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Southern California gears up for four full days of Disney-related fun

Jim Hill

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Southern California gears up for four full days of Disney-related fun

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You know, I kind of feel sorry for all of you Disneyana fans who live out in the Los Angeles area.

Why For? Because starting tomorrow ... There are so many Mouse-related events going on in & around Southern California that it will literally be impossible to attend them all.

Want proof? Okay then. Let's start with what's going on tomorrow night at 6 p.m. When - courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Museum of Modern Art - you can see six newly restored Laugh-O-grams.

These animated shorts will be screened at the Chinese Multiplex 4 on Hollywood Boulevard as part of this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. With noted Disney historian J.B. Kaufman serving as the moderator for this Laugh-O-grams screening and organist Ben Model providing live musical accompaniment, this is a can't-miss event for animation history buffs.

FYI: You're a member of D23 - the Official Disney Fan Club - be sure and show your membership card at the Chinese Multiplex box office. That way, you'll be able to get your tickets to this Laugh-O-grams screening for half price.

By the way, Thursday night's screening is just the start of D23's Disney-related programming at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. On Friday, film critic & author Leonard Maltin will be showing a sampling of the 75 Silly Symphonies that Walt Disney Studios produced between 1929 and 1939.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

The Silly Symphonies will be screened at 1 p.m. in Chinese Multiplex 1. And just like with that Laugh-O-gram screening, if you show your D23 membership card at the box office, you'll get your tickets for this TCM Classic Film Festival for half price.

Still haven't had enough animation history at this point? Okay then. It's time to climb in your car and drive out to Sherman Oaks. Where - starting at 6:30 p.m. - you can then attend the opening reception and viewing of The Profiles In History Animation Art Auction.

A collaboration between Profiles In History and Van Eaton Galleries, this animation art auction (which will be held live and on the internet on May 14th, 2011) is sure to be a stunner. There are pieces up for bid here that will make any toon fan's heart race. Not to mention one-of-a-kind theme park collectables like an Abraham Lincoln prototype bust for Disney's "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" attraction ...


Image courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries. All rights reserved

... as well as a detailed model of the complete layout of Disneyland's "Indiana Jones Adventure." WDI only made three of the models of the interior of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye show building. With the first two being given to "Indiana Jones" creators George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, while the third was made for the artist's own personal collection. And now it can be yours ... If you can come up with the $10,000 - $15,000 that it's estimated this piece will go for.

You can view this amazing model - along with hundreds of spectacular pieces of animation art - by attending Friday's opening reception and viewing. Which is supposed to run from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

And if you can't actually make it to the opening reception ... Not to worry. All of these pieces will be on display at Van Eaton Galleries (which is located at 13613 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, CA) right up until auction day. And if you can't make it to the gallery in person, you can always check out the items that are up for bid by grabbing a free download of the Profiles In History Animation Art Auction  catalog off of the Van Eaton Galleries website.


Detailed model of the interior of the "Indiana Jones Adventure" show building
Image courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries. All rights reserved

"And why would anyone miss out on viewing such a spectacular collection of animation art?," you ask. Well, maybe because they're more of a comic book / pop culture fan. If that's the case ... Well, they're probably going to be spending much of Friday, Saturday and Sunday prowling around the Anaheim Convention Center. Which is where Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con will be presented April 29th (from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.), April 30th (from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and May 1st.  (10 a.m to 5 p.m.)

"And why would a Disney fan want to go to this year's Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con?," you query.  I can think of a dozen reasons. Attending this year's event will be :


Copyright 1985 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved

Plus - for those of you who love film car-related photo ops, Herbie the Love Bug and the Delorean from the "Back to the Future" trilogy.

I included the Delorean in my Anaheim Comic Con dozen because ... Well, in order to attend all of the other Disney-themed events that are going to be presented this coming weekend, you'll not only going to need a fast car, you'll also have to have the ability to time travel.

Why For? Well, let's start by talking about what's going on back at the TCM Classic Film Festival on Saturday morning. At 9 a.m. in Chinese Multiplex 1, D23 will be screening Walt Disney Studios' 1963 release, "Summer Magic."


Copyright 1961 Walt Disney Productions. All rights reserved

Now what's going to make this particular screening of this rarely-seen live-action musical a must-see for Disneyana fans is that the star of "Summer Magic" - Disney Legend Hayley Mills  - will actually be in attendance.

Ms. Mills will also be on hand for the D23 screening that will be in the Egyptian Theatre starting at 12 noon on Saturday, April 30th. Which will be Walt Disney Productions' 1961 release, "The Parent Trap."

Now keep in mind that - just like with the Laugh-O-grams & Silly Symphonies screenings - if you present your D23 membership card at the theatre box office, you'll then get half-priced tickets to this TCM Classic Film Festival presentation.


Copyright 2011 Newport Beach Film Festival. All rights reserved

Now please keep in mind that the TCM Classic Film Festival isn't the only movie-based event going on in Southern California this coming weekend. The Newport Beach Film Festival actually gets underway tomorrow. And on Sunday, May 1st - for the fourth year in a row -- Academy Award-nominated film producer Don Hahn and director/producer David Bossert will be presenting their Disney Rarities screening.

When I spoke with Dave yesterday via phone, Bossert was in his office at Disney Studios organizing his notes for this year's presentation.

"This year, the stuff that we'll be screening will be loosely themed around agriculture, industry and charity. We'll be showing some of the films that Walt Disney Studios produced for the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. Rarely-seen animated shorts like 1943's 'The Grain That Built a Hemisphere' and 1945' 'Planning for Good Eating,' " Dave said. "We'll also be showing most of an educational film that Walt Disney Productions produced in 1965, 'Steel and America - A New Look.' "


Copyright 1943 Walt Disney Productions. All rights reserved

Which - I know - sounds kind of dry. But if you've ever been one of Dave & Don's presentation ... You know that these two are capable of uncovering kitsch in even the most high-minded, well-intentioned Disney animated production.

 "What I love about looking closely at movies like these is that - if you're really paying attention - you can catching the Studio re-using animation from films like 'Bambi' and shorts like 'Farmyard Symphony,' " Bossert explained. "Or you can see how clever a filmmaker Walt Disney actually was. Take - for example - that patriot off-screen narrator that the Studio used for all of these South America movies. Which made these movies that much easier to dub in other languages."

This year's Disney Rarities screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival will feature everything that I've mentioned above. Plus a few surprise reels that Bossert & Hahn have up their sleeves. Which is why this 90-minute-long presentation will be well worth catching. Particularly given if you're a D23 member. Because if you present your membership card at the Lido Theatre's box office ... You'll get $5 off of this screening's $15 ticket price.


Does this deer from "The Grain That Built a Hemisphere" look familiar? He should.
Copyright 1943 Walt Disney Productions. All rights reserved

Of course, if you opt to catch this 7:30 p.m. presentation of Disney Rarities at the Newport Beach Film Festival ... Well, that means that you'll then be missing out on the grand finale of D23's celebration of Disney's Musical Legacy at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival.

"And what is that?," you ask. A screening of Walt Disney's 1940 animated masterwork, "Fantasia." Which will then be projected digitally in Hollywood's most famous movie palace, Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

This screening of "Fantasia" gets underway at 7:15 p.m. Sunday night. And just like with all of the other D23 presentation at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival, if you present your membership card at the Chinese Theatre box office, you'll get your tickets for half price.


Copyright 1940 Walt Disney Productions. All rights reserved

So there you have it. Four days that are just jam-packed with Disney-related event. And it all begins with Thursday evening's Laugh-O-Gram presentation (which - FYI - will be repeated at 5:45 p.m. on Sunday afternoon in Chinese Multiplex 4).

So - as I said at the start of today's article - you Southern California-based Disneyana fans have some tough choices to make. But wherever you go this weekend ... If you're looking to save a few bucks, you should probably bring along your D23 membership card.

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