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  • Blog Post: Mickey's cost containment moves are starting to make WDI & DisneyToon staffers very, very nervous

    My, how times have changed at the Walt Disney Company. Particularly when it comes to Walt Disney Imagineering and DisneyToon Studios. By that I mean ... Just seven years, senior Imagineers wouldn't be caught dead working on something as insignificant as a mere attraction redo like " Journey into Your...
  • Blog Post: Wright was the right guy to write the Magic Kingdom Field Guide

    To hear Alex Wright tell the tale, his interest in the Disney theme parks actually started 'way back in 1975. When he tagged on a trip that his aunt & uncle were taking to WDW's Magic Kingdom . "What I remember from that trip was how fascinated I was by the rides at the park," Wright explained. ...
  • Blog Post: Muppet stamps take Manhattan

    It almost seemed like a Henson Associates reunion yesterday at NYC's Museum of Television & Radio . As members of Jim Henson's family as well as longtime HA employees gathered in the Mark Goodson Theater to dedicate that souvenir sheet of Muppet stamps that the U.S. Postal System recently issued...
  • Blog Post: Iger removes head of Muppet Holding Company

    This past Tuesday was supposed to have been a day of celebration at the Muppet Holding Company. The day when Kermit the Frog would be appearing on "Good Morning America" and reveal that the Walt Disney Company would be holding a 15-month-long celebration in honor of that character's 50th year in show...
  • 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...
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