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April, 2013

  • Jim Hill

    Knott's Berry Farm freshens its flume with a multi-million dollar redo of Timber Mountain Log Ride

    • 4 Comments
    It's one of the hard realities of the theme park business. You may have this absolutely killer concept for a new attraction in your head. But when you factor in the size of the budget that you've been handed coupled with the amount of time that you have left to actually construct this ride, sometimes only a fraction of the show that you had in your head makes it out into the real world. Bud Hurlbut (l) and Walter Knott look over the scale model of Calico Log Ride. Copyright Cedar Fair Parks...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Is Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Get A Horse!" something old, something new or something inbetween?

    • 9 Comments
    Toon fans and film historians just don't know what to make of Walt Disney Animation Studios ' " Get a Horse! " There's a real air of mystery surrounding this animated short. The fact that it's done in black-and-white, features rubber-hose, pie-eyed versions of classic Disney characters and has Walt himself providing Mickey's speaking voice suggests that this is something that Disney has dug out of its vault. And yet still others at the studio are suggesting that "Get...
  • Jim Hill

    Monstrous makeover: How Pixar artists made Mike & Sulley look more youthful in "Monsters University"

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    So how exactly do you make an eyeball look like it's 18 years old? Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved That was the challenge that Ricky Nierva faced on " Monsters University ." As the art director / production designer of Pixar's first-ever prequel, Nierva (working closely with this project's character art director Jason Deamer ) had to figure out how to properly reverse-age Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan. Turn these two " Monsters, Inc. " stars into...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Director Jeff Calhoun has nothing to "Hyde" when it comes to Disney's "Newsies"

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    You'd think -- what with getting the revival of "Jekyll & Hyde" ready for its 13 week-long, limited engagement at the Marquis Theatre -- that director Jeff Calhoun wouldn't have any time left for his other Broadway show, Disney's "Newsies ." But that's where you'd be wrong. Last month while he was out-of-town with this Frank Wildhorn musical in Chicago, Jeff used his one day off from "Hyde" to nip off to NYC's Nederlander Theatre to go check...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For does Disney think that "No Nudes is Good News"

    • 8 Comments
    Earlier this week, Paul T. sent me an e-mail with an image attached that -- I'm sure -- will titillate a certain segment of the Disney fan community. Jim, Check out what I found on an animation art auction cite!! It's a bare-ass Ariel!! Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Well, okay. This is how this particular cel from that 1989 Walt Disney Animation Studios production was inked & hand-painted back in the day. But please note that the paint never actually makes it...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How Sony Pictures Animation is reinventing the way that toons are made

    • 3 Comments
    As the staff cuts at DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney Studios prove, bigger is no longer thought of as better in Hollywood. The suits are now angling after a far more efficient business plan. Tinsel Town 2.0, if you will. A place where smaller teams follow shorter production schedules and work within tighter budgets yet still somehow manage to deliver top-quality motion pictures. You know. The way that Sony Pictures Animation has been doing business for the past 10 years. Copyright 2013 Sony...
  • Jim Hill

    Want to show that you actually care about what just happened in Boston? Make plans now to visit Beantown later this year

    • 4 Comments
    It's been 36 hours or so now since those bombings happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon . And a lot of us are feeling ... Well, kind of helpless. We wonder what we can do to show our support. Let the people of Boston know that we're solidly in their corner. That we genuinely care. Well, after the 9/11 attacks, then-president George W Bush famously went on television to tell Americans that the very best way " ... to restore public confidence" was for " ... the traveling...
  • Jim Hill

    "Disney U" features many informative & hilarious stories about how things really work behind-the-scenes at the Mouse House

    • 1 Comments
    Did you need a distraction from all of the sad news coming out of Boston tonight? I know that I do. Which is why -- rather than watch that footage of the explosion at the marathon's line yet again -- I picked up a copy of Doug Lipp 's terrific tome, " Disney U: How Disney University develops the World's most engaged, loyal, and customer-centric employees " ( McGraw-Hill , March 2013). Given that Lipp helped create the first international version of Disney University (which was...
  • Jim Hill

    Pixar Animation Studios shows its school spirit at "Monsters University" press day

    • 1 Comments
    So how was your Tuesday? Me? I wound up getting schooled on Pixar 's next full length animated feature, " Monsters University ." Photo by Jim Hill Early yesterday morning, I flew out to San Francisco to take part in a Press Day for this "Monsters, Inc." prequel. And I'll say this much: The folks in Disney & Pixar's marketing office really know how to theme a media event. As I (and 30 other lucky bloggers & journalists) got off the bus that took us over to the...
  • Jim Hill

    My Disney Experience delays are having a domino effect on several Magic Kingdom projects

    • 18 Comments
    "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." This oft-quoted line from Robert Burns ' 1785 poem applies to an awful lot of aspects of modern day life. But none more so than the work that's recently been done in & around WDW 's Magic Kingdom Park . Take -- for example -- that "Tangled" -themed rest area that recently came online in Fantasyland. Even before this elaborately themed set of bathrooms was officially opened to the public, some of the Mouse's...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering Jane Henson (1934 - 2013)

    • 1 Comments
    It has often been said that "... behind every great man, there's a great woman." Well, that certainly wasn't the case with Jane Henson . Take a look at these pictures from the early, early days of the Muppets . Back when these characters starred in their own late night television series, " Sam and Friends " on WRC-TV . Please note that Jane isn't standing behind Jim. But -- rather -- that this then-21 year-old was standing beside her future husband, puppeteering right...
  • Jim Hill

    No foolin'. Here's a story about that Star Wars-themed dual track coaster which Imagineers thought about building back in the 1980s

    • 9 Comments
    Given that April 1st is typically the day when a number of Disney news sites post these elaborate prank stories where they then try & convince a few poor April Fools that their obviously bogus article is legit, I thought that JHM should go the other way today. In that I'm going to post a story that may sound bogus but is -- believe it or not -- absolutely true. Better yet, given all the chatter that there's been out there on various discussion boards around the Web about that Star Wars...
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