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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Frank Oz - my 99th pick as a Disney Legend

Frank Oz is my 99th pick to be named a Disney Legend. He is most famous for his work with Jim Henson and the Muppets, as well as being the puppet master and voice and soul of Yoda from the Star Wars films and television shows. He also performed several characters on Sesame Street.

Here is a broad look at his work with the Disney Studios:

Muppet characters: Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, Fozzie Bear, Animal, other smaller roles. He performed these characters for many years, including television shows and movies, long before they were part of the Disney company. These are featured in Disney productions The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. He also performed these characters on Disney Channel's Muppets Tonight.

He has performed Yoda or voiced Yoda in the following projects: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars Rebels

As a voice actor outside of the Muppets and Yoda, he was heard as Fungus in the Pixar film Monsters, Inc., as Subconcious Guard Dave (alongside fellow Muppet performer Dave Goelz as Subconcious Guard Frank) in the Pixar film Inside Out.

In the theme parks he voices Yoda in the Star Tours attraction and he performs miss Piggy, Fozzie and Animal in the attraction Muppet Vision 3D.

He performed Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal in the television special The Muppets at Walt Disney World.

He was the director for the Touchstone Pictures  film What About Bob?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Maurice Noble - my 98th pick as a Disney Legend

Maurice Noble was layout artist in the early Days of the Walt Disney Studios. some of this information is from his Wikipedia page.

A Disney scout recruited him in about 1934, and he decided to accept the job since it paid $10 per month more than the department store he was working at did. Noble was put to work on backgrounds for the Silly Symphonies cartoon series. At that time the Disney backgrounds were required to be done in transparent watercolor wash, which was technically difficult because correcting a mistake was usually impossible, requiring a full new attempt.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length film Noble worked on. This was followed by background work on other Disney features, notably the Rite of Spring sequence in Fantasia. Noble also did story development for the Dance of the Hours in that film. For Dumbo, he did color coordination and character design, including work on the pink elephant sequence. 

Each of the Disney films presented special challenges. For Snow White, Noble and his fellow artists strove to capture the look of 19th century German storybooks. Pinocchio demanded radical shifts in mood, from the innocent charm of Geppetto's workshop to the sinister undertones of Pleasure Island. Noble was able to give his imagination freer rein in the brightly colored, metamorphic nightmare set to Pink Elephants on Parade in Dumbo.

He served in the Army during WW 2. Noble joined Chuck Jones' unit at Warner Bros. shortly after he was discharged, and the two worked together off and on for nearly 50 years.

Noble continued to be active in a variety of animation projects, including consultation with Disney artists for their first watercolor backgrounds in half a century (for Lilo and Stitch). Noble received an Annie Award in 1987 for creative excellence in the field of animation. In 1993, he was honored for contributions to the Disney Studio in a ceremony at Fantasia Court at Disney World, where his signature and hand-prints were placed in cement.

Elmer Elephant (1936) (background artist)
Mother Pluto (1936) (background artist)
The Old Mill (1937) (background artist) - Oscar nominee
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (background artist)
Pinocchio (1940) (development)
Fantasia (1940) (development)
Dumbo (1941) (character designs)
Bambi (1942) (development)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Steve Kirk - my 97th choice as a Disney Legend

Steve Kirk was an imagineer for the Disney theme parks for many years. He was the lead designer of Tokyo DisneySea, considered by many to be the finest theme park ever built. He was heavily involved in the design of the original Journey into Imagination attraction which opened on March 5, 1983 at EPCOT. This attraction was the brainchild of both Tony Baxter and Steve Kirk. He worked on the design of three "abominable snowmen" in the ride The Matterhorn at Disneyland. He was also part of the design team for the Wonders of Life pavilion with the Cranium Command Show at EPCOT. Other theme park attractions that he had  a hand in are Kitchen Kabaret, The Great Movie Ride, Tower of Terror (with his brother and fellow imagineer Tim Kirk).

You can hear a nice interview of Steve Kirk by Lou Mongello at WDW Radio at this link.

Don Hahn - my 96th choice as a Disney Legend

Don Hahn is my my 96th choice as a Disney legend. He is a producer for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

He started his career at the Walt Disney Studios working in the animation archives known as the "morgue". One day Hahn jokingly referred to the department with a more dignified title of the "Animation Research Library", a title that stuck as the department evolved and continues to this day.

He has been involved in some capacity in many of the biggest films at the company for the last 40 years.

Disney filmography

Year     Film                                                           Position                                      
1977    Pete's Dragon                                           Assistant Animator                     
1978    The Small One                                         Production Assistant                   
1981    The Fox and the Hound                            Assistant Director                      
1983    Mickey's Christmas Carol                        Production Assistant                 
1985    The Black Cauldron                                 Production Assistant                  
1986    The Great Mouse Detective                     Production Manager                 
1988    Who Framed Roger Rabbit                      Associate Producer                  
1991    Beauty and the Beast                               Producer                                    
1993    The Nightmare Before Christmas            Producer                                   
1994    The Lion King                                         Producer                                  
1996    The Hunchback of Notre Dame               Producer                                   
1999    Fantasia 2000                                          Director (Live-Action Segments)        
2000    The Emperor's New Groove                   Executive Producer                   
2001    Atlantis: The Lost Empire                       Producer                                 
2003    The Haunted Mansion                              Producer                                    
2004    Lorenzo                                                   Executive Producer                   
2006    The Little Matchgirl                                Producer                                   
2009    Waking Sleeping Beauty                          Director                                    
2009    Earth                                                       Executive Producer                   
2010    Oceans                                                    Executive Producer                    
2011    African Cats                                            Executive Producer                   
2012    Chimpanzee                                             Executive Producer                    
2012    Frankenweenie                                        Executive Producer                    
2014    Maleficent                                              Executive Producer                   
2017    Beauty and the Beast                               Producer                                    

Thursday, February 9, 2017

James "Shamus" Culhane - my 95th pick as a Disney Legend

James "Shamus" Culhane was the only animator to work on all of the first four animated feature-length
Walt Disney cartoons. He is my 95th pick for the Disney Legend honor.

While at the Disney studio, he discovered while working on Hawaiian Holiday's crab sequence an animation method that involved stewing for multiple days, before drawing the entire thing in rough sketches all at once, straight ahead, without invoking the left side of the brain. He was a lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, animating arguably the most well-known sequence in the film, the animation of the dwarfs marching home singing "Heigh Ho". The scene took Culhane and his assistants six months to complete. During this time he developed his 'High-speed' technique of using only the right side of the brain and animating with quick dashed-off sketches.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Brian Keith my 94th choice as a Disney Legend

Brian Keith was a famous actor a generation ago. Casual Disney fans will recognize him for his role in the original Parent Trap. He had several roles with the studios however.

His Disney roles included William "Bill" Dunn in Ten Who Dared, Mitch Evers in The Parent Trap, Major General John M. Vanneman in Moon Pilot, Beck Coates in Savage Sam, Sheriff Pete Williams in A Tiger Walks, Cam Calloway in Those Calloways, John McCanless in Scandalous John, Shadrach O'Reilly in the Walt Disney Presents episodes "Elfego Baca: Move Along, Mustangers" and "Elfego Baca: Mustang Man, Mustang Maid", Sergeant Gabe Trotter in the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color episode "Johnny Shiloh", Lue Swank in the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color episode "Bristle Face", Mose Cannon in the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color episode "The Tenderfoot" and General Newmeyer in the Disney Sunday Movie episode "The B.R.A.T. Patrol".