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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