Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years Ago, A Tragedy That Changed The World Forever...

50 Years ago, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. I'm not sure we will know someday the truth - was Lee Harvey Oswald alone or not ( personally, i think not ) but it became also the very first time Disneyland Anaheim was closed for others reasons than normal closing days - the other day being Sept 11, 2001.

November 22, 1963 was a tragedy for the U.S and the free world but do you know what President Kennedy said to Jackie before leaving the White House, thinking about the crazy Texans right wing extremists who were many at that time?

"Jackie, let's go, we're going to meet the nuts."

Will Indiana Jones Adventure be build at Disneyland Paris ?

This is THE attraction that will be such an instant hit at Disneyland Paris that it could boost the park attendance like Space Mountain did, back in 1995: Indiana Jones Adventure and the temple of the forbidden eye. All DLP fans know that the room to built it was kept in Adventureland, but the hope to see it built for real is vanishing...

As you will see on the document below, WDI Imagineers not only have think about bringing IJA at DLP, but already did some blueprints. Although this one was probably done many years ago, when the park will decide to built the ride - translate: when they will have the money to do it - you can be sure that all DLPI imagineers will be happy to create this beloved attraction at DLP.

To say the truth, all Imagineers that i've met since twenty years agree that bringing Indiana Jones Adventure at DLP will not only be one of the best choice - in terms of popular attraction - that DLP management could make, but also that it will be an instant hit among DLP visitors. And they're right, but the main problem is... the price : Indiana Jones Adventure is not only a very expensive attraction but also - and this is an important point - the maintenance cost of the attraction is very high, too. And i remind you that maintenance costs at DLP are already very high. How much would be the cost to build Indiana Jones Adventure ? Frankly, i don't know the real price but probably close to $200 M, now.

To come back to the document below, you will see that the building envisioned for Indiana Jones Adventure will take a big part of the land still available in Adventureland, with its back walls close to the Pirates of Caribbean building. The ride entrance will be through another small temple - like in Anaheim - located in front of the "Temple du péril".

To give you a better idea, here is a satellite view of the park with the blueprint upon it, and it's more easy to locate exactly where will be what, if someday the ride is built.

When i've posted this article for the first time six years ago, i was saying: "Later this month another big E-ticket will open at the Walt Disney Studios : the Tower of terror. Although the TOT is cheaper than Indiana Jones Adventure, for DLP its cost is really important. So don't expect another big E-ticket before the 20th anniversary in 2012. But if DLP management want to do a good choice for this future celebration, "Indiana Jones Adventure and the temple of the forbidden eye" will not only be a good one, but simply the BEST choice they could make".

We're now in 2013, DLP Disneyland Park didn't received a major E-Ticket ride since Space Mountain in 1995 - and none in 2012 - and i'm afraid we'll have to wait a long time before eventually getting Indiana Jones Adventure at DLP Adventureland. But what i was saying in 2007 - "Indiana Jones Adventure and the temple of the forbidden eye" will not only be a good choice, but simply the BEST choice they could make" is still valid.

Photos and document : copyright Disney

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Pictorial Tribute to Diane Disney Miller

As i told you in my previous post Diane Disney Miller died yesterday in Napa, California, at the age of 79 from injuries sustained in a fall. I'm posting today a pictorial tribute to Diane, Walt Disney's elder daughter, a remarkable human being and a wonderful Lady.

Diane was born on December 18, 1933 and was not only the elder but also the only biological daughter of Walt and Lilian Disney. She had a younger sister, Sharon Mae Disney, whom the Disneys adopted at birth in 1936. Sharon died in 1993.

On the rare picture below, Walt is reading stories to his two daughters, Diane is on the right of the picture.

On the next picture shot a few years later, in 1941, Walt stands with his wife Lilian and Diane and Austrian ski racer and founder of Sugar Bowl ski resort Hannes Schroll at Sugar Bowl, in the Sierra Mountains near Donner Pass, California.

If i'm right, the two pictures below were shot during the famous trip of Walt Disney in Europe. Diane stands at the left ( on the picture ) of Walt all aboard the Queen Mary in early 1950's. My good friend and co-author of the DLP book Didier Ghez will release in a month from now his new book and it will be the first book of its kind to explore in details Walt's famous European trip!

On the picture below Diane is with her sister Sharon and Walt "playing" at his home with his famous miniature train.

In 1954 Diane Disney married with Ron W. Miller, a former professional american football player. Here are two pictures shot at the wedding.

Years later, Ron W. Miller became CEO of the Walt DIsney Company until 1984.

On the next picture Diane, left, is with Sharon at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe celebrating Walt and Lilian wedding anniversary, and the picture was shot in July 1955, four days before the grand opening of Disneyland!

A few years later, Diane is at Disneyland's Autopia with Walt and his grand son, Christopher Miller.

On November 17, 1956 the Saturday Evening Post printed a great report of Diane Disney about Walt Disney. 

It was posted in eight parts and included great pictures of Walt with his family - here Diane is holding Chris, Walt's grandson...

...or also this one showing Walt in front of Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle with his grand son. You can read the full first part of Diane article in this article HERE

As a matter of fact it seems that these eight parts article in the Saturday Evening Post were a preview of Diane's biography about Walt "The Story of Walt Disney" published in 1957, Diane was 23 at that time.

Diane Disney Miller did many things in legacy to her father memory but she will be remembered also for two projects who became major achievements, the first one being the Walt Disney Concert Hall at Los Angeles, designed by architect Frank Gehry. 

On the picture above Diane stands with Frank Gehry, left, in front of the model. Below, Diane with Frank Gehry at the Grand Opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Her other achievement is of course the fantastic Walt Disney Family Museum at San Francisco. On the picture below Diane stands outside, in front of the museum facade...

...and on this next one, Diane is inside the museum.

Diane Disney went back several times at Disneyland specially for DL celebrations like in 2005 for DL 50th Anniversary, here with Disney Legend Art Linkletter...

...or more recently for the re-opening of Disney's California Adventure, standing near Walt's statue.

And it's with this great picture that i will end my pictorial tribute to Diane Disney Miller, such a wonderful Lady whom i will always regret to never have met in person. 

In the U.S, Bob Iger asked that all flags be put at half-mast in Disney theme parks and company buildings, in tribute to Diane.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Walt Disney Imagineering Honored by Three THEA Awards !

Three WDI attractions have won THEA Awards - the equivalent of the Oscars for Theme Parks attractions - as it was announced yesterday during a ceremony in Orlando by the Themed Entertainment Association announcing the 2013 winners.

No surprise, Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor received a fully deserved Award for "Outstanding Achievement – Attraction, which noted the original storyline, special effects, Audio-Animatronics technology, musical score by Danny Elfman, and the trackless, wire-guided ride vehicles as reasons for excellence". TEA noted that “Mystic Manor exemplifies the seamless integration of the latest technology with true state-of-the-art storytelling.”

The next WDI attraction to received a THEA award was Enchanted Tales with Belle, at WDW MK New Fantasyland, and it won the Award for "Outstanding Achievement – Participatory Character Greeting for being “far more than the typical character greeting experience… It is a creative blend of excellent design, imaginative interactivity and technical wizardry.”

Last but not least WDI also won a third THEA award and this one was for...  Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary which received the Thea Classic award. "This landmark attraction is “the world’s first Audio-Animatronics show – introducing a new technology that soon became one of the dominant tools used by designers and engineers in our industry.” Disney won others Thea Classic Award in the past for Disneyland Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland park itself, and Epcot.

The Thea Awards ceremony, a black-tie gala will happen April 5, 2014, at the Disneyland Hotel and Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering said “It is very rewarding to be honored by the Themed Entertainment Association, which represents our peers throughout the industry. We are especially proud that all three of these projects represent the best of Disney storytelling and the spirit of innovation we bring to our guests,”. Disney and more warmly congratulate the winners and every people who worked on these three magical attractions honored by a THEA award!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Diane Disney Miller, oldest daughter of Walt and Lilly Disney, has died in Napa, California at the age of 79

An extremely sad new was just announced by the Walt Disney Family Museum: Diane Disney Miller, oldest daughter of Walt and Lilly Disney, has died in Napa, California at the age of 79 from injuries sustained in a fall.

Here is the full release from the WDFM, and i'll be back tomorrow with a longer tribute to Diane:

At the time of her death, she was president of the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio in San Francisco. The museum, which opened in 2009, was established to promote and inspire creativity and innovation and celebrate and study the life of Walt Disney. 

While devoting her earlier life to raising her seven children, over the past two decades, Diane undertook an active advocacy to document the life and accomplishments of her father, who has been the subject of poorly researched biographies and inaccurate rumors. She was also concerned that his name had become more of a corporate identity than a reference to the man himself. In 2001, the Walt Disney Family Foundation released The Man Behind the Myth, a documentary film about Walt Disney’s life featuring interviews with his colleagues, peers, and family. 

Diane also worked tirelessly to conceive and complete the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. She was an ardent supporter of architect Frank Gehry as its designer. 

Diane, a lifelong pianist with a passion for classical music, has been a generous benefactor to the San Francisco Symphony, Napa’s Music in the Vineyards, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She was also a benefactor to many other causes, including the Pathway Home in Yountville, California and the Halo Trust. 

When she was 20 years old, Diane was introduced to 21-year-old USC student Ron Miller, a member of the football team, on a blind date after a Cal/USC game. They married in a small church ceremony in Santa Barbara on May 9, 1954. Ron then served in the Army and played professional football before Walt convinced him to work the Walt Disney Studios, and he ascended from film directing and production to president and CEO of what is now The Walt Disney Company. But, with the children grown, Ron left the company and the entertainment industry in 1984, and he and Diane went on to develop the renowned Silverado Vineyards Winery in Napa, which became their home. 

All who knew Diane would agree that her enthusiasm and energy was incredible. She dove into projects with passion and determination, and brought that same intensity into her personal life as well. Partners for almost 60 years, she and Ron always set aside time to be in nature, skiing in Colorado and swimming in the ocean in Hawaii throughout their lives. Autumns spent at their ranch in Colorado were something she always looked forward to. When home in Napa, they spent most weekends tending their rose, dogwood, and rhododendron gardens. They instilled the same respect for nature and family in their children and grandchildren. 

Above all, Diane’s greatest love was for her family. She is survived by her husband Ron, children Christopher Miller, Joanna Miller, Tamara Diane Miller, Jennifer Miller-Goff, Walter Elias Disney Miller, Ronald Miller, and Patrick Miller, and grandchildren Annabelle Rey, Nick Runeare, Ryan Scheer, Sam Goff, Danielle Durham, Sebastian Runeare, Charlotte Goff, Lily Goff, Haley Scheer, Reilly Miller, Madeline Goff, William Miller, and Elias Miller, and great granddaughter Stella Durham. 

In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations may be made to the memorial fund that The Walt Disney Family Museum has created in honor of Diane Disney Miller. Donations will support the museum's ongoing education efforts, exhibitions, and programs. Donations and cards can also be sent to the family through The Walt Disney Family Museum, attn: Director's Office; 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129. 

Services will be private and the museum has not yet planned a public commemoration of Diane, but a possible program or event may be scheduled in the future.

D&M Exclusive : Pictorial Memories of Tom Scherman - Photos Courtesy of Evelyn Turner

Here are never-seen-before pictures of the great Tom Sherman that i should have posted since a long time - shame on me! - and we have to thanks Evelyn Turner who was a great friend of Tom, back in the 70's. Evelyn share with us rare pictures of Tom some shot by her, others by a friend, Kathy Sanders - as well as some artwork and she kindly sent me scans of them. Although most of the photos are not in the greatest quality - Evelyn had a cheap old point and shoot camera back in those days - i did my best to enhance the pictures which, again, have never been published anywhere before. 

Tom Scherman, for those of you who still don't know him was the greatest 20000 Leagues Nautilus specialist in the world as well as a genius modeler, a great painter, and a WDI Imagineer. It's thanks to Tom who was the last one to knew the secrets of Harper Goff's Nautilus that we have an almost real size Nautilus at Disneyland Paris' Discoveryland. Not to mention the many Nautilus models that he did and were on display inside DLP Visionarium or Epcot Living Seas. It's also thanks to Tom that Tokyo Disney Sea Mysterious Island has its look, specially the inside of the volcano, as Tom sketches done years before served as inspiration for a big part of it as you can discover on my Tom Scherman website HERE where this article is posted simultaneously.

Here is now an introduction by Evelyn Turner herself: 

"I met Tom through mutual friends around 1973 when I was living in Hollywood.  He gave me a tour of his Nautilus apartment, which was very impressive!  We started going together and stayed together a few years, through about 1977 when we grew apart and went our separate ways. He was working for WED Enterprises at the time, and I loved seeing his drawings and models. I feel very privileged that I was able to contribute in a very minor way to his cutaway Nautilus model by making miniature paintings and gilded frames.

When we were friends in the 70s, I was working for the County of Los Angeles to support myself, but then, as now, I also dabbled in art as a hobby and I was inspired by Tom and his talent.  I also took up belly dance and danced professionally for a few years.  I am now retired and getting back into art by taking some watercolor classes.  I have lots of good memories of Tom and the time we were together and am grateful for your lovely tribute site because it brings back those good old days."

Above, a nice picture of Tom according to Evelyn possibly taken at a science fiction convention. Below, a photo of Tom Scherman with Evelyn Turner at a picnic in 1974 
( the photo was shot by Kathy Sanders ).

As Tom's name is forever linked with the Nautilus, let's have a look now at great pics of Tom standing in 1974 in front of one of his Nautilus model, as well as close-up shots on the model itself.

Thanks to Evelyn we also have very rare pictures of Tom's cutaway Nautilus! Tom gave to Evelyn the 3-dimentional "sketch" - picture below - that he made before he started the full-size model. Evelyn had a small contribution to the model as well. Tom asked her to make some miniature paintings in miniature gilt frames which she did ( she made the frames from pieces cut from gold doilies!) and he used them in the model.  

Below, Tom and Evelyn standing in front of the cutaway Nautilus. Tom eventually sold the model to Disney, but Evelyn don't know what happened to it after that.

As we know Tom Scherman was also a fantastic artist and here are some pictures of artwork - paintings or "napkin" sketches - he gave to Evelyn.

The little monster below is a sketch that Tom did on a piece of CBS memo paper.

I told you that Tom was too a WDI Imagineer and here is a picture of Tom ( on the right ) shot at WDI with Disney Legend Tony Baxter ( second from the right ) and Imagineers John Olson and Jack Terry, charting concepts for what was called at that time "Epcot Oceanography Pavilion". The picture was posted in WED Enterprises ( now WDI ) newsletter called WED-WAY.

Evelyn share a fun memory for this next picture of Tom. She reminds that Tom had to shave his mustache when he took diving lessons... so he put on a false one for this photo!

Another never seen picture of Tom - a Polaroid picture - standing in front of one of his model.

Tom and Evelyn also participated to incredible events as you will see with this next piece showing a newspaper article about a dinner they attended on the Queen Mary to commemorate the Titanic: "Although our table was at the back, all the news people there took our photo because we were the only group who came in costume!"

...the second page of the article - enlarge both pictures to read the article about this memorable evening.

We will end this article with these pictures of Tom and Evelyn standing in front of Tom's incredible giant Iron Man - you can learn more about it in a special article about it with more pictures on Tom's website HERE.

Although we end today with these Iron Man pics there is more photos from Evelyn Turner to come soon in a part two article. And the pictures included in this next article are also amazing as they show Tom with one of the most famous prop in movie history that he bought in an auction and then restored : the original Time Machine from Georges Pal's legendary 1960 famous movie! Don't miss this part two!

Pictures: copyright Evelyn Turner, Kathy Sanders