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A Talk with a Disney Legend: Joyce Carlson — Part II

In today’s installment of this three part Jim Korkis interview, Joyce about what it was like to work on the “Small World” project for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

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In Monday’s installment, we began our conversation with Joyce Carlson who started as a traffic girl at the Disney Studio in 1944 and then went into the Ink and Paint Department before becoming an Imagineer. Joyce was officially named a Disney Legend by the Walt Disney Company in 2000 but for those of us who know her, she has always been a legend. Age and company politics have not dimmed her feisty spirit nor her generosity with her co-workers. Here is the second part of a glimpse into what life was like at the Disney Studios during the time that Walt walked the halls.

Jim: I also understand in those days, the color keys were also done on ditto?

Joyce: In color models, they got the drawings of the characters(s) in the feature and they would put color to the pencil lines and then they’d write down the color of the areas on the cels.

Jim: So instead of painting the cels, they sometimes use ditto in the color ditto and the color pencil for that. Now, you started in 1944, which was toward the end of the war…did you have any security clearance problems that you went through?

Joyce: Oh yes, we all had to wear our badges to get into the studio and there was alot of security and then they took our badges away after a while so we could just drive in, didn’t have to go through security. But, uh, that was during the war, yes.

Jim: You stayed in ink and paint for about 16 years, you say?

Joyce: Pushed a pen around for 16 years, no wonder I can’t see today (laughs).

Jim: What did a typical day look like for an inker?

Joyce: Well, we had a commissary and that was it for an eating place. It was very nice. And we’d come in and go up the corridor. We all had our own desks. There were about two desks next to you and there were about 20 girls. Sometimes it’d get real cold in there, y’know, and you can’t move your hands, so we couldn’t ink. So, we’d call the air conditioning man and he’d come up and get it nice and warm. We were happy at the end. The temperature was pretty good there, in the middle it was pretty good, but up front it was too hot. So everybody complained, you know how girls are (laughs). But we’d sit down and we’d have our five field cel, 6 1/2 field cel and three pan cels , we’d have to roll them up and put them on our boards.

Jim: For those who are unfamiliar with term, field is basically the area that that camera can “see”.

Joyce: We had our work or we’d call into the supervisor if we were running out of work. My supervisor nicknamed me “Hot Shot.”

Jim: Why’d you get nicknamed “Hot Shot?”

Joyce: I had red hair and freckles, y’know (laughs). I looked like that cartoon strip, y’know, the pilots, I can’t think of the name of the comic (TERRY AND THE PIRATES), but I looked like him, so she started calling me “Hot Shot.” That name stuck with me for quite a while, I even had a sign: “Hot Shot.”But, uh, we’d call in for work and get maybe six drawings, depending what character you were on, and we’d have to order from the paint lab, paint and we had a ‘dummy’ in the hall, the paint lab was right down below, and they would put the paints on it and send them up and then the color models would get their paints and we would get ours, black ink and certain colors that we needed for the cels that we were doing. We’d have to fill out a form and get our paints that way.

Jim: Did Walt ever visit you girls in the inking department?

Joyce: Oh, he used to come over. He used to walk through or bring guests through to see what we were working on. But otherwise, that was it.

Jim: Did he ever bring anything like compacts or nylons?

Joyce: Christmas time, he’d bring compacts, powder, nylons and he’d go around to all the girls and you could pick what you wanted. Merry Christmas (laughs).

Jim: How would you describe the ‘Walt Disney’ you knew?

Joyce: Well, Walt was, special. You saw him coming and he was someone you could look up to and you wanted to please, do a good job for him, help fulfill his dreams. It was exciting, you’d get on the elevator with Walt and he’d talk to everybody. It was wonderful, you’d just admire him so….we miss Walt, I miss Walt.

One time, it was ’54, I got a new car and a girl in Ink and Paint gave me a box of candy and a little metal car, you pull the handle and it scooted across the floor. So, I was walking out to my car and here comes Walt, he was going over to camera, and he passed me. Then, all of a sudden he stopped and he came back and he said “What do you have there?” and I said “Oh, Walt, I got a new car, so someone got me some candy and this little toy” So he picked it up and looked at it and he said “Oh, that’s nice” He never missed a trick.

But, uh, that little car has fond memories because he admired something and when you’re doing the shows, he’d always be there. When we’d do our reviews for our scenes that were inked and painted that day, he’d be up there in our box. We’d always have to fill out a paper, what we thought of the color or if it wasn’t inked too well. But he’d read them, he was always out in the hall. He’d read them later, but he was always collecting them, he wanted to know what we thought.

But, now when I see all our tapes on t.v., like Lady and the Tramp, and all this, inked and all those features, beautiful, the inking was beautiful. Of course Xerox now, is quick, but it’s nice.

Jim: How many cels in a day would you get through as an inker?

Joyce: It depends, if you were doing mud or water, you could whip those up first. There’s an average system too, you’re either on the top, or on the bottom. But now, if I had mud or water, I could be up on the top of the average. But, if I had someone like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, I’d get about 6 drawings of that character. That took a while, because sometimes, the characters had 12 colors and that took over an hour just to do one cel.

Jim: Did you have any particular deadline or quota where you had to put a certain amount of cels per week?

Joyce: Oh yeah, but it was usually close to the bottom. My supervisor would always say “Don’t worry about it, just do your inking” so that worked out okay.

Jim: Now, did you go to Disneyland when it opened in 55?

Joyce: Oh yeah, I still have my ticket, opening day ticket (laughs).

Jim: What was opening day like?

Joyce: Yeah, we were all invited, there were so many people that weren’t invited. Oh, it was terrible. It was a hot day. Walt was real thrilled, y’know, he had Art Linkletter and Bob Cummings and he was so excited about the show. But it was dusty and there was still alot of dirt around.
The only thing I rode was the carousel. That was the only thing I was able to get on, and I had a coke, that was my day. Oh, it was fun, we had a good time that day.

Jim: Have you ever seen anything like that? I know that there’s Long Beach Pike and everything out there.

Joyce: No, it wasn’t anything like that. I know that Walt used to go on the corner of Fairfax and Beverly and they had a Ferris wheel and he’d take his girls there, Diane and Sharon, on Sundays. So they could ride some of those, but that’s all we had. By Vons market, they’d had some ponies, I used to take my nieces there. That’s all they had, little ponies to ride, or a train that went around. So I guess that’s when he dreamed up Disneyland. He’s saying “The girls are having fun and I’m not” and he’s sitting there watching, dreaming up Disneyland.

Jim: Obviously, you’ve been back to Disneyland, so you’ve had a chance to ride more than the carousel?

Joyce: Oh yes, I had to go back and ride It’s a Small World.

Jim: Was that one of your favorites?

Joyce: Oh yes, I worked with Mary Blair on that show and Rolly Crump and Marc Davis and all of them.

Jim: In ’61 when they went into xerography and they fired the entire ink department, what did you do?

Joyce: Well, they showed me the door. All us inkers left, of course. But, one thing about inking is you can always get a job on the outside in the ink and paint services. I used to do that for a little extra money overtime and working Saturdays and Sundays with ink and paint services because they’d all call the Disney ink and paint girls and try to get them to hire us. Some of us got into model making for the Studio. We were doing the little furniture for the set piece, little ladders and refrigerators, all old fashioned. So *** Irvine came around and decided to keep us girls because they were going to start the Worlds Fair projects. We didn’t have all the necessities to work with, y’know. So on the shows (CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS, IT’S A SMALL WORLD), Leota Tomb’s father gave her some chewing gum, wires and earrings. We’d use everything off those earrings, the little jewels, the back piece for the little hinges and all for the model. That was fun.

When we finished, Walt used to bring guests to show them the projects and he’d say “Do you believe that this whole set was built on earrings?” and everybody would go “Earrings?!”

So we did a lot of things. Alot of secretaries would bring their jewelry in so we could use the beads and stuff for other projects. But oh, it was fun, those earrings really came in handy.

Jim: After working with inking, was it a shock working three-dimensional? Or because you had some sculpting background, did this all seem natural to you?

Joyce: Wood carving, that was back in my high school days. Santa Monica High, with a pen knife, I used to just do carvings, y’know. I didn’t have all the tools or anything like that. I used to go to Beverly Hills, in the back alleys, and pass the stationary stores and they had boxes and all these interesting things they’d throw away. So, I’d pick it all up, take it home and work with it. It was handy.

Jim: WED was off property, due to security reasons, right?

Joyce: Off over by the San Bernadino Road, yeah. It was a little place and they had a carpenter’s shop in the back, but we didn’t have too much room in there. That’s where we did all the toys for Small World, for the New York World’s Fair. That was fun. Walt used to come in with Rolly Crump early in the morning and we’d have the coffee truck back there and he’d have a cup of coffee. Come sit with Rolly and talk about the toys, Rolly toy shop. Then all the big boys would come in and snatch him away. (laughs). But he’d come in all the time and talk to everybody, even Christmas time he would show up. They would say “I think Walt’s coming to the party” and they’d say “no, he isn’t going to come”, but he did. He’d always show up!

He’d talk to the traffic boys and tell which project, like the Haunted Mansion, was coming up and they’d stand there listening to Walt and he used to be so excited telling them about all the new projects. He was wonderful and the boys were just so thrilled.

Jim: Did Roy come by too sometimes?

Joyce: I’ve never seen Roy, he could have been there too.

Jim: What about the time you were working on the zebra?

Joyce: That was for the Jungle Cruise. I never painted a zebra in my life, full scale y’know. I thought all the stripes were the same, but they’re not. There’s about four different species of zebras. So I picked up all these books from the library and I said to Marc Davis, “Which zebra do you want?” and he said “that one” so I mixed the colors and pained that zebra.

I was just finishing it up and putting the eyelashes down and putting the mane in and the tail. We had this horse hair and a needle you stick into the skin and Walt came by and looked at the zebra and says “Oh, that’s a nice animal” and I said “Oh, thank you Walt” and then Roy came by and Roy was bald and said “Joyce, could you put a little hair in my head like the zebra and the tail?” and I said “Sure, but it’ll smart a little” So he walked away and later on he came by and says “I changed my mind. If it smarts, I don’t want it. I’ll just stay the way I am” (laughs). He was fun, Roy was very nice.

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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General

Seward Johnson bronzes add a surreal, artistic touch to NYC’s Garment District

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Greetings from NYC. Nancy and I drove down from New
Hampshire yesterday because we'll be checking out
Disney Consumer Products' annual Holiday Showcase later today.

Anyway … After checking into our hotel (i.e., The Paul.
Which is located down in NYC's NoMad district), we decided to grab some dinner.
Which is how we wound up at the Melt Shop.


Photo by Jim Hill

Which is this restaurant that only sells grilled cheese sandwiches.
This comfort food was delicious, but kind of on the heavy side.


Photo by Jim Hill

Which is why — given that it was a beautiful summer night
— we'd then try and walk off our meals. We started our stroll down by the Empire
State Building


Photo by Jim Hill

… and eventually wound up just below Times
Square
(right behind where the Waterford Crystal Times Square New
Year's Eve Ball
is kept).


Photo by Jim Hill

But you know what we discovered en route? Right in the heart
of Manhattan's Garment District
along Broadway between 36th and 41st? This incredibly cool series of life-like
and life-sized sculptures that Seward
Johnson has created
.


Photo by Jim Hill

And — yes — that is Abraham Lincoln (who seems to have
slipped out of WDW's Hall of Presidents when no one was looking and is now
leading tourists around Times Square). These 18 painted
bronze pieces (which were just installed late this past Sunday night / early
Monday morning) range from the surreal to the all-too-real.


Photo by Jim Hill

Some of these pieces look like typical New Yorkers. Like the
business woman planning out her day …


Photo by Jim Hill

… the postman delivering the mail …


Photo by Jim Hill

… the hot dog vendor working at his cart …


Photo by Jim Hill


Photo by Jim Hill

… the street musician playing for tourists …


Photo by Jim Hill

Not to mention the tourists themselves.


Photo by Jim Hill

But right alongside the bronze businessmen …


Photo by Jim Hill

… and the tired grandmother hauling her groceries home …


Photo by Jim Hill

… there were also statues representing people who were
from out-of-town …


Photo by Jim Hill

… or — for that matter — out-of-time.


Photo by Jim Hill

These were the Seward Johnson pieces that genuinely beguiled. Famous impressionist paintings brought to life in three dimensions.


Note the out-of-period water bottle that some tourist left
behind. Photo by Jim Hill 

Some of them so lifelike that you actually had to pause for
a moment (especially as day gave way to night in the city) and say to yourself
"Is that one of the bronzes? Or just someone pretending to be one of these
bronzes?"

Mind you, for those of you who aren't big fans of the
impressionists …


Photo by Jim Hill

… there's also an array of American icons. Among them
Marilyn Monroe …


Photo by Jim Hill

… and that farmer couple from Grant Wood's "American
Gothic."


Photo by Jim Hill

But for those of you who know your NYC history, it's hard to
beat that piece which recreates Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photograph of V-J Day in Times Square.


Photo by Jim Hill

By the way, a 25-foot-tall version of this particular Seward
Johnson piece ( which — FYI — is entitled "Embracing Peace") will actually
be placed in Times Square for a few days on or around  August 14th to commemorate the 70th
anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day (V-J Day).


Photo by Jim Hill

By the way, if you'd like to check these Seward Johnson bronzes in
person (which — it should be noted — are part of the part of the Garment
District Alliance
's new public art offering) — you'd best schedule a trip to
the City sometime over the next three months. For these pieces will only be on
display now through September 15th. 

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Wondering what you should “Boldly Go” see at the movies next year? The 2015 Licensing Expo offers you some clues

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Greeting from the 2015 Licensing Expo, which is being held
at the Mandalay Bay
Convention Center
in Las
Vegas.


Photo by Jim Hill

I have to admit that I enjoy covering the Licensing Expo.
Mostly becomes it allows bloggers & entertainment writers like myself to
get a peek over the horizon. Scope out some of the major motion pictures &
TV shows that today's vertically integrated entertainment conglomerates
(Remember when these companies used to be called movie studios?) will be
sending our way over the next two years or so.


Photo by Jim Hill

Take — for example — all of "The Secret Life of
Pets
" banners that greeted Expo attendees as they made their way to the
show floor today. I actually got to see some footage from this new Illumination
Entertainment
production (which will hit theaters on July 8, 2016) the last time I was in Vegas. Which
was for CinemaCon back in April. And the five or so minutes of film that I viewed
suggested that "The Secret Life of Pets" will be a really funny
animated feature.


Photo by Jim Hill

Mind you, Universal Pictures wanted to make sure that Expo
attendees remembered that there was another Illumination Entertainment production
coming-to-a-theater-near-them before "The Secret Life of Pets" (And
that's "Minions," the "Despicable Me" prequel. Which
premieres at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival next week but
won't be screened stateside 'til July 10th of this year). Which is why they had
three minions who were made entirely out of LEGOS loitering out in the lobby.


Photo by Jim Hill

And Warner Bros. — because they wanted "Batman v
Superman: Dawn of Justice
" to start trending on Twitter today — brought
the Batmobile to Las Vegas.


Photo by Jim Hill

Not to mention full-sized macquettes of Batman, Superman and
Wonder Woman. Just so conventioneers could then see what these DC superheroes
would actually look like in this eagerly anticipated, March 25, 2016 release.


Photo by Jim Hill

That's the thing that can sometimes be a wee bit frustrating
about the Licensing Expo. It's all about delayed gratification. You'll come
around a corner and see this 100 foot-long ad for "The Peanuts Movie"
and think "Hey, that looks great. I want to see that Blue Sky Studios production
right now." It's only then that you notice the fine print and realize that
"The Peanuts Movie" doesn't actually open in theaters 'til November
6th of this year.


Photo by Jim Hill

And fan of Blue Sky's "Ice Age" film franchise are in for an even
longer wait. Given that the latest installment in that top grossing series
doesn't arrive in theaters 'til July
15, 2016.


Photo by Jim Hill

Of course, if you're one of those people who needs immediate
gratification when it comes to your entertainment, there was stuff like that to
be found at this year's Licensing Expo. Take — for example — how the WWE
booth was actually shaped like a wrestling ring. Which — I'm guessing — meant
that if the executives of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. didn't like
the offer that you were making, they were then allowed to toss you out over the
top rope, Royal Rumble-style.


Photo by Jim Hill

I also have to admit that — as a longtime Star Trek fan —
it was cool to see the enormous Starship Enterprise that hung in place over the
CBS booth. Not to mention getting a glimpse of the official Star Trek 50th
Anniversary logo.


Photo by Jim Hill

I was also pleased to see lots of activity in The Jim Henson
Company booth. Which suggests that JHC has actually finally carved out a
post-Muppets identity for itself.


Photo by Jim Hill

Likewise for all of us who were getting a little concerned
about DreamWorks Animation (what with all the layoffs & write-downs &
projects that were put into turnaround or outright cancelled last year), it was
nice to see that booth bustling.


Photo by Jim Hill

Every so often, you'd come across some people who were
promoting a movie that you weren't entirely sure that you actually wanted to
see (EX: "Angry Birds," which Sony Pictures Entertainment / Columbia
Pictures
will be releasing to theaters on May 20, 2016). But then you remembered that Clay Kaytis
who's this hugely talented former Walt Disney Animation Studios animator — is
riding herd on "Angry Birds" with Fergal Reilly. And you'd think
"Well, if Clay's working on 'Angry Birds,' I'm sure this animated feature
will turn out fine."


Photo by Jim Hill

Mind you, there were reminders at this year's Licensing Expo
of great animated features that we're never going to get to see now. I still
can't believe — especially after that brilliant proof-of-concept footage
popped up online last year — that Sony execs decided not to go forward
with  production
of Genndy Tartakovsky's
"Popeye" movie.  But that's the
cruel thing about the entertainment business, folks. It will sometime break
your heart.


Photo by Jim Hill

And make no mistake about this. The Licensing Expo is all
about business. That point was clearly driven home at this year's show when —
as you walked through the doors of the Mandalay
Bay Convention Center
— the first thing that you saw was the Hasbros Booth. Which was this gleaming,
sleek two story-tall affair full of people who were negotiating deals &
signing contracts for all of the would-be summer blockbusters that have already
announced release dates for 2019 & beyond.


Photo by Jim Hill

"But what about The Walt Disney Company?," you
ask. "Weren't they represented on the show floor at this year's Licensing
Expo?" Not really, not. I mean, sure. There were a few companies there hyping
Disney-related products. Take — for example — the Disney Wikkeez people.


Photo by Jim Hill

I'm assuming that some Disney Consumer Products exec is
hoping that Wikkeez will eventually become the new Tsum Tsum. But to be blunt,
these little hard plastic figures don't seem to have the same huggable charm
that those stackable plush do. But I've been wrong before. So let's see what
happens with Disney Wikkeez once they start showing up on the shelves of the
Company's North American retail partners.


Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of Disney's retail partners … They were
meeting with Mouse House executives behind closed doors one floor down from the
official show floor for this year's Licensing Expo.


Photo by Jim Hill

And the theme for this year's invitation-only Disney shindig? "Timeless
Stories" involving the Disney, Pixar, Marvel & Lucasfilm brands that
would then appeal to "tomorrow's consumer."


Photo by Jim Hill

And just to sort of hammer home the idea that Disney is no
longer the Company which cornered the market when it comes to little girls
(i.e., its Disney Princess and Disney Fairies franchises), check out this
wall-sized Star Wars-related image that DCP put up just outside of one of its
many private meeting rooms. "See?," this carefully crafted photo
screams. "It isn't just little boys who want to wield the Force. Little
girls also want to grow up and be Lords of the Sith."


Photo by Jim Hill

One final, kind-of-ironic note: According to this banner,
Paramount Pictures will be releasing a movie called "Amusement Park"
to theaters sometime in 2017.  


Photo by Jim Hill

Well, given all the "Blackfish" -related issues
that have been dogged SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment over the past two years, I'm
just hoping that they'll still be in the amusement park business come 2017.

Your thoughts?

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It takes more than three circles to craft a Classic version of Mickey Mouse

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You know what Mickey Mouse looks like, right? Little guy,
big ears?

Truth be told, Disney's corporate symbol has a lot of
different looks. If Mickey's interacting with Guests at Disneyland
Park
(especially this summer, when
the Happiest Place on Earth
is celebrating its 60th anniversary), he looks & dresses like this.


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc.
All rights reserved

Or when he's appearing in one of those Emmy Award-winning shorts that Disney
Television Animation has produced (EX: "Bronco Busted," which debuts
on the Disney Channel tonight at 8 p.m. ET / PT), Mickey is drawn in a such a
way that he looks hip, cool, edgy & retro all at the same time.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights
reserved

Looking ahead to 2017 now, when Disney Junior rolls out "Mickey and the
Roadster Racers
," this brand-new animated series will feature a sportier version
of Disney's corporate symbol. One that Mouse House managers hope will persuade
preschool boys to more fully embrace this now 86 year-old character.


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All rights reserved

That's what most people don't realize about the Mouse. The
Walt Disney Company deliberately tailors Mickey's look, even his style of
movement, depending on what sort of project / production he's appearing in.

Take — for example — Disney
California Adventure
Park
's "World of Color:
Celebrate!
" Because Disney's main mouse would be co-hosting this new
nighttime lagoon show with ace emcee Neil Patrick Harris, Eric Goldberg really had
to step up Mickey's game. Which is why this master Disney animator created
several minutes of all-new Mouse animation which then showed that Mickey was
just as skilled a showman as Neil was.


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc.
All rights reserved

Better yet, let's take a look at what the folks at Avalanche Studios just went
through as they attempted to create a Classic version of Mickey & Minnie.
One that would then allow this popular pair to become part of Disney Infinity
3.0.

"I won't lie to you. We were under a lot of pressure to
get the look of this particular version of Mickey — he's called Red Pants
Mickey around here — just right," said Jeff Bunker, the VP of Art
Development at Avalanche Studios, during a recent phone interview. "When
we brought Sorcerer Mickey into Disney Infinity 1.0 back in January of 2014,
that one was relatively easy because … Well, everyone knows what Mickey Mouse
looked like when he appeared in 'Fantasia.' "


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All rights reserved

"But this time around, we were being asked to design
THE Mickey & Minnie," Bunker continued. "And given that these Classic
Disney characters have been around in various different forms for the better
part of the last century … Well, which look was the right look?"

Which is why Jeff and his team at Avalanche Studios began watching hours &
hours of Mickey Mouse shorts. As they tried to get a handle on which look would
work best for these characters in Disney Infinity 3.0.


Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"And we went all the way back to the very start of Mickey's career. We began
with 'Steamboat Willie' and then watched all of those black & white Mickey shorts
that Walt made back in the late 1920s & early 1930s. From there, we
transitioned to his Technicolor shorts. Which is when Mickey went from being
this pie-eyed, really feisty character to more of a well-behaved leading
man," Bunker recalled. "We then finished out our Mouse marathon by
watching all of those new Mickey shorts that Paul Rudish & his team have
been creating for Disney Television Animation. Those cartoons really recapture
a lot of the spirit and wild slapstick fun that Mickey's early, black &
white shorts had."

But given that the specific assignment that Avalanche Studios had been handed
was to create the most appealing looking, likeable version of Mickey Mouse
possible … In the end, Jeff and his team wound up borrowing bits & pieces
from a lot of different versions of the world's most famous mouse. So that
Classic Mickey would then look & move in a way that best fit the sort of
gameplay which people would soon be able to experience with Disney Infinity
3.0.


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All rights reserved

"That — in a lot of ways — was actually the toughest
part of the Classic Mickey design project. You have to remember that one of the
key creative conceits of  Disney Infinity
is that all the characters which appear in this game are toys," Bunker
stated. "Okay. So they're beautifully detailed, highly stylized toy
versions of beloved Disney, Pixar, Marvel & Lucasfilm characters. But
they're still supposed to be toys. So our Classic versions of Mickey &
Minnie have the same sort of thickness & sturdiness to them that toys have.
So that they'll then be able to fit right in with all of the rest of the
characters that Avalanche Studios had previously designed for Disney Infinity."

And then there was the matter of coming up with just the
right pose for Classic Mickey & Minnie. Which — to hear Jeff tell the
story — involved input from a lot of Disney upper management.


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All rights reserved

"Everyone within the Company seemed to have an opinion
about how Mickey & Minnie should be posed. More to the point, if you Google
Mickey, you then discover that there are literally thousands of poses out there
for these two. Though — truth be told — a lot of those kind of play off the
way Mickey poses when he's being Disney's corporate symbol," Bunker said.
"But what I was most concerned about was that Mickey's pose had to work
with Minnie's pose. Because we were bringing the Classic versions of these
characters up into Disney Infinity 3.0 at the exact same time. And we wanted to
make sure — especially for those fans who like to put their Disney Infinity
figures on display — that Mickey's pose would then complement Minnie.

Which is why Jeff & the crew at Avalanche Studios
decided — when it came to Classic Mickey & Minnie's pose — that they
should go all the way back to the beginning. Which is why these two Disney icons
are sculpted in such a way that it almost seems as though you're witnessing the
very first time Mickey set eyes on Minnie.


Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All rights reserved

"And what was really great about that was — as soon as
we began showing people within the Company this pose — everyone at Disney
quickly got on board with the idea. I mean, the Classic Mickey that we sculpted
for Disney Infinity 3.0 is clearly a very playful, spunky character. But at the
same time, he's obviously got eyes for Minnie," Bunker concluded. "So
in the end, we were able to come up with Classic versions of these characters
that will work well within the creative confines of Disney Infinity 3.0 but at
the same time please those Disney fans who just collect these figures because
they like the way the Disney Infinity characters look."

So now that this particular design project is over, does
Jeff regret that Mouse House upper management was so hands-on when it came to
making sure that the Classic versions of Mickey & Minnie were specifically
tailored to fit the look & style of gameplay found in Disney Infinity 3.0?


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Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"To be blunt, we go through this every time we add a new character to the
game. The folks at Lucasfilm were just as hands-on when we were designing the
versions of Darth Vader and Yoda that will also soon be appearing in Disney
Infinity 3.0," Bunker laughed. "So in the end, if the character's
creators AND the fans are happy, then I'm happy."

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post's Entertainment page on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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