Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Amanda & I want to wish everyone a 'Happy Halloween'! Hope your day is full of treats but nothing wrong if a trick or two ]:)

These past couple days, my blog entries have focused on my favorite Halloween short, Trick or Treat. As a special treat, below is the animated short for your viewing pleasure (courtesy of Hopefully I won't get into any trouble for posting it ]:)

Grab your favorite witch's brew and some candy treats and Enjoy!

Trick or Treat is a Donald Duck Cartoon ©Disney

Walt Disney Collector Society Reminder!

A reminder that two Walt Disney Collector Society offerings for 2007, their redemption period ends today, October 31st! One being a Villain (Ursula) and two being Henchmen (the Badun Brothers, Horace & Jasper) to another, how appropriate that their redemption period would end on Halloween!

Ursula and her Vanity ("Devilish Diva"), a 2-piece Members Only Release sculpted by Ruben Procopio, is available exclusively to active members of the Walt Disney Collector Society. This vainglorious villainess is the eleventh annual release in the Disney Villains Series.

Horace & Jasper Badun ("Bumbling Baduns"), a 2-piece Members Only release sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons, is also available exclusively to active members of the Walt Disney Collector Society. These bumbling henchman of Cruella De Vil are a Members-Only Commissioned Set and marks their WDCC debut!

Contact your Authorized WDCC Dealer and/or the Walt Disney Collector Society Today! Time is running out!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Disney's First Villain!

Fiercely beautiful, the Wicked Queen has reached an age where her radiance is fading. Insanely jealous of her lovely young stepdaughter, the Queen forces her to work as a scullery maid in the hope that drudgery will tarnish the girl's blossoming beauty. When the Magic Mirror reveals that Snow White has finally become "more fair than thee," she plots the girl's death in a rage so twisted that she's eventually willing to sacrifice her own beauty to destroy Snow White's.

She uses witchcraft to transform herself into a hunchbacked old peddler and succeeds in persuading the naive girl to accept her poisoned apple. Unknowingly, however, she's wrought the means of her own demise. For, though her disguise serves the terrible deed, that same feeble body will hinder her escape.

Actress Lucille LaVerne was chosen to voice both the Wicked Queen and the Hag Witch because of her versatile voice intonations. Yet when she first started voicing the Witch, the recording session director commented that her intonations were too polished, too much like the Queen. After excusing herself for a moment she returned to perform a gravelly voice that now surpassed the director's expectations. Curious, he asked what she'd changed. Smiling a toothless grin, she explained she had just removed her false teeth.

The Queen is often referred to as "Queen Grimhilde" in Disney publications of the 1930's. Her appearance was inspired by the Helen Gahagan character in the film "She" (1935).

In a portion of the Disney film that was never completed, the Evil Queen was to have captured the Prince who wakes Snow White. In this scene, she was also to have made the skeletons in the dungeon dance in order to frighten him. This would later inspire the dungeon scene in Sleeping Beauty when Maleficent mocks Prince Philip.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection introduced the Hag first into the collection in 1995. "Take the Apple, Dearie" was the 1996 Spring Event featured sculpture. The sculpture period actually ran from 09/01/95 thru 03/31/96. It also has the distinction of receiving the 1996 NALED Award of Excellence.

The following year, the Evil Queen was the 1997 Spring Event featured sculpture. The event period ran from 02/97 thru 06/97. To date, these are both the best representation of these characters and the most sought after. Both were sculpted by Kent Melton.

Disney's version of the Queen is still one of the most popular movie villains to date. She would go on to make frequent appearances in Disney comics, where, under the alias The Witch, she regularly antagonized Disney characters like Li'l Bad Wolf, Chip 'n Dale and Tinker Bell.

In one comic story she tries to get rich by turning Pinocchio into gold and tricks two of Donald Duck's nephews into becoming apples-in the end she is temporarily turned into gold herself and our heroes are restored to normal. There was even an Italian story explaining how she had survived her apparent death in the movie, and why she couldn't change back to her normal self. Walt Disney described the Queen as "a combination of Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf."

Today's entries focused on two Disney Villains who who used magic, witchcraft and spells, one considered a major Villain (Evil Queen/Hag), whereas the other has been described as a minor Villain (Madam Mim). Tomorrow we meet a Witch who uses her magic to help some costumed youngsters and take us into Halloween!

Meet 'Mad' Madam Mim!

Halloween isn't just about ghosts, witches, vampires and even a headless horseman. It also brings to mind the Disney Villain.

Whether animated or in a live-action film, the villain has always fought the hero/heroine or just made their life a misery, the final usually featuring the primary villain going somewhat psychotic or superpowered. Disney's gallery of rogues is one of the best known ones, and most of the villains from the animated movies are the favorites among fans.

One relatively minor villain, when compared to the rest of Disney’s Stable of Villains, is Madam Mim. Madam Mim, or Mad Madam Mim as she is sometimes referred to, is a fictional witch, best known from the Disney movie based on The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, where she was voiced by Martha Wentworth. The character appears in the original version of the novel, but not in the revised version more commonly known.

Her total screen time doesn’t exceed more than twenty minutes and even then her discovery is by accident due to Arthur’s desperate escape from the hawk. Had Arthur not been pursued by the hawk, he probably never would have even encountered the ‘Mad’ Madame Mim. Madame Mim is a villain by unusual circumstance and not by grand design of the story.

Personality and Character Traits:

  • Madam Mim is self-serving, bad-tempered, quite unscrupulous, and, above all, mad; she breaks rules that she herself creates or finds loopholes to take advantage of, (in the movie, she did both); she terrorizes Arthur in a demented game of cat and mouse (Merlin as well), much to her amusement; and she has no qualm with destroying either Arthur or Merlin outright. The former over his association with the latter (she has an ongoing grudge-match with the goodly wizard, Merlin, for reasons unknown).
  • She also appreciates things not for their good qualities, but for their bad qualities instead; she takes gleeful pride in how ugly she can become and she delights in withering a once beautiful rose, turning it into something ugly.
  • Mim loves to partake in games, proclaiming that she’s “…mad about games…” before beginning her enthusiastic game of cat and mouse with Arthur, (beforehand she was playing a game of solitaire).
  • Mim is also an incredibly sore loser, as evidenced when she flies into a tantrum after losing her duel to Merlin.
  • Like all evil figures, she utterly detests sunshine.
  • She is cunning and intelligent to some degree, yet reckless, and can be extremely aggressive, if not overly so when competing in one of her many ad hoc games.
  • She has two main prerogatives: 1) Entertaining herself (at whoever’s expense it may be from) and 2) being an antagonist to Merlin. In that order.

The Disney version of the character was adopted into the Donald Duck Universe where she sometimes teams up with Magica De Spell and/or the Beagle Boys. She also sometimes appeared in the Mickey Mouse Universe where she teamed up with Black Pete on occasion and even with the Phantom Blot at one point. She also was in love with Captain Hook in several stories. In many European Disney comics, she has lost her truly evil streak, and taken on a character appropriate to The Addams Family instead; morbid, but still relatively polite.

She was animated by two of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men, Milt Kahl (who also designed the character), and Frank Thomas. Kahl animated her initial interaction with Arthur, while Thomas oversaw her famous "wizard's duel" with Merlin.

The Sword in the Stone may have been forgotten or ignored by some, but the wizard's duel between the backhanded Mim and the wise Merlin remains a memorable highlight from the film and the Walt Disney Classics Collection recreates this moment in it's Gold Circle release for 2007!

"Wizards Duel" is a 3-piece boxed set that features Merlin (8-1/2"), Madam Mim (6-1/8") and Archimedes and Wart (5-1/2") released in April as a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) in an edition size of 750.

This release not only marks the WDCC debut of Merlin, Archimedes and Madam Mim but also giving Mim the distinction of being the first Villain to be the subject of a Gold Circle release! Merlin & Mim were sculpted by Bruce Lau and Archimedes & Wart sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Was a little bit under the weather this week, so followed doctor's orders and took it easy (something I'm not used too!). Catching up on emails, snail mail and the blog this morning.

Have had many questions regarding the 2008 Walt Disney Collector Society offerings. Have not received a date yet when they will be announced :( Hopefully soon, I for one (feel like Alice) am very curious about this year's member gift offering :)

In the most recent Halloween blog entry, Matthew reminded us how many other great moments are in that closing montage in Disney's Lilo and Stitch. With that, set up a discussion at the Duckburg Internet Cafe to list ideas of what we'd like to see and possibly use this discussion as the basis for future polls.

This weekend, there are a couple Signing Events:

Special Guest(s): Dave Pacheco and David Bird
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2007
Time: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: Disneyana Shop, Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland® park

Special Guest: Margaret Kerry
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2007
Time: 1:30 PM
Location: Animation Art
Woodfield Shopping Center
Schaumburg Il, 60173

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Trick ... or Treat?"

Halloween is getting nearer, just a mere 10 days away! One favorite scene I look forward to unpacking is from Disney's Lilo & Stitch.

Walt Disney Classics Collection captured a memorable moment in the closing song montage with the July, 2005 release of Vampire Stitch and Witch Lilo. Toothy Stitch ("Trick...") is both sweet and scary costumed as a vampire and little Lilo ("...Treat") is adorable dressed as a witch. This Open Edition release (each sold separately) was sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons.

Together, the galaxy's most mischievous alien and his lovable Hawaiian friend scare up some spooky Halloween fun. Bringing their own unique sense of festivity to Halloween, they prove a family sticks together no matter how scary things can get.

Pairing this unpredictable alien with his eccentric young owner, you may never be sure where the trick ends and the treat begins!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Jungle Book Celebrates its 40th Anniversary!

The Jungle Book has always been one of my favorite Disney films, not only because of a great story, great characters and great music but possibly because the only Disney animated film I saw in original release when a young boy.

Earlier this week I blogged on Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD which was released on October 2nd plus the all-new bonus features including a new member of The Jungle Book family, Rocky, a near-sighted and short tempered, but hilarious rhinoceros.

Today marks the official 40th Anniversary of the film's release. The Jungle Book was released on October 18, 1967. It was the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. It was based, rather loosely, on the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The movie remains one of Disney's most popular, and contained a number of classic songs, including "Bare Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You." Most of the songs are by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and Mowgli was voiced by his son, Bruce Reitherman. The cast also included Phil Harris (Baloo), Sebastian Cabot (Bagheera), Louis Prima (King Louie), George Sanders (Shere Khan), Sterling Holloway (Kaa), J. Pat O'Malley (Colonel Hathi), Clint Howard (Junior), Verna Felton (Winifred) and Darlene Car (Village Girl).

The Walt Disney Classics Collection has released the following over the years in honor of this films release:

  • In 1997, in honor of the films 30th Anniversary, the first sculptures were released which included Mowgli ("Mancub"), Baloo ("Hula Baloo"), Bagheera ("Mowgli's Protector), King Louie ("King of the Swingers") and Flunky Monkey ("Monkeying Around") plus an Opening Title. All were an Open Edition release except for the Flunky Monkey (Limited to Production Year 1997). All were retired September 1999 except for the Opening Title. A special gold script message '30th Anniversary' was added to the backstamp of sculptures crafted in 1997. Entire scene sculpted by Kent Melton.
  • King Louie's Temple (Limited to Production Year 1997), released under Enchanted Places was also released in 1997 and sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons.
  • Shere Khan ("Everyone Runs From Shere Khan"), the 1998 Spring Sculpture Event was available from 02/27/98 to 03/29/98. A hand-numbered sculpture, sculpted by Kent Melton, did not receive the special '30th Anniversary' Backstamp.
  • Mowgli & Baloo ("Jungle Harmony"), the 2002 WDCS Animators Choice release, was available 01/01/02 to 03/31/03 with Society Redemption Certificate. This memorable scene was selected by legendary animator Ollie Johnston, who was honored with this beautiful sculpture of one of his favorite film moments. This sculpture, sculpted by Dusty Horner, was the final in the series which had been a Society favorite since the Walt Disney Collectors Society introduced the series in 1992.
  • 2003 saw the release of Junior ("Hup 2-3-4"), a Walt Disney Collectors Society member-only figurine release and Mowgli ("Silly Grin") and the Village Girl ("Coy Smile"), Open Edition Releases. In 2005, a Jungle Base ("Jungle Step Base") was released to complete the scene and pull the two pieces together.
  • Most recent release is Kaa & Mowgli (pictured above). "Trust in Me" was the 2006 Villains Series release (available from 05/15/06-10/31/07) sculpted by Dusty Horner. It is the 10th release in the Villains Series and my favorite from that series as well as what has been released from the film thus far.

To view each of the above releases, visit The Jungle Book Secondary Guide section of the website.


  • Kaa's design was later used for Sir Hiss in Disney's adaptation of Robin Hood. Certain animation elements of The Jungle Book were also reused in Robin Hood; in particular, the animation of Lady Kluck and Little John dancing during the song "The Phony King of England" which mirrors that of, respectively, King Louie and Baloo dancing to "I Wanna Be Like You." The character design for Little John was based on Baloo (though the brown-furred Little John more closely resembles a grizzly bear than Baloo's mix of Sloth Bear and grizzly), and both characters were voiced by Phil Harris.
  • The animators drew Shere Khan to resemble his voice actor, George Sanders.
  • According to the Special Features on the Platinum Edition DVD, many former and current Disney animators consider The Jungle Book to be the epitome of Disney character animation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jail Scene: Official Photos Now Available!

On Monday, more information became available on the upcoming sixth (and final) release in the Pirate of the Caribbean Series. Today, official photos (showing both the front and rear angle) have been released of this amazing sculpture!

Jail Scene with Dog ("Here Give Us the Key ya Scrawny Little Beast!") is a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 750 slated for Winter 2007/2008 (specific release month has not been finalized). An actual release date has not been confirmed. Concept by Ruben Procopio and sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

Peering out from the inside, the back angle of the sculpture accords a rare glimpse from inside the Pirates jail cell which attraction visitors never see. Note the cell mates counting of the days in captivity and some unwelcome visitors feasting on the remnants of food on the plates, utensils and mugs...

Please Note: All pieces in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series are not representative of any single theme park Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction or any specific point in time because each park's attraction is different and the attraction has changed over time from Walt's day to the present time.

'Dear Sweetlips: Let me hug you with my tentacles.'

The marvelous villainess Ursula is one of Disney's classics. She has the gross unsubtlety of Ratigan from "The Great Mouse Detective" but substantially more brio. Although facially somewhat similar to "The Rescuers'" Madame Medusa, Ursula's screen impact dwarfs that of her predecessor.

Bejewelled and lip-pouting like an overweight, over-rich, over-pampered, over-the-top society hostess gone mad, she is all flair, flamboyance, and theatricality mixed with a touch of con-artistry. Except when her wrath -- the only genuine emotion she seems capable of expressing -- bursts through, her every movement is a deceitful artifice, as if she's performing for an audience. Her vile hobby of collecting souls so that they can suffer humiliation in her morbid garden is utterly in keeping with her society-hostess-from-hell persona.

Ursula is a villainess who first appeared in the 1989 animated feature film, The Little Mermaid heralding in a new era of Disney villians! The Sea-witch (as she is commonly called) was once a senior member of the court of King Triton, the king of the underwater city of Atlantica. She was originally supposed to be his sister, but the scene mentioning that was deleted, and it is now considered only semi-canon. For her obsession with Dark Magic and treachery against the kingdom, Ursula was banished, and retreated to a secret lair on the outsides of the city with her two moray eel minions, Flotsam and Jetsam. For many years, she watched over the city waiting for her chance to seek revenge on Triton and gain the crown of Atlantica, becoming Queen of the oceans.

Ursula lives in a leviathan (an enormous skeleton of a sea monster or whale), in the middle of a field of underwater lava tubes and fissures. The inside is lined with a garden of writhing, green polyps--which all actually used to be merpeople. They all came to Ursula for help, making deals in exchange for different favors from magic, but then found themselves unable to fulfill their side of the bargain in some way. Although not directly stated, the film implies that the vast majority, if not all, fall into this category. Ursula thus claimed them as her own and added them to her collection. She spends her time brooding and plotting and occasionally indulges herself by snacking on shrimp.

We get to see inside Ursula's Leviathan with this year's Villains Series release. The Vanity has never seemed so well-named as when Ursula uncoils in front of the mirrored dressing table and puts on her game face. After all, she needs to enhance her slyly insincere smile before putting the squeeze on innocent Ariel. An appallingly crafty pro, this domineering do-badder seals her devious deals with as much ease as she applies her lipstick. But beware-though she claims she can make dreams come true, the dreams this deliciously decadent Sea Witch promises are actually nightmares!

Ursula and her Vanity, a 2-piece Members Only Release sculpted by Ruben Procopio, is available exclusively to active members of the Walt Disney Collector Society. This vainglorious villainess is the eleventh annual release in the Disney Villains Series.

Redemption period for "Devilish Diva" which began on May 15th ends on Halloween (October 31st)! Don't miss this over-the-top octopus-like schemer's last chance to hug you with her tentacles!

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Details on the Upcoming Sixth Release in the POC Series!

During the Pirates of the Caribbean Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon at the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort, collectors were given a sneak peek of fall and winter releases from Walt Disney Classics Collection displayed at the Art of Disney Gallery located in the Downtown Disney® Marketplace from Tuesday, May 22nd thru Monday, May 28th. One of those sneak peeks was the upcoming sixth release in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series:

Jail Scene with Dog: "Here, Give Us the Keys ya, Scrawny Little Beast!"
Type of Release: Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 750
Size: 12" (height) x 13-3/4" (base footprint) x 8" (depth) - This is the base footprint dimension which is measuring the outline around the base. The actual total width of the piece is a wider (closer to 17 1/2" wide) because of the overhang of the beam on top over the edge of the base on one side and the overhang of the dog's tail over the edge on the other side of the base.
SRP: $599.00 US
Release Date: Winter 2008 (Actual release date has not been confirmed)
Concept by Ruben Procopio and Sculpted by Tim Bruckner

The above collage was created from photos taken by fellow collector and friend, Michelle (aka Babette) of the prototype available in May during the sneak peek at the Art of Disney Gallery located in Downtown Disney® Marketplace. The May prototype was pretty early in development. A number of revisions have been incorporated since that early prototype. A more recent prototype was available for preview this past weekend during the Pirates of the Caribbean Series Sculpture Release & Signing held at Disneyland® Park with Ruben Procopio.

An official announcement with more current images (including rear detail views) will be made in the near future. I know many have been wondering the edition size and pricing and this blog entry is solely to present that information. I for one am looking forward to the official photos!

New Member of the Jungle Book Family-Rocky the Rhino!

Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD was released on October 2nd.

This Disney classic was the last animated film that Walt personally touched. Featuring a ton of all new bonus features, this anticipated release will be available for a limited time, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of this jumpin’ jungle classic with a spectacular new restoration with enhanced picture and sound.

The all-new bonus features include a new member of The Jungle Book family, the long lost character created for the original film and discovered recently for the first time - Rocky, a near-sighted and short tempered, but hilarious rhinoceros.

Storyboard concepts of the “lost character” Rocky the Rhino were recently discovered at Disney’s Animation Research Library. A key character in The Jungle Book, developed by Walt Disney himself, he never made it to the silver screen. Several possible explanations have been offered by Disney animators over the years, but it is unclear why Rocky never made it into the final film.

Walt Disney personally created Rocky and described him as a 'loveable rhinoceros who is half blind and extremely dumb.' His character had been written and developed over months, and he was penciled to make his screen debut as Mowgli meets the friendly vultures. He was even going to show off his vocal skills by singing a full verse of the final song, That's What Friends Are For. Rocky’s personality was brought to life through the casting of veteran actor Frank Fontaine, who was selected to voice this bumbling character.

Dropped from The Jungle Book in 1967, Disney character Rocky the Rhino is set to get another chance to grab the limelight. For decades the name Rocky has been associated with the ultimate underdog story of a boxer from Philadelphia - but a dopey cartoon rhino created more than 40 years ago is set to grab the limelight. Rocky the Rhino should have been a star in the Disney classic The Jungle Book, but was unceremoniously cut from the 1967 film.

But, like a true gutsy underdog, he is going to get another chance after archivists searched Disney's library and discovered drawings of him. The story of the discovery of Rocky and an introduction to the character will feature in the 40th anniversary DVD of the children's favorite. Mystery surrounds why Rocky was dropped, missing his chance to become a household name like Baloo the bear, Shere Khan the tiger or king of the swingers, King Louie.

This is a size comparison chart of all the characters from the film, including Rocky the Rhino.

Given the Walt Disney Classics Collection has done lost moments and characters such as Soup's On, Snow White Dancing with her Prince and Hortense the Clock (Pinocchio), would love to see them immortalize Rocky the Rhino in 3D and make him a permanent part of the Jungle Book Family where he belongs.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Beware the Headless Horseman!

"When thundering hoofs echo through the darkness in the tiny valley of Sleepy Hollow, fearful farmers pull the covers over their heads.

The only man foolish enough to be on the roads on such a night is Ichabod Crane. But is that ghastly figure bearing down on the teacher a wrathful spirit -- or just a jealous prankster?"

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on October 05, 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures. Recreating the story of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, this is the eleventh animated feature released as well as the final of the package films that Disney made during the 1940's. The story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, from Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is narrated by Bing Crosby.

The gangly and lanky Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow. His somewhat odd behaviors make him the ridicule of the rambunctious and robust town bully Brom Bones. Despite his unattractive appearance, he quickly proves to be a ladies man who charms the local town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel, a beautiful young daughter of a wealthy farmer, much to Brom Bones' displeasure. Ichabod has his eye on the Van Tassel wealth. His subtle rivarly decides that he is a little too successful and needs "convincing" that Katrina is not for him. After a number of unsuccessful efforts, the situation changes when Brom decides to take advantage of Ichabod's belief in superstitions. Brom musically tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to frighten the teacher. That Halloween night, Crane's lonely ride home becomes more lively than he ever imagined as he encounters the terrifying phantom and is mysteriously missing the next morning.

Later this Sleepy Hollow portion of the film was separated from the companion Mr. Toad film, and screened, aired, marketed, and sold separately as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow beginning in 1958.

The Headless Horseman ("Haunting Horseman") and Ichabod and his Horse ("Terrified Teacher"), a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) set of only 3,500, was released in Fall, 2000.
The Headless Horseman is plussed with a stainless steel sword. There is no Opening Title available. The matched, numbered set was sculpted by Kent Melton.


  • During the Ichabod tale, the title character is frightened by some reeds whistling in the wind. The same drawings were first used in the Disney short The Old Mill (1937).

  • To save money on animation, Katrina was modeled closely after Grace Martin from "Make Mine Music".

Next Installment: Every good film needs a great villain and the next installment we meet the Villain who heralded in a new era of Disney villians!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Do Collectors Want More from Finding Nemo? You Bet We Do!

Walt Disney Classics Collection has released some great sculptures from Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo. To date, it's the only Disney/Pixar film that I have represented in my collection.

Finding Nemo made it's WDCC debut in November, 2003 in an Open Edition scene release, sculpted by Chris Peterson that included Nemo, Marlin (his father), Dory, a Coral Reef Base and Opening Title. All were retired (except for the Opening Title) on August 14, 2007.

The scene proved so popular, the Tank Gang Scene (consisting of Bubbles, Bloat and Gill) was released in December, 2005. The following month, the Walt Disney Collectors Society added to the scene with the release of Nemo & Gurgle (2006 Members Only release).

This was only wetting our appetite and collectors wanted even more from this film! May 2006 saw the first Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) from this film. Crush & Squirt made their debut in a NLE of 1,500. Third Quarter 2006 the Tank Gang Scene was expanded with the release of Jacques and the Tiki Hut and Tiki Heads accessory items. The Tank Gang Scene and Crush & Squirt were all sculpted by Dusty Horner.

You may be wondering .. ok, this is a recap of the releases from Finding Nemo thus far, so why is Mr. Ray pictured? You may also ask, "who is Mr. Ray?" (the horrors if you don't know)

Mr. Ray is an eagle ray and Nemo's science teacher. Mr. Ray's teaching style involves impromptu oceangraphy songs and lessons to broaden the experience of the ocean through the eyes of a scientist. His class rides atop Mr. Ray as if an underwater magic carpet.

As the blog title asks, "do we want more from Finding Nemo?" After many discussions with fellow collectors, Mr. Ray is the one I keep hearing collectors would love to see released from this film. Since our last poll was very well received, I also set up a Mr. Ray Poll to correspond with this blog entry.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WDCC Presents Pirates of the Caribbean Sculpture Release & Signing!

Walt Disney Classics Collection - Pirates of the Caribbean Series
Sculpture Release & Signing

Special Guest: Ruben Procopio
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2007
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon PST
Location: Disneyana Shop, Main Street, U.S.A.,Disneyland® Park

One of the sculptures making its debut will be the 5th release in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series, Pirate on the Archway Bridge: "A Parrot's Life for Me!" (11-1/2") sculpted by Ruben Procopio with a SRP of $250.00. This is Ruben's second release in the series.

He also sculpted Pirate with Pigs: "Drink Up Me 'earties!." The Pirate with Pigs is the 4th release in the series making it's debut May 22-25, 2007 during the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort Pirates of the Caribbean: Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon special event.

Registered guests of the Pirates of the Caribbean Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon had first opportunity to make Wish List requests for the Pirate on Cannon: "Peligro, Explosivos!" This arsenal scene with the Pirate on Cannon (Mr. Coote) appears at Disneyland® Park and some other Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at other Disney Theme Parks around the world, but not at WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort. Limited quantities will be available at this special signing!

The Pirate on Cannon (9 ½" Height x 13" Length x 8" Base Width) with a SRP of $350.00 US is also sculpted by Ruben. This is Ruben's 3rd Release in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series. Ruben was also the Concept Artist on Pirates with Pigs, Pirate on Archway Bridge and the Pirate on Cannon. He is also the Concept Artist on the upcoming Jail Scene with Dog, sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

For anyone in the area this is a great opportunity not to be missed!

Zorro Celebrates its 50th Anniversary!!

Am a day late but wanted to thank Robert in New York for reminding me about October 10th being the 50th Anniversary of Zorro! Thanks Robert!

Zorro, a half-hour Walt Disney Productions TV series based on the well-known Zorro character, premiered October 10, 1957 on ABC. The final network broadcast was June 02, 1959. Seventy-eight episodes were produced, and 4 hour-long specials were aired on the Walt Disney anthology series between October 30, 1960 and April 02, 1961.

The show was very popular, especially with children, and its theme song (written by Norman Foster and George Bruns and first recorded by The Mellomen) was a hit recording for The Chordettes, peaking at #17 on the Hit Parade. It also created a problem with "Z" graffitiing on school desks across the United States. The series ended after two seasons due to a financial dispute between Disney and the network, but the franchise continued for a few years in the form of occasional new Zorro adventures aired in color on the Disney anthology television series, newly transplanted to NBC as part of the same dispute, and renamed Walt Disney's The Wonderful World of Color.

The series starred Guy Williams (nee Armando Catalano) as Zorro (Don Diego de la Vega), Gene Sheldon as Bernardo (Diego's faithful manservant), Henry Calvin as Sgt. Demetrio Lopez Garcia (second in command of the pueblo) and George J. Lewis as Don Alejandro de la Vega (Don Diego's father).

This became the third Disney produced series to be running in the same season, joining Disneyland (1954) and The Mickey Mouse Club (1955).

A great website I found to read more about Zorro and the TV Series is Walt Disney's Zorro by Bill Cotter.

I would so love for the Walt Disney Classics Collection to do a sculpture of Zorro. Ruben Procopio did an awesome sculpture of Zorro and think he would be perfect to sculpt one for the WDCC! Any other Zorro fans out there?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Romance Presented by the Walt Disney Classics Collection

When the Cinderella and Prince Charming Cake Topper was unveiled as part of the 2006 Second Quarter announcement, it mentioned the following:

The Cinderella and Prince Charming Caketopper is a Walt Disney Classics Collection piece and features a WDCC logo and will be introduced to WDCC retailers in the traditional teal box. There will be a sub-brand, "Romance" introduced later in 2006 to both Walt Disney Classics Collection retailers and appropriate Wedding/Bridal and Department stores. It will feature elegant, high-quality items such as champagne flutes, porcelain wedding frames and related items, the Cinderella and Prince Caketopper will be the centerpiece of this collection. This broader collection will feature it's own unique packaging but will still feature the Walt Disney Classics Collection logo on the box.

Romance presented by Walt Disney Classics Collection launched at the recent Enesco Corporate Show and will start releasing to retailers shortly (approximately late Oct./early Nov.). The line is anchored by the existing WDCC Cinderella and Prince Cake Topper along with new functional keepsakes crafted of porcelain with mixed media depending upon the item. Romance presented by WDCC uses elegant understated Cinderella themes of the pumpkin coach and castle designs in relief.

Happy Birthday Amanda!

Happy Birthday Amanda!

To a very special daughter who makes us so proud!

You are truly an amazing person! Congratulations on all your accomplishments and what a special joy it's been working on the website with you this past year! There is no doubt, you are going to go far!

Love, Mom & Dad

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Meet the Hitchhiking Ghosts!

This marks the first in a series of blog entries looking back at past Halloween-themed releases by the Walt Disney Classics Collection.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection held its first-ever Collector Convention at the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort from March 19-21, 1999 in Orlando, FL.

It was a fun-filled weekend of specially-themed entertainment, a variety of 'behind-the-magic' seminars, and of course, exclusive convention merchandise. The Convention was themed around the Haunted Mansion Attraction, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary.

In keeping with the theme of the convention, and to coincide with the 30th anniversary, the Walt Disney Classics Collection released the three Hitchhiking Ghosts (Phineas, Gus & Ezra). "Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts," a three-piece Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,500 sculpture set was sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons.

Meet the Hitchhiking Ghosts!
Gus Gracey
Born: November 1, 1850, Ohio
Died: August 22, 1939

Gus was born into the Ohio branch of the family. George Gracey, Sr.’s second cousin, Gus was a genetic dwarf and a deviant. His childhood had been plagued by incidents caused by his violence. He had killed several family pets and attempted to murder his siblings several times. His parents finally had him institutionalized, but after several years of confinement he escaped. Although his parents moved in an attempt to lose him, Gus managed to find them and follow them wherever they moved.

In his wanderings he maimed or killed many people and animals. It was a delight for him to laugh hysterically while beating people or animals with his ball and chain. He would knock people down by wrapping the chain around their legs, then he would exclaim, "Now you’re down to Gus size!" As far as he was concerned his attacks were always justified, but the wrongs against him were usually imagined.

This is the hitchhiking ghost also known as Ball & Chain.

Ezra Dobbins & Phineas Queeg
Born: Unknown
Died: June 3, 1914

Ezra Dobbins and Phineas Queeg were friends of Gus Gracey. The three were cellmates at the Salem Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

Ezra was a voyeur--his lean frame was ideal for climbing trellises and trees. He developed a fascination with obese women and sought out the most rotund young ladies to spy upon. Ezra was finally caught skulking in the boudoir of the mayor’s ample daughter. When this corpulent miss took the stand, the chair groaned under her weight, the court did not hesitate to accept Ezra’s insanity plea and commit him to the Salem Asylum.

Phineas was a discredited chemist who made his living as a snake-oil peddler. He traveled the countryside, carpetbag at his side, seeking the most ignorant rubes to buy his worthless potions. His diabolical sense of humor led Phineas to spike his wares with ingredients he knew would cause unwanted side effects, i.e. his "hair tonic" was actually a depilatory. Phineas made his final mistake when he sold "Queeg’s Youth Elixir" to the chief of police, causing the man’s voice to raise an octave. Criminal charges were promptly filed. A parade of hapless witnesses, combined with Phineas’s snickering in court, led him to the Salem Asylum.

These two are the hitchhikers also known as Derby and Hunch.

The three cellmates spent their time planning their escape. Ezra fasted until he could squeeze through the bars to reach the keys and unlock the cell door. Once the three were free of their cell, Gus toppled the guards with his ball and chain, while Phineas set off a smoke bomb to prevent their pursuers from chasing them.

The Three friends hitchhiked down the road. They would hop aboard the moving vehicle regardless of whether the coach or carriage stopped for them or not. Passengers were startled when the three friendly little fellows plopped down beside them or on their laps. Ezra always aimed for the plumpest female; Phineas picked out the stupidest looking; and Gus just wanted to play with the children.

Ezra Dobbins and Phineas Queeg met their ends at a carnival. Phineas sampled a quack remedy at the medicine show. Ironically, he died not from the quack remedy, but rather he cut his lip on the bottle cap and died from lead poisoning. Likewise, Ezra’s fetish ultimately caused his demise. He snuck into the sideshow fat lady’s tent and was killed when she inadvertently sat on him after he had crept up behind her.

Gus finally caught up with his parents by mailing himself to them. He killed them after they attempted to nail him back in the crate. He then waited for some relative to take him home, that relative turned out to be George Gracey, Sr. Realizing Gus’s potential threat, Gracey, Sr. kept Gus locked up in the Mansion. When Master Gracey inherited the Mansion he discovered his charge. To ensure that Gus would not further damage the Gracey reputation in the community, Master Gracey looked to Madame Leota for a solution.

Madame Leota cast a spell confining Gus to the Mansion for as long as he lived and eternity after that, but she took pity on the lonely dwarf and summoned the spirits of his two departed friends to keep him company. They decided to stay and there they’ll remain until they spot someone they’d rather follow home.

The first evening of the convention ended with the retirement of the Under the Sea Scene from The Little Mermaid. I was standing talking with sculptor, Patrick Romandy-Simmons and he said, "you may want to head towards the front of the park." With that I headed towards Main Street and as I came out of Liberty Square, I heard the sound of hoofs against the cement and turned around and coming from Cinderella's Castle was the Headless Horseman!

Next Installment: Little did we know the appearance of the Headless Horseman at that convention, the following year an announcement would follow ...

Disney's Animated Classic, Hawaiian Holiday

Ironically, ten days after the 70th Anniversary of the animated short Hawaiian Holiday (Sept. 24, 1937), the Walt Disney Co. announced they will build a more than 800-room hotel and time share on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Many times walking thru the Polynesian Resort at WALT DISNEY WORLD®, I would see the hand-painted cel of Mickey and Minnie from this short hanging on the wall near the elevator and think, hmmm .. this would be a great short done in the Walt Disney Classics Collection. See, there eventually would be a tie-in from the announcement on Wednesday to WDCC :)

Hawaiian Holiday features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, being one of those rare occassions when all of Disney’s Fab Five shared the screen in the same cartoon short. The gang is on vacation. The Mice have little to do with the plot but Donald's hula (Donald learns why you don't wear a grass skirt near a fire), Goofy's attempts at surfing (Goofy has some surfing problems) and Pluto's encounters with a starfish & crab (Pluto and a starfish have a tiff, followed by an encounter with a hermit crab) are very enjoyable.

In addition to the 1937 classic Mickey Mouse short, Disney previously featured the island paradise as the settings in a Goofy cartoon, Hello Aloha (1952) and Disney's Lilo & Stitch (2002). Theme park influences include the classic Enchanted Tiki Room Attraction and WALT DISNEY WORLD® Polynesian Resort.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Walt Disney Co. to build hotel and time share on Oahu!

Rendering of announced Disney Hawaii resort (DISNEY / October 3, 2007)

Being a member of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC), thought this was some exciting news and taking a bit of a diversion of my typical WDCC blog entries :) Thanks Greg!

Jason Garcia Sentinel Staff Writer
5:23 PM EDT, October 3, 2007

The Walt Disney Co. announced this afternoon that it will build a more than 800-room hotel and time share on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, billing the project as "Disney's first mixed-use family resort outside of its theme parks.""This resort will give our guests another way to visit an exciting part of the world with a brand they trust," Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo said in a prepared statement. "We are looking forward to building a special family resort that honors the cultural diversity of Hawaii and reflects the spirit of aloha that makes this location so unique."The announcement comes eight months after Rasulo told investors that Disney was considering building standalone hotels, independent entertainment districts or even niche theme parks in locations far beyond its mega-resorts in Orlando and four other cities around the world.

Disney said it has purchased 21 acres of oceanfront land for the project on the southwestern corner of Oahu, Hawaii's most populous island. The property is part of Ko Olina Resort & Marina, about 25 miles from the heart of Honolulu.

The company said its Imagineering unit is still finalizing designs but that it intends to begin construction on the resort next year with a goal of opening by 2011. An artist's rendering depicts a lush, tropical setting with palm trees, thatched roofs and Tiki torches -- and nary a Disney character in sight.

Jim Lewis, the president of Disney Vacation Club, the company's Celebration-based time-share arm, said at least half of the resort's units would be time-share villas.

Leading Up to Halloween ...

As we turned the page on our calendar to October, we can begin our countdown to Halloween! Next to Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday.

As the month progresses, I want to look back over past Halloween related releases from the Walt Disney Classics Collection. We've seen two scenes - Trick or Treat, featuring Witch Hazel and Donald's Nephews and from the closing montage of Disney's Lilo & Stitch, Witch Lilo and Vampire Stitch. In addition, there has been Halloween related releases such as the Hitchhiking Ghosts, the Headless Horseman and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and lets not forget those great Disney Villains!

As the days and weeks progress, I will look back on each of those releases plus two releases whose redemption period ends on such a fitting day, Halloween itself!

Each entry will be filled with facts, trivia and whatever else I may concoct in my laboratory :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pirate on Cannon Update!

Registered guests of the Pirates of the Caribbean Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon had first opportunity to make Wish List requests for Pirate on the Cannon (Mr. Coote): "Peligro, Explosivos!"

This arsenal scene with the Pirate on Cannon (Mr. Coote) appears at Disneyland® Park and some other Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at other Disney Theme Parks around the world, but not at WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort.

The Pirate on Cannon (9 ½" Height x 13" Length x 8" Base Width) with a SRP of $350.00 US is sculpted by Ruben Procopio. The Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) sculpture will have a Special Backstamp, the Pirates Skull with Crossed Swords Logo on the entire edition size of 500. The 7 Seas Lagoon Event Logo does not appear on this sculpture backstamp.

There is a Special Signing planned at Disneyland® Park:

Walt Disney Classics Collection - Pirates of the Caribbean Series Sculpture Release & Signing

Special Guest: Ruben Procopio
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2007
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon
Location: Disneyana Shop located on Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland® Park

Special Note: originally had the Pirate on Canon listed as an Open Edition release. This was an error and has been corrected.

It's a Small World: Poll Your Thoughts!

Those attending the 2000 Disneyana Convention may recall the convention gift (pictured at right) featuring the Zebra from It's a Small World Theme Park Attraction. Celebrating "It's a Small World" this colorful statue features a blue Zebra playing an African drum with the convention logo on it in an edition size of 200.

Collectors have been asking for more of the animals from the attraction to be added to the collection and in November, the Hippo ("Jungle Blossom") from the Africa portion of the attraction will be released. The Hippo made her first appearance as an ornament in August, 2006. Wouldn't the Zebra make another great addition?

The question came up, do you duplicate something already done in another medium? How do you feel about that?

Trying something new with this blog entry, adding a Poll to gauge collectors thoughts and give an opportunity for those who read the blog and do not post, an opportunity to participate.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Away To His Castle They Go!

Today, October 1st, Walt Disney Classics Collection honors Snow White on Horse with Prince with retirement!

Snow White on Horse ("And Away to His Castle We'll Go...") and Prince ("Forever, I Know..."), sculpted by Kent Melton were an Open Edition Set released in July 2003. This romantic sculpture set, unveiled during a Dealer Forum held at Walt Disney World® in May, 2003, exquisitely captures every joyful detail of that unforgettable moment from Walt Disney's first animated feature when the fairest one of all and her Prince start off for the happiest of all "happily ever afters."

Walt Disney Art Classics also introduced a Whiteware Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of the Snow White and the Prince Set in an edition size of 175, available only to those dealers who attended the forum.

Snow White and Prince Set was also the inspiration for the 'Dreams Come True' Series.

Happy Birthday Epcot!

Today Epcot is celebrating it's 25th Anniversary!

Epcot is the second theme park built at the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort near Orlando, Florida. It was dedicated to international culture and technological innovation. The park opened on October 1, 1982, and was named EPCOT Center from 1982 to 1993. It was the largest Disney theme park in the world by area until 1998, when Disney's Animal Kingdom® opened.

The theme park originally was known as EPCOT Center to reflect the fact that the park was built to embody the ideals and values of EPCOT the city. In 1994, the name was changed to Epcot '94 and subsequently Epcot '95 a year later. By 1996, the park was known simply as Epcot, a non-acronym, mixed-case word.

The original plans for the park showed indecision over what the park's purpose was to be: some Imagineers wanted it to represent the cutting edge of technology, while others wanted it to showcase international cultures and customs. At one point a model of the futuristic park was pushed together against a model of the international park, and EPCOT Center was born—a theme park with the flavor of a World's Fair.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection has released two sculptures representing Epcot since 2005. Figment (pictured above) was a Limited Edition release of 500 sculpted available at a WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort Signing Breakfast with Bruce Lau on September 08, 2005.