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January, 2014

  • Jim Hill

    How Vermont's brutally cold winters had a hand in Disney's "The Jungle Book"

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    Since Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be released the Diamond Edition of " The Jungle Book " next month (on February 11th, to be exact), I thought it might be fun to talk about the Rudyard Kipling book that this 1967 Walt Disney Production was based on. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Now given that Kipling was born in India back in December of 1865 and then spent for the first six years of this life in that country (Not to mention that -- even before...
  • Jim Hill

    Harry Potter stars & fans journey to Universal Orlando for a celebration of the boy wizard

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    At this point, people who come to the Universal Orlando Resort kind of expect to encounter some Harry Potter-related lines. Yesterday afternoon, the line to get into the Harry Potter Expo actually started down by Universal Studios' Classic Monsters Cafe ... But yesterday, the Guests weren't lining up for " Forbidden Journey ." But -- rather -- a whole different kind of theme park magic. ... and then curved past USF's New York Public Library facade. Photo by Nancy Stadler No...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley nears completion at the Universal Orlando Resort

    • 2 Comments
    There's not a stitch of clothes for sale at Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Not yet anyway. And the shelves at Borgin and Burkes are still bare as well. But none of that matters. Even though The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley is still basically a construction site, there's really only one word that describes this soon-to-open addition to the Universal Orlando Resort. And that word is magical. Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved Though visitors to Universal...
  • Jim Hill

    Never mind about Meryl & Emma. What about Julie & Audrey's epic battle for Best Actress back in 1965?

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    Okay. I know. You're feeling kind of blue because members of the Academy didn't show " Saving Mr. Banks " all that much love last week. There's also a number of you out there who are really, really angry at Meryl Streep right now. Mostly because you believe that her ill-considered remarks at the National Board of Review awards gala is what wound up costing Emma Thompson a Best Actress nomination. Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson at the 2014 Board of National Review Awards Gala...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Disney "Frozen" directors credit their crew with this film's Best Animated Feature nomination

    • 2 Comments
    So was it glamorous & exciting for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee earlier today when they learned that " Frozen " -- the Walt Disney Pictures release that they had co-directed -- had been nominated for Best Animated Feature ? Not exactly. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "You have to understand that the Academy makes these announcements at around 5:30 a.m. West Coast Time. And the last time I was nominated, for " Surf's Up ," I didn't set my...
  • Jim Hill

    "Roadblock!" reveals how Disney's "The Happiest Millionaire" wound up being such a cinematic misfire

    • 4 Comments
    What with " Saving Mr. Banks " being out in theaters right now, there's been a lot of talk lately about " Mary Poppins ." How this Academy Award-winning film was perhaps Walt Disney's crowning cinematic achievement. But me? I can't help but look at the two Disney-produced movie musicals on either side of "Mary Poppins." To be specific, 1961's " Babes in Toyland " and 1967's " The Happiest Millionaire ." Which are ... um ... Here...
  • Jim Hill

    Was Walt Disney an anti-Semite? Not according to The Wizard of Oz

    • 8 Comments
    Sorry I've been away for a couple of days. So what did I miss? Ah, yeah. Meryl Streep 's speech at the National Board of Review awards. Where -- before she handed Emma Thompson the best actress award for her stellar performance in " Saving Mr. Banks " -- Streep first went out of her way to attack the late Walt Disney. Calling him racist, sexist and anti-Semitic . Look, Floyd Norman has already effectively addressed the racism issue . And Amid Amidi did a great job of debunking Meryl's...
  • Jim Hill

    Adam Sanderson is named as the new head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club

    • 3 Comments
    Ever since Steven Clark -- the head of D23 -- stepped down in late September, people have been wondering what this means for the future of the Official Disney Fan Club. Even though Bob Iger had already announced that The Walt Disney Company would be staging another D23 EXPO in Anaheim in 2015 , there were those within the Disneyana fan community who were concerned about the Club's future. The Ben Franklin & Mark Twain audio animatronic figures from the finale of Epcot's "American...
  • Jim Hill

    Why didn't Disney & Marvel officials come to Spider-Man's rescue during "Turn Off the Dark" 's Broadway debacle?

    • 1 Comments
    Over the past few days, you've probably seen a story or two about " Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ." You know, that problem-plagued Broadway musical which just closed at the Foxwoods Theatre this past Saturday night . Given that Marvel Entertainment, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company , there were always those within the theater community who wondered why -- when "Turn Off the Dark" was genuinely floundering during this show's seemingly endless...
  • Jim Hill

    "Saving Mr. Banks" production team works with Disney Archives to accurately recreate Walt's World circa 1962

    • 4 Comments
    So just how far did the " Saving Mr. Banks " production team go when it came to replicating the look & the feel of a early 1960s version of Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park ? Pretty darned far. Or so says Becky Cline , the Director of the Walt Disney Archives . "When the Studio brought Kelly Marcel 's script for 'Saving Mr. Banks' in February of 2012 , it was all over the news out here. And as soon as Disney officially acquired the project, the filmmakers then...
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