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Monthly Archives: November 2012

November 20

November 20, 2007 – The Soundtrack to the Feature Film Enchanted is Released Through Walt Disney Records

“How does she know you love her? How does she know she’s yours?”

On November 20, 2007, the soundtrack for the feature film Enchanted was released through Walt Disney Records. The soundtrack contains 15 tracks, with the score composed by Disney Legend Alan Menken, and lyrics written by Stephen Schwartz. Menken said of being asked to compose the film: “They were looking for someone to hire who could parody Alan Menken music. But they couldn’t find anyone, so thank God they hired Alan Menken. So I did a parody of Alan Menken.” There were five original songs on the soundtrack, performed by Amy Adams, James Marsden, Jon McLauglin, and Carrie Underwood. Many of these songs were considered pastiches of classic Disney songs, ranging from “I’m Wishing” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. Three songs were nominated for Academy Awards: “Happy Working Song,” “So Close,” and “That’s How You Know.”

November 19

November 19, 1906 – Imagineer and Disney Legend Bill Cottrell is Born

“…it was Uncle Bill who was Walt’s counselor and right-hand man.” – Imagineer Marvin Davis

On November 19, 1906, William Cottrell was born in South Bend, Indiana. After graduating from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, Cottrell had a stint with George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat” before he was offered a job with the Walt Disney Studios working cameras. He then worked as a cutter and animation director before transitioning into the story department. One of shorts he is most known for is Who Killed Cock Robin? Cottrell also served as a sequence director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and contributed to the story on Pinocchio. He also was chosen to be part of the goodwill tour to South America with Walt Disney.

In 1952, Cottrell was named the vice president of WED Enterprises, using his skills from the story department to develop the story lines and dialogue for the new Disneyland attractions. He also helped develop the Zorro serial for the Disneyland television series. In 1964, he was named President of Retlaw Enterprises, the Walt Disney family corporation, a position he held until 1982. Cottrell became the first person to receive the 50-year Disney service award, and was named a Disney Legend in 1994. Cottrell passed away in 1995.

November 18

November 18, 1928 – The First Mickey Mouse Short Film, Steamboat Willie, Premieres

“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney

On November 18, 1928, the first Mickey Mouse short film, Steamboat Willie, premiered in theaters. Not only is it notable for being the first Mickey Mouse short film released (although not the first Mickey Mouse short produced), but it is also notable for being one of the first cartoons with synchronized sound, and the first to have a fully post-produced soundtrack. When Walt Disney was unable to get a deal with RCA or Western Electric for the film, he turned to Pat Powers and his bootleg Powers Cinephone process. The initial recording session was a disaster, which ended with Disney hiring a 15-piece band to play, and Walt Disney voicing all of the characters. The film’s title was a parody of a Buster Keaton film called Steamboat Bill Jr. The Disney film premiered at the Colony Theater in New York, and was an instant success, skyrocketing Mickey and the Disney Studios to stardom.

A steamboat is heading down the river, with Mickey at the wheel, whistling a “Steamboat Bill.” Pete appears behind him, yells at him for taking control of the boat, and sends the mouse flying onto the lower deck. The boat reaches Podunk Landing and the cargo is loaded quickly. A frantic Minnie Mouse sprints to catch the boat before it leaves, only to just miss it. Luckily, Mickey hears her cries and uses the hook on the boat to bring her aboard. She drops her guitar and sheet music, which is soon devoured by a nearby goat.

After the goat eats Minnie’s sheet music, the two use the goat to play the tune “Turkey in the Straw”

As Mickey tries to pull the guitar away from the goat, he and Minnie come to the conclusion that the goat can be worked like a turn-crank record player. Using whatever materials he can find, including an animal menagerie, the two begin their own rendition of “Turkey in the Straw.” After the performance, Mickey turns around to find Pete waiting for him angrily, and is sent to the galley to peel potatoes.

November 17

November 17, 1907 – Animator, Member of Disney’s Nine Old Men, and Disney Legend Les Clark is Born

“I remember, I was in the Annie Awards ceremony with Les Clark’s widow, and there was a picture of Walt up there with a drawing of Mickey…and she was like [whispering], ‘Les did that drawing.’”- Animation Director John Musker

On November 17, 1907, Les Clark was born in Ogden, Utah. His family moved to Los Angeles, where he graduated high school. During high school, Clark worked a summer job near the Disney Brothers Studio at a lunch counter that Walt and Roy Disney frequented. When Clark asked Walt for a job one day, Walt asked him to bring in his drawings. “He said I had a good line and why don’t I come to work on Monday,” Clark recalled. “I graduated on a Thursday and went to work [the following] Monday.” In 1927, Clark joined the studio, with Disney warning him that it might be just a temporary position. The temporary position began a lifelong career at Disney, and Clark became one of the first members of the Nine Old Men, Disney’s affectionate name for his top animators.

Clark was adept at drawing Mickey Mouse, able to draw a scene in the debut Mickey Mouse film, Steamboat Willie. One of his notable segments in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the scene where the dwarves dance with Snow White. Clark was also responsible for animating and directing on nearly 20 animated features, including Pinocchio, Dumbo, Saludos Amigos, So Dear to My Heart, 101 Dalmatians, Song of the South, Fun and Fancy Free, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp. Clark also contributed to more than 100 shorts. After being the sequence director for Sleeping Beauty, Clark moved to directing television specials and educational films, which included Donald in Mathmagic Land and Donald and the Wheel. Clark retired from the Disney Studios in 1976, and passed away in 1979. He was named a Disney Legend in 1989.

November 16

November 16, 2004 – The Attraction Stitch’s Great Escape! Officially Opens

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“Magic Kingdom theme park may not be big enough to contain Stitch, and you never know when and where he will appear next!”

On November 16, 2004, the Tomorrowland attraction Stitch’s Great Escape opened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park. The attraction is based on the successful 2002 animated feature Lilo and Stitch. Guests are taken to the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleport Center for training, when they are interrupted by Captain Gantu informing everyone that there is a Level 3 prisoner being transported to the teleportation chamber. Guests are then led to the chamber, watching as the prisoner (Stitch) wreaks havoc with the system. The attraction was a rebuild of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction that opened in 1995 and closed in 2003. The Stitch animatronic figure is rather complex, being the first figure of its kind to be able to spit water.

November 15

November 15, 1975 – Floyd Gottfredson’s Final Daily Strip is Published

“Floyd played a major role in getting Disney’s (then) new character, Mickey Mouse, known throughout the world by producing Mickey’s daily comic strip.” – Archivist Dave Smith

On November 15, 1975, the final daily strip drawn by comic strip artist Floyd Gottfredson was published. Gottfredson, having drawn the comic as a “temporary assignment” in 1930, retired from the Disney Company on October 1, 1975. The comics began as an adaptation of the short films, evolving into a humorous adventure. As Gottfredson continued the strip, the strip became more gag focused as the size of comics shrank.

November 14

November 14, 2000 – The Soundtrack to the 40th Animated Feature, The Emperor’s New Groove, is Released by Walt Disney Records

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“He’s the sovereign lord of the nation, he’s the hippest dude in creation, he’s a hep cat in the emperor’s new clothes.”

On November 14, 2000, the soundtrack to the 40th animated feature, The Emperor’s New Groove, was released through Walt Disney Records. The album features songs by Sting, Eartha Kitt, Rascal Flatts, and Tom Jones, with a score by John Debney. Many of the songs on the album were written for the first treatment of the film, known as The Kingdom of the Sun. When the film went under rewrites, many of the songs were dropped, but were still included on the soundtrack. The song “My Funny Friend and Me” by Sting was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to Bob Dylan’s “Things Have Changed” from the film Wonder Boys.

November 13

November 13, 1997 – The Lion King Officially Opens on Broadway

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“Till we find our place on the path unwinding in the circle, the Circle of Life.”

On November 13, 1997, the musical The Lion King officially opened on Broadway in the New Amsterdam Theater after the previews that began on October 15. The musical is based on the 1994 animated film, with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book was written by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, and was directed by Julie Taymor. The show has been a financial and critical success, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Scenic Design for a Musical, Best Costume Design for a Musical, and Best Lighting Design of a Musical.

As with its predecessor, Beauty and the Beast, several changes were made in adaptating  the film to the Broadway stage; most notably Rafiki was changed to a female character. Songs and scenes were added, including the song “Morning Report,” which was later added into the Platinum Edition release of the animated film. The show has had several international productions. In April 2012, it became the highest-grossing Broadway show of all time with $853.8 million in profit, and is the fifth-longest running show in Broadway history.

November 12

November 12, 1932 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Klondike Kid is Released to Theaters

“Guess we’re both nobodys.”

On November 12, 1932, the Mickey Mouse short film The Klondike Kid was released to theaters. The short was directed by Wilfred Jackson, and stars Walt Disney as Mickey Mouse, Marcellite Garner as Minnie Mouse, Pinto Colvig as Goofy and Pluto, and Billy Bletcher as Pierre.

The short opens at the Klondike Bar in the middle of a blizzard, but inside, the atmosphere is merry with many people drinking and dancing. Mickey is playing the piano, and scrapes up the change people throw at him when he finishes. As he gathers the coins, he notices at the window a girl, who faints in the snow. He rescues her, bringing her into the warmth. She begins to cry, and when Mickey asks her name, she responds that she’s just “nobody.” She laughs at his jokes, and warms up to him when he offers her some food.

After Pierre kidnaps the girl, Mickey uses Pluto as his sled dog and pursue the villain

The door of the bar bursts open, and in storms Peg Leg Pierre, who attacks Mickey and pins him to the wall before he kidnaps the girl. As she screams in terror, many of the patrons try to help her, but are prevented by an ensuing gunfight. Pierre steals her away, but Mickey frees himself and chases after her. He harnesses Pluto as his sled dog, but Pluto gets the idea of running only after he spots a rabbit to chase. The sled breaks, and Mickey finds himself skiing down the hill into Pierre’s hideout.

Inside Pierre’s cabin, Mickey and Pierre fight and the two are caught in mattress springs. Meanwhile’s Pluto’s rabbit chase ends with him snowballing down the hill and knocking Pierre’s cabin from its foundation. As the short ends, Pierre is knocked out, and Mickey and the girl attempt to kiss, only to kiss Pluto, who pops out of the snow in between them.

November 11

November 11, 1953 – The Donald Duck Short Film Working for Peanuts is Released to Theaters

“I don’t know – let’s open it and see! Look, two nuts!”

On November 11, 1953, the Donald Duck short film Working for Peanuts was released to theaters. Filmed in 3D, it was shown at Disneyland as part of an attraction called 3D Jamboree, and was later shown at Walt Disney World as part of the Magic Journeys attraction. The short was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Nick George and Roy Williams, and stars Clarence Nash as the voice of Donald Duck.

The short begins with Chip and Dale storing acorns in their tree for the winter, when Dale accidentally throws Chip a peanut instead of an acorn. They open up the shell of the nut and are surprised to see two nuts inside. They each take one, and like it so much that they run off to find more. Their search leads them to the zoo, where the crowds are throwing peanuts at the elephant named Dolores; the sight of all the nuts causes the chipmunks to drool. As Dale rushes to grab the nuts, Chip stops him, having caught sight of the caretaker, Donald Duck.

When Dale is caught stealing Dolores’ peanuts, he tries to bribe the elephant with one of the nuts

Once Donald leaves, the two get to work gathering some of Dolores’ peanuts. The elephant is alarmed at their thievery, but sets to work getting her peanuts back. The two can only watch as she uses her trunk to deplete their supply from the tree. As Chip and Dale retaliate, hitting her with a tree branch, Dolores runs to Donald for help. Donald chases after them, but knocks himself unconscious in the process. After Dolores revives Donald, he spies the pair tap dancing, “working for peanuts” as one customer puts it. The chase begins again, with the chipmunks knocking over a bucket of white paint. Seeing Dale drenched in the paint gives Chip an idea.

There’s a knock at the door of the zoo, which Donald opens to reveal a package that contains “genuine albino chipmunks.” The instructions for the creatures include to “feed only select grade A peanuts (and humor them).”  Donald is excited about the find, and gives them a special place to stay. Dolores provides them with a swimming pool, and without thinking, Dale rushes in, losing the paint from his bottom half before Chip is able to pull him from the water. However, they fool Donald and Dolores into thinking Dale is only wearing suspenders, and remain at the zoo, happy and provided with all the peanuts they could ever want.