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Tag Archives: Technique

May 2

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May 2, 1986 – The Circlevision Film Portraits of Canada Premieres at Expo ‘86

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On May 2, 1986, the world fair Expo ’86 was held in Vancouver, Canada, and featured the circlevision film Portraits of Canada, done in a joint production by Disney and Telecom Canada. The film gives guests a 360 degree tour of Canada over nine screens, similar to the Disneyland film America the Beautiful. After the Expo was over, the film was briefly shown in the Canadian Pavilion of Walt Disney World’s Epcot park.

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March 10

March 10, 1938 – Disney Wins Two Academy Awards for The Old Mill and the Multiplane Camera

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On March 10, 1938, the 10th Academy Awards were held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Disney’s groundbreaking short film The Old Mill, which was the first use of the multiplane camera and features realistic depictions of nature, won the Academy Award for Best Short Film, beating Paramount’s Color Classic Educated Fish and Columbia’s The Little Match Girl. The use of the multiplane on this short served as a testing ground for work on the feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Creators of the multiplane camera were further honored at this ceremony by winning a special Academy Scientific and Technical Award

February 10

February 10, 2014 – The Stop-Motion Animated Short Film Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story is Released Through Google Play

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“When you are born blank in a painted world, love can give you color.”

On February 10, 2014, the stop-motion short film Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story was released through Google Play, after a release at the El Capitan Theater on February 3. It was directed by Greg Shewchuk, Paul Foyder, Michael Ambs, Whitfield Scheidegger, and Regina Roy.

The short begins with the character Blank being released into the painted world, and soon spotting Bow, a similarly blank Vinyl. Bow gives Blank a bow tie, and the two watch the sunrise together, with Blank giving Bow a flower. The mood quickly changes when a strange creature arrives and takes Blank Minnie away on a train. Not wanting to lose his love, Blank Mickey hops on the top of the train as it rolls along, and sets off on an adventure to find her, making unlikely friendships, traveling through the woods at night, and doing whatever it takes to find her.

January 24

January 24, 1906 – Animator, Director, and Disney Legend Wilfred Jackson is Born

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“Jackson was easily the most creative of directors, but he was also the most ‘picky’ and took a lot of kidding about his thoroughness.” – Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

On January 24, 1906, Wilfred Jackson was born in Chicago, Illinois. After attending the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, he went to the Walt Disney Studios to ask for a job; although not officially hired by the Studio, he washed cels and assisted the animators. Jackson rose quickly through the studio ranks, and shortly after he arrived in the animation department, he created the method of synchronizing sound to the animation for the Mickey Mouse short film Steamboat Willie. It would take rival studios over a year to figure out how the trick was done. Jackson would go on to direct 35 short films, with three winning Academy Awards; he would also help direct segments of animated feature films, including the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment in Fantasia. As Disney entered television, Jackson moved into the new medium, directing 13 episodes of the Walt Disney anthology series. In 1965, Jackson retired from the Disney Studios. He passed away on August 7, 1988. In 1998, Jackson was honored as a Disney Legend in the field of animation.

December 23

December 23, 1954 – The Donald Duck Short Film Grand Canyonscope is Released to Theaters

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“If we all threw rocks into the canyon, pretty soon we wouldn’t have a canyon, would we?”

On December 23, 1954, the Donald Duck short film Grand Canyonscope was released to theaters. Donald is the only classic character of the main Disney characters to appear in Cinemascope with this short film; this film also appeared months before Lady and the Tramp, the studio’s first widescreen release. It was directed by C. August Nichols, with story by Milt Schaffer and Nick George.

Donald is on vacation at the Grand Canyon, with Ranger J. Audubon Woodlore serving as the tour guide for the national monument. Donald gets in trouble almost immediately when he attempts to throw a rock from the viewing ledge. Donald then attempts to help a sand painter, but is once again thwarted by Woodlore. No matter what Donald attempts to do, Woodlore is always there to stop the trouble. Finally, the group goes on a burro ride down the canyon, with Donald taking several pictures. The camera’s flash blinds Donald’s burro, and takes Donald on a rather loopy ride around the canyon before Donald falls from his ride. Woodlore catches Donald, then lectures him about leaving his burro behind. The two go and search for the burro, when Woodlore, thinking that he’s found it, accidentally pulls out a mountain lion. The lion, angered at being woken up, chases after Donald and Woodlore while the other tourists just watch. Woodlore continues to lecture the pair while the chase continues and destroys the entire canyon. Angered by Donald and the lion’s actions, Woodlore lays down the law: “When a natural object is marred or defaced, it must be restored to its original state.” After this, he throws the pair some shovels, as they must now dig to create a new Grand Canyon.

September 18

September 18, 1986 – The Film Attraction Captain EO Premieres in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland

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“We are here to change the world.”

On September 18, 1986, the film attraction Captain EO premiered in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. This was the second opening of the film, as it originally opened in Walt Disney World’s Epcot on September 12 of the same year. This film, a musical science-fiction adventure, replaced the Magic Journeys 3D film, and had a budget of almost $24 million. The film is considered one of the first 4D films, meaning that it not only uses the 3D film technique, but adds another dimension with in-theater effects, including lasers and smoke. The plot involves Captain EO and his crew of space creatures who battle the Supreme Leader and her army of darkness using the power of music and dance. Lead actor Michael Jackson wrote two songs for the film: “Another Part of Me” (which would later appear on the album Bad), and “We Are Here to Change the World.” The movie closed on September 1, 1996; it reopened on July 1, 2010, to honor the legacy of Michael Jackson after his death, and closed again on June 30, 2014. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, written by Rusty Lemorande, and executively produced by George Lucas. The film starred Michael Jackson, Anjelica Huston, and Dick Shawn.

August 25

August 25, 1989 – The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Opens in Walt Disney World’s Disney-MGM Studios

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“Cheer on Indy and Marion as they perform amazing stunts with blazing special effects to demonstrate movie-making magic.”

On August 25, 1989, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular opened in Walt Disney World’s Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Hollywood Studios). Guests are taken behind the scenes of the hit film series to learn how the special effects and stunts are performed. A select number of guests are picked from the audience to act as extras, wearing costumes to fit the scene. After the show, guests can stick around to take pictures with Indy.

August 15

August 15, 2003 – The Epcot Attraction Mission: SPACE Opens

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“Fulfill your fantasy of being an astronaut as you dodge meteors, navigate nebulae, and slingshot around the moon.”

On August 15, 2003, the attraction Mission: SPACE opened in Epcot’s Future World area. Guests can choose one of two missions: the Orange Team (intense training), or the Green Team (easy training). After choosing a mission, guests become astronauts, and are placed as part of a 4-cadet crew to explore Mars. After being assigned to one of four roles – navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer – the crew will be given special instructions to initiate during the flight. The attraction itself uses centrifuge technology to create the effects of a shuttle launch. The training video features actor Gary Sinise as the head of the mission. After the mission is over, guests can head to the Simulation Lab to view a genuine NASA Lunar Roving Vehicle, or head to the Mission: SPACE Advanced Training Lab to play other interactive activities.

July 16

July 16, 1997 – The Live-Action Feature Film George of the Jungle is Released to Theaters

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“He is swift, he is strong, he is sure, he is smart, he is unconscious.”

On July 16, 1997, the live-action feature film George of the Jungle was released to theaters. It was based on the animated series of the same name, produced by Jay Ward and Bill Scott back in the late 1960s. The film makes great use of the radio telemetry system designed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop for the movements of the animals in the film. The film, although receiving mixed reviews, went on to be a box office success, earning more than $174 million. It was written by Dana Olsen and Audrey Wells, and directed by Sam Weisman. The film stars Brendan Fraser as George, Leslie Mann as Ursula, Thomas Haden Church as Lyle, Greg Cruttwell as Max, Abraham Benrubi as Thor, Holland Taylor as Ursula’s mother, and John Cleese as the voice of Ape.

The film begins with an animated sequence about a plane crash in the Bukuvu, located in the heart of Africa, where a baby named George was separated from his family and raised in the jungle. Twenty-five years later, George is the somewhat klutzy King of the Jungle. A ways away, an heiress named Ursula is exploring Africa with a group of explorers, when her fiancée Lyle shows up to surprise her. Lyle manages to annoy Ursula’s tour guides, although his thugs Max and Thor bring up the legend of the “White Ape,” which intrigues the thugs (for financial reasons), and Ursula (for curiosity’s sake). The apes warn George about the intruders as they approach Ape Mountain. Lyle insults the guides more and more, and after the guides embarrass him in retaliation, he grabs Ursula and takes her into the jungle to find the White Ape. Unfortunately, they are met with a lion. Lyle tries to run away and knocks himself unconscious, but George steps in and saves Ursula, sweeping her away on a vine; he accidentally knocks her out, however, when he hits a tree. Lyle wakes up to see George carrying her away, and thinks the White Ape has kidnapped Ursula. He then pretends that he’s been viciously attacked to get the sympathy of the tour group.

After she passes out, George takes Ursula back to his treehouse to recover

After she passes out, George takes Ursula back to his treehouse to recover

George takes Ursula back to his treehouse, and she wakes up the next morning to find her savior. She comes across an ape named Ape bringing her breakfast, and is frightened beyond belief. She passes out again after she hears Ape talk, and when George tries to help her, he discovers that she’s the female of his species, which he finds strange as he’s never met a girl before. After she wakes up again, she thanks George for saving her life, and asks him for help in finding her group. He calls for his “dog,” an elephant named Shep, and they head off to find Lyle and her group. After a while, however, she forgets all about Lyle and decides to just enjoy her adventure with George. George gets the news from the Tooky Tooky bird that a small monkey needs George’s help, and they rush to the rescue. Ursula is touched by how George helps the little monkey. She is less than enthusiastic about trying vine swinging again, even more so when George crashes into a tree.

Later, Ape realizes that George has fallen in love with Ursula, and tries to teach George how to make Ursula his mate, which does not go well when put into practice. George tries again later with more human methods, and the two dance together. Lyle’s group continues to search for Ursula, with the hopes in capturing the White Ape. Max and Thor are disappointed in finding that George is the White Ape, and Lyle decides to go in and take Ursula back while threatening George with his lighter, which looks convincingly like a gun. Thor gets ready to shoot Shep for his ivory, but Ape jumps in the way and tells Shep to run for his life. Upon hearing Ape talk, Max decides that they’ll get their fortune by kidnapping Ape and making him perform. George tries to save Ape, but Lyle shoots George with his lighter, which turns out to be a real gun after all. Ursula takes George back to the San Francisco, Max and Thor are going to be deported, and Lyle is arrested for shooting George. Ursula takes George back to her apartment, where he is overwhelmed by her concrete jungle.

Ursula takes George into the city to get some clothes and adjust to the new jungle

Ursula takes George into the city to get some clothes and adjust to the new jungle

The next morning, her best friend Betsy arrives, and is immediately attracted to George, although she realizes that Ursula is stuck on George. As Ursula helps George get acclimated to the human world, the animals are going crazy while missing George. Later Ursula heads to work, warning George to stay in the apartment. However, George decides to venture outside, exploring San Francisco, and deciding to climb the Bay Bridge. He spies a parasailer stuck in the cables of the bridge, and decides to swing in on a cord and save the man. Ursula is watching the action unfold on television at her job and rushes to the Bay Bridge. George saves the man, but is whisked away by the parasail. He ends up flying into the boat nearby where Ursula is, and she is happy to see him, giving him a great big hug. Unfortunately, Ursula’s meddling mother sees the action unfolding as well. Meanwhile, in the jungle, Max and Thor finally kidnap Ape, although Ape is sure to send Tooky Tooky to find George.

Ursula finally tells her parents the truth: she doesn’t want to marry Lyle. Her mother is furious, but her father is more understanding. George, however, doesn’t make the best first impression, as he crashes into the cake. Ursula’s mother decides to take matters into her own hands, and threatens George to stay away from her daughter. Later that night, Tooky Tooky finds George and gives him the bad news about Ape. Although reluctant to leave Ursula, he does, but leaves her his good luck charm. The next morning, Ursula goes to her parents, wondering why George left. She finds that her mother had something to do with George’s leaving, and finally realizes that she is indeed in love with George. Understanding this, she decides to go after George. George finally makes it back to Africa, after shipping himself there by UPS, and rushes off to save Ape. He arrives at the mangled treehouse, just in time to find Max and Thor, along with Ape, and decides to attack. Shep arrives with Tooky Tooky to help George, as does Ursula. With their help, George defeats the thugs and saves Ape. Unfortunately, before Ursula can tell George that she loves him, Lyle appears, having broken out of jail to join a small cult. The members of the cult capture George, allowing Lyle to take Ursula away to marry her, as the cult has made him an ordained minister.

George is able to break free and save Ursula from Lyle

George is able to break free and save Ursula from Lyle, and she finally tells him that she loves him

George gets help from his brother apes and Shep, and runs after Ursula. Lyle drags Ursula through the jungle, and they end up careening down Ape River. George finally catches up with them, and manages to save Ursula after crashing into a tree. Lyle meets an unfortunate end, accidentally marrying a female ape. Soon after, Ursula and George get married in the jungle, and everyone celebrates. They are later seen living in the jungle with their young son, with George remarking that “he’s just lucky.” Meanwhile, Ape heads off to be a headliner in Las Vegas.

July 4

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July 4, 1984 – The Circle-Vision Attraction American Journeys Opens in Disneyland

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“A new vision of America’s people, heritage, and breathtaking beauty. A spectacular motion picture odyssey.”

On July 4, 1984, the Circle-Vision film attraction American Journeys opened in Disneyland. The film uses the Circle-Vision 360° technique, also used in Epcot’s O Canada! and Wonders of China; the technique includes nine screens arranged in a circle, with nine cameras used to film the scenery, giving the audience the perspective of really being in the scene. American Journeys, like its predecessor America the Beautiful, captured many highlights of the United States. A version of the film opened in Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland on September 15, 1984, as well as in Tokyo Disneyland on May 17, 1986. The Disneyland attraction ended its run on July 7, 1996.