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  • Blog Post: Remembering Jerry Juhl

    "Whatever you do, just make sure that it's silly." That's supposedly the one request that Susan Juhl is making of writers. All us poor slobs who are now struggling to find just the right words to properly sum up the life of her late husband, Jerry. So I'm going to try and not be mauldin here. Because...
  • Blog Post: How Rita rained on Kermit's parade

    Were you somewhat surprised at the rather low-key approach that the Muppet Holding Company took toward the launch of " Kermit's World Tour " yesterday? I mean, everyone's favorite frog made a brief appearance on " Good Morning, America ," followed by Reuters rolling out a smallish news story . Is this...
  • Blog Post: Exhibitors seem to think that "Chicken Little" could hit big

    For the last couple of days, I've gotten some stray e-mails from people who attended the Disney Studio Showcase. Which was a day-long event that was held at Hollywood's Kodak Theater last Thursday in an effort to get exhibitors excited about Disney's upcoming releases. Up until yesterday, most of the...
  • Blog Post: Disney gets ready to play "musical chairs" with some of its Broadway musicals

    Sometimes, you just have to admire the chutzpah of the folks running Disney Theatrical . I mean, here they are. Their next musical, " Tarzan ," doesn't even open at the Richard Rogers Theater 'til May 9th of next year. But these guys are already hard at work on the musical that they'll open after that...
  • Blog Post: Is "Haunted Mansion Holiday" going on holiday after 2006?

    "You gotta be kidding me." That was honestly my reaction, folks, when this e-mail first appeared in my in-box a few days ago: "Tell your readers to enjoy 'Haunted Mansion Holiday' while they can. There's a rumor flying around TDA that Tim Burton wants Disney to pull the plug on " The Nightmare Before...
  • Blog Post: "Corpse Bride" may be no "Nightmare," but it's still a fun film

    I'll start by answering the most obvious question: Is Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" as good as his previous stop motion opus, " The Nightmare Before Christmas "? Almost . Copyright Warner Brothers Pictures Don't get me wrong. Due to its amazing art direction as well as its state-of-the-art stop motion...
  • Blog Post: It's not easy being (ever) green

    This auditions announcement has almost become a Rorschach Test among Muppet enthusiasts. Copyright Muppet Holding Company LLC The fine print in this casting notice reads: Seeking experienced puppeteers with improvisitional and vocal skills. Relocation is not required, however you must be available to...
  • Blog Post: "In Your Face" honors the memory of Dan Lee

    If you're an animation fan who's heading to the Bay area sometime in the next few weeks, you really should plan on stopping by the Canvas Gallery . Where - now through September 25th - this restaurant / art gallery / performance space is presenting an exhibition of Dan Lee's work. Photo courtesy of Amber...
  • Blog Post: 10th anniversary "Toy Story" DVD offers sneak peek at "Cars"

    Look. I'll just say it straight out: If you're an animation fan, you've gotta go buy a copy of the 10th anniversary " Toy Story " DVD. "© Disney. All Rights Reserved." I know, I know. You probably already own a copy or two of this landmark Pixar Animation Studios film. Which is why you might (understandably...
  • Blog Post: When it comes to layoffs at WDI, the stealthy approach really pays off

    Listen. Do you hear that? The mounting public outrage about how Walt Disney Imagineering has -- over the past nine months -- systematically reduced its head count? Cutting veteran Imagineer after veteran Imagineer? While the VPs who actually masterminded this staff cut all remain safe & snug inside...
  • Blog Post: Remembering Fred Joerger (1913 - 2005)

    Fred Joerger was a rock. Mind you, I'm not just saying because Fred's specialization at WED was rockwork. But -- rather -- because the late Mr. Joerger really was one of the "rocks" upon which Walt Disney built his theme park organization. After all, Fred was one of the very first people that Walt hired...
  • Blog Post: Why For do those raccoons have such big ...

    First up, Michael F. writes in to ask: Jim -- Do you know if the Walt Disney Company ever has plans to release the Oswald the Lucky rabbit shorts on DVD? As a Disney history buff, I'd love to be able to take a look at Walt's pre-Mickey work. See of there are any hints of the greatness yet to come. Have...
  • Blog Post: Will bargains bring consumers back to the Disney Store?

    So what's the biggest change that The Children's Place retail chain has made so far at the Disney Stores? Well, they reworked the store's logo. With the hope that this might then help make the Disney Store seem a little bit hipper, a little more "part of the now." Photo by Jeff Lange And -- at least...
  • Blog Post: Disney takes a two tiered approach to the promotion of "Narnia"

    Normally at WDW's " Night of Joy " Christian music events, it's the performers who are on stage at WDW's who are doing all the promoting. Who spend their time between songs talking up their new CDs and/or upcoming tour schedules. However -- starting next month -- it'll be the Mouse who'll be doing the...
  • Blog Post: That little old lady bears an "Incredibles" resemblance to ...

    I'm told that the tradition goes all the way back to 1938. Where a quick sequence in "Ferdinand the Bull" (which showed the picadors parading into the arena) featured caricatures of several key Disney animators and directors. With Walt himself closing out this scene as the matador who struts proudly...
  • Blog Post: Why was the head of WDFA afraid to put "Fraidy Cat" into production?

    It was to have been Ron'n'John's first computer animated feature. A comedy thriller that affectionately paid tribute to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. And -- according to WDFA insiders -- the rough story reel version of this picture was playing as well as anything that Ron Clements & John Musker...
  • Blog Post: Why For returns!

    First up, Ari S. writes in to ask: Jim -- There's this weird old house on Walden Drive in Beverly Hills. You may have seen pictures of it in LA history books. It looks like something straight out of a Disney animated feature from the 1930s. That's actually why I'm writing today. A friend of mine swears...
  • Blog Post: Are you ready for this? "Disney Princess Cereal" !?

    I have to admit that I'm not all that enthusiastic when it comes to breakfast cereals these days. But maybe that's because I'm a guy in my mid-forties. Which means that -- if I've got a box of cereal in front of me on the breakfast table -- chances are that this food product will prominently feature...
  • Blog Post: Disney showcases upcoming animated films at SIGGRAPH 2005

    There is nothing Mickey Mouse about the Walt Disney Company's efforts at SIGGRAPH 2005 . Photo by Nancy Stadler As you tour the main exhibition hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center , there's no way you can miss Walt Disney Feature Animation's booth. Easily one of the more impressive exhibits on...
  • Blog Post: When it comes to Pixar, the Mouse is sending very mixed messages

    Greetings from the exhibition floor at SIGGRAPH 2005 . Where it's really hard to know what to think ... Particularly when it comes to the Walt Disney Company. What do I mean by that? Well, let's start by talking about that rather slick recruiting film that's running repeatedly at the WDFA booth (No....
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