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Be it candy canes, Hanukkah gelt or those visions of sugar plums that are supposed to dance in your head this time of year, the holidays have always been closely associated with sweet stuff.
Which is why I'd like to make JHM readers aware of a pretty sweet deal that's happening this Saturday night. Which is when Jymn Magon and an amazing array of animation industry vets will be coming together on the Web to celebrate the 25th anniversary of "Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears."
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And what can you expect to learn if you sit in on this online reunion? Some awfully great "Gummi Bears" -related stories.
Take - for example - the one that Magon just told me. When Jymn revealed that this fondly remembered show (which - FYI -- was the Walt Disney Company's first foray into creating an animated series for television) actually did owe its name to the kind of candy that Michael Eisner's son had become obsessed with while he was away at summer camp.
"This was back in September of 1984. Just a week after Michael Eisner had been hired to run the Walt Disney Company. And Michael had asked a bunch of us to come by his house on a Sunday morning so that we could then brainstorm some ideas for new film & TV projects," Magon recalled.
And as the eight of them sat there in Eisner's living room, Michael told the group about Gummi Bears. Which was this brand of candy that young Breck Eisner had recently discovered.
"And Michael then turned to me and says 'Do you think that you could build a TV show around that? Around Gummi Bears?,' " Jymn continued. "And even though I had never created an animated series before, I said ' Sure.' "
Mind you, I guess we should all be grateful that Magon didn't go forward with his initial idea for Disney's first-ever animated TV series. Which would have involved a character named Scummy Gummi. Who literally was this piece of candy that worked for the villainous Licorice Whip.
"Yeah, Art (Vitello, the series' director and producer) and I eventually ditched that idea and then hit upon building our show around a medieval setting. One where these bears hid in the forest and drank gummi berry juice," Magon said. "What with Duke Igthorn constantly pursuing these bears, this became an almost impossible concept to pitch. So thank goodness that Eisner was able to sell 'The Gummi Bears' to NBC just on the strength of the Disney name."
These are the sorts of stories that you can expect to hear this Saturday night from the guys & gals who helped found Walt Disney Television Animation. And just who will you see / hear from at this online reunion? Animation industry legends like June Foray as well as folks like "Gummi Bears" series writer Mark Zaslove; Michael & Patty Silversher, the composers of this much-beloved show's theme song; Gary Eggleston, the "Gummi Bears" original background designer as well as Katie Leigh, the voice of Sunni Gummi.
These talented individuals - plus many others - will be on hand online to share stories, photographs and drawings. To fondly look back on the time that they spent in Gummi Glen.
"I remember Art asking me 'Are we doing this right? Is this really what a Disney animated show for TV is supposed to be like?,' " Jymn laughed. "And my reply was 'We're the very first, Art. So what we do here will then establish what a Disney animated series for television will be like from here on.' "
And you wanna know the best part of this once-in-a-lifetime event? This webinar will be interactive. Which means that the participants will be able to send in questions that the show's creators can then answer.
"So what's the downside?," you ask. Well, only 50 lucky folks will be allowed to take part in this online "Gummi Bears" reunion (which will be held from 8 - 10 p.m. ET / 5 - 7 p.m. PT). And once all those spots are filled ... Those who are left on the outside looking in are sure to feel like ... Well, an awful lot like Gruffy Gummi.
So if you've got a Disney animation enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, then why not treat them to " ... high adventure that's beyond compare" by bouncing on by Jymn Magon's website and signing them up for Saturday night's "Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears" webinar?
If you're still looking for that perfect gift for Grandma, Aunt Pat or Uncle Earle pleaseclick on the banner below. If you do that ... well, JimHillMedia.com then gets a teeny,tiny chunk of whatever you spend at Amazon.comThanks and Happy Holidays!
I'll be there! I love Gummi Bears very much (though I still think the greatest one is TaleSpin) I really appreciate what Jymn is doing for us fans. Thank you for reporting the news!