Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

September, 2010

  • Jim Hill

    Terrific "Tangled" is the hair ... er ... heir apparent to Disney's fairy tale crown

    • 27 Comments
    I have been writing professionally about The Walt Disney Company for over 25 years now. Which is why I can tell you what it felt like to be in a theater on November 17, 1989. Which was the night that " The Little Mermaid " was first released to theaters. As the credits rolled, I remember turning to my date and saying "Holy cr@p. Disney finally figured out how to make truly great animated films again." Back then, it was just so startling to see something that was as tried &...
  • Jim Hill

    "Project Future" reveals the many sidetrips that Walt took on the road to Disney World

    • 3 Comments
    At this past weekend's Destination D event, Tim O'Day - as part of his "Disneyland: The Happiest Place in Pop Culture" presentation - screened a clip from " A Hole in the Head ." Which was this 1959 Frank Sinatra film, where Ol' Blue Eyes played Tony Manetta. Who was the owner of this unsuccessful hotel in Miami who hopes to turn his fortunes around by building "... a Disneyland" in Florida. Which (in the context of this Frank Capra -directed movie, anyway...
  • Jim Hill

    D23's serves up a delightful, insightful celebration of Disneyland's 55th anniversary with its Destination D event

    • 12 Comments
    Okay. Quick show of hands. How many of you remember Mr. Creosote from " Monty Python's the Meaning of Life "? That grotesquely fat man (played by Terry Jones ) who ate so much he literally exploded after consuming one-too-many wafer-thin mints? The reason that I bring that character up is ... Well, after spending two full days at the Disneyland Hotel attending D23 's Destination D event , I am now the Disneyana equivalent of Mr. Creosote. I have seen so many things that I've...
  • Jim Hill

    It was the Internet, rather than a fishing net, that helped make Disney's "Fish Hooks" possible

    • 10 Comments
    "Book publishers send me out to schools all the time. And the kids there always ask me how they can get a job like mine. And my answer is: Put your stuff up on the Web. Because you never know who's going to see it." Trust me, folks. Noah Z. Jones knows of what he speaks. You see, this illustrator of terrific children's books like " Those Shoes " and " Not Norman: A Goldfish Story " was enjoying a relatively quiet life in Camden, Maine back in 2007. When - one...
  • Jim Hill

    Tube Thursday: Why "CSI" doesn't air on ABC

    • 2 Comments
    Given that CSI kicks off its 11 th season on CBS tonight and given that Michael Eisner's new book, "Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed," was released to stores earlier this month, it's almost inevitable that some entertainment reporter out there is going to connect the dots. Use tonight's premiere (which features an appearance by tween heartthrob Justin Bieber ) as an excuse to trot out that tired old saw. You know, how Eisner supposedly said "No" to...
  • Jim Hill

    Getting ready for this Sunday's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt

    • 6 Comments
    Take 2000 people (who are divided by 575 teams) and then set them loose at the Disneyland Resort for just over five hours ... and what do you have? And - no - the above is NOT one of the questions from D23 's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt (which will be held this coming Sunday morning in Disneyland Park , Disney California Adventure , the Disneyland Resort Hotels as well as in Downtown Disney ). When I spoke with Jeffrey Epstein -- Marketing Manager for the Official Disney Fan Club -- earlier this...
  • Jim Hill

    Disneyland Hotel redo will make this resort far easier to get around, not so easy to forget

    • 20 Comments
    This past Sunday, I spent an hour or two wandering around the Disneyland Hotel . Photo by Jim Hill Which was something of a challenge. Given all of the construction that's going on at that Resort right now. Photo by Jim Hill "So what's going on behind all of those construction fences?," you ask. Well, to be honest, there wasn't any construction going on this past weekend. Photo by Jim Hill But - looking down into that walled-off central courtyard area from the 11 th floor of...
  • Jim Hill

    Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom revealed what it was really like to work for Walt

    • 10 Comments
    You don't normally find alligators lurking inside of the Disneyland Hotel . Photo by Jim Hill Or - for that matter - PeopleMover cars parked just outside of this hotel's Grand Ballroom . Photo by Jim Hill But - then again - this past Saturday night wasn't exactly your average night at the Disneyland Hotel. Given that theme park fans from all over the country had crowded into the Grand Ballroom so that they could then be on hand for the 1313 Club & Ape Pen Publishing 's Marvelous...
  • Jim Hill

    There's a real art to keeping Pixar's traveling art exhibition fresh

    • 1 Comments
    Remysthe14me writes in to say: Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved I saw Jon Nadelberg 's story about the " Pixar: 25 Years of Animation " exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California and was wondering if this is the same exhibition of art that was presented at the MOMA in 2005? Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved Not really, no. I recently spoke with Elyse Klaidman , the Director of Pixar University & Archive about this traveling exhibition (which - since it ended...
  • Jim Hill

    Toon Thursday: Looking for some sheep thrills? Check out Playhouse Disney's "Timmy Time"

    • 2 Comments
    So a woman walks into an office. And this man hands her a sheep and says: "Do you think you can do something with that?" I know. The above sounds like the set-up for a pornographic joke. But this actually happened to Jackie Cockle , the producer of Bob the Builder , back in January of 2007. When she met with Miles Bullough , the head of broadcast / executive producer at Aardman Animations . Only the sheep that Miles handed Jackie wasn't a live one. It was a tiny teeny clay one named...
  • Jim Hill

    Garner Holt to talk about the future of AA figures at Saturday's Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom event

    • 4 Comments
    Before we get today's article started, a quick word of warning: Today is the very last day you can purchase tickets for Saturday's Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom event. And if you're a theme park history buff and you don't attend this multi-media extravaganza (which is being held at the Disneyland Hotel from 4 - 11 p.m.), you're really going to regret that decision. Why For? Because you're then going to miss out on hearing great stories from Disney Legends like Alice Davis...
  • Jim Hill

    "Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed" pays tribute to Disney Legend Frank Wells

    • 10 Comments
    You remember Michael Eisner , right? That infamous micro-manager who was in charge of The Walt Disney Company during an unprecedented period of growth. When - within one twenty year period -- the Mouse House moved from being this film & theme park company that was worth $1.8 billion to becoming a global media empire valued at $80 billion. Well, Eisner didn't do that all by himself. During his first 10 years at Disney, he had the help of Frank Wells . Who - as Michael recalls in his fascinating...
  • Jim Hill

    Carolwood Foundation's fundraiser will reunite 5 of the 6 cars that originally made up the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad

    • 1 Comments
    Yesterday's article about DCA 's entrance complex seems to have struck a nerve with JHM readers. Especially the part of that column which talked about the California Zephyr replica that sits in Sunshine Plaza. I can't tell you how many e-mails I got from rail fans who moaned about how their favorite part of this theme park was about to be hauled away. And - yes - it is sad when this Disney California Adventure train has to go to that big roundhouse in the sky. But what if I were to tell...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney California Adventure's original entrance complex gets ready to make its exit

    • 39 Comments
    I know that this is going to sound strange to all of you folks out there who absolutely hate Disney California Adventure , who have been happily sitting back and watching as this theme park undergoes its $1.4 billion makeover ... But it kind of makes me sad that they've begun dismantling Sunshine Plaza. That - starting later today -- those two huge, beautiful mosaics that flank that miniature version of the Golden Gate Bridge are getting pulled down. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For did Disney's "The Black Cauldron" fail to connect with audiences back in 1985?

    • 22 Comments
    LAlexanderFan5 writes in to ask: Disney is releasing a 25 th anniversary edition of " The Black Cauldron " later this month. Do you have any insights as to why this animated version of Lloyd Alexander's "The Chronicles of Prydain" failed at the box office? Films fail to connect with audiences for a variety of reasons, LAlexanderFan5. Sometimes it has to do with the way a particular motion picture is promoted (There are " Rocketeer " fans who - to this day - insist...
  • Jim Hill

    A.M.P.A.S. Voices of Character event showcased the talented performers behind your favorite cartoon characters

    • 3 Comments
    You've heard "How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria," right? The song that the nuns sing in "The Sound of the Music" when they're fretting about that novice's behavior? Well, have you ever wondered what that Rodgers & Hammerstein song might sound like if Roz from "Monsters, Inc." had sung it? Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved If so ... Then you should have been at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater back on August 19 th . When the Academy of Motion Picture...
  • Jim Hill

    King Richard's Faire features a Disney-esque take on the renaissance festival experience

    • 5 Comments
    You know, it's kind of ironic that - just as The Walt Disney Company was undergoing a creative renaissance in the early 1980s - the Mouse got very interested in the (relatively new at that time, anyway) renaissance faire & festival phenomenon. Don't believe me? Okay. Then let's talk about SAK Theatre Co. That audience-participation troupe that Craig McNair Wilson & C. Herbert Hanson created to perform at renaissance festivals. The head of Creative Entertainment saw members of...
  • Jim Hill

    "Toy Story 3" gets put on ice tomorrow at Lakeland Center

    • 2 Comments
    " Toy Story 3 ," you've just crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office . How are you going to celebrate? "I'm going to Disney On Ice ." Or - rather - Pixar's latest hit is about to become an ice show. Which will actually have its world premiere tomorrow afternoon at the Jenkins Arena in Lakeland Center . Then - after two days of performances (which will then followed by a few more days of rehearsal as "Disney On Ice presents Disney•Pixar's...
  • Jim Hill

    "Tale as Old as Time" may make you fall in love with Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" all over again

    • 3 Comments
    It is arguably the best-loved film of that trio of fairy tales that Walt Disney Animation Studios produced during its Second Golden Age. The first hand-drawn animated feature ever to be nominated for Best Picture, " Beauty and the Beast " has been discussed, dissected and written about so often over the past 19 years ... Well, one has to wonder if there are any stories that have yet to be told about this "Tale as old as Time." Well, noted animation historian & critic Charles...
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