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Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

More vintage Disneyland Hotel stuff

1950s Disneyland Hotel postcard

I recently had an email from Donald W. Ballard who corrected a few details in my previous article on the Disneyland Hotel. Don’s written a book on the subject so should know his stuff!

His blog is a treasure trove of things about the hotel; early photographs both private and promotional, concept art, newspaper and magazine clippings and advertisements, brochures, passes, memos… even a mini golf scorecard! You name it, it’s probably in there.

The Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years is available direct from the author for $47.50 plus shipping.

Illustrator Joey Ellis

Illustration by Joey Ellis

I originally discovered Joey’s work through The Disney Blog who highlighted the superb Disney-themed avatars that he uses as his Twitter profile pics. From there I discovered the fantastic Mickey Mouse mural he designed and painted onto his son’s room.

He’s also used his talents for some incredibly good deeds too. He’s set up Cory Fights Giants to help raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Check out his latest work on his blog and on his Flickr stream.

First Toy Story 3 Teaser Trailer

Pixar’s latest feature Up was released to cinemas yesterday and, with it, a teaser trailer for next year’s Toy Story 3.

Toy Story 3 will be released in June 2010.

A Preview of Pixar’s Partly Cloudy

Pixar's Partly Cloudy

Update 10th June: Here’s the Partly Cloudy short in full.
Absolutely superb! Be quick though, I doubt it’ll be around for long.

Here’s a fleeting 30 seconds from Partly Cloudy, the Pixar short that will accompany their next feature, Up. Directed by Peter Sohn, the voice of Emile in the movie Rataouille, it tells the story of Gus, a lonely grey cloud who makes babies for storks to deliver.

From the Pixar wiki:

Everyone knows that the stork delivers babies, but where do the storks get the babies from? The answer lies up in the stratosphere, where cloud people sculpt babies from clouds and bring them to life. Gus, a lonely and insecure grey cloud, is a master at creating ‘dangerous’ babies. Crocodiles, porcupines, rams and more—Gus’s beloved creations are works of art, but more than a handful for his loyal delivery stork partner, Peck. As Gus’s creations become more and more rambunctious, Peck’s job gets harder and harder. How will Peck manage to handle both his hazardous cargo and his friend’s fiery temperament?

There’s a lengthy interview with Peter about the short at Animation World News.

View a higher quality version of the trailer. Partly Cloudy will debut with Up on May 29th.

(via Cartoon Brew)

How Disneyland Helped to Send Man into Space

disney_mars_and_beyond

Stephen Worth has an interesting article over at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive on how we’ve imagined the future throughout the past century. It includes scans of an article from a 1950 issue of Coronet magazine, illustrated by Chesley Bonestell, about a family trip to Venus in the year 2500, along with some clips from the Disneyland TV show’s “Mars and Beyond“. Mars and Beyond was one of three space-themed specials:

It’s impossible to overstate how important the Disney space shows were to the American space program. President Dwight Eisenhower requested a copy of “Man in Space” to screen for his top military officers to convince them that space travel was indeed possible. Six months after “Mars and Beyond” aired, congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act which established NASA. The launch of Russia’s Sputnik satellite in October 1957 might have been the immediate impetus for the swift passage of the funding for the program, but the groundwork for the concept behind NASA was laid by Wernher von Braun and Walt Disney.

Clearly, scientists like Wernher von Braun and politicians like Eisenhower and Kennedy were responsible for America’s space program. But it took more than science and funding to put man on the moon. It took will. The awe inspiring imaginary vistas of Chesley Bonestell and the fantastic animation of Ward Kimball and Walt Disney became our collective dreams. The day after “Man in Space” aired, every man, woman and child in America had the same fantasy in their head- the burning desire to go to the moon. The visions created by these artists and filmmakers became reality because they crystallized and energized our collective will.

Animation has the power to mobilize society to do great things.

Mars and Beyond can be found on the Walt Disney Treasures – Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond DVD along with “Man in Space” and “Man and the Moon” as well as, of course, on YouTube:

  1. Man & the Sky
  2. Mars in Pop Culture
  3. History of Life on Earth/Solar System
  4. Mars from Earth
  5. Life on Mars
  6. Travel to Mars

If that’s not enough, here’s some Ward Kimball concept art.

The Disneyland Hotel, 1964

Disneyland Hotel

While browsing my feeds today (thanks Feedly!) I came across this wonderful photograph. Gorillas Don’t Blog wasn’t taken aback by it (“I wish there was more hotel and less blue sky”) but I sure was. The innocent simplicity of the nine-year-old Disneyland Hotel as it stood 45 years ago, surrounded by nothing but the odd southern California palm tree, is in very stark contrast to it’s present state.

If anyone has a photograph of the hotel from this very position today I’d love to see it.

The Disneyland Hotel was third party operated when it was built in October 1955, four months after the Disneyland park opened. Texan Millionaire Jack Wrather, probably most famous for being the producer of the TV show Lassie, financed and owned leased the property as Disney had run out of cash building the amusement park itself. It wasn’t until 1988 that The Walt Disney Company purchased it and the original tower pictured here was demolished in 1999 as part of the “Disneyland Resort” expansion which included the construction of California Adventure on what was Disneyland’s parking lot.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Gorillas Don’t Blog site for more superb vintage Disneyland pictures.

Update: Just had an email from Don Ballard, who has recently written a book on the Disneyland Hotel to tell me that the the Sierra Tower, the tower pictured here, wasn’t demolished. In fact it’s the only original building left standing.

“All of the original Hotel from 1955 – 1960 was demolished in 1999 to make way for Downtown Disney. This included all of the old two story Garden Villa Structures (my favorites), shopping areas, original restaurants, including the Monorail Cafe (my favorite), Travelport, Monorail Station, original Embassy and Magnolia Ballrooms and the Olympic Pool. To me, the Hotel lost most, if not all of its charm in 1999.”

Animated Protest to Foie Gras at Disneyland Paris

Dutch animators Jurjen Bosklopper and Mustafa Kandaz created this wonderfully executed short in just a couple of weeks to protest the sale of Foie Gras at Disneyland Paris. Loving the backgrounds too which have a bit of an Eyvind Earle feel about them. (via Cartoon Brew)

Video Game Level Design Learned from Disneyland

what_would_walt_do

Yes, yes, yes! A belief I’ve maintained for many years — that Disneyland is an experience designer’s wet dream — has been confirmed! I’m so glad to see that THQ’s Creative Manager Scott Rogers shares my understanding. Scott worked on games including Pac-man World, God of War and Drawn to Life.

Thankfully Cory Doctorow took notes from Scott’s presentation at GDC today and made them along with photos of the slides available for all. Scott states on his blog that he’ll make his slides available shortly.

Update: The slides are now up.

This has just brought to mind the piece Cory wrote for Wired back in 2006 interviewing former Disneyland Imagineer Danny Hillis about Disneyland as an alternate world, a precursor to today’s massively multiplayer games. It all gets me wondering whether anyone else has written about or has been inspired by this topic… Some investigation awaits!

(via Boing Boing)

Space Mountain Retrospective

Space Mountain interior

Here’s a wonderful retrospective of Disneyland’s Space Mountain by Geoff at Your Souvenir Guide.

I wasn’t lucky enough to be anywhere near Anaheim on its opening day in 1977 (nor, for that matter, old enough!) and haven’t had the opportunity to revisit since the 2005 revamp, which saw it return to the original iconic white, but this ride still holds a special place in my heart.

Disneyland’s Space Mountain is “Star Wars” and punk rock and “Saturday Night Fever” and the New York Blackout, all made one single, glorious whole. It’s all about believing, just for a moment, that you are riding the engine at the center of the universe. At that moment, you are ten years old, like me.

I couldn’t have said it better.

I’ll still miss the Dick Dale soundtrack which ran from 1995 to 2003 though!

A first look at Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland film concept artwork

Update: If you’re looking for the new images, you’ll find them here!

You’ll find the trailer here.

The premier issue of Disney twenty-three magazine includes an article on Tim Burton’s part live action, part CGI-animated Alice in Wonderland movie which is due for release in Spring 2010. The article features the first glimpses of some wonderful looking concept artwork and photography and the Tim Burton Collective blog has some scans of the pages.

If anyone has any better scans of the images, do let us know!

(thanks Jenny!)