Saturday, April 7, 2007

David Copperfield magic underground project

Who remember the "David Copperfield magic underground " project that was supposed to open in Disney-MGM Studios in the late 90's ( and never opened ). It was announced on a big billboard near the entrance of the park, and then, it really disappeared!
...Well, Michael Eisner also have disappeared from WDW, but it's for other reasons!

Probably the only thing that survived from this project is this great and funny picture of Eisner with David released when everything was going fine by WDW marketing office.

Photo: copyright Disney

Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary - A Behind the Scenes Tour

It's Disneyland's Haunted Mansion 40th anniversary, and to celebrate this event we will have today a look "behind the scenes" of this beloved attraction.

First, the famous Sam Mc Kim painting of the exterior.

As everybody knows, Marc Davis designed most of the scenes of the Mansion, so let's begin by Marc's artwork, more or less in chronological order...

Here is the famous Hatbox Ghost Marc Davis rendering

...and another scene concept never used for the attraction.

WED special effects master Yale Gracey recreated in 3D Marc Davis scenes...

Please note that you can find the Dueling Portaits in big size on Kevin Kidney's site!

I also asked Imagineer Pat Burke if he had some untold story about the Haunted Mansion. Here is his answer!

"Disney Legend, friend, and co worker, Fred Joerger told me a few stories as he worked on the original Haunted Mansion. As you know Walt had been very sick with Cancer and passed away in December of 1966, before they could complete and open the Haunted Mansion. Fred said he and fellow Art Director Legends Claude Coates and Mark Davis, were hesitant to complete and afraid to open the Mansion to the public, as it was the first attraction on which they could not get Walt's official walk through and final approval. So this of course was a major reason for its delay. They wanted it to be everything that Walt would have asked for and approved. Seems like I remember a soft opening and then it was closed again for changes.

I was told some effects were deemed a bit too scary for guests back then. Sam McKim had shown me some of his original concept sketches which showed boats floating through the halls of a half floated, and flooded mansion much like the Blue Bayou themeing. I was responsible for the props and sets on the TDL Haunted Mansion and used Disneyland's HM as a guide. When Disneyland's opened the HM it had the best Victorian antiques in the attic scene. Over the years as antiques of the Victorian era increased in value, the great antiques slowly were replaced with cheaper substitutes. You know of course that the Nautilus pipe organ was added to the mansion after the 20,000 Leagues attraction closed at Disneyland.

Leotta Toombs had a funny story about when they cast her head for the famouse crystal ball scene. She said that at the studio they placed her head in a kind of a clamp to keep her pose steady. They applied a warm mold making wax to her head. She said it was a little too warm and slid down further forming a true capture or her bust! That was before plaster I guess, as I did later in college. Just a few funny memories from my coworkers..."

Most of the Haunted Mansion guests are always wondering how the special effects were done. Tne next videos will learn you (almost) everything about them.

The first video below is with Walt Disney himself presenting the future attraction surrounded with legendary Imagineers like Marc Davis and others...

The next one is from the Discovery channel and is a short walk-through with legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter. Tony don't reveal a lot of secrets in this one, but it's always a pleasure to see Tony!

This other 10 minutes video will tell you more about the history and the effects of the Mansion. And Tony Baxter, Marty Sklar, Bruce Gordon, sculptor Blaine Gibson, Wayne Jackson, and many other imagineers will show you much more of the "behind the scenes.

But it's this other 10 minutes youtube video that will show you the imagineers at work in the sixties, creating the ghosts of the mansion. This video is coming from Disney's tv show "The Wonderful World of Color" in which the Haunted Mansion made its debut.
The first part of it is with the imagineers and the second part is a ride-through with - guess who? - Kurt Russell and the Osmonds , and, yes, they were young at that time!

You can find much more renderings and the whole story of the making of the attraction in the great Jason Surell book - the best book ever written on the "Haunted Mansion" - a "must have" if you don't have it yet!

Artwork: copyright Disney

Videos: copyright Discovery channel and Disney

Walt Disney and the moon

Here is a great new picture of Walt near a huge moon model , probably taken during the filming of the "man in space" series for the Disneyland tv show in the 50's.
Photo: copyright Disney.

Disneyland Peter Ellenshaw

We all know the famous 1955 painting of Peter Ellenshaw of Disneyland, but here is a rare picture where you can actually see him painting it, a long time ago.

Photo: copyright Disney.

Disney and Pixar Animation

All about Disney Animation movies!

" Glago's Guest " , the new Disney short animated

More about " The Princess and the Frog "

First " UP ! " poster, created by Eric Tan

More about " UP ! "

First Pixar " UP " teaser released !

Grevin wax museum "Palais des mirages"

Ever heard about Grevin wax museum in Paris? With the famous Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London, it's one of the oldest one. Located on Paris Grands boulevards, it has been totally refurbished and the famous "Palais des mirages" re-open recently, with new lighting show.
Basically, the
"Palais des mirages" is a mirror show created early 20th century with decors changing each minute. With the infinite reflection in the mirrors it gives you the feeling to be , for instance, in a huge palace of India, and it's an amazing experience not-to-be-missed if you are in Paris!

Walt's historical photo

Here is a new picture of Walt Disney . All aboard with him on the Disneyland railroad!
Photo: copyright Disney.

Disneyland's Mark Twain replica

This gorgeous replica of Disneyland's Mark Twain river boat will be released by Disney Direct later this month or in May. This was the last item designed for Disney Direct by sculptors Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily before they left Disney Direct. Not only the details are stunning , but 6 or 7 different materials will be used in the manufacturing of the item : resin, wood, metal, etc...

It will be a limited edition of 500 and expect a price not less than 299$. Please note that on these photos the decals "Disneyland, Mark Twain, etc..." are not yet in place on the boat.

For me this Mark Twain replica is simply stunning.

Disneyland Paris 15th anniversary event

Hello , for those of you that were unable to join the 15th event last saturday at DLP , here is a photo of the crowd in main street watching the castle illumination, as well as one of the fireworks and of the big thunder and mark twain lighting for the VIP party.

Walt's historical photo

Here is the Disney historical photo of the day! If i don't forget in the future, i will post a new one each day or two. Enjoy them!

On this great picture Walt is seen with a 1950's robot.

Photo: copyright Disney.

Disneyland Paris From Above

In my previous article about the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality, book i've shown you the great renderings of the DLP that never was which are include in the book. Today, i will show you another type of great documents which you can also find in the book and it is stunning pictures of Disneyland Paris seen from above. And all these pictures were shot by aerial photography master Yann Arthus Bertrand who did a lot of famous books including the acclaimed "Earth from Above". No one is better than Arthus Bertrand for aerial pictures and we were extremely lucky to have pictures from him in the book!

Above, a fantastic view showing Big Thunder at sunset and a part of DLP Frontierland. And below another aerial shot of DLP Big Thunder. A great one as it shows almost all of BTM track!

One of the most gorgeous aerial shot of DLP ever done showing the whole Frontierland! Click to enlarge the picture.

On this next shot, the Disneyland Paris railroad is entering Adventureland and passes in front of Indiana Jones Temple du Péril.

Talking about Indiana Jones Temple du Péril here is another picture showing the temple seen from above.

Let's stay in Adventureland with this great aerial picture of Captain Hook's pirate ship and Adventure Isle.

Let's move now to Fantasyland with this beautiful sunrise shot showing the back of Sleeping Beauty castle.

Another fantastic picture showing a big part of Fantasyland with also the Disneyland Paris railroad passing by.

Now, you need to know that all these great aerial pictures that you will find in the book are reproduced on full double pages ( or full page for the vertical shots ) which makes them even more spectacular when you're reading the book as each double page is 31 X 46 cm!

And when we didn't had pictures of Yann Arthus Bertrand, like for instance for Discoveryland, you'll find spectacular pictures like this one showing the Nautilus and Space Mountain, also reproduced in the book on a double page.

However Yann Arthus Bertrand also did aerial shots above DLP hotels and came back with some great ones like the one below showing the Newport Bay hotel which is reproduced on a double page in the chapter about DLP Hotels and Disney Village.

By the way, whether it is an aerial shot or not, each time a picture deserved to be on a double page you'll find it in the book. A good example is this next one, a stunning night shot showing the Main Street Electrical Parade in front of Sleeping Beauty castle.

So, you see, in addition to the 250 WDI renderings and the hundreds of others great pictures of the park, as well as a great text telling all the story of the making, the Disneyland Paris book has even more to offer than you might have thought. All the pictures you've seen above are of course include in the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book, and if you don't own the book yet, you now understand why it is such a great book.

And, good news, as until August 30 i do a special summer offer on the book which not only include a 20% discount on the regular price but, also, each one who will place an order will receive a special gift - and it's a great one! Below, you can see a video showing the whole book and to know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE , or send me an email at: , or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below, right under the video!

Pictures: copyright Altitude - Yann Arthus Bertrand

walt disney studios placemaking

The wdsfans site put on line this week two concept-arts about the production courtyard place making and the future stitch encounter facade.
Here they are, but you can see them in bigger size on their web site at :
It's a good web site that give regular news about the walt disney studios theme park, in Paris.

Watch some great magic !

Discover great magic acts and the very first David Copperfield TV shows!

How David Cpperfield did the amazing laser magic act

David Copperfield haunted house video

TWO videos of great magic with David Copperfield

Let's begin the week with an Austin Powers magic act

Let's begin the week by two REALLY good magic acts !

Begin the year with great magic acts with Dani Lary, magician !

Lance Burton magic: The Indian tour

Orson Welles magic with Lucille Ball and Dean Martin

Lance Burton Magic : Don't try this tour at Disneyland !

David Copperfield in 1979 : His second TV show at 23

David Copperfield 1978 very first show, with Orson Welles

Steve Martin at Disneyland and his hilarious magic tour

David Copperfield in 1980 : the "Goldfinger" tribute magic tour

Gary Goddard Update

Ponyo + Jellyfish

Special Offer on Last Copies of Disneyland Paris Book "From Sketch to Reality" Rare COLLECTOR's English Edition !

Special Offer on Disneyland Paris Book Rare COLLECTOR's edition!

The book Disneyland Paris in its rare COLLECTOR's edition is out of stock since years and I have three copies of the normal English edition, all three in perfect condition, each at 250 € that you can order to me if you wish by sending an email at:

BUT I've found back nine copies of the rare ENGLISH COLLECTOR's edition as well as two copies of the "normal" English edition whose interior pages are impeccable but the cover or jacket had taken a little shock during the trip from the printer. The damage is minimal and for each copy proposed I put here below pictures showing the shock on each copy so you can judge the condition and choose the one you prefer.

This collector's edition is sold between $500 and $2000 by other sellers on Amazon, when they have it, which is rare because only 2000 copies were printed, 17 years ago, and the collector's edition is extinct since a long time. The price i ask here for these slightly damaged collector's only copies is 120 € and please note that collector copies in "used condition" are usually sold up to $2000 on Amazon by others sellers, so at $120 it's a very good deal, even in these conditions. The collector's edition of the book differs from the normal edition by a gold-colored print of the title on the cover and dust jacket, a more luxurious printing paper for all inside pages, a limited and numbered edition of 2000 copies and five lithos showing concept-arts for the Walt Disney Studios. The lithos that were included with the collector's edition are here missing in these slightly damaged copies but I will send the PDF files so you can have them and print them. Once again, the interior pages are in perfect condition.

For each copy the first photo of the cover has a number on it ( it's just a reference number to know which copy it is in order to be able to send you exactly the copy you have chosen, it is NOT the number of the book's numbering), and the photos that follow the picture of each cover are showing the condition / damage of the copy, this until the next cover photo, etc...

For French readers: The rare English edition COLLECTOR, is identical to the French edition, with the text in English. BUT the PDF file of the full text in French will be provided free of charge to any buyer with difficulty to understand English.

In addition, there is also some GREAT surprise gifts for Disneyland Paris fans that will be sent to any buyer!

Here are the prices according to the number of each copy visible on the covers. Considering that most copies are slightly damaged the price is a very good deal, believe me!

In all cases the shipping cost, France or worldwide are 26 euros and payment can be made via Paypal or credit card via Paypal. The total amount, including shipping costs must be sent via Paypal to:

For any order - or if you don’t have a Paypal account and wish to pay with credit card - you must send me an email to: and indicate the NUMBER of the copy that interest you!

Ex no 1 (English collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 2 (english collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 3 (English collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 4 (English collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 5 (English collector edition): 65€. The copy No 1, 2 and 3 are all gone today Oct 23 and this No 5 is the last damaged copy but also the one which is the more damaged both on the cover and the very first pages. For this reason this collector copy has a price of 65€ instead than 120€ for the others ones sold today.

Ex no 6 (English collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 8 ( English collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 9 (English collector edition): SOLD!

Ex no 10 (normal English edition): SOLD!

Ex no 11 (normal English edition): SOLD!

Again, for any order or if you don’t have a Paypal account, you must send me an email to: and indicate the NUMBER of the copy that interests you! Thanks!