After watching The Tony awards last night, I remembered that there was a song from a Disney movie that talks about New York City. "Once Upon a Time in New York City" from the Disney's 1988 animated movie, Oliver & Company.
Filtering by Category: Walt Disney Pictures
Over the weekend, The Little Mermaid was shown at the Hollywood Bowl in a live concert with a huge audience filled with many Disney fans. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I wasn't able to personally attend but had several family members and friends who went. They really loved it and were treated to memorable live performances that included a surprise guest at the end of the night...Jodi Benson (the original voice of Ariel).
One of the elements that make The Little Mermaid a well-loved Disney classic is due to its music. It was the first collaboration of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman with Disney. They successfully brought some of their Broadway music magic to a Disney animated film. Menken and Ashman were awarded an Oscar for Best Original Score and also a Grammy for Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Everyone has their favorite song from The Little Mermaid. These songs are very popular on any Karaoke playlist. There are many clips on the internet of the LIVE Little Mermaid concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Go to this post from Entertainment Weekly to see their "Top 5" highlights from the concert. The most talked about moment seems to be Rebel Wilson's performance of "Poor Unfortunate Souls". Wilson "crushed it".
Happy Music Monday!
I love all kinds of stationary and that includes really fun letterhead. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, letterhead is defined as follows:
the name and address of an organization (such as a company) that is printed at the top of a piece of paper used for writing official letters; also : paper that has the name and address of an organization printed at the top
I usually go on eBay to see what kind of Disney type of stationary is out there. Over the years that the Walt Disney Company has been around, there has been letterhead for their movie productions, Park divisions, and other Disney events. Whenever there is name change for Disney divisions or logo updates, there is new letterhead. When I worked at Disneyland, I received variety of correspondence that included special letterhead to commemorate milestones like Park anniversaries.
Here's one example of Disneyland letterhead that was used in the 1990s. Remember that this time period is before the existence of Disney California Adventure.
I recently discovered a retro pack of Disney letterhead compiled by the Walt Disney Archives that I purchased through Amazon. There are two different versions and each has 40 sheets of letterhead (5 each of 8 designs).
It is going to be fun to mail some of these out to my reproductions to my friends who are Disney fans. Getting some pretty snail mail these days is a plus. I posted another idea in this post about an idea of how to turn some of this Disney letterhead into a reusable memo board.
A couple years ago, I discovered this really great site called, Letters of Note. I liked it for not just some of the awesome post of correspondence from famous people but it really highlights the art to letter writing through decades. You can do a search on this site for "Disney" or "Walt Disney" and there are several blog posts related to specific Disney letters like this one and my one of favorites from Disney Legend Ward Kimball on Walt Disney Productions letterhead.
Take some time to write a note to a special someone and put it in the mail.
Have a magical day!
Last week, MacSparky and I were able to attend a special 25th Anniversary Beauty and the Beast event hosted at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. There was a fabulous panel prior to viewing the movie that consisted of the actors, artists, and production team involved in the 30th Disney Animated movie. Disney had given the Academy a 70mm original theatrical release print for their Academy Film Archive. So watching this particular film reel in a mixed audience of fans and film industry people made for a great evening.
In the 25 years since its release, much has been written this Oscar nominated film. It set the bar for many Disney films to follow. The computer-generated animation at this time was revolutionary. The characters and music have become classic favorites. After hearing from the panel and viewing the movie, there were 3 things that I learned about Beauty and the Beast.
1. Always start with a good story & create some memorable characters.
Beauty and the Beast was adapted from a French fairy tale. It took some time to get to the way they were going to re-tell this story with the Disney touch. The studio began with one idea, scratched it and then started again. Linda Woolverton was given credit for "Animation Screenplay" which was a new term/role for Disney. It is noteworthy that Beauty and the Beast was the first animated Disney movie to be scripted by a woman. The main characters were re-shaped little different than traditional fairy tales. Belle, the heroine was not looking for a prince and and she was also a bit older than Disney characters like Ariel or Snow White. The villain, Gaston, was a handsome fellow. The simple story of "don't judge a book by its cover" was brought to life through an endearing cast of characters.
2. The Broadway formula was brought to Disney films.
Disney actively brought the Broadway musical foundation to Disney movies. Howard Ashman was not only one of the composers of the well known Beauty and the Beast music, but also credited as an executive producer. Disney first brought Ashman in with The Little Mermaid and its success validated this new component to making Disney animated movies. Both Ashman and Alan Menken were instrumental in the storyboard process in order to integrate the music. The songs were interwoven into the story.
3. Beauty and the Beast pushed the edges of technology
During the making of Beauty and the Beast, the production team peaked into how technology and animation could live together. Walt Disney would have loved this challenge. IT is impressive at the Belle and Beast were not animated like ballroom scene. The video below is good footage of the production team explaining how they had to think of using technology in a Disney animated film.
The ballroom scene is an example of the beginning of the end of a traditional animated film. Once audiences could accept computer animation, things changed and they themselves became the disrupter to Disney animation.
The Academy filmed most of the panel discussions and you can view both official photos and videos HERE. Here are photos of the program that was distributed at this event.
Some final notes:
The event was billed under the Marc Davis Celebration of Animation. Not only was Marc Davis an active and respected member of the Academy but he is more familiar as a Disney Legend responsible the art concept of classic Disneyland Attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean. He is also credited for creating animated classic Disney characters like Tinkerbell and Malificent. His widow and also a Disney Legend, Alice Davis, was present in the audience at this event.
Howard Ashman was so very much involved in the entire process of Beauty and the Beast. I could hear the love and affection many of the panelists had for Ashman. He would not live to see the completion of the movie nor enjoy all the accolades and awards that Beauty and the Beast would earn.
I remember seeing this movie for the first time with MacSparky. I thought it was fitting to have a fun date night with him to once again see this classic Disney movie in a big theater. Our kids have only ever watched it on the television. 25 years goes fast. Beauty and the Beast is "a tale as old as time."
Take some time to watch one of your favorite Disney movies this weekend. Happy Friday!
"Lavender's Blue" is actually an English folk song. It is also sometimes referred to as a nursery rhyme. It became the basis for a Disney song called "Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)" which was written for the 1949 Disney movie, So Dear to My Heart. With words from Larry Morey and music by Eliot Daniel, "Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)", was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (1949). Burl Ives sung the song in the movie. Ives is best known for being the narrator-singer of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Last year, the song made a re-appearance in the live-action Cinderella movie. You can hear Cinderella's mom singing this sweet song in the beginning of the movie.
It's got a catchy tune and is cheerful. If you want to watch a sweet movie from the Disney vault, check out So Dear to My Heart. It had really good reviews when it first premiered. Walt had a hand in making the movie and the story is somewhat reflective of the life that he and his brother, Roy, might have experienced as kids growing up in Missouri.
Happy Music Monday!
My sweet kids are always sharing their own Disney finds with me. One of them told me about specific movie theaters that offer "DISNEY SCREEN". The theater offers weekly themed program of Disney films. It can be an assortment of classic, new and live action films. For example, the current offering is "Cats Week" with films like The Aristocats, African Cats, The Tigger Movie and Oliver and Company. In a couple weeks they have "Mad Science Week" with the movies like Tron and Flubber.
The four movies offered all play in that one day. You can spend an entire day watching some great Disney movies for $5. There are also some other ticket options that are weekly, monthly or quarterly. It's a pretty good value and a great way to spend time with your Disney friends or family. Make some fun Disney memories watching these Disney films on the big screen.
So check out Disney Screen to see if there is movie theater that offers these Disney films near you.
It was written by Sammy Fain (music) and Sammy Cahn (lyrics). Fain also wrote music for Alice in Wonderland and The Rescuers. Before composers like Alan Menken, there was Sammy Cahn. Cahn has had his share of Oscar nominations for Best Song and won the Academy Award for songs like All The Way and High Hopes. Both of these songs were made famous by Frank Sinatra. Cahn also worked on some songs for Broadway musicals. One of his most famous collaborations is with songwriter, Jule Styne, with songs like The Christmas Waltz and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.
The background vocals for The Second Star to the Right is sung by The Jud Conlon Chorus and The Mellomen. You can hear this song in the opening credits of the movie. Seeing all the great Disney Legends in this video clip also makes you appreciate the Disney heritage involved in this particular film.
There is a segment in the new Disneyland night parade, Paint the Night, that plays a chorus of this song:
The second star to the right
Shines in the night for you
To tell you that the dreams you plan
Really can come true
Happy Music Monday!
I got chance to watch Disney's newest movie release, Zootopia and I liked it.
I had already seen an extended trailer that had been showing at Disney California Adventure. It was funny enough and I had hopes that there would be more funny scenes in the movie. I'll admit that my expectations were low going into the screening so it was easy to get to the "I like it" factor.
Zootopia takes place in a make believe world where humans don't exist and animals have created an orderly and civilized world. Check out THIS TRAILER to understand the "anthropomorphic" Zooptopia characters. All animals (preys, predators) live together, work together and live in Zooptopia harmony.
I won't give away the movie but here are my quick takeaways from my screening:
Don't judge a book by its cover.
Follow your dreams. Don't give up.
1. DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
It's easy to assume things about someone by what they wear, the kind of work they do, and maybe where they live. You can't know someone's story until you turn the pages to get more details about their life events that may have shaped who they are today. It's easy to hide behind a stereotype given to you but it takes courage to show someone that it's not true AND that there is so much more.
With this lesson also comes the need to be tolerant and acceptance of people who may look and act different from you. In Zooptopia, Judy Hopps (rabbit) and Nick Wilde (fox) are two unlikely partners that have to work together to solve a crime. These two characters have to get past the stereotypes associated with their species in order to save Zootopia from a villain.
2. TRY EVERYTHING
Why be content with having vanilla ice cream all the time? There are so many flavors out there to try. You have to try every flavor and decide for yourself if you like it or not. Making choices might mean some risks but you have take some in order to grow, learn, and build upon who you are. Life experiences can be enhanced if you just "try."
3. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. DON'T GIVE UP
There is nothing wrong in having a big dream. If you are passionate about your dream, than take steps to make them come true. That may mean going to school to learn your craft, getting some training, and having a mentor. Don't let things like your physical size, your living circumstances, or your gender (in Zooptopia's case it is species) stop you. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something that you really want with all your heart. Finally, don't let anyone tell you that "can't" (consider it a four letter word).
"You can do anything you want." - Judy Hopps
Zootopia is the 55th Disney animated feature film. You'll recognize some familiar voices in the large cast of new Disney characters. The animation is fabulous. I had to remind myself that it was all 3D computer animation. The story moves at a good pace. My teenage daughter and I both stated that we noted some social commentary in the Zooptopia world. If you are familiar with The Godfather, there is a scene and character that will make you laugh. Kids won't get but you will.
Just go see it. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
This past Saturday, Halloween, my family I spent the evening at The Hollywood Bowl for a memorable event. When I found out that there was a live concert performance of Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas," I knew that we had to go and have a really fun Halloween under the Hollywood stars. They play the entire movie and dialogue but the songs are actually sung LIVE by the performers. So, being able to see Danny Elfman sing as Jack Skellington was the main attraction.
Former Hollywood Bowl orchestra director, John Mauceri, was there to conduct a live orchestra, live chorus and Elfman. There were also several featured singers who sang some of the other songs that are sprinkled throughout the movie. Surprise guest included Ken Page (Oogie Boogie) and Catherine O'Hara (Sally Finklestein) who sang their character songs. One of "encores" for the evening was having the original movie and singing voices of Lock (Reubens), Shock (O'Hara) & Barrel (Elfman) and do a rendition of "Kindap the Sandy Claws."
It was such a treat to see this trio perform this particular number. The entire evening was one surprise after another. It was a fabulous Halloween evening viewing this seasonal and classic movie performed to live music.
Elfman wrote all the music and lyrics for "The Nightmare Before Christmas." This particular song, "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" is quirky, catchy, and is one of the songs that you here when you ride The Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction at Disneyland.
So as Lock, Shock, & Barrel sing.... La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
Happy Music Monday!
Another famous Disney villain with his own song is Scar, from The Lion King. "Be Prepared" is performed by Scar and his hyenas who serve as his back up chorus. Written by Tim Rice (lyrics) and Elton John (music) in 1994 for Walt Disney's 32nd animated feature, Scar sings his song to express his desire and plot to take over the Pride Lands.
When Simba was born, Scar knew that he would never be king since he moved down in the line of succession. From that moment, Scar plots and schemes to figure out how to remove both Simba and his father, Mufasa, who is his (Scar) brother.
Some facts about this song:
- It was sung by Jeremy Irons who voiced the character of Scar. However, it later came out that Jim Cummings, who also voiced one of the hyenas, took over Scar's voice when Irons voice gave out. Cummings would later go on to voice many Disney characters including Winnie the Pooh.
- There was originally a reprise of this song planned in the movie that was cut due to the length of the movie.
- In the original recording of "Be Prepared," Scar begins with a soliloquy. This is captured and performed in the musical stage version.
Do you have a favorite Disney villain? How about a favorite Disney villain song?
Happy Music Monday,
"Candle on the Water" was written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirchhorn for Walt Disney Picture's live action animated movie, Pete's Dragon (1977). It is sung by Helen Reddy who plays the lead character, Nora. She sings this very melancholy song as she stands on the lighthouse balcony staring out at into the ocean in hopes that her fiancé, Paul, who is lost at sea, will know she is waiting for his return.
"I'll be your candle on the water
'Till ev'ry wave is warm and bright
My soul is there beside you
Let this candle guide you
Soon you'll see a golden stream of light"
It was recently announced at D23 that a remake of Pete's Dragon would debut next year. It will star Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard. According to this article, it will not be a musical. I did see a very short clip that they debuted at D23 of the new Pete's Dragon and I am curious. It looks pretty interesting with the cast they have and looks like a more modern story. I can't wait to hear more about it.
Happy Music Monday!
One of my kids started school last week and my other kid will begin her second year in college soon. It's been a joy to watch them grow up into their own people.
The beginning of the school reminds me of how fast kids grow and how quickly the years go by. The season always brings lots of memories of past years and anticipation of what a the new school year will bring. One of the songs that always reminds me of my kids when they were so cute and small is "You'll Be In My Heart" from Disney's 1999 animated classic Tarzan.
You'll Be in My Heart was written by singer/musician Phil Collins. He was a member of the British rock group Genesis. This song and Collins were recognized with Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song. Collins took home both an Oscar and Globe for this song.
First, I think Phil Collins' vocals and arrangement of this song is beautiful. The song is like a lullaby so it pulls at my heart with these lyrics:
Don't listen to them
'Cause what do they know
We need each other, to have, to hold
They'll see in time, I know
When destiny calls you, you must be strong
I may not be with you
But you got to hold on
They'll see in time, I know
We'll show them together
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Believe me, you'll be in my heart
I'll be there from this day on
Now and forever more
The song reminds me of my young kids and their bright future ahead. I won't and can't be with them to hold their hands through their life adventures. They take a piece of my heart every time they walk out the door but they will always be in my heart.
Happy Music Monday!
PS: My kids are not so small anymore but will remain ever-so-cute.
Earlier this week, my family and I attended a special Inside Out presentation at the AMC Theater at Downtown Disney. It's makes seeing a Disney film more fun on Disney property, especially when you have some time before or after to also add in a Disneyland visit. We LOVED it! For me, I think it's in my top Disney-Pixar movies not only due to the amazing and lovely Pixar short, LAVA, but for these 4 reasons:
It has a great cast of new Pixar characters (Joy, Sadness, Anger Disgust, Fear, and Bing Bong) voiced by a great cast of actors.
The story is relatable.
It is emotionally engaging. You will need some tissues.
It provides a way for parents and kids to talk about emotions.
After this special movie presentation, there was a live Q&A session with director, Pete Docter and actor, Amy Poehler (voice of Joy). People were invited to post to twitter questions before the session as well as during the session. Amy Poehler revealed that her young sons love Toy Story and that she watched it over and over again with them to study how Tom Hanks voiced the Woody character. Pete Docter told us that there were many story lines, nearly 10, that they worked on before settling for the plot to revolve around emotions of a pre-teen dealing with relocating to a different town, state, and moving away from friends. Another thing we learned was how Poehler leant some of her creative juices to the movie. There is a part in the movie where her character, Joy, plays the accordion, and they put that in the movie. Docter also told us that they didn't have specific actors in mind when they created the characters. They sought the actors to voice the emotions after the story was completed.
The session felt pretty intimate and engaging. It is always interesting to hear some behind the scenes as well as get some insight from the people who created the movie. It definitely gave us a greater appreciation of all that went into making this Disney Pixar movie which took them about 5 years from start to finish.
As soon as the movie and Q & A session were over, my youngest daughter turned to me and said: "I can't wait to see that again!" We talked about what potential emotions might rule in each other's heads and what kind of fun islands we would have. We shared so many laughs and opinions. This family movie adventure provided for some memorable family moments.
I hope you have plans to see Inside Out. It is funny, heartwarming and heart wrenching. Bring tissues. Don't forget to stay for most of the credits, too. There is a little something extra right after the movie ends.
Wonder what the voices in your head are like?
Have a great weekend!
The other night, my family and I were able to attend a special Insider Access to Inside Out event from Fathom Events. It was a fabulous experience. First, Inside Out directors, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, took us on a virtual tour of the Pixar campus. We could have watched that part over and over again. It was a pretty extensive 20 minute reel. The Pixar campus is everything you think it would be and so much more. The trailers for The Good Dinosaur and Zootopia were shown. Then it was time for the main event.
Every Pixar movie begins with a new Pixar short. I'm in love with this new one titled, Lava.
I have to dedicate this post to my new favorite Pixar short, LAVA. It is so endearing and charming. Less than 10 minutes of a beautiful love story sung to a sweet melody that will stay in your head (it's a good thing). It was written by James Ford Murphy and produced by Andrea Warren.
Here'a a good clip from Murphy where he talks about the inspiration for the story and song.
LAVA actually premiered about a year ago at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival. Now everyone will get to see after the movie opens on Friday. After this weekend, not only will be people be talking about Inside out, but LAVA, too. The song is so memorable you'll be singing it to your someone special. My sweet husband, MacSparky, bought me the song when we figured out that this single was available on iTunes.
Maybe it's because we love Hawaii and everything about it including the music. It's our favorite vacation destination. My youngest daughter (DD#2) has three ukuleles so that sound is a welcome and familiar one in our house. I requested that she learn to play this one for her dear old parents.
I am in "lava" with the new Pixar short, LAVA. I hope you will find it just as enjoyable as we did.
PS: Stay tuned as I will have more about INSIDE OUT in my next post.
I asked daughter #2 what is one of her favorite Disney movie songs and she told me "Reflections" from Mulan. It is a very pretty song and it is a good choice for this time of year. With the school year ending it always reminds me of how fast things go. All of a sudden your kids are done with another grade, a school or maybe even graduating. It is time for some reflection.
"Reflections" was written by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel for the 1998 movie, Mulan. Lea Salonga, the singing voice of Mulan, was the perfect choice to sing this hauntingly beautiful song. In the movie, Mulan sings this song after she fails at the matchmaking attempt of her parents. The lyrics express how she feels about hiding who she is, pretending to be who she is not in order to meet her family's expectations. The song is just the beginning of her journey.
In 1998, the song received nominations for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and Best Original Score (Academy Awards). This song has been covered by many artists including a Mannheim Steamroller. For me, there is no better version that the original sung by Lea Salonga.
Reflections is closely associated with Lea Salonga. It is one of the reasons why Lea was named a Disney Legend in 2011. There was also a pop version released that was sung by Christina Aguilera. This song would help Aguilera make her debut onto the Billboard Charts in 1998. This song was the beginning of her (Aguilera) journey, too.
Happy Music Monday!
MacSparky and I were lucky enough to get some tickets to a special screening for Disneyland Annual Passholders to view the new Tomorrowland movie. MacSparky was already "IN" when he found out that Brad Bird (Iron Giant, Incredibles) was involved. We were confident that the story would be good.
This was a good interview with Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof (I think I saw him make a cameo in the movie). It was good to hear it straight from the creators. Pretty entertaining, too. Bird calls the movie a "sci-fi fantasy fable".
Here's what I have to say about TOMORROWLAND:
- Go with no expectations except to watch an action-packed movie with a great story. If you were intrigued by the trailers, you won't be disappointed.
- Don't expect to hear talk about Walt Disney or Disneyland.
- Pay attention to the Disney castle in the opening credits. It's pretty cool.
- At one point in the movie, if you look close enough, there is a scene where you can spot a reference to The Iron Giant.
- The special pin is an invitation that I would love to receive and share, too.
- Stay for the credits to the very end. If you move your head you might miss it.
- The next time you ride "it's a small world", you'll be thinking about what might be underneath the attraction if anything.
- I loved how "Audio-Animatronics" was incorporated and used in the story.
- If you love to dream, hope, and are a "half-glass" kind of person, you'll like the message.
This short video, from Disney Insider, was just released and the words from the cast are interesting to hear.
Don't forget to to visit this official and interactive website: TAKE ME TO TOMORROWLAND. You may hear more about Plus Ultra after the movie is released but there is a lot of chatter on the web that you can find. There is also a new book, Before Tomorrowland, that was released if you want some prequel story and background. It's not necessary but is interesting.
I love a good E-Ticket Disney ride. It's usually highly entertaining, technology advanced, and is new. For me, Tomorrowland was like an E-Ticket. The movie had thrills, spills, and when it was over, I was enthralled. At the end of the special screening. we were all given a Tomorrowland pin. We will gladly accept the invitation.
"It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!"
There seems to be a lot of mystery and power behind the Tomorrowland pin that is featured in the upcoming Tomorrowland movie. I am not an avid Disney pin collector but I am intrigued by the Tomorrowland pin.
The pin on the left looks more like the one from the movie. I purchased this one on eBay (there are a variety of Tomorrowland pins available on eBay). This pin looks more like the one that you see in the movie trailer. The pin on the right is one that I purchased a couple weeks ago from 20th Century Music Company. It's fairly large and obviously the colors are different which is why I bought it.
I came upon this LINK where they show two different Tomorrowland pins that are still available for pre-order from FUNKO via Amazon. These look a little more like the one they used in the movie and it is simply your preference whether you like the blue letter T over the orange or an orange letter T over a blue background.
Perusing around the internet, this post discovered that the Tomorrowland movie pin has some mechanism or timer on the back.
Here is a photo from the Tomorrowland Movie exhibit that is currently at Disneyland.
I have an affinity for this movie and pin. I spent many years working in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. The more trailers and articles I read about the Tomorrowland movie, the more excited I am to see it. Here's the newest trailer that was just released a couple days ago. You can see that the Tomorrowland pin has some kind of purpose to Athena's mission.