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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jeff York - my 60th choice as a Disney Legend

My 60th choice is character actor Jeff York. The following is from York's Wikipedia page: he is perhaps most remembered for his role as Bud Searcy in Disney's classic Old Yeller and its 1963 sequel Savage Sam. Beverly Washburn played Lisbeth Searcy, Bud's daughter. York also appeared in The Great Locomotive Chase, Westward Ho, the Wagons!, and Johnny Tremain which were all Walt Disney's productions.

York attracted considerable attention in the mid 1950s with his television portrayal of Mike Fink, the flamboyant keelboat operator in two episodes of Disney's hugely popular Davy Crockett miniseries in the episodes "Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race" and "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates." York was cast opposite Fess Parker in the role. The first episode featured a memorable boasting contest and a keelboat race, with Fink's boat named The Gullywumper; in the second, Crockett and Fink join forces to fight a band of river pirates who blame their depredations on local Native Americans.

One of the famous lines form the movie is “Girls run and hide, brave men shiver...I'm Mike Fink, king of the river!”
He also starred as mountain man/fur trapper Joe Crane in two different Disney series, The Saga of Andy Burnett, adapted from the Stewart Edward White novel The Long Rifle and Zorro.



   

Janet Munro - my 59th choice as a Disney Legend

Janet Munro was in a couple of my childhood Disney favorites, most notably as the kidnapped girl Roberta in Swiss Family Robinson. Munro also starred as as Katie O'Gill in Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Lizbeth Hempel in Third Man on the Mountain. She played Janet Hale in The Horsemasters, which aired on Disney's weekly television series. She also played Katie O'Gill  I Captured the King of the Leprechauns, a made for TV special plugging the upcoming Darby O'Gill movie. She sang the song Pretty Irish Girl with Sean O'Connery for the same movie. 


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Duncan Dickson - my 58th choice as a Disney Legend



Dickson served almost twenty years with Walt Disney World, Co. where as Director of Casting. He was very active in the creation, development and teaching of numerous training programs. Among these programs where “Casting for a Role in the Show,” “View from a Disney Leader,” “Management Disney Style,” “The Disney Approach to People Management” and “The Disney Keys to Quality Service.” He created the latter as a program to deliver the Disney quality message to individuals unable to visit Central Florida.

Darlene Gillespie - my 57th choice as a Disney Legend

Darlene Gillespie is my 57th choice as a Disney Legend, and my first Mouseketeer. One of the most popular Mousketeers in the original Mickey Mouse Club that ran from 1955 to 1958, Darlene Gillespie rivaled Annette Funicello for the most popular girl on the show. Plus my wife remembers her and looked up to her!
Darlene was the early favorite with the show's crew, who were convinced she'd be a star, but circumstances forestalled this. An amateur performer at fourteen, she was a good dancer, was blessed with an extraordinary voice, was in Roll Call and the lead performer on the Red Team for all three seasons on ABC.
Darlene did get several scenes in Annette's first serial Adventure in Dairyland and new director Sid Miller seemed nearly as impressed with her talents as first-year director Dik Darley had been. She remained the second most popular Mouseketeer in terms of fan mail after Annette, with whom she maintained a friendly working relationship throughout the season. The two girls were often paired for personal appearances and gradually came to stand out from the other :mice" in publicity releases and media coverage. Besides leading most of the musical numbers for the second year, Darlene also shared a Talent Round-Up Day with her three sisters and had a show to herself with singing and celebrity impersonations in An Evening With Darlene.
As soon as the serial ended, she worked for two months in the Disneyland Circus.
She was the leading female singer and starred in the serial Corky and White Shadow during the first season. In the third season, she appeared in the serial, The New Adventures of Spin and Marty, with Tim Considine and David Stollery.
Gillespie made many recordings under the various Disney labels, including an album of 1950s rock and roll standards called Darlene of the Teens (1957). She recorded albums from Disney animated films in which she not only sang but narrated the stories as well, such as Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty.
There is some scandal surrounding her - she was arrested in 2005 in bad check writing scheme. the charges were later dropped. Several current Disney legends do have some scandal attached to their name (Johnny Depp for example).

Bill Watkins - 56th choice as a Disney Legend

One of the most popular and enduring rides at the Disney Parks is Space Mountain, the first roller coaster to be ridden inside and in the dark - Space Mountain at Disneyland was designed by Bill Watkins of Walt Disney Imagineering. This includes the tubular steel track design. The track layout was different from that in Florida because of space limitations in the California park. He was also involved in the design of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride.

Inside of Space Mountain during construction
According to Wikipedia - "Space Mountain at Disneyland was designed by Bill Watkins of Walt Disney Imagineering, including a tubular steel track design awarded U.S. Patent 4,029,019."

Watkins wrote an article for Mouseplanet about the design of Space Mountain - here is a a paragraph from that article: "Disneyland's Space Mountain opened on May 28, 1977 and was reproduced at Tokyo and, recently, Hong Kong. During those same years and later (1969 to 1986), we also designed the Big Thunder Railway (working title) rides at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Euro Disneyland using the same principles and techniques. The Disneyland Space Mountain was recently reopened with a new, but identical, track. 171 million people had ridden on the old track, a total of more than 8 million miles."




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Whoopi Goldberg - my 55th choice as a Disney Legend

Whoopi Goldberg is a household name in our country. She has had several roles with Disney Studios. Here is her bio from the Disney Wiki:

Whoopi Goldberg is an American comedienne, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author, and talk show host who voiced Shenzi in the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King and its 2004 sequel, The Lion King 1½. She also voiced Miss Mittens in Snow Buddies and Stretch in the 2010 Disney/Pixar film Toy Story 3. She made a cameo as herself in The Muppets. She also posed as the Genie in "Where Your Every Wish is Our Command" in the Disney Dream Portrait Series and voiced the White Rabbit's wife in the ABC's series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

She also guest-starred in episode 109 of Muppets Tonight. She also played Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act and its sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Dr. Vivien Morgan in A Knight in Camelot, Laurel Ayres/Mr. Cutty in The Associate, Edwina 'Eddie' Franklin in Eddie, and Buckwheat's mother in The Little Rascals. She voiced The GameMaster in Miles from Tomorrowland.
On top of all this she starred in a feature attraction at California Adventure Park in a film about the history of California called Golden Dreams. she played the role as Califia, the Queen of California.  She has recently been part of the voice cast of Disney Channel's 7D animated show about the seven dwarfs. She is a Celebrity Narrator at Epcot's Candlelight Procession at Christmas.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise - my 53rd choice as Disney Legends

Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise are tied at number 53 for my choice as Disney Legends. The two often worked together as animators and directors for Walt Disney Studios. I hold them in high esteem as directors of Beauty and The Beast - perhaps the greatest animated film of all time.

Trousdale's work with Disney includes animation in the movies The Black Cauldron, Oliver and Company, The Rescuers Down Under, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and The Prince and the Pauper. He worked as a writer for The Lion King and Atlantis: Milo's Return and was also a director for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He was a special effects contributor to the live action movie My Science Project. He even ventured in the parks as the pre-show director for the now defunct Epcot attraction Cranium Command. He moved to Dreamworks Studios in 2003.

Wise also directed Beauty and the Beast,  The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He worked as an animator on Disney films such as The Great Mouse Detective, The Brave Little Toaster, Sport Goofy in Soccermania, Oliver and Company, The Rescuers Down Under, The Prince and the Pauper and The Lion King. He helped as a writer for Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He was also the executive producer of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. He was a voice actor and sequence director for the Epcot attraction Cranium Command. most recently he was the executive producer for Disney's Oceans and as a creative consultant for Chimpanzee.