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Friday, May 27, 2016

Tim Burton - number 42 as a Disney Legend

My 42nd choice as a Disney Legend would be current director and animator Tim Burton. Personally I don't like his style or his movies, but some of them have been big hits for the Walt Disney Company. Below is a list of some of his biggest film contributions to the company:

1981       The Fox and the Hound                 Animator 
1982       Tron                                              Animator 
1982       Vincent                                          Director
1983       Hansel and Gretel                         Director
1984       Frankenweenie (short)                   Director
1985       The Black Cauldron                        Animator / Conceptual Artist 
1993       The Nightmare Before Christmas    Producer/Writer
1996       James and the Giant Peach                Producer
2010       Alice in Wonderland                         Director
2012       Frankenweenie                                Director
2016       Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass           Producer

Leslie Nielsen - My 41st choice as a Disney Legend

Many people in their 30s and 40s will remember Leslie Neilsen as the screwball actor from the Naked Gun films and Airplane! they might also recall his brief role in the Poseidon Adventure. But long before these days he played an important role for Walt Disney's television program. He was the lead character - Colonel Frances Marion in the TV show The Swamp Fox. The series encompassed eight episodes, running as part of The Wonderful World of Color.

Like Davy Crockett (played by Fess Parker who is a Disney Legend) and Zorro (starring Guy Williams - also a Disney Legend), the Swamp Fox was a popular hero for all those Baby Boomers and the rest of us who watched the reruns on later version of the Wonderful World of Disney.

Besides the Swamp Fox, Nielsen played Mr. Magoo in the 1997 film of the same name, Mr. Penn in the 1998 Disney television film Safety Patrol , Dick Steele in the 1996 Hollywood Pictures film Spy Hard, Santa Claus in Santa Who? He also narrated The Boy Who Flew with Condors and Katie and Orbie.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ugo D'Orsi - my 40th choice as a Disney Legend

Ugo D'Orsi was an animator who worked on several Disney Studios projects in the 1930s and 40s. He is my 41st choice as a Disney Legend. He was also involved in the special effects department at Disney. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston wrote in their book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, they said, Through the entire thirties, the entire Effects Department consisted of only two men: Ugo D'Orsi, a straightforward, stubborn, and dedicated Italian, and Cy Young...quiet and sensitive...who loved to play the bass fiddle as a hobby. Thomas and Johnston added, Since [D'Orsi and Young] did most of the careful work themselves, they needed only a single assistant between them.
Ugo D'Orsi did many of the great water-effects in Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice section in Fantasia - and that is believed to be Ugo D'Orsi at his best.
Here are some of the films D’Orsi worked on for Disney.
  • Just Mickey
  • Gulliver Mickey
  • Hollywood Party
  • The Pied Piper                  
  • Funny Little Bunnies                       
  • Hot Choc'lit Soldiers       
  • The Wise Little Hen         
  • The Goddess of Spring    
  • The Hot Choc-late Soldiers
  • Gulliver Mickey
  • Two-Gun Mickey             
  • The Band Concert            
  • Water Babies     
  • Music Land         
  • Thru the Mirror  Animation
  • Don Donald        
  • Little Hiawatha 
  • The Cookie Carnival
  • Giantland
  • The Old Mill       
  • Wynken, Blynken and Nod           
  • The Reluctant Dragon    
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  • Bambi
  • Fantasia
  • Pinnochio

Friday, May 20, 2016

James Baskett - my 39th choice to be named a Disney Legend

James Baskett is most famous for playing the leading role in a controversial Disney film. Baskett is the actor who played Uncle Remus in Song of the South. He sang one of the most iconic Disney songs of all time in the film as well - "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." In recognition of his warm portrayal of the famous black storyteller he was given an Honorary Academy Award, making him the first black male performer to receive an Oscar.

Baskett was also given the voice role of Brer Fox, one of the film's animated antagonists, and even filled in as the main animated protagonist, Brer Rabbit, in one sequence. Before acting in Song of the South, Baskett was the voice of one of the crows in Dumbo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bill Thompson - choice number 38 as a Disney Legend

Bill Thompson is my 38th choice as a Disney Legend. He is a voice actor famous for his portrayal of Droopy Dog.  For Walt Disney studios he voiced the White Rabbit and Dodo in Alice in Wonderland and Mr. Smee in Peter Pan. He also was the voice of King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty.

His best showcase may well have been in Lady and the Tramp, where he was heard in no less than five dialect parts, as Jock the Scottish Terrier, Bull the Cockney bulldog, Dachsie the German dachshund, Joe the Italian cook, and the Irish policeman in the zoo. He also helped in the singing a couple of the songs from the movie, including Bella Notte.

In shorts, he was heard as Ranger J. Audubon Woodlore in several "Donald Duck and Humphrey the Bear" entries and as Professor Owl in two music related shorts, Melody Time and Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom. Thompson was the first actor to voice the comic book character Scrooge McDuck, as well as a little known character - Grandpa Duck. He was J.J. Fate, the Common Man and his Common Sense in How to Catch a Cold, an elderly Spike the Bee in Let's Stick Together. He was the voice of the Irish station manager Flannery in "Pigs Is Pigs" and of Uncle Waldo from The Aristocats.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ted Berman - choice number 37 as a Disney Legend

Ted Berman was a film director, animator, and screenwriter, known for his work with Disney, including Bambi, Fantasia, and The Black Cauldron. He is my 38th choice to be named a Disney Legend. He was also a writer on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color TV series. He served on staff at Disney for nearly 50 years. He joined Disney in 1940. Below is a partial list of  films he was involved with for the Studios.

Ward Kimball, Richard Bakalyan and Ted Berman during the production of “It's Tough to Be a Bird” (1969).

  • Paul Bunyan
  • Fun and Fancy Free
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  • The Litterbug
  • The Rescuers
  • The Fox and the Hound
  • The Black Cauldron
  • The Million Dollar Duck
  • It's Tough to be a Bird
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • Bambi
  • Fantasia
  • Peter Pan
  • Mary Poppins
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Beverly Butrum - 36th choice as a Disney Legend

Beverly Butrum is my 36th choice to be named a Disney Legend. Her name is not familiar to most Disney fans, but she was an intricate part of the Disneyland parks for nearly four decades.

Butrum, was a Disneyland hostess for nearly four decades. During her years at the One-of-a-Kind Shop and later at the Disneyland Art Gallery, Beverly became friends with the artists and “Imagineers” of Walt Disney Productions, including Walt Disney’s brother, Roy O. Disney. In fact, Roy told Beverly in confidence that they were secretly buying orange groves in Florida to build what would eventually become Walt Disney World. After 37 years with Disneyland, Beverly retired in 2003. Hundreds attended her retirement celebration at CafĂ© Orleans and she was given a Main Street USA window in her honor, which she took home!