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Entries in Film (25)

Tuesday
Dec282010

Upcoming Concept: Sword in the Stone Dark Ride

I've been spending my Christmas break watching and pausing my favorite childhood animated feature, The Sword in the Stone.  And since childhood I've wanted the film to have more of a theme park presence... in ride form of course.

In an upcoming post I plan to state my case for why a Sword in the Stone Fantasyland dark ride WOULD be successful and why it WILL NEVER be built. I'm not one to believe that box office numbers dictate the popularity of a ride based on the same film.  Nor do I believe an "old, outdated, forgotten" film cannot make a great ride and remain popular.  Look at: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Splash Mountain, Alice in Wonderland, etc.  More thoughts to come.  This idea is of course not going to win the award for original concept for it is based on an already-existing creative work, but it will be fun to think about.

For now, enjoy (as I have this week) these great pieces put together by Sandro Cleuzo using Milt Kahl drawings.  Fantastic.

And these great shots have inspired me to put on thick-rimmed glasses and narrow black ties while sketching concept art at my drawing board.

 

 

Saturday
Dec042010

Little Box of Treasures

While working with animatronics and props I would find myself emptying the pockets of my work clothes at the end of the day to find scraps of that day's work.  I decided to keep some of this stuff in a box so years later I could remember the variety of materials I once used.


Humor me as I share what might look like a pile of garbage.  For me, this garbage represents a whole lot of theme park ingenuity and memories of getting my hands dirty early, early in the morning...

Pieces of Brer Frog's pipe stem made of surgical tubing, covered in fabric tape and painted to look like bamboo.  Good ol' Brer Frog had the habit of smacking himself in the face with his previous, unforgiving, rigid pipe.  Speaking of smacks... Doesn't Brer Frog look a lot like the Sugar Smacks frog??

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea plants.  We would find these in the dirt after they filled in the lagoon.  I imagine there are still colorful plastic plants like this out there today.  Thank goodness they tore out that "too-expensive-to-keep-alive" ride.  << I'll explain my theory one day on how this is NOT so accurate.  Sometimes at night after they closed 20K I'd walk the catwalks in the caves only to pee my pants (figuratively) ever time.  So dark and damp and drippy- not to mention all the sea creatures sticking out of the dirty, half-drained water.

A genuine real piece of Walt Disney's backyard Carolwood Pacific train tracks! Given to me by a man who worked on site at Walt's Holmby Hill home in Los Angeles.  I like it because Walt himself played around with this stuff-- unlike a lot of park props.

Butyrate, skin, etc. from Pirate animatronics.

Coins from the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade.  Some coins were thrown out during a rehab we worked on.  Why is the Genie from Aladdin on them??  Don't ask me.  Fortunately the character artwork on the coins is not visible to guests, right?  It's Frontierland after all. 

A piece of George Washington's Hall of Presidents hands.  We'd pull a rough hand skin from the mold, "butter" it up (trim and add detail with a flat metal tip on the end of a torch), paint, and install.  Always enjoyed that.

We would remove hair and beards from Haunted Mansion ballroom ghosts once they lost their bright white shine.  Darker hair is much harder to see from the Doom Buggies.  I'll leave it to you to figure that one out.

Skin-like rubbery old paint would come off in large pieces.  Head skins too needed to be bright in color for the illusion to work.  The green rubber came from the old attic bride, I believe.

Madame Leota and Little Leota share similar projected effects.  Old portions of film would be thrown out when worn.  Above you see film from both Leotas.

In the Carousel of Progress 8mm film runs footage of a boxing match- projected from the basement below.  Remember the grandma exclaiming “Give’m a left you big lug!”

How in the world did a Mad Hatter nose end up in the box?  Don't ask me.  I believe the smelly thing was given to me for some reason.  Still stinks all these years later.

Spectro Magic lights.  Remember when Main Street Electrical Parade retired "forever" the first time and they sold light bulbs for $35??  Well these ain't those.  Am I the only one who never loved Spectro but always loved the Main Street Electrical Parade?

 

Related posts:

Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It
The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It
Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
Surviving Pieces of Journey Into Imagination
Audio Animatronics 101
  
What Disney Characters Love 

 

Thursday
Aug262010

Original Visions of CalArts

The best little 1964 film about CalArts you'll ever see!

I was floored when I found this.  Not only is Bageerah (the great Sebastian Cabot) narrating this little gem, it's chock full of great mid-century modern artwork, renderings and concepts.  It's produced in that classic Walt Disney live-action educational film style of the 50s and 60s.  To add to it, this little beauty was long-lost in the CalArts archives, recently discovered, and posted not too long ago.

The school, established in 1961, was Walt Disney's vision for "different artistic disciplines sharing space under one roof."  (One roof meaning one campus, I'm sure.)

 

The short film was originally presented at the 1964 gala premiere of Mary Poppins.  According to a Dick Van Dyke interview on the Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition DVD, Dick wanted to play the part of the old banker at the end of the movie (free of charge) though Walt was unsure about the idea.  Then Walt came back and said he could only play the part if he paid $2,000 of his own cash towards the CalArts project.  Ha!


 

 

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