Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Ollie Johnston’s cameo in Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant
We asked Brad Bird, Oscar-winning director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles, if he could share a few thoughts about the passing of Ollie Johnston. Brad responded with this eloquent piece:
I was lucky enough to meet eight of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men”. I never met John Lounsberry in person, though he did see the film that I made as a kid. The “Old Men” I knew the best were Milt Kahl and Eric Larson, who mentored me directly in early years, and Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, who I often visited and heckled, but didn’t really get to know well until I was working professionally.
In spite of the usual “one happy family” picture that public relations always wants to paint about production teams, Disney’s Nine Old Men were competitive with each other. They would help each other out, but like all artists, they had differences of opinion on how best to approach their work.
Milt’s complaint about Ollie’s work was “There are no extremes! His scenes are all inbetweens!”.
This is, of course, wrong.
But it does capture a truth about Ollie’s work; that it was intuitive, subtle and elusive. It was difficult to see all that Ollie was doing when you flipped his original drawings, because he didn’t push his key poses as far as Milt did graphically, or as far as Frank did performance-wise… but when you saw Ollie’s scenes the way they were intended to be seen– at 24 frames a second– all the beautiful nuances became crystal clear; and his characters were as sympathetic and as full of life as anything seen on screen.
Where both Milt and Frank exerted a huge amount of energy planning their scenes, grappling with problems, exploring every alternative, etc… Ollie just thought a bit, did a few thumbnails and sort of let the scenes happen. This is not to say that he was any less dedicated than any other top animator at Disney, but he didn’t sweat as much in the process. Drawings flowed out of him like water.
Toward the end of his career, when most animators are slowing down, this extraordinary ease enabled him to be a tremendously productive animator; on “The Rescuers” he was producing ten feet of top-quality animation a week, double (or more) the output of his fellow animators.
I came along at a “best of times/worst of times” moment at Disney animation. The worst of times because the studio was creatively moribund and young people were not yet empowered to do anything to change it. The best of times because a few of the old masters were still around, still working, and still able to impart their wisdom to us eager students.
When Frank and Ollie retired from production on the same Friday I was the next animator on Ollie’s desk the following Monday; the very desk he had used for decades to create so many indelible animated moments. I was properly awed as I sat down in Ollie’s chair, at his desk.
As I was checking it out and getting the feel of it I noticed the pencil sharpener was full of shavings. Instead of throwing them out I poured them into a glass jar, labeled it and set it atop the desk. Good luck shavings… a simple reminder of the hard work required to create magic. My own jar of real Disney dust. The last jar.
Ollie got a kick out of that story when I told him, and for years afterward he asked me how the jar was doing. I kept in touch with several of the “Old Men” after they retired, and was particularly happy to pay Ollie and Frank both a hand-drawn and computer generated (both animated by Mike Venturini) tip of the hat in IRON GIANT and INCREDIBLES, which they were surprised and delighted to be a part of so late in their lives.
Ollie was one of the best that ever was and will be. He lives on as an entertainer, a teacher and inspiration for all generations to come. Needless to say, I’ll miss him. But I plan on visiting him as I visit Milt, Eric, Frank and all the others who taught and/or inspired me–
–through their work.. which will be around forever.
I found this on the cartoon brew blog and I though that you all would enjoy it. It is a good ode to a great animator who's movies we all still enjoy today. Ollie Johnston - October 31st, 1912 - April 14, 2008. He will be missed.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams is a fireworks spectacular at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Florida and at Disneyland Park in Paris. The show debuted at the Magic Kingdom on October 9, 2003, and was developed by Walt Disney Creative Entertainment, who were assigned to create a replacement for the 32-year-old Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. In September and October, during “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party”, the show is replaced with Happy HalloWishes, and in late November and December, Holiday Wishes during “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”. In 2007, the Magic Kingdom presented a new separate admission (a/k/a “hard ticket”) event called “Disney’s Pirate and Princess Party” with its own fireworks program titled Magic, Music and Mayhem. The French version of Wishes premiered on July 16, 2005, with the only similarity to the American version being the music and storyline.
The regular show is hosted by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy, and revolves around the wishes of famed Disney characters - good and bad. Cinderella Castle is illuminated for the most part of the show in a bright, glowing blue, imitating the Blue Fairy, but is lit in angry reds and oranges for the Villainous Wishes sector of the show. Wishes is the largest fireworks show ever presented at the Magic Kingdom. The show begins with the theme song of the show synchronized to very simple shells, after which Jiminy Cricket begins his narration. Disney characters say their wishes, and then Disney villains say theirs. The show ends in a massive display of pyrotechnics and shells.
Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghost Spooktacular in the Sky
HalloWishes debuted in 2005 and is performed at the separate-admission (“hard ticket”) event Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in lieu of the regular Wishes show. Taking its name from the theme song for the classic attraction Haunted Mansion, the show features fireworks synchronized to classic Disney Villain themes and other Halloween music.
Holiday Wishes: Celebrate The Spirit of the Season
Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season replaces Wishes during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and during the park’s regular operating days near Christmas Day (often December 21-31). The show features dazzling fireworks performed to remixed classic Christmas songs and an appearance by Tinker Bell. For the show’s finale, the music and fireworks stop temporarily and machines on the roof of Main Street, U.S.A. create artificial snow, creating an emotional climax similar to the Believe... In Holiday Magic holiday show at Disneyland. Its soundtrack is available on CD.
Magic, Music, and Mayhem
This fireworks show replaces Wishes at Disney’s Pirate and Princess Party, and features music from the Disney Princess library of animated movies and the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
- Jalan Kopo by Sabbah Habas Mustaph
- Falling through a Cloud by Uttara-Kuru
- Busindre Reel by Hevia
- Gaviotes by Hevia
- Tula by Cusco
- Our Life by Uttara-Kuru
- The Bear by Hedningama
- Red Skies by Omar Faruk Tetbilek
- Texas by Wimme
The lights dim, and torches are lit around the lagoon. The beginning of the show is narrated by Jim Cummings, who says: "Good evening, on behalf of Walt Disney World, the place where dreams come true, we welcome all of you to Epcot and World Showcase. We've gathered here tonight, around the fire, as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us; to share the light and to share a story. An amazing story, as old as time itself but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight; Reflections of Earth." IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is split into three acts:
- Act I: Chaos. Chaos represents the creation of the planet Earth from a cosmic event. (This part uses the Inferno Barge.)
- Act II: Order. The Earth Globe appears. As the Earth cools, it changes from hot white to red to blue. Images appear on the Globe of countries, famous places, objects, and people. Chaos turns to Order.
- Act III: Celebration. The Earth Globe opens revealing a torch and 1,000 white fireworks are ignited. The final loud fireworks explode with a white flash and end with a loud crackle.
The post-show announcement is, "All of us at Epcot have enjoyed hosting you at World Showcase Lagoon, and we hope you have enjoyed Reflections of Earth, presented by Sylvania, a Siemens Company. Thank you and may all your dreams come true." The song "Promise" plays directly after this, followed by the Tapestry of Nations medley as guests exit the park. As the music plays, the continents are laser-projected onto Spaceship Earth making it appear as a spinning globe.The post-show announcement is, "All of us at Epcot have enjoyed hosting you at World Showcase Lagoon, and we hope you have enjoyed Reflections of Earth, presented by Sylvania, a Siemens Company. Thank you and may all your dreams come true." The song "Promise" plays directly after this, followed by the Tapestry of Nations medley as guests exit the park. As the music plays, the continents are laser-projected onto Spaceship Earth making it appear as a spinning globe.
This is definitely a not miss attraction when I go to WDW. I'm sure I've talked about Illuminations before but it has to be one of my favorite things in WDW. From the show itself, to the technology that is used, to the great score that Don Dorsey wrote, you can't go wrong with Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Peace
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Plane Crazy (1928) (first released on May 15, 1928) it was the first animated cartoon to feature Mickey Mouse, as well as Minnie Mouse (Mickey’s girlfriend). A soundtrack was added to the cartoon on December 29, 1928. Plane Crazy was followed by The Gallopin’ Gaucho and Steamboat Willie. The short was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Iwerks was also the main animator for this short and reportedly spent six weeks working on it. Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising were credited for assisting him; these two had already signed their contracts with Charles Mintz, but he was still in the process of forming his new studio and so for the time being they were still employed by Disney. This short would be the last they animated under this somewhat awkward situation.
Steamboat Willie (1928) is an animated cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse released on November 18, 1928. It was the third Mickey Mouse cartoon -- after Plane Crazy (May 1928) and The Gallopin’ Gaucho (August 1928) -- to be made and the first with sound. Disney used Pat Powers’ Cinephone system, created by Powers using Lee De Forest’s Phonofilm system without giving De Forest any credit. Steamboat Willie premiered at New York’s 79th Street Theatre, and played ahead of the independent film Gang War. Steamboat Willie was an immediate hit while Gang War is all but forgotten today.
So technically, Steamboat Willie is not the first cartoon that featured Mickey Mouse. It was Plane Crazy that first premiered the Mouse. The reason I think that Steamboat Willie is called the “first” Mickey cartoon is because of the fact that Plane Crazy was rereleased after Steamboat Willie with the addition of sound. Either way, this year marks the 80th Anniversary of our beloved Mickey Mouse. With over 130 shorts and other appearances around the parks, on TV, and on other disney specials, it’s been a crazy 80 years for our pal Mickey. So what you all think. We call Steamboat Willie or Plane Crazy the birth of Mickey Mouse. Either way we are good because
it would still be his birthday this year.