big on the West Coast -- you have to do something counter-intuitive. Like - say - go to the East Coast. That's just what...
  • Jim Hill

    "Step Up 3D" features stunning photography, dazzling choreography and a plot with two left feet

    • 9 Comments
    Given that I'm a 51 year-old white guy who lives in the woods of New Hampshire, I'm guessing that I'm not really the target audience for " Step Up 3D ." So when I found myself at a press screening for this new Jon Chu film earlier this week, I have to admit that there was a period of adjustment. It took me a while before I could then buy into this hip-hop fairy tale. Daniel "Cloud" Campos (center) in Touchstone Pictures and Summit Entertainment's "Step Up...
  • Jim Hill

    "Two Guys Named Joe" celebrates the creative legacy of two Disney Legends

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    So why exactly should you buy " Two Guys Named Joe: Master Animation Storytellers Joe Grant & Joe Ranft " (Disney Editions, August 2010)? Because this new John Canemaker book not only does a brilliant job of paying tribute to these animation legends, this 192-page hardcover contains one of the funniest stories to ever come out of modern day Hollywood. Don't believe me? Okay. Let me set the stage for this particular anecdote. Which John Lasseter actually told at Joe Ranft 's...
  • Jim Hill

    How "Something Wicked" went from being a best seller to the big screen

    • 8 Comments
    You know, it's kind of appropriate that D23 and ArcLight Cinemas are kicking off their classic Disney movie series tonight with a screening of " Something Wicked This Way Comes ." Especially since this 1983 Walt Disney Productions release is being shown at the ArcLight Hollywood . "And what's so appropriate about that?," you ask. Well, this dark fantasy really owes everything to Hollywood. I mean, I seriously doubt that Ray Bradbury would have even written the 1962 best...
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