Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Disney and more Fifth Anniversary!...and Let's celebrate it with a Rare Document Showing the Making of Disneyland Paris!

It's Disney and more fifth anniversary! Yes, five years ago, in April 2007 i was posting the D&M first article and since then you are each day almost 4000 people to visit the site, so i wanted to thanks all of you to be so faithful to Disney and more!

And i thought that the best way to do it was with a very unique document filmed at WDI in 1988 during the making of Disneyland Paris by the great Eddie Sotto - who was at that time Disneyland Paris Main Street U.S.A show-producer. And who else than Eddie himself could introduce this great video and explain to you who and what you will see in it? I'm sure you will love this rare document so now, here is Eddie Sotto introduction, right after this never-seen-before picture of Eddie shot before opening day in front of Main Street Motors! Thanks again to all of you for your support during these last five years and all my deepest thanks to Eddie!

Eddie Sotto:

Disney and More has been my favorite source for all things Disney for the last five years. I want to congratulate Alain on a great job and it has been an honor to have been featured from time to time.

This video is very unique in that it is a "home movie" from inside of Imagineering. I shot this back in 1988 as a means of showing the French office what all of us looked like back in the States. I was about to go to Paris for a considerable time and this was a means of building morale and putting faces on those endless conference calls. Two decades later, it is an interesting curiosity, a time capsule of what it was like back then to be an Imagineer. As you watch the video I thought you might like to know who some of the people are and what you are seeing.

The offices shown are on Rodier Drive, not far from WDI main offices on Flower Street in Glendale California. Today that building houses some of Disney's Research and Development department. After DLRP opened, the building was remodeled and Indiana Jones for Disneyland was also designed in that space.

The video opens in my messy office. I was the designer responsible for Main Street USA in Paris and on my desk were the concept sketches for Town Square East. Lots of failed ideas on wads of paper! Above my drawing board is a rendering of a Spacecraft. That was the first rendering I had done at WDI, a George Lucas inspired rendition of Disneyland's Carousel Theater. We had several ideas for a travelling show with Aliens, etc. But the design was eventually shot down when Tomorrowland and Lucas parted ways. A model of the show building appears later in the video.

Outside my office you will see a cast of characters from both the Main Street team and Operations.The chap hiding behind a Newspaper was the watchdog project manager Chris Dick. He was part of a British firm we all resented at times that oversaw the project. Juan Delgado (Hawaiian Shirt) and Sandy Mullally (light hair and a bit older) were our Senior Interiors designers. So talented. Sandy worked in film prior and dressed sets for "Paint your Wagon" in the 60's. Juan brought his cuban flair to the Cable Car Bake shop color scheme. Wild stripes and San Francisco styling. The blond woman is Joan Kuba, who helped in selecting props and dressings. We had to add the props to the blueprints and find antique furniture, so that was quite a task. Sam Hutchins, (the man with the glasses at my door) was the head of Park Merchandise. We would negotiate the size and design of the retail stores around the conference table. This was typical in the development of a park. Both parties meet and negotiate and review the design. The gent at the drafting board with the giant Pine Cone was Peter Kelly, a Set Designer from the film industry. He worked on films by my hero John De Cuir, like Hello Dolly! and Ghostbusters. He was working on the City Hall for Main Street at that time. You can see some of the elaborate swatches of wall covering and trims on the walls. I tried to get as many Hollywood Set Designers as I could on the architecture team.

Others in the background were French hires coordinating the engineering, and Imagineers like Richard Wood organizing the drawings. Not a fancy office by any means but it was where it all happened.

The model shop is the next stop and you can see many models that were used later in the guidance of those who built the real figures and sets. Some were for presentation and massing purposes, others as a means to build the final show. Pirates had quite an exterior model. We even show the interior arcades for scale. The Big Thunder Model for instance was covered with tin foil squares, each representing an amount of plaster and cement. The estimators would count the squares to figure out how much all the rocks would cost! You will recognize all the lands and some are more advanced than others. Main Street never got as good a model as the other lands because it was considered to be copied from WDW. We showed them! You will notice Tim Delaney, Designer of Discoveryland, and the joking Bob Baranick working on Phantom Manor. Bob has been a friend prior to Disney, built the Lucas Spaceship model for me, and is best known for his work of Tarzan's Treehouse and a redo of Pirates back at Disneyland, where he was an Art Director. I could go on. So many talented people in the video! But that's the real story. It takes lots of great people bringing their talent to the table to build a great park! Hope you enjoyed a trip to WDI circa 1988.

Video and Eddie Sotto photo: copyright Eddie Sotto, whom i thanks a lot!

Pictures: copyright Disney


DisWedWay said...

Love Eddie's video of all the EDL land models and the amount of design and detail that went into the Paris Park. The creative energy of all the Land teams was truly amazing from start to opening. After 20 years, it still surpasses later design and is up there with Tokyo Disney Seas.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

Happy birthday! Thank you very much Alain for all the wonderful posts I got used to reading almost every day!

Thanks for the video also, it's wonderful to be able to see it!

And I loved the 5th anniversary logo of D&M with sorcerer Mickey!

SWW said...

Congrats on the Anniversary. Thanks for 5 years of outstanding content.

DLRPStuff said...

Happy Anniversary Alain!

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into your blog, which is easily one of the finest Disney (& more) blogs out there!! Thanks for all the amazing material you gave us over the years, like the above video from Mr. Sotto. A big thanks for sticking with us when you really were thinking about quitting!

To another great 5 years!

Best wishes

Michaeland said...

Bon anniversiare Alain! THANK YOU, for all the amazing content and insight. I am so glad you did keep it growing. D&M is one of my daily Disney destinations, and often the best. Congratulations.

Mark Taft said...

Congrats, Alain!
One of my favorite sites ever!


James said...

This really is a brilliant blog from a true Disney fan.
-been following since the beginning and learnt so much from your insight, your knowledge and your experience.
Thank you from us all for the past 5 years.

Philippe - Liège said...

Bon anniversaire à Disney And More !
Alain, félicitations pour le travail superbement accompli ; que les 5 prochaines années soient, pour toi comme pour nous, aussi magiques...
Amitiés ! :-)