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Monthly Archives: February 2014

February 8

February 8, 2009 – The Disney Channel Original Series Sonny With a Chance Debuts

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“That’s me! I guess dreams really do come true!”

On February 8, 2009, the Disney Channel Original Series Sonny With a Chance debuted. The series follows the adventures of talented teenager Sonny Munroe after she becomes the new cast member of the live comedy sketch show So Random!. The series theme song, “So Far, So Great,” is performed by lead actress Demi Lovato. The series only lasted two seasons, ending when Lovato departed the show to recover from several health issues. The show was then retooled focus solely on the show-within-the-show, So Random!. The show became the second show where the lead actress left before the series was cancelled, and the fourth to have a major cast member leave during the series’ run.

The first episode, “Sketchy Beginnings” begins with an episode of So Random!, a sketch show for teenagers. The first sketch, “Dolphin Boy,” has cast member Grady play a character that’s half boy, half dolphin, cast member Nico playing Dolphin Boy’s friend, and Tawni playing the cheerleader Dolphin Boy has a crush on. Sonny is laughing as she watches the show, and sees the announcement that she’s the newest cast member of the show. Sonny soon lands in California, and shows up on the set with her mom Connie. They meet with Marshall Pike, the executive producer of the show, although he is a little rattled by Connie’s threats should Sonny not be treated right. Connie then leaves, and Sonny takes a tour of the studio. She soon meets cast members Zora, Grady, and Nico. Tawni walks in and starts bragging about being on the cover of a magazine, and when Sonny greets her, Tawni suddenly feels threatened.

While Sonny thinks she is in Tawni's dressing room, Marshall lets them both know that they share a room

While Sonny thinks she is in Tawni’s dressing room, Marshall lets them both know that they share a room

Tawni is forced to take Sonny on a tour of the studio, and when they get back to Tawni’s dressing room, Marshall informs the girls that Sonny is sharing Tawni’s dressing room, although her side is currently filled with Tawni’s gym equipment. Sonny tries to keep a positive attitude, but Tawni tells her to keep out of her spotlight. Sonny then joins the cast for Tawni’s “Queen Bee” sketch, trying to lay low and not cause any problems. Marshall stops the sketch, as it doesn’t seem to be working. Sonny reluctantly comes up with an idea, and is encouraged by the rest of the cast, save for Tawni. After the sketch is rewritten, Sonny is originally happy, but Tawni storms away, leaving Sonny unhappy. Sonny goes home and gets a pep talk from her mother, who encourages her to talk to Tawni and make things up. However, Sonny’s apology doesn’t go very well.

Sonny tries to work on the sketch with Tawni, but it ends up horribly, ending with Tawni injuring herself and accidentally shredding her favorite stuffed cat. They end up in Marshall’s office, and Sonny finally stands up for herself and writes a sketch that doesn’t include Tawni. The final sketch, “One Bad Bee” is performed on the show, with Sonny playing the main rapping bee. The sketch is a hit with the audience, and Sonny gets the chance to say the sign-off, but accidentally whacks Tawni in the nose.

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February 7

February 7, 2004 – Pixar’s Finding Nemo Wins Nine Annie Awards

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“Sweeping all nine categories it was nominated in, the Disney/Pixar collaboration Finding Nemo proved to be the big winner at the 31st annual Annie Awards.”

On February 7, 2004, the 31st Annie Awards were held at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California. In all nine categories it was nominated, Pixar’s Finding Nemo took home the award, including the one for Best Animated Feature, beating out Warner Brothers’ Looney Toons: Back in Action, Les Armateurs’ Les Triplettes de Belleville, Go Fish Pictures’ Sennen Joyuu, and Walt Disney Feature Animation’s Brother Bear. Finding Nemo was also awarded for Character Animation (awarded to animator Doug Sweetland), Character Design in an Animated Feature Production (awarded to animator Ricky Nierva), Directing in an Animated Feature Production (awarded to Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich), Effects Animation (awarded to Martin Nguyen), Music in an Animated Feature Production (awarded to Thomas Newman), Production Design in an Animated Feature Production (awarded to Ralph Eggleston), Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production (awarded to Ellen DeGeneres), and Writing in an Animated Feature Production (awarded to Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, and Dave Reynolds); the short film Boundin’ also won an award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Short Subject.

February 6

February 6, 1948 – The Goofy Short Film The Big Wash is Released to Theaters

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“I’m a-gonna warsh Dolorious, she’s a-gonna look glorious!”

On February 6, 1948, the Goofy short film The Big Wash was released to theaters. The name of the elephant, Dolores, is an allusion to Walt’s secretary, Dolores Voght. It was directed by Clyde Geronimi, with story by Bill Berg and Milt Banta.

It’s early morning at a circus fairground, and elephant Dolores wakes up to find that she has no food in her bowl. She peeks into Goofy’s trailer and decides to wake him by shaking him violently with her trunk. When that doesn’t work, she shakes the trailer, breaking it apart. This also doesn’t work, so she decides to trumpet loudly into his ear. He finally gets up and sets to work, singing a merry song while he does. She searches his belongings and finds a peanut he had stashed away for her. He then gets her bath ready, although she flees as she hates baths. When she sees the tub, she refuses to get in and tries to run, but Goofy chases after her with a hose. However, he gets tangled up in the hose as it pulls him back to the faucet like a yoyo.

Dolores puts on a disguise to sneak past Goofy and skip her bath

Dolores puts on a disguise to sneak past Goofy and skip her bath

Dolores disguises herself in an old clown’s outfit to escape bath time, and Goofy falls for the disguise, allowing her to slip by. She then plays a prank on Goofy, letting water go in the hose so that it fills up Goofy’s clothes. As Goofy tries to walk, his clothes give out and sends water everywhere. Goofy continues his search for Dolores and chases her across the fairground. When he finally catches her, he chains her feet to the ground to keep her in one place. However, as he climbs the ladder to reach her back, she holds the ladder up high; when he reaches the top, he plummets to the ground, dropping everything, including a box of soap. The soap powder flies everywhere, and causes Dolores to sneeze, freeing her from her chains and sending Goofy flying into an ad on the fence. Goofy finally manages to give Dolores a bath, although she continues to sneeze thanks to the soap, causing more problems for Goofy when she lands on him.

February 5

February 5, 2013 – Brave Wins Four Awards at the 11th Annual VES Awards

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“Each year, we put a spotlight on artists’ acheivements in visual effects that today more than ever define the experience of going to the cinema.” – Jeffrey A. Okun, Chair of the Visual Effects Society

On February 5, 2013, the 11th Annual Visual Effect Society (VES) Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Brave tied with Life of Pi as the most honored films of the evening, each winning four awards. Brave’s awards included Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture for Mark Andrews, Steve May, Katherine Sarafian, and Bill Wise; Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture for Travis Hathaway, Olivier Soares, Peter Sumanaseni, and Brian Tindall for the design of Merida; Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture for Tim Best, Steve Pilcher, Inigo Quilez, and Andrew Whittock’s design of the forest; and Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture for Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Michael K. O’Brien, and Bill Watral.

February 4

February 4, 1984 – The Exhibit Backstage Magic Opens in Epcot

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“Join your hostess Julie and her electronic sidekick I/O for a tour through Epcot’s Computer Central, the computer hub of Epcot Center.”

On February 4, 1984, the Epcot exhibit Backstage Magic opened in Epcot’s Communicore East. It replaced the Astuter Computer Review (1982 – 1984), and ran until October 1, 1993. It was hosted by a woman named Julie and her sidekick I/O, which stands for Input/Output. The attraction explained to guests how the Audio-Animatronic characters in the park work through the use of computers. Its closing was part of a major closing of Communicore, which reopened again in 1994 as Innoventions.

February 3

February 3, 1986 – Pixar Animation Studios is Founded

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“The best scientists and engineers are just as creative as the best storytellers.” – Steve Jobs

On February 3, 1986, the Pixar Animation Studios was founded by Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, and Steve Jobs. Its history goes back to 1979, when Ed Catmull was recruited by George Lucas to head Lucasfilm’s new Computer Division. In 1983, after being fired by Disney, Jon Lasseter was brought on to the graphics group of the Computer Division as an “interface designer,” with the goal of having Lasseter bring the group one step closer to the dream of creating a computer animated film. Working together, the group created the short film The Adventures of Andre & Wally B, which was shown at the computer graphics conference SIGGRAPH to critical acclaim for its groundbreaking software developed to create the squash-and-stretch and motion blur techniques. The group also created the Pixar Image Computer, used mostly in government and medical communities (although Disney purchased a number of computers for what would later become the Computer Animation Production System, or CAPS). However, although this software and computer were the most powerful and impressive of their day, Lucas’ interest in the company waned, as he didn’t want to run a company selling software. Catmull and Smith gained Lucas’ blessing to spin off the company and call it Pixar, and found an investor in entrepreneur Steve Jobs, who invested $10 million into the struggling group.

In 1987, Pixar’s short film Luxo Jr. became the first 3D computer animated short film to be nominated for an Academy Award, and the lamp became the symbol of the company; in 1989, Pixar would win an Academy Award for their short film Tin Toy. To keep the company afloat while still working toward their dream, Pixar did commercial work for companies like Tropicana and Trident Gum. Pixar was then able to work on a collaborative effort with Walt Disney Studios, helping develop CAPS further, and Pixar also developed RenderMan, which became an industry standard in computer graphics. Despite all these technical advancements, the company was not able to make a profit, and Jobs contemplated selling it, with Microsoft being one of the potential buyers. Lasseter pitched an idea to the Walt Disney Studios about Pixar creating a 30 minute holiday special based on the award winning short Tin Toy; Disney thought that the short had a potential of being a full-length feature film, and gave Pixar the chance of reaching their dream. The film, Toy Story, became a spectacular success, grossing over $360 million at the box office. Since then, Pixar founded their studio in Emeryville, California, in 2000, and in 2006, was purchased by Disney. Pixar has had an unprecedented string of hits unlike any studio in history, with hit films including a bug’s life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Brave.

February 2

February 2, 1992 – The Dixie Landings Resort Hotel Opens in Walt Disney World

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“Discover a place where simple pleasures flourish and Southern hospitality abounds.”

On February 2, 1992, the Dixie Landings Resort Hotel opened in Walt Disney World. Using the theme of the Old South, the resort was a moderately-priced hotel, featuring 2,048 rooms. It contained a souvenir shop and restaurants, located in Colonel’s Cotton Mill, which was built to resemble a steamship. The souvenir shop was called Fulton’s General Store, and the restaurant contained at the resort was Boatwright’s Dining Hall. On April 1, 2001, the resort was combined with the Port Orleans Resort, and was renamed the Port Orleans: Riverside; the restaurant and souvenir shop kept their names and were not changed.

February 1

February 1, 1947 – Imagineer, Former Senior Vice President of Creative Development, and Disney Legend Tony Baxter is Born

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“The names on those windows gave the world a very magical kingdom, but more importantly, created a yardstick by which everything that’s followed Disneyland has been measured…to be included with them here at Disneyland is, to me, the ultimate honor.”

On February 1, 1947, Tony Wayne Baxter was born in Los Angeles, California. Baxter was interested in Disney from a young age, fortuitously growing up at the time and place where Disneyland opened and flourished. At age 17, he began working at the park as an ice cream scooper at Carnation Plaza Gardens. After peeking behind the scenes of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, he ran into Imagineer Claude Coats, who offered to give Baxter a tour of the then-unfinished ride. His love for Disney attractions continued through college, where he created a design for a Mary Poppins-themed ride for a course project. This project was brought to the attention of WED (now known as WDI – Walt Disney Imagineering), and they offered him an in-depth look at Imagineering. After college, Baxter was given a job in WED, and his first project was the Walt Disney World version of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction, where he served as the field art director. After this, Baxter helped develop some of the most loved attractions in the parks, the first being Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, opening in Disneyland in 1979 and designed by both Baxter and mentor Claude Coats.

In 1983, Baxter oversaw one of the biggest projects at the Disneyland – the remodeling of Fantasyland. A walk-through was added inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and all the buildings were redesigned from a Renaissance theme to a Bavarian Village theme. In 1989, the attraction Splash Mountain debuted, with the initial idea for the attraction belonging to Baxter. He was also tapped to create attractions for the George Lucas partnership, which included Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure. Baxter is also credited for the Imagination pavilion in Walt Disney World’s Epcot park, the redesign of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, restoration of the Disney submarines for Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, renovation of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, revamp of Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, and the creation of Disneyland’s Fantasy Faire. 2013 became an important year for Baxter, as he not only announced that he would be stepping down from his role as Senior Vice President of Creative Development into a role of creative advisor and mentor, but he was awarded a window on Main Street, and honored as a Disney Legend.