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Tag Archives: Animation

July 20

July 20, 1981 – Time Magazine Features Article “The Great Era of Walt Disney”

“In these penciled instructions to guide animators as they drew Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, one can read the history of a popular art form as it attained its first – and perhaps only – golden age.”

On July 20, 1981, the issue of Time Magazine featured and article titled “The Great Era of Walt Disney.” Located in the cinema section, the article mused on the “golden age” of animation, particularly with the success of Disney animation, ranging from Mickey Mouse to full-length feature films. This was also notable as The Walt Disney Company was going through slump at the time, and it would be several years until there was a resurgence in Disney animated features, also known as the Disney Renaissance.

November 21

November 21, 1978 – The Library of Congress Holds the Exhibit Building a Better Mouse

“…a ground-breaking popular culture exhibition on display at the Library…”

On November 21, 1978, the exhibition Building a Better Mouse kicked off at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Running until January 30, 1979, the exhibit celebrated Mickey Mouse’s 50th birthday as well as “fifty years of animation,” as it was advertised. It was curated by animation historian J. Michael Barrier, and featured over 120 items, ranging from production art, to merchandise, to books; these items were from a variety of sources, including the Disney Archives and materials already in the hands of the Library of Congress.

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.

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.