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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Owen and Dolly Pope - Disney Legend Choice number 16

Owen and Dolly Pope are the second duo I am thinking should be named Disney Legends. This married couple are the only people to live at Disneyland! This makes them some of the coolest people on the list. They were the original horse and pony wranglers in what would become the Circle D Corral.
Some other highlights of their careers with Disney:

  • The couple originally lived at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank and began training the horses there until the park opened.
  • Besides teaching horses and mules how to behave, they also helped build wagons and coaches for the new park.
  • As preparations were underway for the opening of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Owen built the harness and riggings for the horses at the new resort from his home at Disneyland. In January 1971, he and Dolly moved to Florida, where Owen helped supervise the building of Tri-Circle-D Ranch. A few years later, in September 1975, Dolly became the first Walt Disney World Resort cast member to retire, followed by Owen in October.
  • Due to their efforts in the Florida park, they received a window on main street next to the car barn. (I took this photograph on a visit to the Magic Kingdom).
  • The dog who served as the model for Tramp from the animated feature Lady and the Tramp live out his life with the Popes at their home in Disneyland!
  • It has been reported that the new Star Wars Land will displace the Pope House at Disneyland.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paul Winchell and John Fielder - tied for number 14

I am going to present a series of three duos - people who should be named, in my opinion, as Disney Legends together. This first duo has a unique tie together. Not only did they work together in many Disney films, they also died very close to each other. Paul Winchell was the voice of Tigger for many years and died June 24, 2005. John Fielder was the voice of Piglet for many years and died on June 25, 2005! Both actors are famous for other roles outside of Disney and both have stars on the Hollywood Walk of fame.

  • Winchell won a Grammy Award for his performance in Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.
  • Winchell played Tigger one more time in the attraction The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh featured in the Disney theme parks.
  • Winchell voiced Shun Gun the Chinese cat in Aristocats.
  • He was Boomer in The Fox and the Hound.
  • He also played Zummi Gummi in the first five seasons of Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
  • Winchell's daughter April has also been a voice actress for Disney (Cruella DeVil, Clarabelle Cow).
  • Fielder also had several other roles for Disney including Sexton Mouse in Robin Hood.
  • Fielder voiced the Deacon Owl in The Rescuers and Porcupine in The Fox and the Hound.
  • He had the role of Cy Jenkins int he live-action film Rascal.
  • John had finished recording his lines for Piglet in Pooh's Heffalump Movie, which was released in February 2005, just 4 months before his death and he had reprised his role as Piglet for the direct-to-video sequel, Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie, but died before he could finish recording all of his lines.
  • He was Howie Cummings in The Shaggy DA.
  • He made a guest appearance in Golden Girls.
  • His last film was a voice appearance in Kronk's New Groove (as Rudy).

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Burt Gillett - Choice number 13 for a Disney Legend Honor

Burt Gillett is a throwback to the very early days of the Disney Studios. He was director of animated films for the company and directed some of their biggest early successes. He was also known as quite the bombastic presence in the offices, according the memories of Disney Legend Eric Larsen. Here are some of his Disney Highlights:

  • He was the director for Disney's first "Mega-Hit" the Three Little Pigs. This animated short won an Academy Award.
  • He directed the first Silly Symphony to be done in color - Flowers and Trees, which also won an Academy Award.
  • He directed a total of 15 Silly Symphonies, including ones with an early Mickey Mouse and the introduction of Pluto.
  • He is the only early director of the Silly Symphonies not to be named a Disney Legend.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tom Hanks - My Number 12 Choice as a Disney Legend

My number 12 choice is quite well know, in and outside of Disney circles. I think his qualifications are obvious, but here are a few of Tom Hank's Disney career highlights.

  • He is the voice one of the most iconic voices in animation history - Woody from Toy Story. I think Woody even looks like Tom Hanks.
  • He played Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. Who else can say that? I thought he did a pretty decent job. 
  • He starred in the film Splash, which was the first film released under the Touchstone label. 
  • He played Scott Turner in the Turner and Hooch, another Touchstone film. 
  • He starred in in the ABC sitcom Busom Buddies. This was before Disney owned ABC - but if Dick Clark is a Disney Legend for American Bandstand then..... 
  • Like Don Knotts and Tim Conway, Tom Hanks should join current Disney Legend Tim Allen so Buzz and Woody can both be honored.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tiny Cline - Choice number 11 for a Disney Legend

Tiny Cline is perhaps the least know person so far on this list, but she made a big impact.She was the first Tinker Bell at Disneyland to glide down a wire connecting the Matterhorn to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. She played tinker Bell from 1961-1954 at Disneyland. She was 71 years old when she began her career flying through the night skies at Disneyland.

Prior to her work for Disney she was a circus performer known for her equestrian feats and for her ‘slide of death.’ A short career, but what a gal! She performed her role until cancer took her life in 1964. Check out her death defying act in New York in the video below, prior to her years with Disney!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dorothy McGuire - number 10 pick for Disney Legend Honor

Rounding out the top 10 for my list is actress Dorothy McGuire. Her volume of work with Disney is a bit sparse, but the roles she played are etched into many of our memories.

  • I think here most famous Disney role was  Katie Coates in Old Yeller.
  • Perhaps just as memorable, she played Mother Robinson in Swiss Family Robinson.
  • Lastly, she was Margaret Carey in Summer Magic.
  • For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Dorothy McGuire has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6933 Hollywood Blvd.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mark Henn - My 9th pick as a Disney Legend.

Mark Henn is my first animator on this list (Yes Lasseter is an animator but his greatest work has come as a producer and executive), and in my humble opinion the most deserving animator not currently a Disney Legend.
  • Henn has been an animator for Disney studios for 35+ years. He was mentored by Disney Legend and one pf the Nine Old Men, Eric Larson.
  • He has been nominated for an Annie award four times: three times for Character Animation for The Lion King, Mulan, and Winnie the Pooh, and once for Short Animated Film Direction for John Henry.
  • He has animated many of Disney’s best-known characters (from Goofy to Winnie the Pooh to the mice in The Rescuers), he has the reputation as the animator of heroines. He animated Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from Little Mermaid, Jasmine from Aladdin, Mulan from Mulan, and Tiana from Princess and the Frog.
  • He also animated Mickey Mouse in the Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol and Pete in the short Get a Horse. He was heavily involved with Olaf in Frozen.
  • He moved to Florida to work in the new animation department at the recently opened Hollywood Studios. Here he worked on shorts such as Roller Coaster Rabbit, The Prince and the Pauper and Trail Mix-Up.He eventually worked on several films from the Florida studio as well, including Aladdin.
  • He appeared in one episode of Full House, playing an animator from Disney!
  • In more recent years, he has helped to instruct younger animators how to utilize the principles of traditional animation in CG animation, doing hand drawn overlays on character poses to better help bring life to the character animation.
  • His filmography from his Wikipedia page:

1981       The Fox and the Hound Animator (Uncredited)
1983       Mickey's Christmas Carol              Animator
1985       The Black Cauldron          Character Animator
1986       The Great Mouse Detective        Supervising Animator: "Basil" And "Dr. Dawson"
1988       Oliver and Company           Supervising Animator: "Oliver" And "Dodger"
1989       The Little Mermaid          Directing Animator/Supervising Animator: "Ariel"
1990       The Rescuers Down Under          Supervising Animator: "Bernard" And "Bianca"
1991       Beauty and the Beast     Supervising Animator: "Belle"
1992       Aladdin Supervising Animator: "Princess Jasmine"
1994       The Lion King     Supervising Animator: "Young Simba"
1995       Pocahontas        Animator: "Pocahontas"
1998       Mulan   Supervising Animator: "Mulan", "Fa Zhou"
2000       The Tigger Movie             Animation Consultant (Uncredited)
The Emperor's New Groove        Additional Animator
2002       Lilo and Stitch         Lead Animator: "Hula Dancers"
2004       Home on the Range        Supervising Animator: "Grace", "Wesley", "Rusty" And "Pearl"
2006       Bambi II                Supervising Animator: "Ronno"
The Fox and the Hound 2             Animation Consultant (Uncredited)
2007       Meet the Robinsons       Animator
Enchanted          Animator
2009       The Princess and the Frog            Supervising Animator: "Tiana"
2011       Winnie the Pooh              Supervising Animator: "Winnie the Pooh" And "Christopher Robin"[2]
2012       Wreck-It Ralph  Additional Visual Development
2013       Saving Mr. Banks              Animator: "Tinker Bell"
2013       Frozen  Lead 2D Animator: Anna And Olaf

2014       Big Hero 6            Lead 2D Animator