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Tag Archives: Animation

September 2

September 2, 1919 – Actress, Dancer, and Disney Legend Marge Champion is Born

“The atmosphere was like a giant high school or college, as far as I was concerned. Mr. Disney, for me, was like a very friendly head principal.”

On September 2, 1919, Marge Champion, born as Marjorie Celeste Belcher, was born in Los Angeles, California. Champion had a talent for dancing at an early age, and trained under her father, Ernest Belcher, who was a noted ballet coach that taught the likes of Cyd Charisse and Shirley Temple. At the age of twelve, Champion was a ballet teacher in her own right at her father’s studio. Around 1933, a talent scout came to the dance studio, and asked her to audition for what would become Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Champion was chosen to be the live-action reference model for the titular character. Champion would continue to be a live-action model for Disney animated features, including modeling the characters of the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio and Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasia. While working at Disney, she met animator Art Babbitt and married him in 1937, though they divorced in 1940. Champion was also an actress in films outside the studio, appearing in films such as Honor of the West and Show Boat, the latter of which she appeared with her husband Gower Champion, whom she married in 1947. Along with film appearances, the pair also choreographed a few Broadway musical reviews, including Lend an Ear. She and Gower Champion divorced in 1973; Champion continued her career, working with actress Marilee Zdenek to publish two books: Catch the New Wind and God is a Verb. Champion is a Trustee Emeritus of the Williamstown Theater Festival of Massachusetts, as well as a member of the Advisory Board if the Berkshire Theatre Festival. For her work in helping to bring the classic Disney characters to life, she was honored as a Disney Legend in 2007.

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October 10

October 10, 2005 – The Animation Academy Opens in Disney California Adventure

“Discover how Disney characters are brought to life during a hands-on presentation with a Disney artist.”

On October 10, 2005, the Animation Academy opened in Disney California Adventure. This was the fourth version of this instructor-led animation school, with the first version having opened in Walt Disney World’s DisneyQuest in 1998. Guests can come in and learn from professional Disney animators on how to draw a variety of Disney characters. Animation Academy is located in the Disney Animation Building, where guests can learn more about the process of animation.

September 13

September 13, 1988 – The Television Special Roger Rabbit & the Secrets of Toon Town Premieres on CBS

“But now, there’s a new toon in town, and his name is Roger Rabbit.”

On September 13, 1988, the television special Roger Rabbit & the Secrets of Toon Town premiered on CBS. Hosted by Joanna Cassidy, the special took viewers behind the scenes of the hit combination live-action animation film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, featuring interviews with the actors behind the animated characters, the actors in the film, and those involved in creating the special effects, among others. The special also takes viewers behind the backstory of the film’s humble beginnings, and the history of the golden age of animation, ranging from the Walt Disney Studios to MGM Studios. The film also drew inspiration from early short films where animated characters were in the live-action world, and vice-versa. The special was directed by Les Mayfield.

May 7

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May 7, 2010 – The Disney Feature Animation Building is Renamed in Honor of Roy E. Disney

“Nobody appreciated what went on inside the building more than Roy Disney, so that is why we decided to put his name on the top of it.” – Bob Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company

On May 7, 2010, a special ceremony was held to remember Roy E. Disney as the Disney Feature Animation Building was renamed in his honor. Disney, who was one of the important players in saving Disney Animation in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, tragically passed away on December 16, 2009. The event, hosted by D23, also gave guests the opportunity to view two films with which Disney was heavily involved: the True-Life Fantasy Perri and the Disney animated feature film Fantasia 2000. The event was attended by producer Don Hahn, president and CEO Bob Iger, and Disney’s family.

April 20

April 20, 2010 – Pixar Canada Opens in Vancouver

“Located in beautiful Vancouver BC, Pixar Canada’s mission is to produce animated shorts and television specials, featuring characters from Pixar’s prior films.”

On April 20, 2010, the animation studio Pixar Canada opened in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The studio, an offshoot of Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California, was created to focus on Pixar’s short films, including Partysaurus Rex and Small Fry. The idea was to let this studio create the short films that would be packaged with Pixar films, or used in the Disney parks as a way to entertain guests during long wait times. Unfortunately, after only three years, Pixar closed down the studio to focus on its main studio in Emeryville, laying off close to 100 employees. However, Pixar’s interest in opening in Vancouver led to other animation studios setting up their own branch studios there.

January 29

January 29, 1920 – Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks Find Advertisement for Artists at the Kansas City Slide Company

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“Cartoon and wash drawings first class man wanted”

On January 29, 1920, an ad was placed in the Kansas City Star by the Kansas City Slide, asking for a man to do cartoons and wash drawings. The ad was spotted by Ub Iwerks, who discussed it with his friend Walt Disney, and the pair agreed that Walt should apply for the position. The pair were still working on establishing their own business, and Walt had only wanted to find a part-time position, but was encouraged by Ub to accept the $40 a week full-time job when it was offered. Although Ub had assured Walt that he could maintain their business while Walt worked at the Kansas City Slide Company, Ub did not possess the salesmanship that Walt had, and the business quickly crumbled; fortunately, Walt was able to convince his boss to hire Ub as well, and the pair would work at the company for a little over two years.

May 16

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May 16, 2009 – The Disney/Pixar Film Up Has its World Premiere

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“My favorite part of the film is the wonderful montage of just showing a life from early to late, and without words, and I’m really proud of us for doing that sequence.” – Bob Peterson, voice of Dug

On May 16, 2009, the Disney/Pixar film Up had its world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Many celebrities were on hand for the celebration, including Jon Voight, Barbara Eden, and several Disney Channel stars. Hollywood Boulevard was cleared for the decorations, which included thousands of balloons, street performers, and an appearance by Carl, Russell, and Dug themselves. The film would go on to have a general release on May 29, 2009.