Friday, February 1, 2019

Snow White at the 61st Academy Awards - 1989

Today, let's take a look at an article from the March 2010 issue of Los Angeles Magazine. It recalls the Academy Awards of 1989, or what the article was calling, "The Worst Oscars Ever."

Back in 2011, I did a post about the "trainwreck" of an opening number, featuring Rob Lowe and Snow White. This article gives a step by step breakdown of that opening number and explains the backlash that was experienced by it's producer, Alan Carr.

This screen shot is from the very beginning of the show when Snow White comes up to Variety columnist, Army Archerd in the lobby of the Shrine Auditorium and asks him how to get into the theater.

Here is the entire opening number, but just a warning here....every copy of it that I have ever seen posted on YouTube, eventually gets removed. The Los Angeles Magazine article states that when the opening number first turned up on YouTube, 20 years later, it received one million views in one day!

Incidentally, Snow White made another appearance at the Academy Awards in 1993, to present the award for "Best Animated Short Film." This time however, it was the "animated version" of Snow White. I'm really surprised at just how bad Snow White looks here and also how bad her voice is. After all, Disney HAD to be involved this time around!

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Disney Vision - 1978 (New West Magazine)

Today, we have more Disney-related articles from New West Magazine. This issue is from 40 years ago, last month.

We will start with this article about Disneyland, and an interview with Disney Imagineer, John Hench.

So that's where the phrase "Bad Show!" comes from. It actually originated with Disney. Now it is used to describe their own efforts (or lack of) when they don't meet our expectations. Expectations that they themselves set the standards for, back in the day.

Okay, this article might be getting a little too heavy with all of the psychology.

John Hench points out at the end of his interview, that the trees on Main Street had grown too big and were becoming out of scale. He says that they will have to do something about that. They replaced those original trees along Main Street with smaller ones, three years later (in 1981).

This article about animated films mentions Disney's difficulty in replacing their original "Nine Old Men." To compete with the growing animation market at the time, Disney was just re-releasing Pinocchio that year, since they did not have a new film ready to release.

In Paris, The Rescuers outgrossed Star Wars? And it was Germany's largest grossing film of all time? Interesting!

The studio had such high hopes for The Black Cauldron. Unfortunately, it would go on to earn less than half of what it cost to produce. It's also the first animated feature film of Disney's, that never received a theatrical re-releasing.

Last up is this article about the upcoming opening of EPCOT Center. I like the quote, "Although it will certainly not neglect our entertainment, it will place even greater emphasis on our education." That certainly isn't a true statement about the park today. Quite some time ago, Disney began the process of removing the educational aspects of the park and replacing them with I.P. based attractions. And today, Disney continues to reduce EPCOT more and more, to just another "Magic Kingdom" park. Sad.

The article goes on to explain Walt's original vision for EPCOT as a real Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

Twenty five million dollars for a ten year lease/sponsorship of a pavilion at EPCOT? I wonder what that fee is today?

Now let's take a look at some of the magazine's advertisements.

Olivia Newton-John's new album, "Totally Hot" had just been released. This was only a few months after the huge success of her summer movie, Grease.

The Carpenters were appearing at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, and Pia Zadora was appearing at Scandals in Hollywood. (This was before she bought the historic "Pickfair" and had it torn down.)

Annie was a smash hit at the Schubert Theater in Century City. Apparently, Regis Philbin liked it! I ended up seeing Annie with my family two years later when it returned to L.A. for a run at the Pasadena Playhouse. It was actually my first "Broadway" play.

This ad for the NBC Studio Tour asked, "What will you see?" I went on the tour just once and the most exciting thing I saw, was the set of The Gong Show and the giant framework/structure that the celebrities sat in on Hollywood Squares. Not too exciting.

As we saw in one of the articles above, an animated version of The Lord of the Rings was released in 1978.

Osko's was a very popular Los Angeles nightclub and was the filming location for the discotheque in the movie, Thank God It's Friday. It's entrance portico had a wonderful mid-century modern design that was reminiscent of the Theme Building at LAX or even the starfish-shaped entrance to Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, the club was torn down in the nineties and replaced with just another "big box" store.

You have to love these fashions. Or not!

DuPar's is an L.A. institution and their Farmer's Market location is still open for business today. Sadly, their Studio City restaurant closed on January 1st of last year (because the owner of the building would not renew their lease), after being open for more than 70 years in the same location!

The record album "opener" pictured below the DuPar's article, was supposed to save you from getting a "cardboard cut" on your fingers. I don't remember ever seeing one of those, even though I shopped at both Music Plus and Tower Records.

Dig those plaid seats on the Dodge Challenger! And remember when cars had those locking gas tank doors to keep thieves from siphoning the gas out of your car? This was the era when the country was experiencing both an "energy crisis," and a "gasoline shortage."

The Sony Betamax video recorder was huge! I wonder what the cost was back then? I didn't know anyone that had one of these until around 1981......except of course, for the family in Disneyland's Carousel of Progress, "We can even record our favorite TV shows for viewing at a more convenient hour!"

I would also like to know what a mobile phone cost back in 1978. While watching "$ale of the Century" last night on the Buzzr Channel, I saw a mobile phone offered as a prize and the announcer (Jay Stewart) said the value of it was $3,000! That show was from 1985.

When I was 20 years old, I went on a Sitmar Cruise to Alaska (aboard the S.S. Fairsky) with my grandparents, for their 50th wedding anniversary. They invited the entire family to go with them, but my brother and I were the only ones that were able to get the time off to go. I have some very special memories from that trip! (Incidentally, after being in the cruise ship business for over 40 years, Sitmar Cruises was sold off in 1988 and the ships were all transferred over to Princess Cruises.)

I hope everyone enjoyed this little "voyage" back to 1978!

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Columbia Sailing Ship's Fatal Accident - December 1998

Today's post is another one that can be filed under the heading, "Tragic Kingdom."

Twenty years ago this month, Disneyland's Columbia Sailing Ship was involved in a tragic accident affecting two guests and one cast member. This Los Angeles Times article is from the following day (Christmas Day).

Also mentioned, is a completely separate incident that occurred on the same day. A 4-year old boy fell off of King Arthur's Carousel and ended up in the hospital with a concussion.

This article doesn't mention it, but the man from Duvall, Washington, who was struck in the head was Luan Phi Dawson. Sadly, he was declared brain dead at the hospital and passed away two days later, after being taken off of life support.

This second article (which I believe was from the O.C. Weekly) asks the question, "Did cost-cutting cause Disneyland mishap?" Some Disneyland cast members were reportedly blaming Paul Pressler for the accident. Can we just blame him for everything that was wrong with Disneyland in the 1990's and 2000's?

This Los Angeles Times article is from about a month after the incident:

And this short article was published after the Columbia reopened to the public:

Friday, November 2, 2018

Mickey's 50th & The Star Wars Holiday Special - 1978

Mickey Mouse is celebrating his 90th birthday this month! Gee, it seems like only yesterday that he was turning 50!

That year was 1978, and there was plenty of merchandise created to commemorate Mickey's 50th.

There was "The Official Birthday Book"......

A ceramic collector's plate and metal serving tray:

A holiday ornament:

Music Box:


Some of these items were available at Disneyland, as well as other retail locations. However, some were actually exclusive to the park, like this book of matches and pinback button.

Mickey was even featured on the cover of Life Magazine, along with a full cover story inside.

There was also an article about his milestone birthday in the November 11, 1978 issue of TV Guide.

The article (by Maurice Sendak), began by mentioning that a special episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, titled "Mickey's 50," would be airing the following week.

Now, let's take a look at what was airing on television, 40 years ago:

Hollywood was celebrating it's 75th anniversary with a star-studded blowout!

The Wonderful World of Disney was showing The Boatniks, as a part of the show's 25th anniversary that year.

Ode To Billy Joe was airing on TV for the first time. I have never seen that movie. It just always sounded kind of depressing! Fifteen years later, Robbie Benson would provide the voice of "The Beast," in Disney's animated version of Beauty and the Beast.

Family Feud was having one of it's special celebrity editions with the casts of five different soap operas. I never watched daytime soaps, but it's kind of sad to think that out of all of these shows, General Hospital is the only one that is still on the air. I remember my mom watching The Secret Storm and As The World Turns!

On Dallas, the Ewing Family was facing their "worst crisis." This was before J.R. got shot, causing the entire nation to ask the question, "Who Shot J.R.?"

Pearl Bailey was guest starring on The Muppet Show, BEFORE Disney "acquired" them from Jim Henson.

The 1973 Emmy Award-winning special, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, was already an established annual tradition.

Farrah Fawcett was making her second "forced" guest-starring appearance on Charlie's Angels, following the breaking of her contract at the end of season one.

Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore both had popular afternoon talk shows. Mike Douglas had supplied the singing voice for Prince Charming in Disney's Cinderella and Dinah Shore had narrated the "Bongo" segment from Disney's Fun And Fancy Free. Mike Douglas was going to be visiting the set of Battlestar Galactica that week!

The New Mickey Mouse Club had been canceled the year before, but was still being shown in repeats.

The Love Boat and Different Strokes were both having special "Thanksgiving episodes."

And a little trainwreck called the Stars Wars Holiday Special, aired for the first and only time on television. The special is significant for Star Wars fans for several reasons....okay, maybe only one. It marks the first appearance of the character, Boba Fett. We do get to meet Chewbacca's family and we also get to hear Princess Leia sing.....not necessarily good things! The special is jaw-droppingly bad, but in a "you can't take your eyes off of it" kind of way.

The ad on the inside back cover was for the Chevy Chevette, the "Best Selling Small Car In America."

By the way, the artwork on the TV Guide cover was by the artist, Charles Santore. It depicts actor, Ron Liebman, who at the time was co-creator, co-writer and starring in the TV series, "Kaz." He won an Emmy for playing the title role, but unfortunately the show was still canceled after only one season. He would go on to win a Tony Award for playing Roy Cohn in the play, Angels In America. He also had recurring roles in Friends (as Rachel's father) and in The Sopranos (as Dr. Plepler). Here is the cover story article about him:

And here's a link to The Star Wars Holiday Special on YouTube, for anyone that wants to feel REALLY uncomfortable for the next hour and a half!