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!


Major Pepperidge said...

It’s funny that the 1989 Oscars were so bad that they merited an entire article 20+ years later. I always like the idea of watching the Oscars, but in reality they are long and boring and really hard to sit through. I’ve even gone to “Oscar parties” at people’s houses where everyone fills out their own ballots - it definitely improves the experience to have food and booze, but even so I felt as if I was trying really hard to enjoy the show.

The Rob Lowe/Snow White thing was bad, but who wants to see a chorus line of movie theater attendants, or Merv Griffin singing “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”? Not me (no offense to Merv, who seemed like a nice person).

Looking up Alan Carr on Wikipedia, it says he “… invested $1,250 in 1967's The Happiest Millionaire, which gave him the success he needed to leave school and embark upon a career in entertainment.” So there’s a “Happiest Millionaire” connection! I don’t really understand how a college kid invested money in a Walt Disney production and made money from what is perceived as a flop, but… good for him.

Are you interested in this year’s Oscar picks?

K. Martinez said...

There's Bruce Vilanch! He sure looks different now. Have you seen him on Hollywood Squares?

I've never been a big fan of the Academy Awards show. It's overlong and bloated. It has also become overly political. I agree with some of the politics, but it's killing the show by alienating half their potential audience. I can't even sit through the song and dance routines anymore. Like I said, the Oscars have become a bloated production.

Nowadays, I have it on in the background while I'm doing other stuff and occasionally will hear who the winner is of a specific category. That's about the only way I will watch it.

The only time recently that I was really excited was when it was discovered that "Moonlight" and not "La La Land" won best picture. "Moonlight" is one of the few best pictures I've liked recently and thought truly deserved best picture. Usually about 45% of the past Best Picture winners I find unwatchable.

When I think of times where "The Greatest Show on Earth" won best picture over "High Noon" or "The Quiet Man" I cringe.

Other examples are "Oliver!" winning best picture in 1968 and a film like "2001: A Space Odyssey" doesn't even get nominated for best picture. It's boggles the mind.

And in 1990 "Dances with Wolves" won over "Good Fellas". Really?!

And there's 1980's winner "Ordinary People" over "Raging Bull". I could go on and on. I just don't think they do a good job of deciding who gets the awards. I think BAFTA gets it more right than AMPAS.

Anyway, enjoyed your article, TM! Thanks!

Nic Kramer said...

Why is she wearing Cinderella's gown? I have heard there were some early plans of using Snow White as Cinderella (I wondering if the more experience and more upbeat Korkis would know if it's true), but this is pretty weird.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I is funny that the opening number warranted such a long article, so many years later. I think that a lot of people do remember it and since videos of it online are usually "pulled" because of copyright, I think the magazine was trying to recreate it for people that wanted to watch it, but couldn't. I think that is why they even did the little storyboards at the bottom of the page. In the settlement between Disney and the Academy, the Academy supposedly agreed that the number would never be shown again, and that probably included any kind of future "best of" (or in this case, "worst of") clips or videos.

I usually just tune into the Oscars to see the opening number or monologue. I used to like what Billy Crystal would do for the openings, when he hosted the Oscars. I've been to Oscar parties as well. I guess watching them with others makes them a little more enjoyable.

That Alan Carr and "The Happiest Millionaire" connection is odd! I did not know about that! I also wonder how he was able to invest in the film and make money from it, when as you said, the film was a flop. Maybe it actually did make some money, just not "Mary Poppins" money?

As for this year's Oscars, I think this is the very first time that I haven't seen one single film from the previous year. I don't go to the movies too often, but there are usually two or three that I have seen, that are nominated for something.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Yeah, the Oscar results really are subjective. I know there have been many years, as you mentioned, where it was hard to believe that the Oscar went to one film or person, over another.

Overlong and bloated! That's a good way to describe them! And I think with every year that passes, the televised ceremony goes down in the ratings. Maybe they need to get some current hot and young male star of today, to go up onstage and sing with the "Frozen" sisters!

I didn't know that Hollywood Squares was still on TV. Are they new episodes? When and what channel, and who is the host? I hope it's Peter Marshall, John Davidson or Bowzer!

TokyoMagic! said...

Nic Kramer, I don't know, but I'm guessing that maybe the Academy wanted to change the "trademark" Disney version of the Snow White dress just enough, so that they would not be copying Disney exactly, and also maybe so they wouldn't get into trouble over it? However, if that was their goal, I guess it didn't work. Maybe you could contact the more experienced and more upbeat Korkis and get more information on the subject.

Major Pepperidge said...

Ha ha, well that was one of the odder comments I've ever seen. Why can't you be more like Korkis? He's really experienced and upbeat, and that's why everyone loves him. A vote for Korkis is a vote for fun! If you want to be more upbeat, you should include a knock-knock joke with every post. PURE GOLD. I guess your 10+ years of blogging just don't impress in some circles.

Chuck said...

I had totally forgotten about this number until watching it today. Not living in L.A., I was completely unaware of the fallout; at the time, it just seemed to me like a bigger version of a Carol Burnett Show closing number. I thought it was a bit silly, and even cringe-worthy in places, but not end-of-career-worthy. To put it in perspective, compare it with The Star Wars Holiday Special. :-)

I think the article was a little harsh in its description of how bad the number was, as well as exaggerating the celebrities' reactions during the event. I've been at live shows where the performers try to drag you into it, and it's a little embarrassing for most people to find yourself suddenly part of the show without any preparation for it or control over what's happening; I would expect Tom Hanks and Michelle Pfeiffer are fairly normal in that respect. Martin Landau seemed to be enjoying himself, though.

Kind of fun to see the stars who are no longer with us like Vincent Price, Roy Rogers, etc., and it's also interesting to see so many of today's stars like Hanks and Robert Downey, Jr., so young.

As far as Academy Awards shows go, this was the next-to-last one I watched in its entirety, and I didn't even watch it live. I didn't have a TV, and my grandmother recorded it and sent it to my parents who were stationed in the Azores at the time. I didn't see it until I went to visit them in the summer of '89. After 1990, I never bothered to watch an entire awards show ever again.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, thanks for the support! That was an odd comment, wasn't it? But I'm not going to let it phase me. However, I might take your advice on including a joke with every post. "Why did the Wookie cross the Rivers of America? So he could destroy everything in his path and then live on the other side!" Oooops, that's not very upbeat, is it? And not funny either. Well, I'll keep working on it! Thanks again, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, you are right about it seeming more like a big variety show number. I'm kind of morbidly fascinated by both this Oscar opening number AND "The Star Wars Holiday Special." I agree with you about the article being a little harsh. Those celebrities mentioned did not appear to be all that horrified. And after all, the show was just beginning, so they wouldn't have known what was going to follow. I think you are right about it being more of a reaction to unknowingly being put in the spotlight at that moment.

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I rarely sit through the entire show, but I do like to tune in at the beginning just to see what the opening will be. I actually missed that particular year's opening and had to wait until it surfaced on YouTube many years later. I remember hearing a lot about it though, at the time. Both in the newspaper and from people that saw it. It might not have gotten as much publicity at the time, if it hadn't been for the lawsuit between Disney and the Academy, which was eventually dropped anyway.