Honoring Alice Davis: Legendary Disney Costume Designer

Costumes designed by Alice Davis This year I missed out on my annual tradition of profiling important women in Disney history for Women’s History Month. My March was very busy this year so I just didn’t have time to do the necessary research. Luckily, the perfect profile has fallen into my lap. This month costume designer Alice Davis was honored on Disneyland’s Main Street, USA, as a new window in her honor was unveiled. Alice Davis isn’t a name you’ll hear much when talking about the movies; she only had involvement in a couple, including, “Sleeping Beauty.” Her stamp is … Continue reading

Walt Disney’s Wonderland

“Alice in Wonderland” is that rare Disney movie for which the source text is more beloved than the animated adaptation. Today I’m only looking at the 1951 Walt-Disney-overseen animated adaptation of the famous stories by Lewis Carroll, not Tim Burton’s recent live action film; perhaps I’ll return to that another day. Disney did something interesting with this film: it’s an adaptation of both “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.” Bringing both stories to the screen is possible because, well, both are just the tales of Alice’s many adventures in Wonderland. Neither have a specific plot; Alice falls … Continue reading

Glen Keane Leaving Disney Animation

Glen Keane announced over the weekend that he’s leaving Disney Animation. Most of us probably don’t know who Glen Keane is, even if we’ve seen his name dozens of times while idly watching the ending credits of many Disney movies. I only know him because my work on this blog has motivated me to watch and pay more attention to behind the scenes Disney films and featurettes. Keane has been an animator at Disney for around forty years. He arrived in the 1970s, in time to be mentored by Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston—members of the old guard … Continue reading

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

Can you see the hidden Mickey in the ceiling of this Epcot store? The last of my books about Disney World, “The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World,” is for the park’s devotees. Its subtitle is, “Over 600 secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom,” and author Susan Veness makes good on that promise. If you’re a fan of Disney World, not just of its rides but of its whole experience, this is the book for you. If you’ve been to the park so many times that now you’re starting to notice all of its … Continue reading

Walt Disney and the U.S. State Department

About a month ago I learned of the most interesting rumor about “Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros.” The little-known 1940s flicks, which feature Donald Duck traveling to Central and South America, meeting, and having adventures with Brazilian parrot Jose Carioca and Mexican rooster Panchito Pistolas, were supposedly commissioned by the U.S. State Department. As soon as I read this, I instantly had to know more. I really wanted to learn the real story, if one existed, behind the rumor and share it with you here. I couldn’t do that, however, until I was able to find at least some … Continue reading

Art Show Coming to Downtown Disney

One thing that never comes to mind when I think of the Disney Parks is art. I know that isn’t entirely fair; I’ve pointed out in the past how members of the Disney Animation team had a hand in designing the parks. But I can’t help it; when I think of “art” and “Disney” my mind immediately goes to the movies and doesn’t stray. I’d only be interested in purchasing Disney-themed art if it was a still from one of the movies (though the movie stills I really want come from films by Hayao Miyazaki, most of which Disney distributes … Continue reading

In Memoriam 2012 – Part 2

More of the people we lost in 2012: March 2012 5 – Robert B. Sherman – Natural Causes (86) Songwriter Sherman wrote “It’s a Small World (After All)” and penned songs for other musicals including Mary Poppins, Charlotte’s Web, The Jungle Book, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 11 – Michael Hossack – Cancer (64) Hossack was the drummer for the Doobie Brothers, appearing on eleven of the band’s albums. 29 – Ronnie Montrose – Suicide (64) Montrose was a guitarist who had played with such acts as Sammy Hagar, Johnny Winter, Boz Scaggs, Van Morrison, and Sammy Hagar.  At the … Continue reading

The Return of the Dark Fairy Tale

When studying the feminist evolution of the Disney princesses I came to the conclusion that it was time for Disney to once again reinvent the fairy tale for contemporary audiences. It seems that might be happening, though perhaps not in the way I’d expect. In the past year or so I’ve read a number of reports indicating that one of the latest trends in proposed films is the “dark fairy tale.” Several studios are green lighting movies that take classic fairy tales and “de-Disneyfy” them, supposedly turning them back to their darker roots. Whether or not the true sources of … Continue reading

A Study in Princesses: Careers Coda

You need more than just him in your life, Ariel Today I’m going to add a tongue-in-cheek coda to my otherwise serious series on the Disney Princesses. If most of these princesses should have had something other in their lives than their men, what should those things be? I’m going to posit alternate endings to most of the films; mainly, recommendations for the careers into which the Disney Princesses ought to have embarked instead. Some suggestions might be a bit sillier than others. “Snow White” – One thing Snow White did excellently was to get those dwarves to come out … Continue reading

Selena Gomez to Star in New Prank Show?

This spring is full of news about the Disney Channel. Coming off both the return of the Disney Channel Games and the announcement of a new television series, Hollywood Life published rumors of a new show for the channel starring Selena Gomez. ‘Wait,’ you might say. ‘Isn’t this the sort of thing Disney Channel execs should avoid?’ Sure, they always try to milk their stars for all they’re worth, but the network is already under fire for overworking Demi Lovato. Why would they go and make the same mistake with Gomez? First off, “Wizards of Waverley Place” wraps up its … Continue reading