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

Disney Logo Change

When I went to see “The Muppets” I was so excited for my favorite puppet troop’s long-awaited big screen revival that I didn’t notice something interesting. In fact, I didn’t even realize that this something had happened until December, when all of a sudden a ton of news stories broke about it (perhaps I wasn’t the only one who didn’t notice right away). Disney’s changed its famous pre-film logo again. This time, instead of giving it another animated overhaul, they’ve changed the name. Rather than saying “Walt Disney Pictures,” it just reads “Disney.” The funny thing is, even when I … Continue reading

Walt Disney Family Museum Video Contest

Pictures like this, of Walt Disney with Dr. Wernher von Braun of NASA, are the sort of non-Disney-company photo you’ll see at the Walt Disney Family Museum If you’re a real fan of Disney history, particularly as it relates to famous founder Walt Disney, then you’re in luck, because there’s a new museum out there tailored for you: The Walt Disney Family Museum. Just a year old, the museum was founded with the goal of preserving Walt’s history. Its mission is to separate the story of Walt Disney the man from information about the brand his name has become. The … Continue reading

The Disney Toy Company

The LA Times has recently run a number of articles on the new philosophies of the Walt Disney Corporation, as determined by CEO Bob Iger. One of the latest summarizes Iger’s position the best: he’s all about the merchandising. Case in point: “The Proposal.” The Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy from last year grossed millions, making back the cost of its production in spades. So, inevitably, the suits behind the film suggested a sequel. But because the film comes from Touchstone Pictures, which is a subsidiary of Disney, Iger ultimately calls the shots (should he so choose) on this sort … Continue reading

The Disneyfication of the Olympics

Thousands of people around the world cram into their local roads, to contribute to the joyous roar of the crowd as a runner pounds past, bearing a flickering flame above their heads. Athletes become celebrities, grinning at the world first from a podium amidst a colorful snowstorm of confetti, then from orange cereal boxes under the fluorescent glow of the grocery store. Today the Olympics are synonymous with fanfare. I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty tonight at the opening ceremony in Vancouver. What few people know is that before the 1960 Winter Olympics, and Walt Disney’s involvement in them, the … Continue reading

D23: An Insider’s Disney

Anyone who’s here at families.com’s Disney corner is probably a Disney fan. Maybe we consider ourselves members in an unofficial fan club. Well, now we can join an official one. Last March Bob Iger unveiled D23, the official Disney fan club/community. The “23” stands for 1923, the year Walt Disney left Kansas City for California and founded the Walt Disney Company with his brother Roy O. You get the usual fan club stuff: calendars, membership cards and certificates, and subscription to a quarterly. Not to knock the quarterly; Disney twenty-three offers gorgeous photographs of and insight into past and present … Continue reading

Roy E. Disney Dies, Aged 79

On December 16, 2009 Roy Edward Disney, a powerful and fundamental force in the Disney company, succumbed to his year-long battle with cancer. Though his face bore a strong resemblance to his famous uncle Walt, Roy’s continuance of Walt Disney’s legacy involved far more than looks. The son of Walt’s brother Roy O., who co-founded the entertainment company with Walt in 1923, Roy didn’t join the family business right away. After attending Pomona College and then Harvard University, Roy first became a film editor on the television show “Dragnet” in 1952. Before long Roy did follow in his family’s footsteps … Continue reading

Waking Sleeping Beauty

“The real heartbeat of this company was, is, and will always be, the film business.” – Roy E. Disney A few months ago I caught wind of a Disney project that’s excited me more than I can remember in years, more so even than hearing that Disney was to return to its hand-drawn fairy tales with “Princess and the Frog.” Any of my anticipation for upcoming Disney projects is always tempered by wariness; I know that due to nostalgia it’s unlikely that I will ever feel the same way about new Disney films as the ones with which I grew … Continue reading

A Tribute to Alan Menken

When the Academy Award nominations were announced a few weeks ago, I discovered some surprises in the “Best Original Song” category. Two songs from “Princess and the Frog” made the list. I didn’t hide my lack of enthusiasm for Randy Newman’s work on Disney’s latest animated feature. I found nothing particularly repellant about the songs in the movie, but almost more importantly, I especially didn’t find anything memorable about them. As I said before, I couldn’t recall a single song from the movie even as I walked out of the theater minutes after the credits rolled. Do I just have … Continue reading