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Friday, June 23, 2017

Alex Kupershmidt - my 151st pick as a Disney Legend

Animator Alex Kupershmidt is my 151st pick to be named as a Disney Legend. He is considered one of the best animators in the Disney studio today in both hand-drawn and CGI. He is a graduate of the animation department at the School of Visual arts in New York and joined Disney at the opening of the Florida studio in 1989. His Disney debut was on Roller Coaster Rabbit and it was shortly followed by his position as animator in the Florida Gaston and Aladdin units.
Some of his Disney credits are:

(1990) Roller Coaster Rabbit (Animator)
(1990) The Rescuers Down Under (Animator: Percival C. McLeach)
(1991) Beauty and the Beast (Animator: Gaston)
(1992) Aladdin (Animator: Aladdin)
(1994) The Lion King (Supervising animator: Hyena Clan)
(1998) Mulan (Supervising animator: Khan and General Li)
(2002) Lilo & Stitch (Supervising animator: Stitch)
(2003) Brother Bear (Supervising animator: Koda)
(2005) Chicken Little (Animator)
(2007) Meet the Robinsons (Animator)
(2008) Bolt (Animator)
(2009) The Princess and the Frog (Lead animator: Shadow Demons)
(2010) Tangled ​(Animator)
(2012) Wreck-It Ralph (Additional Animation Support)
(2012) Paperman (Final Line Animator)
(2013) Get a Horse! (Animator)

Fred Kopietz - my 150th pick to be named a Disney Legend

Animator Fred Kopietz is my 150th choice to be named a Disney Legend. Prior to coming to the Disney Studios he worked for Walter Lantz, including some Oswald the Rabbit films. After coming to Disney he worked on several Donald Duck films and shorts, along with some of the classics.  Ward Kimball used Kopietz as his right-hand man on the title song animation of The Three Caballeros.

His Disnye credits include:

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (TV Series) (animator - 1 episode)
- Man on Wheels (1967) ... (animator)

1961 Donald and the Wheel (Short) (animator)

1961 101 Dalmatians (animator - uncredited)

1959 How to Have an Accident at Work (Short) (animator)

1959 Sleeping Beauty (character animator)

1958 Paul Bunyan (Short) (animator)

1955 Lady and the Tramp (animator - uncredited)

1948 The Trial of Donald Duck (Short) (animation)

1947 Crazy with the Heat (Short) (animator)

1947 Sleepy Time Donald (Short) (animator)

1946 Dumb Bell of the Yukon (Short) (animator)

1946 Donald's Double Trouble (Short) (animator)

1945Cured Duck (Short) (animator)

1944 The Three Caballeros (animator - uncredited)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peter Schnieder - my 149th choice as a Disney Legend

Peter Schnieder was the first president of Walt Disney Feature Animation for The Walt Disney Company from 1985 to 1999 and he is my 149th chocie to be named a Disney Legend. He was responsible for helping to turn the feature animation department around and creating some of the most critically acclaimed and highest grossing animated features that Disney released. These films included Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991, the first animated feature to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994), the highest domestic grossing animated film of all time until 2003.
Schneider also sealed the deal that created the highly successful partnership between Pixar and Disney. He was promoted to studio chief in 1999. In 2001, Schneider left Disney to form his own theater production company. His first major production, developed in association with Michael Reno, was Sister Act (musical) which opened at the London Palladium in 2009. Peter graduated from Purdue University in 1972 with a theatre degree.

Along with producer Don Hahn, Schneider produced a documentary entitled Waking Sleeping Beauty in 2009, which focused on the revival of Disney animation during the 1980s and early 1990s. In Disney's 1988 animated movie, Oliver & Company, he was caricatured as a pawn shop owner whom Fagin tries to pawn his watch to.

David Swift - my 148th choice as a Disney Legend

David Swift, my 148th pick to be named a Disney Legend, was an American screenwriter, animator, director, and producer.
He began his career at The Walt Disney Studio as an office boy and rose to be an assistant animator under Ward Kimball in 1938.. He worked on such classic animated Disney films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Peter Pan. He also worked on The Reluctant Dragon and The Nifty Nineties.

Swift eventually switched careers from animation to screenwriting and made his directing debut with the Disney film Pollyanna, starring Hayley Mills. After Pollyanna, Swift wrote and directed the film The Parent Trap, again starring Mills.


In the late 1970's, Swift returned to Disney and wrote the screenplay for the Jodie Foster movie Candleshoe. He was originally set to direct the picture, before being taken off the project and replaced with Norman Tokar.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Renie Bardeau - my 147th choice as a Disney Legend

Renie Bardeau was a Disneyland photographer who produced several of the most iconic Walt Disney photos.  He is my 147th pick to be named a Disney Legend. His first assignment the summer he was hired by head photographer Charlie Nichols was to take publicity photos of the opening of the new attractions for Tomorrowland, especially the Monorail, with Walt Disney and the Nixon family.
His summer job at Disneyland continued until 1963 when he graduated. He assumed he would work at Disneyland until he found some other job in the advertising field.
"One year became five and five became 10, then 10 became 20 and so on," Bardeau said. (It was a familiar story for many of the people that began working at Disneyland like Disneyland Band Leader Vessey Walker and Golden Horseshoe star Wally Boag.)
As those years passed by, Bardeau spent less time in the darkroom and more time in the park. He would receive three or four assignments a day, photographing celebrities or new rides or fireworks.
United States presidents, politicians, award-winning performers, famous athletes, royalty, and a host of foreign dignitaries have visited Disneyland and Renie was there snapping pictures for press packets, Disney archives and in-house newsletters.
When Charlie Nichols retired in 1968, Bardeau replaced him as chief photographer.
Last photo taken of Walt Disney at Disneyland
Bardeau has ridden every ride at Disneyland since 1959, many of them while sitting backward to get specific angles for photos used to publicize a coming attraction.
Bardeau was also responsible for the final professional photo taken of Walt Disney in Disneyland. As Renie recalled, it was at the end of August 1966 (Walt died a little more than three months later) and Walt had been shooting a commercial for Kodak. Walt was in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle sitting in the front seat of Disneyland Fire Department “Engine No. 1” vehicle with a costumed Mickey Mouse.
Bardeau once complained to Disney that the trees along Main Street had grown too large and obstructed the view of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. The trees were eventually replaced with smaller ones.
In all Renie worked as a photographer for Disneyland for 37 years. He snapped over a million pictures for the theme park. He has mingled with Hollywood stars, famous athletes--and, of course, Mickey Mouse, whom he has photographed more than 100,000 times. (Bardeau has seen subtle changes in the famous mouse over time: "He has a bigger tummy to make him look more like the cartoon and his ears are a little smaller.")
Some of this information was taken from an article by JimKorkis on Mouseplanet.com.

Ming-Na Wen - my 146th pick as a Disney Legend

Ming-Nw Wen is my 146th choice to be named a Disney Legend. She has been known by such variants of her name as Ming-Na, Ming Na, Ming Na Wen and Ming Wen.

She is well-known for providing the speaking voice of the title character in Disney's 1998 animated feature film, Mulan and has since reprised the role in most of the character's subsequent appearances, including Kingdom Hearts II, Sofia the First, the Disney Infinity series, and among others.

Many of the other voices actress who played Disney princesses have been named Legends already, including Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O'Hara (Belle), Lea Salonga (singing voice of Jasmine and Mulan), Linda Larkin (Jasmine), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Kathryn Beaumont (Wendy Darling), Adriana Caselotti (Snow White), Illene Woods (Cinderella) and Mary Costa (Aurora). Plus Carrie Fisher was just elected for her portrayal as Princess Leia. Just this omission is enough to drive an OCD person insane.


She also currently portrays Agent Melinda May on the ABC/Marvel TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., June Woo in The Joy Luck Club, and voiced Dr. Hirano in the Disney Channel animated series, Phineas and Ferb. She voices Savannah in Milo Murphy's Law and Vega in Sofia the First. She has been a celebrity narrator at the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT Center.



Friday, May 12, 2017

John Sibley - my 145th pick as a Disney Legend

Animator John Animator is my 145th pick to be named a Disney Legend.  The following is a quote form the 50 Most Influential Disney Animators Blog: "Sibley is known best for being the Goof master at Disney for many years. He animated Goofy on over 40 shorts and really did some of the greatest stuff on the character ever done. He also did lots of entertaining, brilliant animation in other shorts and in features. However John unfortunately was viewed down upon as a B-animator and hasn’t gotten the recognition that he deserves. This is a shame because he’s a very unique talent and one we’ll never see anybody like again."
He worked on several films and shorts, including:

The Reluctant Dragon (1941)
Three Caballeros (1944)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)
Goofy Gymnastics (short) (1949)
Motor Mania (1950)
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961)
The Sword and the Stone (1963)
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)



Harrison Ford - my 144th pick as a Disney Legend

Harrison Ford is my 144th pick to be named a Disney Legend. He is best known for his roles as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy, and as Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones film series, both collaborating with George Lucas. He reprises his role as Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He set to star in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5. The official release date has been set for July 19, 2019, following a statement from Disney chairman Alan Horn. It read: “Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019. 

He also played Quinn Harris in the 1998 Touchstone Pictures film Six Days Seven Nights. He appeared in the TV special Disneyland's 60th Anniversary to give a preview of the Star Wars lands coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

I was quite surprised that Disney announced this year that Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill would be named Disney Legends but did not name Harrison Ford or James Earl Jones. Ford and Jones actually have more impressive Disney resumes and are bigger cultural icons than Fisher or Hamill. It is possible that Ford (and/or Jones) could be a last minute surprise announcement like Johnny Depp was in 2015. I also wonder if Ford was not named due to his broken leg episode from Force Awakens and the subsequent lawsuit.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Webb Smith - my 143rd pick as a Disney Legend

Artist Webb Smith is my my 143rd pick as a Disney Legend. He is credited with helping to develop the storyboard system. According to the Disney Institute blog, "Storyboards originated at Disney Studios in the 1930’s and were, according to Walt Disney, invented by Animator, Webb Smith. As the story goes, Smith would draw sequential scenes for a new cartoon and pin them to the walls of his office instead of describing the plot with words.

Walt, none too happy about the now blemished walls of his recently redecorated office, recognized the value in Smith’s design and ordered corkboards on which the sketches could be placed. Storyboarding soon became the standard for mapping out new cartoons and quickly translated into other areas of Walt’s business."

He was involved in the following Disney films:

  • The Three Caballeros
  • The Stork's Holiday 
  • Victory Vehicles  
  • How to Swim 
  • Saludos Amigos
  • Dumbo 
  • Fantasia 
  • Pinocchio
  • Mother Goose Goes Hollywood 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
  • Don Donald 
  • Three Blind Mouseketeers 
  • On Ice 
  • Three Little Pigs 
  • Birds in the Spring 
  • Mickey Cuts Up 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jim Crouch - my 142 pick as a Disney Legend

Jim Crouch, Principal Color & Paint Specialist at Walt Disney Imagineering, is my 142nd choice to be named a Disney Legend. A gifted artist, Jim's work is evident throughout the parks, including the paintings of infamous Pirates along the attractions interior queue walls. Crouch is also responsible for the portraits of Captains Jack Sparrow and Barbossa that appear in the attraction queueJim's likeness makes a cameo appearance as one of the doomed bridegrooms in the Haunted Mansion's Attic Scene.
His significant contributions can be seen in all of the Disney Parks in regards to paint and sculptures. His production paintings in the park include the Ghost Host in the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion and paintings of infamous pirates along the Disneyland attractions queue walls, among others. He recently led a team of artists who did a complete makeover of Peter Pan's Flight at some of the theme parks.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Phil Dike - my 141st pick as a Disney Legend

Phil Dike was an artist, teacher, and story scenario developer who worked for the Disney studios from 1935 to 1945. He is my 141st pick to be named a Disney Legend. At the Walt Disney Studios he taught art and color theory while working on animated films. Among the many classic films he worked on were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia and The Three Caballeros. In 1938, Dike served as president of the California Water Color Society.


After World War II, Dike left Disney and went back into teaching and painting full time.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Alan Silvestri - my 140th choice to be named a Disney Legend


Composer and conductor Alan Zilvestri is my 140th pick to be named a Disney Legend.

For Disney, Silvestri has scored the music for Flight of the Navigator, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Parent Trap, Lilo & Stitch, Stitch! the Movie, A Christmas Carol, The Wild, The Avengers, Captain America: the First Avenger and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. He has also composed the scores of several Miramax, Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures films such as Super Mario Brothers, Judge Dredd, Father of the Bride, Father of the Bride II, Outrageous Fortune, Holy Man, and Reindeer Games.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ellen Woodbury - my 139th choice to be named a Disney Legend

Animator Ellen Woodbury is my 139th choice to be named as a Disney Legend. She was an animator on many of the Disney Decade classics that Generation X and Millennials grew up. She attended the Experimental Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts under the mentorship of Jules Engle.

Her Disney Filmography

1986    The Great Mouse Detective                 Assistant Animator
1988    Oliver & Company                       Animation Assistant
1989    The Little Mermaid                        Character Animator
1990    The Rescuers Down Under             Character Animator
1991    Beauty and the Beast                 Animator: Maurice
1992    Aladdin                            Animator: Abu
1994    The Lion King             Supervising Animator: Zazu
1995    Pocahontas               Additional Animator
1996    The Hunchback of Notre Dame         Additional Animator
1997    Hercules                             Supervising Animator: Pegasus
1999    Tarzan                  Additional Animator
1999    Fantasia 2000                  Animator: Rhapsody in Blue segment
2002    Treasure Planet                        Supervising Animator: Silver's Crew
2004    Home on the Range                 Animator: Mrs. Caloway
2005    Chicken Little                   Animator
2007    Meet the Robinsons                    Animator


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Slim Pickens - my 138th pick as a Disney Legend

Actor Slim Pickens is my 138th pick to be named a Disney Legend.

He acted in several Disney movies: The Great Locomotive Chase as Pete Bracken, Tonka as Ace, Never a Dull Moment as Cowboy Schaffer, The Apple Dumpling Gang as Frank Stillwell, and famously The Black Hole as the voice of Old B.O.B.. He also played Ewald Plunkett in the Swamp Fox, Old Bill Williams in The Saga of Andy Burnett, Newt Pribble in  Bristle Face, and other roles, appearing in at least 19 episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. He was Rafe Jeffers in Wagon Train and Wiley Crup in Savage Sam. He played Bucky Steele in the television film Runaway on Rogue River.

Robert "Bud" Washo - my 137th pick as a Disney Legend

Robert "Bud" Washo was a senior designer for WED Enterprises or Imagineering. He is my 136th pick to be named a Disney Legend. He headed the Disneyland Staff Shop, where he supervised concrete and plastic modeling.
He was hired in 1954 as the superintendent of the Staff and Plaster shop for Disney Land Park. He and his crew were responsible for the molding, casting, and finishing of a vast array of unique Disney Park elements including Autopia cars, Jungle Cruise elephants, Primeval World dinosaurs, fiberglass stone archways, plaster rock battlements, and golden castle turrets. To create the mountain for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Bud and his team laid four acres of plaster. In Orlando, he used an old fertilizer storage shed as the initial workshop for molding and creating the components for Cinderella castle in Walt Disney World Resort.
Bud Washo would go on to manage the Architectural Ornamentation Department at Walt Disney World. Washo and his departments were responsible for modeling pieces used for Animatronics, building facades and sculpting details for specific attractions. His son Bill Washo worked with him.
In addition to the theme parks he helped make exhibits for Disney's projects in the 1964 World's Fair. He was a member of the Disney Golden Years Club.

Washo has a window in his honor on Main Street (which he shares with son Bill) in the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland (as seen above).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cornett Wood - my 136th pick as a Disney Legend

Animator Cornett Wood is my 136th pick to be named a Disney Legend. He served as an animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Fantasia for Walt Disney. He worked on several shorts such as The Old Mill, Donald's Nephews, Polar Trappers, The Whalers, The Brave Little Tailor, Donald's Lucky Day, Society Dog Show, Tugboat Mickey, The Little Whirlwind, and Gentleman's Gentleman.    

After his time with Disney he transferred to animating for Warner Brothers and worked on many Looney Tunes cartoons.  He evidently left Disney after the animator's strike.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Pete Crimmings - my 135th pick as a Disney Legend

Pete Crimmings, an executive for the Disney Theme Parks is my 135th choice to be named a Disney Legend. He worked for the company for many years in several different capacities. He has a window at the Magic Kingdom near the Crystal Arts store, along with Bob Allen, Dick Evans, Bill Hoelscher, Bob Mathieson and Bill Sullivan. Allen, Sullivan and Mathieson are already Disney Legends. Crimmings was, along with these gentleman, an initial member of the Park Operating Committee. He was in charge of the transportation department for some time at Walt Disney World.
At Disneyland he was in charge of Tomorrowland for some period of time as well. He was mentor to Disney Legend Tom Nabbe as well.
He is a difficult guy to get any research done. I would love to know more about him, but I figure he was part of the opening day management team at WDW and he is on the Main Street window with a bunch of current Legends. He is mentioned often is memories of Legends like Bill Sullivan and Marty Skylar, so he must be rather deserving of this honor.

Nine Disney Legends announced - only two of them were on my list

The Disney Company recently announced their 2017 Disney Legends. They are:'

  • Mark Hamill || Luke Skywalker in Star Wars
  • Carrie Fisher* || Princess Leia in Star Wars
  • Stan Lee || Marvel Publisher
  • Wayne Jackson || Walt Disney Imagineer (Audio-Animatronics and construction)
  • Clyde “Gerry ” Geronimi* || Animator, 1931-1959; Supervising Director of Sleeping Beauty
  • Manuel Gonzales* || Animator and Comics Artist, 1936-1981
  • Garry Marshall* || Film Director (Pretty WomanThe Princess Diaries)
  • Julie Taymor || The Lion King Broadway Director
  • Oprah Winfrey || Because why not?
*deceased at the time of the announcement

The names marked in red are the only names I have included on my list thus far. I had anticipated in including Manuel Gonzales and Wayne Jackson in the top 250. I do have a list of nearly 10,000 names I put together as I put together this blog. All of these names were on the the "Big List." I am going to leave Stan Lee and Gerry Geronimi and just edit them to include the fact they have been "chosen." It will be interesting to see once I get my 250 done, how many get chosen over the year. I will not be including Gonzales or Jackson in the blog now however.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Terrell Stapp - my 134th choice as a Disney Legend

Terrell Stapp was an animator for Disney on several classic animated films. Stapp is my 134th choice to be named a Disney Legend. He worked as the art director on four classic films, Dumbo, Fantasia (segment "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria"), Pinocchio  and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He was a layout artist for the shorts Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, The Old Mill, Woodland Café and The Band Concert.

He also was a layout artist for the episode The Plausible Impossible on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. His daughter, Nancy Stapp also worked in the art department at Disney for awhile.



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Andrew Stanton - my 133rd pick as a Disney Legend

Andrew Stanton is my 133rd choice to be named a Disney Legend. Stanton joined Pixar in January 1990 and was the second animator (John Lasseter being the first) and ninth overall employee hired at the studio. He has been an animator, writer, director, producer and vocie actor for the studio. In addition to his direction and writing work for Pixar, he voiced Crush, the laidback turtle in Finding Nemo.

His film work includes writing and directing Finding Nemo and WALL-E; both films earned him the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. He directed his first Live-Action Disney film, John Carter, in 2012.

According to the Pixar Talk website "Finding Nemo‘s roots back to a 1992 visit to Six Flags Marine World and started Andrew thinking about the amazing possibilities of capturing an undersea world in computer animation. The film was inspired by a fleeting moment of realization in which Stanton observed that his overprotective fatherly instincts were preventing him from properly bonding with his son. It tells the tale of a young clown fish who is whisked from the ocean to a dentist-office aquarium and his father’s quest to bring his son back home safely. As with Stanton’s other writing efforts, Finding Nemo focused on character development and provided an emotional resonance and heart rarely seem in animation."

1995    Toy Story               Story/Screenplay/Additional Voices
1998    A Bug's Life          Co-Director/Story/Screenplay/Voice Actor (Fly Near a "Bug Zapper")
1999    Toy Story 2                 Story/Screenplay/Voice Actor
2000    Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins   Voice Actor
2001    Monsters, Inc.           Executive Producer/Screenplay
2003    Finding Nemo            Director/Story/Screenplay/Voice Actor
2004    The Incredibles           Additional Voices
2006    Cars     Voice Actor
2007    Ratatouille        Executive Producer
2008    WALL-E                  Director/Writer/Additional Voices
2009    Partly Cloudy           Executive Producer
2009    Up                      Executive Producer
2010    Toy Story 3     Story/Screenplay
2012    Brave                     Story
2012    John Carter     Director/Story/Writer
2015    Inside Out       Executive Producer
2016    Finding Dory   Director/Story/Screenplay/Voice Actor
2018    Toy Story 4     Story/Screenplay


Alan Young- my 132nd pick as a Disney Legend

Alan Young is my 132 choice to be named a Disney Legend. One of his best known TV roles being that of Wilbur Post on Mister Ed. For Disney, he provided the voice of Scrooge McDuck from 1974 to 2016. He voiced this famous duck in many Disney movies and television shows including: Ducktales, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Disney Sing-Along-Songs: The Twelve Days of Christmas , Mickey Mouse Works , Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, The House of Mouse, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Around the World in 80 Days and several video games and albums. He also voiced Hiram Flaversham in The Great Mouse Detective, and Doctor Cooper in the TaleSpin episode "The Old Man and the Sea Duck". He also played Dr. Winger in The Cat from Outer Space.

He also voiced Mickey Mouse and Merlin in the Disneyland record album An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, performed by The Walt Disney Players, which would be the first and only time that Young voiced them. The album also marked Young's first performance as Scrooge McDuck.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Al Weiss - my 131st choice as a Disney Legend

Al Weiss is my 131st choice to be named a Disney Legend. He was president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the division of The Walt Disney Company that operates eleven theme parks and multiple resort hotels at seven sites around the world including Paris, France; Shanghai, People's Republic of China; Penny's Bay, Hong Kong; Tokyo, Japan; Hawaii, United States; Anaheim, CA, United States & Orlando, FL, United States.
Before being appointed to his most recent role in November 2005, Weiss served as president of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida since 1994. He was named executive vice president of the Florida resort in 1996. Meg Crofton succeeded Weiss as president of Walt Disney World Resort in 2006.
Weiss began his Disney career as an 18-year-old Walt Disney World cast member in 1972. His first job was a "z-runner", a financial analyst who zeroed out cash registers at the end of shifts. He evidently was a ping pong champion in a cast member's tournament on year as well! In total he worked for the Disney company for 39 years when he retired in 2011.

Mike Gabriel - my 130th pick as a Disney Legend

Mike Gabriel is an animator and my 130th pick to be named a Disney Legend.

Gabriel is an American animator and film director, best known for his work at Walt Disney Animation Studios and as co-director of the Disney films The Rescuers Down Under (1990) and Pocahontas (1995). He was born in Long Beach, CA although he grew up in various small towns like Salina, Kansas while moving around due to his father's Air Force job.
Gabriel was very inspired with animation after watching Sleeping Beauty (1959) at the age of five. Soon after, he started drawing and practicing it for six hours every day to meet his goal as an Animation Director. It was in 1979 when he got his first chance to make his debut. Gabriel studied in the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts. He originally began his career helping animate on The Fox and the Hound (1981) and later went on to animate on the 1982 animated short Fun with Mr. Future. He was mentored under Eric Larson's training program, and went on to work on the The Black Cauldron (1985). He also served as an animator on The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and Oliver and Company (1988). Hendel Butoy joined Gabriel to direct The Rescuers Down Under, a sequel to the successful 1977 Disney film The Rescuers, while Eric Goldberg and Gabriel collaborated on Pocahontas. Goldberg and Gabriel later reunited with each other in Wreck-It Ralph to work on animating Sour Bill.

In 2004, Gabriel directed an animated short for Disney entitled Lorenzo, a hybrid of traditional and computer animation about a lazy cat who has a spell cast on his tail that forces it to tango with him. Lorenzo was nominated for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows in 2004. His Disney filmography includes: 
The Fox and the Hound
The Black Cauldron
The Great Mouse Detective             
Oliver & Company                 
The Rescuers Down Under   
Pocahontas    
Lorenzo          
Home on the Range                          
Bolt                            
The Princess and the Frog                
Winnie the Pooh                               
Brave                          
Frankenweenie                                  
Wreck-It Ralph



Thor Putnam - my 129th choice as a Disney Legend

Thor Putnam is my 129th pick to be named a Disney Legend.

Putnam was a layout artist for several Disney animated films released between 1937 and 1955, as well as at least six episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. He was also the art director for Pinocchio and the "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria" segment of Fantasia.

  
1955 Lady and the Tramp 
 1954 The Lone Chipmunks 
 1953 Ben and Me 
 1953 Peter Pan 
 1952 The Little House 
 1951 Alice in Wonderland 
 1950 Cinderella 
 1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 
 1949 The Wind in the Willows 
 1948 So Dear to My Heart 
 1948 Melody Time 
 1948 The Legend of Johnny Appleseed 
 1942 Pluto at the Zoo
 1942 Donald's Garden 
 1940 Fantasia
 1940 Pinocchio  
 1939 The Practical Pig 
 1938 Ferdinand the Bull 
 1937 Woodland Café 

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (TV Series) (layout artist - 6 episodes)
- Four Tales on a Mouse 
- An Adventure in the Magic Kingdom 
- Magic and Music 
- The Liberty Story 
- Our Friend the Atom 
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vincent McEveety - my 128th pick as a Disney Legend

Vincent McEveety is my 128th pick as a Disney Legend.
McEveety directed numerous films for Walt Disney Pictures, including The Million Dollar Duck, The
Biscuit Eater, Superdad, The Strongest Man in the World, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, and Herbie Goes Bananas. McEveety also directed portions of The Watcher in the Woods.

Other Disney works include Charley and the Angels, Gus, Moonpilots, The Castaway Cowboy, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, and Treasure of Matecumbe. He also directed several episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color such as Smoke and Menace on the Mountain.


Dick Lundy - my 127th pick to be named a Disney Legend


Dick Lundy is my 127th pick to be named a Disney Legend.

In the summer of 1929 Lundy started working for Walt Disney Productions, first assigned in the ink and paint department. In September he transferred to the animation department as an inbetweener. In March the next year Lundy was promoted to animator and later worked on Three Little Pigs (1933) and Orphan's Benefit (1934). After working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Lundy became a director at Disney.

Lundy was not the first to draw or even animate Donald Duck. This was done by Art Babbitt and Dick Huemer in the short film The Wise Little Hen, a film in which Lundy also worked. This was Donald's first appearance, although the story offered little opportunity for character development. This would come in Donald's second appearance, Orphan's Benefit, in which Lundy was the sole animator of Donald. According to common animation practice, the audio and voices of the film were recorded first and were then played for the animators to reference. In listening to voice actor Clarence Nash portray the Duck in Orphan's Benefit, Lundy said " decided that [Donald] was an ego-show-off. If anything crossed him, he got mad and blew his top.

This is an excerpt form 50 Most Influential Disney Animators blog: In the Illusion of Life Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston pointed out that Fred Moore was greatly inspired by Dick’s draftsmanship abilities and skills in understanding a character’s personality. At the time Lundy started doing his own thing the only animator ahead of him in that regard was Norman Ferguson, who was the first animator to stress thought process and performance in his animation. This is also completely leaving out Dick Lundy’s achievement of creating Donald Duck. Pay close attention in the shorts of the 30s and you’ll see that Lundy’s scenes were revolutionary and crucial in the development of personality animation.


Nancy Olson - my 126th choice for a Disney LEgends honor

Nancy Olson is my 126th pick to be named a Disney Legend. She was is several live-action Disney films, many of them enduring classics to this day.

Her Disney roles included Nancy Furman in Pollyanna, Betsy Carlisle in The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber, Sue Baxter in Snowball Express and a brief cameo appearance as a Ford Secretary in Flubber.


Jeff Kurtti once interviewed Olson for the Walt Disney Family Museum. Below is a portion of the article: "After a long hiatus from the screen, Nancy received a call from her agent stating that Walt Disney had asked if she would consider being in a new type of film he was producing that would boast top notch Hollywood acting talent. She had planned to go to California anyway and agreed to test for the part of Nancy Furman, the housemaid in Pollyanna. She was offered the part and accepted. She noticed immediately how different the Walt Disney Studios were from the other Hollywood studios. It was clean and there was a sense of family. It was an outgoing and friendly atmosphere, she remembered. She and Walt Disney understood each other. They both had a Midwestern upbringing and therefore understood one another from the beginning."

Friday, March 24, 2017

Jack King - my 125th pick as a Disney Legend

Jack King was an animator and director for Walt Disney Studios in the early years of its inception. He is my 125th pick to be named a Disney Legend.

According to Jeff Lenburg's assessment of him, King was an early pioneer of animation. His films were nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. He started his career in the silent film era. He spent most of his career working at Walt Disney Productions (later known as the Walt Disney Animation Studios). He directed many well-regarded films.

His film credits as an animator include several Silly Symphony animated shorts; which Lenburg describes as "cartoon fables". Among King's film credits was the film The Three Little Pigs (1933), which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. 
Serving as one of Disney's key animation directors, he directed many classic Donald Duck cartoons (such as Donald's Dilemma) until his retirement in 1948. King directed more than 40 films featuring Donald Duck. Among them were the Academy-Award nominated Good Scouts (1938), Truant Officer Donald (1941), and Donald's Crime (1945). One of his films was a propaganda film, The Spirit of '43 (1943). It was created in association with the United States Department of the Treasury. King's last film was The Trial of Donald Duck (1948). Occasionally, he would also work as a sequence director for features, such as Pinocchio, The Three Caballeros, and The Adventures of Mr. Toad.

Emile Kuri - my 124th pick as a Disney Legend

Emile Kuri, an Oscar-winning set decorator who also contributed designs to Disneyland and Walt Disney World is my 124th choice to be named a Disney Legend. He won his second Oscar for Disney's '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' in 1954. He was hired by Walt Disney in 1952 as chief decorator for Disney Studios, Mr. Kuri designed Captain Nemo's submarine headquarters for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

He received Oscar nominations for several other Disney films, including Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Absent-Minded Professor and Mary Poppins. Working with Carroll Clark and the art department, Emile and his staff built a great primitive idol for Lt. Robin Crusoe, a huge steam sailor for Bullwhip Griffin (the later housed in the big tank on Stage 3 where much of 20,000 Leagues was shot), an entire town called "Hickory" was built for Follow Me Boys, a healthy slice of Redwood forests for The Gnomobile and a sizable realistic olive farm for Monkeys Go Home.

Kuri also designed settings for Disney's first theme park, Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and served as a consultant at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

He won an Emmy for his designs for the television show Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.


He has a window with his name on Main Street in Disneyland and WDW. Kuri's window on Main Street at Walt Disney World is on the second floor of the Emporium and he is listed as managing "Exterior Decorators." His window at Disneyland's Main Street is above the Market House where he is listed as an "Interior Decorator." 

James Earl Jones - my 123rd pick as a Disney Legend


My 123rd choice as a Disney Legend is known as the voice of the most terrible villain in film history. James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga. Granted Disney has just recently acquired the exclusive rights to the Star Wars universe, but Jones has worked with the company prior to this merger. He has voiced Darth Vader under the Disney umbrella in Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One.

He provided the voice of Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King and its 1998 sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. He will reprise the role of Mufasa in the live-action version of The Lion King directed by Jon Favreau. He was also one of the international hosts in Fantasia 2000. He also hosted The Story Behind the Story: The Lion King, on the 2001 2-disc DVD of Beauty and the Beast and American Legends. He also voiced Santa Claus in two Recess episodes and Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street. Jones reprises his role as Darth Vader in the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue attraction at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios. He was also the narrator in Judge Dredd. He has served as a celebrity narrator for the Christmas Candlight Processional at ECPOT. He provides the voice of Mufasa in the EPCOT attraction Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable.





Kathy Zielinski – my 122nd choice as a Disney Legend

Kathy Zielinski is my 122nd pick to be named a Disney Legend. She joined the studio in 1981, starting The Black CauldronZielinski is the second woman to have ever earned the credit of supervising animator on a Disney film as the supervising animator on Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She actually was supposed to be the first when she was originally assigned to supervise Lefou in Beauty and the Beast but she left the studio during the film’s production and by the time she actually got a credit Ellen Woodbury had beaten her to it. Besides her work for Disney she has been an animator with our studios working on films such as The Prince of Egypt, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.
her career as an animator on

Below is her her Disney filmography:

1983    Mickey's Christmas Carol      
1985    The Black Cauldron   
1986    The Great Mouse Detective 
1988    Who Framed Roger Rabbit   
1988    Oliver & Company     
1989    The Little Mermaid   
1990    The Rescuers Down Under   
1992    Aladdin          
1995    Pocahontas    
1996    The Hunchback of Notre Dame        
2013    Frozen
2016    Zootopia



Kathy Zielinski - 2D Animation Reel from Kathy Zielinski on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ray Lockrem - my 121st choice as a Disney Legend

Ray Lockrem is my 121st choice to be named a Disney Legend. He was an artist and background stylist for classic films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo.  In addition, he was background artist on the Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria segments and on The Reluctant Dragon.

Fantasia (1942) as Background paintings "The Pastoral Symphony," "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria"
Disney animators set pictures to classical music as Leopold Stokowski conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra. "The Sorceror's Apprentice" features Mickey Mouse as an aspiring magician who oversteps his limits. "The Rite of Spring" tells the story of evolution, from single-celled animals to the death of the dinosaurs. "Dance of the Hours" is a comic ballet performed by ostriches, hippos, elephants and alligators. "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria" set the forces of darkness and light against each other as a devilish revel is interrupted by the coming of a new day.
2. Dumbo (1941) as Backgrounds
The stork delivers a baby elephant to Mrs Jumbo, veteran of the circus, but the newborn is ridiculed because of his truly enormous ears and dubbed "Dumbo". Dumbo is relegated to the circus' clown acts; it is up to his only friend, a mouse, to assist Dumbo to achieve his full potential.
3. The Reluctant Dragon (1941) as Backgrounds
Robert Benchley learns about the animation process at Walt Disney Studios while trying to pitch an idea for a cartoon.
4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) as Backgrounds
From the old fairy tale, a jealous queen attempts to get rid of her beautiful step-daughter, Snow White, who takes refuge with seven dwarfs in their forest home. The queen changes into a witch and tempts Snow White with a poisoned apple which puts her into an everlasting sleep, until a prince finds her in a glass coffin and awakens her with Love's First Kiss.

5. Pinocchio (1940) He was an animator for this film.

Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann - my 119th choice as Disney Legends


My 119th pick for the Disney Legend honor is a tie- between Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann. Together they played brother and sister, Tia and Tony in Walt Disney Productions' film Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and its sequel, Return from Witch Mountain (1978). The 2009 Witch Mountain remake, Race to Witch Mountain, features both actors in cameo roles.

Eisenmann also played a bit role in the 1995 film Disney film Tom and Huck. He had several roles in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color television series, playing Billy in Shadow of Fear, Randy Benton in Kit Carson and the Mountain Men and Three in the Sky's the Limit. He provided a voice for the DVD The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.

Richards played many roles in The Wonderful World of Color, including, a girl outside the mayor's office Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove, Daphne "Daffy" Fernald in The Whiz Kid and the Mystery at Riverton and The Whiz Kid and the Carvial Caper, Sara Melborne in Hog Wild and Leroy McClare. She also starred as Tracy Osburn in the 1976 Disney comedy film No Deposit, No Return. She is also the sister of actress Kyle Richards, who has appeared in a few Disney films, and is the aunt of Paris Hilton, who has not.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Louis Schmitt -my 118th choice as a Disney Legend

Louis Schmitt is my 118th pick to be named a Disney Legend, He was an animator on several early Disney Studios shorts and films. In 1937, the cartoonist for the Silly Symphonies comic strip Al Taliaferro named Donald Duck's nephews after Governor Thomas Dewey, Louisiana Democratic Governor Huey Pierce Long and "Louie" in reference to animator , Louie Schmitt. The names were devised by Disney gag man Dana Coty.

 1942  Bambi (animator - as Louis Schmitt)
 1938 The Whalers (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1938 Mickey's Trailer (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1938 Moth and the Flame (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1938 Boat Builders (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (animator - uncredited)
 1937 Little Hiawatha (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1935 Music Land (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1935 Water Babies (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1935 The Band Concert (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1935 The Tortoise and the Hare (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1934 Two-Gun Mickey (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1934 The Goddess of Spring (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1934 Servants' Entrance (animator - uncredited)
 1934 Peculiar Penguins (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1934 The Wise Little Hen (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1934 Hollywood Party (animator - uncredited)
 1934 The Hot Choc-late Soldiers (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1933 The Night Before Christmas (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1933 Lullaby Land (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1933 Old King Cole (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1933 Mickey's Mechanical Man (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1933 Father Noah's Ark (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1932 Santa's Workshop (Short) (animator - uncredited)
 1932 Babes in the Woods (Short) (animator - uncredited)

 1932 The Klondike Kid (Short) (animator - uncredited)

Pat Burke - my 117th pick as a Disney Legend

John Patrick Burke began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering in 1972. Pat Burke worked on the four Big Thunder Mountains at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland  and Disneyland Paris and he also worked on Indiana Jones Adventure, the different versions of Splash Mountain, on Tokyo Disney Sea Cape Cod and American Waterfront. He also worked on Hong Kong Disneyland and his last work for WDI was on Raging Spirits at Tokyo Disney Sea. He worked on three version of the Jungle Cruise. He also worked on the now defunct River Country attraction at WDW.


He worked on many projects through the years at the Disney theme parks. In the case of many of his projects, including Frontierland at Disneyland Paris, he would track down rare antique items across the United States, from oil cans to stamp mills, from ore carts to steam tractors. He then excelled at finding unique and interesting ways to arrange those artifacts in ways that would add authentic texture to an area at first glance and tell entire stories on a closer look.

There is a wooden name plate on the Big Thunder Railroad attraction that honors him - it reads Buckeroo Burke. He passed away in December of 2014.