Saturday, September 29, 2007

As September Comes To A Close ...

As September comes to a close, we're about to enter into the final quarter for 2007. October is going to be a busy month!

Oct. 1st - A retirement announcement! Guesses have been rolling in from The Nightmare Before Christmas to Lilo & Stitch to The Jungle Book. Any last guesses?

Oct. 13th - Debut of Pirate on the Archway Bridge at a Special Signing Event with Ruben Procopio at Disneyland®.

Oct. 31st - Redemption period ends for Members Only Releases Ursula and Vanity (2007 Villains Series Release) and Horace & Jasper Badun (2007 Commission Only Release). Ursula was sculpted by Ruben Procopio and Horace & Jasper Badun were sculpted by Patrick Romandy Simmons.

October is typically when the Members Only Releases should be announced for the coming year. Any guesses to what the 2008 Member Gift piece might be?

This year's member gift was Cinderella ("Wistful Dreamer") and the member gift companion was Bruno ("Canine Confidante"). Cinderella was sculpted by Margi Wray and Bruno was sculpted by Bruce Lau.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fishing Buddies: Mickey & Goofy

I seem to be in a goofy mode these past two days, with two blog entries (back to back) featuring the ever-popular Goofy!

When "Fishing Follies," the Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) release was announced celebrating the Goof's 75th anniversary and marking the WDCC debut of Wilbur, I thought what a great companion piece Fishing Mickey would make with this sculpt. So I took the opportunity to practice my ever-learning photoshop abilities and put the two sculptures together in a grouping.

"Somethin' Fishy" (5-1/2") from the 1953 animated short, The Simple Things was an Open Edition release in 1999 sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons and honored with retirement in 2001.

"Fishing Follies" measures 12-1/2" (length) x 6" (width) x 6-1/2" (height), sculpted by Bruce Lau, is scheduled for an October 2007 release.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Fun and Fancy Free' Celebrates 60 Years!

Fun and Fancy Free (first released on September 27, 1947) is a feature film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It was one of the "package films" (feature-length compilations of shorter segments) that the studio produced in the 1940s. It is the ninth animated feature in the Disney animated canon. As with the two segments in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the featurettes were originally planned to be made as full-length features, but because of the studio's circumstances at the time, they ended up becoming a part of the package films instead.

This film features two stories:
  • "Bongo," the story of a circus bear cub, who runs away from the circus to the wild and the adventures there that follow.
  • "Mickey and the Beanstalk," a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk
with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy as peasants who discover temperamental Willie the Giant's castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans.

Jiminy Cricket of Pinocchio first appears inside a large house, exploring it and singing "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" (originally written for the 1940 classic), until he happens upon a record player and some records, and sets it up to play the story of "Bongo", as told by Dinah Shore.

In the second featurette, the story of "Mickey and the Beanstalk" is narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist
's puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, tells the tale to child actress, Luana Patten at her birthday party.

Mickey, Donald and Goofy live in a place called "Happy Valley" which is plagued by a severe drought, and they have nothing to eat except one loaf of bread. In a memorable scene the bread is cut into paper-thin slices. After Donald attempts to kill their cow with an axe, Mickey trades in their beloved animal for the magic beans. Donald throws the beans out the window in a fit of rage, and the beanstalk sprouts.

Climbing the gigantic beanstalk they enter a magical kingdom of equal scope, and entering the castle, Mickey, Donald and Goofy help themselves to a sumptuous feast. This rouses the ire of the giant named "Willy", who captures Donald and Goofy and locks them in a box with a Singing Golden Harp, and it's up to Mickey to find the keys and rescue them.

The harp, in happier times, played a song that kept the land prosperous and fertile – until the giant stole her. Once freed, the hapless heroes return the golden harp to her rightful place and Happy Valley to its former glory.

In honor of this milestone anniversary, the Walt Disney Classics Collection released this new scene capturing the moment when Mickey Mouse frees Goofy, Donald and the Singing Harp who were locked in a box by Willie the Giant, owner of the Castle. This 5-piece Open Edition release features Goofy: "Tread Lightly" (8-1/4"), Donald Duck: "Not a Peep" (5"), Mickey Mouse: "Shhh!" (4-3/4"), the Singing Harp: "Beautiful Diversion" (8") and Willie's Chest Accessory (Height TBD). All pieces sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales. In the most recent Sketches (currently mailing) is a great article on both the Mickey and the Beanstalk Scene and Jacqueline.

Special Note: The Mickey and the Beanstalk scene are all prototypes. In particular the Singing Harp is a first porcelain prototype and the colors will be adjusted slightly including on her face. Willie's Chest will also change colors slightly, the spool of thread coloration is not correct, etc.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Animation Art Welcomes Margaret Kerry, the Original Tinker Bell!

Animation Art would like to welcome Margaret Kerry, the original alter-ego, actor and reference model for the famous pixie from Walt Disney's Peter Pan for a Special Signing Event at their store on Saturday, October 27th.

Margaret has been an actor all her life (starting with the "Our Gang" comedies when she was four). Just out of her teens, she was picked to be the live-action reference model for Tinker Bell for the Walt Disney film, Peter Pan. Margaret became known as "Two-Take Tink" as she was filmed capturing the perky essence of the famous little fairy. No more than two takes were needed to satisfy Disney director Marc Davis, the world-renowned animator who also designed the character of the little sprite. Davis would describe the scene he wanted—and Margaret would come up with a jealous pout, a hip-swiveling walk, or a flash of anger—along with Tink's other dramatic antics.

Saturday - October 27, 2007

Woodfield Shopping Center
Schaumburg Il, 60173

Any Fine art or Walt Disney Classics Collection sculpture that is purchased from the gallery will be complimentary signed by Margaret. Pictures will be taken also. NO outside merchandise will be signed at the event.

Ruben's European Tour Continues!

Ruben Procopio's European Tour will continue through Sunday, September 30th. The Walt Disney Classics Collection presents their 2007 Premiere Signing Event as they welcome Ruben Procopio to The Netherlands.

Ruben will be appearing to sign his latest Walt Disney Classics Collection release, Ursula and Vanity ("Devilish Diva"). Ursula is the 2007 Members-Only Villains Series release and also the latest Villain to be sculpted by Ruben joining Chernabog ("Symphony of Evil") and Hades ("Name's Hades, Lord of the Dead"). Ruben will be able to sign the WDCC sculptures that he has worked on as a sculptor or as a feature film animator. He will be available to meet and greet and for questions and answers.

Thursday, September 27th

The Collectors Closet
Kennemerlaan 95
1972 Ek Ijmuiden
Telephone: 0251 244 525
(Evening Event)

Friday, September 28th

Acme Moviestore
Palaceplein 11 & 12
2587 WE Scheveningen
Telephone: 070 358 75 89
(Afternoon/Evening Event)

Saturday, September 29th

Galerie Fi Donc
Hekelstraat 28
1811 BM Alkmaar
Telephone: 0725 150 228

Sunday, September 30th

The Collectors Company
Weena-Zuid 142
3012 CR Rotterdam
Telephone: 310 104 148001

Catching Up!

Hi All - Catching up on emails, snail mail and the blog this morning. Yesterday's mail included a mailing from the Walt Disney Collectors Society that included the following:

  • Sketches (Volume 15, Number 3) featuring the upcoming Winter Premiere Event sculpture of Captain Jack Barbossa and Open Edition Captain Jack Sparrow making a Special Advance Debut.
  • Walt Disney Classics Collection Catalog featuring original Dancing Belle & Beast on the cover.
  • Third Quarter Catalog Supplement
  • Newsflash
Sketches includes a recap of the recent Pirates of the Caribbean Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon Event held May, 2007 at the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort. Included is a photo of fellow collectors, friends and blogmates, Bob & Toni Fortino with David Pacheco and Ruben Procopio. Great picture guys!

Goofy and Wilbur Update - Additional sizing has been made available for the upcoming Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) release of Goofy and Wilbur. The sculpture will measure 12-1/2" (length) x 6" (width) x 6-1/2" (height). Sculpted by Bruce Lau, "Fishing Follies" is scheduled for an October 2007 release.

New Blog Listing - Many long-time collectors of the Walt Disney Classics Collection are familiar with the name, Jim Fanning. An author, historian, editor and researcher, Jim Fanning specializes in Disney and has written many articles in Sketches, the Walt Disney Collectors Society quarterly magazine. Be sure to check out Jim's Blog!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oct. 1st-What Could Be Retiring??

If like me, as the month is ending, I tend to flip to the next month to check for any important dates and when looking at the WDCC Wall Calendar noticed there is a retirement scheduled for October 1st!

There have been quite a few retirements this past year and wondering what the Walt Disney Classics Collection could have had planned to retire on this date when they were putting the catalog together .. Hmmm ....

Any guesses?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Update on Pirate on Archway Bridge: Scheduled for an Oct. 2007 Release

When I announced Fourth Quarter this past Saturday, I included the Pirate on the Archway Bridge but didn't have a scheduled release date available. It's been confirmed today that he is scheduled for release in October.

"A Parrot's Life for Me!" (11-1/2") is the 5th release in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series, 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.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Celebrate Goofy's 75th Anniversary: Goofy & Wilbur!

Goofy celebrates his 75th Anniversary this year and in his honor, the Walt Disney Classics Collection is releasing a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) that also marks the debut of Wilbur, his grasshopper friend.

Goofy and Wilbur ("Fishing Follies") is a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,000 sculpted by Bruce Lau. This irresistible sculpture is plussed with pewter, brass wire and a bronze Wilbur.

This sculpture salutes Goofy's first starring cartoon, Walt Disney's animated short, Goofy and Wilbur and bears a 75th Anniversary Backstamp in honor of Goofy's 75th. However it is not the animated short's 75th. This short was chosen to honor his birthday because it was his first starring role.

A Terrifying Tail: Donkey Boy Pinocchio!

Little did we know, when we were discussing the Pool Table Scene last month, the Fourth Quarter Announcement would include a new release from that sequence, Pinocchio as a Donkey Boy!

The wording received indicates this rarely portrayed moment completing the Pool Table Scene but hopefully future releases will include the Coachman as well as Alexander and possibly even Lampwick as a Donkey Boy as well.

"A Terrifying Tail" (5") is a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,500 scheduled for release in October, sculpted by Dusty Horner who sculpted the complete Pool Table Scene released in September 2006.

A Blossom in the Jungle: Small World Hippo

When the Hippo Ornament (Africa) made its debut in August 2006, many collectors were hoping that a full-size version would not be far behind. The creative team at Walt Disney Classics were listening and in Nov., a full scale version will be added!

"Blossom Jungle" (4-3/4") features the hilarious and floral-covered Hippopotamus along with the Oxpecker Bird.

Wonder if future releases will include the other ornaments (Antartica, Arabia, Canada, Lapland and Spain) that also made their debut in 2006?

Fourth Quarter Announcement!

Update: Quite a few emails this morning regarding the Fourth Quarter Annoucement. The Duckman's Inside Report will go live at noon EST today (Saturday, Sept. 15th). This allows information to flow from Burbank to the sales force and then to authorized dealers.

Many commented it being a light quarter which is typical to most fourth quarter announcements and actually not a bad assortment.

A couple things to note:

Pirate on Bridge - Have not received an actual release date but included since it will be released during the fourth quarter. Once an actual release date has been confirmed, will update the website accordingly.

Fantasia - Many asked, "what happened to the release from Fantasia?" To be honest, I too wondered the same thing and then reread Newsflash (Sketches, Volume 15, Number 2, 2007) --

"In the meantime, as a Fantasia fan, you may want to keep your eyes open for a soon-to-be-unveiled sculpture featuring two characters from Walt Disney's "Concert Feature" who have never before been featured by the Walt Disney Classics Collection. It's too early to announce exactly who these characters are but once we do, we're sure you'll feel like celebrating!"

I think many (myself included) just assumed a fourth quarter release.

When the website goes live at noon today, I will also have individual blog postings for each new release for anyone who has any specific comments.

Thanks for your patience!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Au Revoir Babette!

Honored with retirement today, Sept. 14th is that irresistible feather duster, Babette!

Babette ("Ooh-la-la") the Enchanted Object who is smitten by Lumiere made her WDCC debut in June, 2002 and is being honored as a 'dry retirement.' The flirtatious feather duster went through some small changes before the Creative Team felt she was ready for her debut.

Trivia: She did not have a name in the 1991 theatrical release, though some had referred to her as Fifi. It wasn't until the Broadway release in 1996 that she was given the name Babette.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow: A Back View of these Amazing Sculptures!

A back view image has been made available for Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow! Both sculptures were unveiled as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon Event held May, 2007 at the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort.

Captain Barbossa ("Black-hearted Brigand) is the Winter Premiere Event Featured Sculpture (December 1-2, 2007). A Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 2,500.

Captain Jack Sparrow ("Swashbuckling Scoundrel"), an Open Edition release will be making his Special Advance Debut Dec 1 - 2, 2007 at participating dealers of the Winter Premiere Event, supplies limited.

Each piece can be displayed on its own, or together as a pair. With Pirates plundering the year, a Winter Premiere Event will be held in lieu of the traditional Fall Premiere Event.

Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa are sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Opening Titles: Actual Artwork Used from the Opening Sequence

When the Walt Disney Classics Collection releases a new scene, many collectors anticipate the release of an Opening Title.

The Opening Title features actual artwork from the opening credits of each film and/or animated short. They are a three-dimensional representation of the opening title sequence (made to look like a film reel). The artwork is pulled from the Disney Archives and replicated to create the opening film title as pictured in some of the opening titles featured above.

To date, with each animated short retired, the opening title was retired as well except for Trick or Treat. Not so with the film releases. Song of the South is the only film title opening title that has been retired.

I personally like the Opening Titles and when I have a film or short represented in my collection, I always pick up the opening title as well. I like them for both the beauty of the artwork depicted on the film reel and what they add to a scene.

Timeless Treasures and Modern Masterpieces films where an opening title has not been released include Mulan, Pocahontas, Fox and the Hound, Saludos Amigos, Fun and Fancy Free, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and Atlantis. Live Action Films include The Reluctant Dragon and The Love Bug. A Bug's Life is the only Pixar Film that does not have an opening title. From Cartoon Classics, not withstanding those shorts with a single sculpture release, Donald Gets Drafted has been the only animated short that did not include an opening title as part of the release.

How do others view them? Are the Opening Titles part of your scene purchase or an afterthought? Are they something many feel they'll eventually pick up or typically pass on?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Series Revisited: The Portrait Series

In the past couple weeks, we've discussed Past Series that were done by the Walt Disney Classics Collection. One such series was the Portrait Series. This series made its debut in 2001 and was an exclusive to The Disney Stores and Disney Gallery Stores and Limited to Production Year 2001.

Belle & Beast (sold as a set), sculpted by Gwen Dutcher were the only release in this series and have become a much sought after set on the Secondary Market. They were packaged in a WDCC green box, except for one side was a clear plastic vs. the cardboard. The Certificate of Authenticity (COA) includes the following backstamp information:

  • "The Disney Portrait Series" with the name of each piece.
  • "10th Anniversary Backstamp"
  • "Production Limited to Year 2001"
A common question asked, "why were there not more releases in this series?"

Those who attended the 2004 Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics held at the Disneyland® Resort (May 14-16, 2004) had the opportunity to see potential releases planned for this series during the Medfield College Alumni Talent Round-Up Luncheon which were Graduation Prizes for some lucky alumnis.

The Portrait Series Graduation Prizes consisted of the following:
  1. Snow White and Dopey
  2. Briar Rose and Maleficent
  3. Lucky and Cruella DeVil

Snow White & Dopey and Briar Rose & Maleficent were sculpted by Gwen Dutcher. Lucky & Cruella DeVil were sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons.

Hopefully some day we'll see this series revisited and those potential releases will actually become a permanent part of the Walt Disney Classics Collection!

Special Song of the South Retirement!

As we're anticipating the announcement of 4th Quarter Releases, took the opportunity of looking back over past releases.

While researching television commercials that Disney was involved, came across one featuring Brer Rabbit which had me relooking at my South of the South sculptures.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection released a 3-piece scene consisting of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox plus an Opening Title.

Brer Rabbit ("Born and Bred in a Briar Patch"), Brer Bear ("Duh!") and Brer Fox ("I Gotcha, Brer Rabbit!") and the Opening Title were released in 1996 and all were retired the following year on February 15, 1997. The retirement was handled through a Retirement Event at authorized WDCC Dealers, who for the first time were invited to break the news directly to collectors through a special in-store announcement.

All WDCC Dealers received a special video featuring three retirement segments a few days before the event. Each segment was a complete production starring some of your favorite Disney characters direct from Disneyland. Only one of the three segments was real. On February 15th, each store received a phone call letting them know which segment they could play as the official announcement. I believe this was the only time a retirement was handled this way.

Trivia Question: What were the other two segments featured on the film?

"Song of the South" may never see the light of day on DVD, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this commercial for the 1955 Rambler Cross Country available through all Nash Dealers starring Brer Rabbit.