Friday, November 30, 2007

Captain Barbossa & Captain Jack Sparrow: WInter Premiere Reminder & Update!

This weekend is the Winter Premiere Event (December 1-2, 2007) marking the WDCC debut of Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow!

Captain Barbossa ("Black-hearted Brigand) is the Winter Premiere Event Featured Sculpture. 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 was held in lieu of the traditional Fall Premiere Event. Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa are sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

Disneyland© Resort will not have it's usual Aribbas Bros. Gift with Purchase for this event. They will be offering a special promotion on December 4th for the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on DVD. They are opening at 6:30am and the first guests who purchase the DVD at World of Disney© will receive a special matted art piece while supplies last.

Since Walt Disney Classics Collection has a special announcement inside the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End DVD featuring WDCC Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa (part of the booklet packed inside the DVD), Disneyland© Resort is going to promote those sculptures releasing December 4th. They will be available at the World of Disney© store in Downtown Disney.

The usual gallery locations at WALT DISNEY WORLD© Resort will be offering these pieces as well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Reintroduction of the American Folk Heroes Series!

The Walt Disney Collectors Society introduced the American Folk Heroes series in 1994, honoring some of Walt Disney's finest but least-known animation. This Members-Only series honored those larger-than-life characters who embody the best of the American character through legend and lore native to these United States.

The first entry was that rootin' tootin' cowboy Pecos Bill followed by his ladylove Slue Foot Sue in 1995 from Melody Time and the legendary baseball slugger Casey at the Bat from Make Mine Music in 1996. The series, by commission only was suspended in 1996.

As the Society celebrates its 15th anniversary, they proudly announce the reintroduction of the American Folk Heroes series with the announcement of a new release in 2008 to be announced soon!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the early 1600's, the Pilgrims left their home in England and came across the ocean to America in a boat called the Mayflower. They built their own houses, planted seeds they had brought with them, and made friends with the Indians, who were already living in America. The Indians taught them how to plant corn and hunt and fish for animals that they could eat.

The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. In that year Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians.

Now every year we celebrate Thanksgiving to remember the brave Pilgrims and to give thanks for all of our blessings. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

"Soup's On!" (pictured above), a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) and 1st release in the Signature Series (2000) always reminds me of Thanksgiving, a day when family and friends gather together. In keeping with the holiday theme of giving thanks, during the socializing or meal, it's a time to share what we're thankful for and/or tell about experiences during the past year which have caused us to feel grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who visit either the Website, Blog and/or Internet Cafe today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2008 Villains Series Release Announced: the Queen of Hearts!

Sketches began to arrive today and included is the announcement of the Villains Series release for 2008 .. from Disney's animated classic, Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts!

Queen of Hearts: "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?" (12")will be the 2008 Villains Series sculpture debuting in May 2008. Sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons, it has a SRP of $299.00 US. It will be released in May 2008 (Society Members will receive their redemption certificates with the May issue of Sketches).

The Queen of Hearts is a character from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by the mathematician, Lewis Carroll. She is a foul-tempered monarch, who is quick to decree death sentences at the slightest offense. Her most famous line, one which she repeats often, is "Off with their heads!"

When pleased, she can be quite pleasant, but can almost at once change to enraged. The Queen is voiced by Verna Felton.

Enchanted Opens Today!

A classic Disney animated fairy tale meets with modern, live-action comedy in Walt Disney Pictures' Enchanted opening today!

Featuring an all- star cast, the film follows the beautiful princess Giselle (Amy Adams) as she is banished by an Evil Queen (Susan Sarandon) from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan.

Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn't operate on a "happily ever after" basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) who has come to her aid-- even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince (James Marsden) back home-- she has to wonder: Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

There are many parts of this movie that are clearly references to/spoofs/homages of other Disney animated movies, most of which involve princesses and typically, evil stepmothers. Visit the official website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's a Small World: Little Big Chief

It's a Small World (formatted “it's a small world” by the Walt Disney Company) is a popular attraction at several Walt Disney theme parks: Disneyland© (in California), Walt Disney World© (Magic Kingdom in Florida), Tokyo Disneyland© and Disneyland Resort Paris©. It has been announced that it will open in Hong Kong Disneyland© in 2008.

The ride features a multitude of audio-animatronic figures in the style of children of the world singing the ride's title track (composed by the Sherman Brothers), which has a theme of global peace.

Like several other Disneyland© attractions, It's a Small World originated with the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair (it was Pepsi's© pavilion). After the fair closed the ride was transferred to Disneyland© and when the other parks opened they too included versions of the ride. The attraction was designed by Mary Blair, who was also an art director on several Disney animated features (including Cinderella and Peter Pan). Like many Disneyland© and Walt Disney World© attractions, scenes and characters were designed by Marc Davis, while his wife, Alice Davis, designed the outfits of the dolls.

The name of the ride was originally "children of the world." When Walt Disney demonstrated it to songwriters, the Sherman Brothers, the ride's soundtrack featured numerous national anthems all playing at once. Disney said, "I need one song." In response, the brothers wrote what would disputably be known as the most performed and translated song on earth: It's a Small World.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection introduced the 'it's a small world series in 2003. One release, very fitting for Thanksgiving is the Native American Indian Boy ("Little Big Chief") released in August, 2005. This two-piece set consisted of the Native American Indian Boy (7") and Cactus Accessory (4-3/4").

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meet Bill Peet and More on Susie :)

As many of you know, one of my favorite animated shorts is Susie, the Little Blue Coupe which was the subject of a blog entry back in July discussing both the short and it's inspiration for Disney/Pixar's 2006 animated feature, Cars. I recently uncovered more information on author, Bill Peet and Susie's inspiration for Cars, warranting a second entry :)

As previously posted, among the biggest design inspirations for Lasseter and his team was the classic 1952 Disney short, Susie the Little Blue Coupe. One of the key animators on that film was the legendary Ollie Johnston, who at age 92 is the last surviving member of Walt Disney’s original team affectionately known as the nine old men. Lasseter maintains a special relationship (in addition to a love of trains) with Johnston, and he had numerous occasions to discuss the "Cars" approach with his friend and mentor. The film's method of anthropomorphizing the cars, using the windshield for the eyes and eyelids, served as the stylistic inspiration for this film.

Given it being the inspiration for Cars (and many references to support this), it's surprising that Susie wasn't included in the DVD release last year as an added bonus :(

Susie, the Little Blue Coupe is a very agreeable little film, with plenty of good humor & fine animation and once again illustrates Disney's adeptness at giving sympathetic life to an inanimate object. Susie's story was written by Disney animator Bill Peet and is very similar to those he would later author as a celebrated children's author. As always, Sterling Holloway makes the perfect narrator.

If you are a fan of the children's books by Bill Peet, you will love this story. Before Peet was a published author, he was one of the top story men at Disney. Not only did he work on classic features like Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp, he also wrote a number of short films like Susie. These include: Goliath II (the story of a 6 inch tall elephant) and Lambert the Sheepish Lion. His storytelling sensibilities are unmistakable in these films and bear his mark like a signature. Peet left Disney around 1965 to write children's books. He died in 2002. Learn more about Bill Peet, Walt Disney's greatest storyman for 27 years at his official website.

Trivia: In Susie, the Little Blue Coupe, a truck in traffic labeled "Peet's Ice," is a reference to writer Bill Peet.

As an added treat (and fast becoming a blog favorite), Susie, the Little Blue Coupe (courtesy of

Susie, the Little Blue Coupe is ©Disney

To date, the Walt Disney Classics Collection hasn't released anything from Disney/Pixar's Cars. I've set up a Cars Poll to gauge collectors interest in seeing something done from this film.

Given the recent tampering of our Mr. Ray Poll, in order to participate in this poll and/or future polls, you need to contact me via email at with your name, board log-in and email address to be granted access to the Survey Folder at the Duckburg Internet Cafe. Apologize for the inconvenience. Let the voting begin!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Song of the South: Celebrates its 61st Anniversary!

Today marks the 61st anniversary of Disney's Song of the South. The working title for Song of the South was Uncle Remus.

Walt Disney had long wanted to make a film based on the Uncle Remus storybook, but it wasn't until the mid-1940s that he had found a way to give the stories an adequate film equivalent, in scope and fidelity. "I always felt that Uncle Remus should be played by a living person," Disney is quoted as saying, "as should also the young boy to whom Harris' old Negro philosopher relates his vivid stories of the Briar Patch. Several tests in previous pictures, especially in The Three Caballeros, were encouraging in the way living action and animation could be dovetailed. Finally, months ago, we 'took our foot in hand,' in the words of Uncle Remus, and jumped into our most venturesome but also more pleasurable undertaking."

There are three animated segments in the movie:

  • "Brer Rabbit Runs Away" (approx. 8 minutes), including the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah".
  • "The Tar Baby" (approx. 12 minutes), interrupted with a short live action scene about two thirds of the way into the cartoon, including the song "How Do You Do?"
  • "Brer Rabbit's Laughing Place" (approx. 5 minutes), the only segment that doesn't use Uncle Remus as an intro to its main story, including the song "Everybody's Got A Laughing Place."

Also most of the last couple of minutes of the movie contains animation, as most of the cartoon characters show up in a live-action world to meet the live-action characters, and in the last seconds of the movie the real world is turned into an animated one.

Although the film has been re-released several times (most recently in 1986), the Disney corporation has avoided making it directly available on home video or DVD in the United States because the frame story was deemed controversial by studio management, despite Uncle Remus being the hero of the story. Film critic Roger Ebert, who normally disdains any attempt to keep films from any audience, has supported the non-release position, claiming that most Disney films become a part of the consciousness of American children, who take films more literally than do adults. However, he favors allowing film students to have access to the film. In the U.S., only excerpts from the animated segments have ever appeared in Disney's DVDs (such as the 2004 two-disc release of Alice in Wonderland (1951), television shows, and the popular log-flume attraction Splash Mountain is based upon the same animated portions).

Despite rumors of a forthcoming DVD release, Disney CEO Robert Iger stated on March 10, 2006 at a Disney Shareholder Meeting that it had been decided that the company would not re-release it for the time being. At the annual shareholders meeting in March 2007, Iger announced that the company was reconsidering the decision, and have decided to look into the possibility of releasing the film. In May 2007, it was again reported that the Disney company has chosen not to release the film. However, rumors to the contrary continue to surface.

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.

Trivia: Brer Rabbit's laughing heard during the Laughing Place sequence is reused in The Jungle Book (1967) when Baloo tickles King Louie.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Touch of an Autumn Fairy

With last week's first wave of announcements for 2008 Members Only releases, it had me reflecting on past members-only releases and keeping with the fall theme of this month's blog entries, thought of the Autumn Fairy from Disney's Fantasia.

In 1998, the Walt Disney Collectors Society unveiled a new type of release, a Members Only Limited Edition. This was the first Society Limited Edition offered to Society members. They would end up doing a Members Only Limited Edition release, skipping a year in between each release, until 2004. The Autumn Fairy, sculpted by Kent Melton was released in an edition size of 5,000. The sculpture was a combination of bronze and porcelain done with opalescent paint highlights.

The Autumn Fairy is from the Nutcracker Suite portion of Fantasia. The Nutcracker Suite a personified depiction of the changing of the seasons; first from summer to autumn, and then from autumn to winter. It features a variety of dances, just as in the original, but danced by animated fairies, fishes, flowers, mushrooms and leaves; no actual nutcracker is ever seen in this version. Many elements are rendered carefully and painstakingly using techniques such as drybrush and airbrush.

The Dewdrop Fairy was released in 2002, a Numbered Limited Edition of 2,002 pieces released in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Walt Disney Classics Collection followed in 2005 with the Frost Fairies, a Numbered Limited Edition of 500. Both were sculpted by Kent Melton.

The Nutcracker Suite musical score was done by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Animation Supervisors were Fred Moore and Vladimir Tytla and Animation by Art Babbitt, Les Clark, Don Lusk, Sy Young, and Robert Stokes.

As an added treat, below is a portion of the Autumn Fairy Sequence (courtesy of

Nutcracker Suite portion from Disney's Fantasia is ©Disney

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pocahontas: A Legendary Beauty!

This weekend, the Walt Disney Classics Collection announced the 2008 Members-Only releases which included a Commission-Only release (Wendy from Peter Pan). One previous Commission-Only release that fits this month's Fall and Thanksgiving theme is Pocahontas. "Listen With Your Heart", a non-member commission release was sculpted by Gwen Dutcher and released in 1996 following the film's Fall 1995 release. The redemption period was March 01, 1996 thru May 31, 1996.

Animators working on the film regarded Pocahontas as being one of the hardest films ever produced by the studio. The complex color schemes, angular shapes and facial expressions meant that the film was in production for 5 years. The hard work paid off, however. Pocahontas herself is now frequently cited as being one of the most beautifully and realistically animated characters in the Disney canon, her fluid movements mainly being attributed to rotoscoping.

The film's premiere was a huge event in Central Park. With over 100,000 people attending, it holds the record for the largest movie premiere. The film received critical praise for both the animation and art direction. The film utilizes very different colors than in previous Disney films, which resulted in a beautiful color palette from the Art Department at Disney. Colors that symbolized different emotions, such as red for anger/hate, blue for love and pink and purple for nature were purposely used. The animators also decided to be unconventional when they decided to use the "mother spirit in the leaves" motif, which consisted of leaves floating in the wind during significant scenes in the movie that represented passion and beauty.

Originally the animal characters had dialogue, just like in previous Disney features. This was dropped when the filmmakers pushed for a more realistic treatment of the story. One character, a turkey named Redfeather, was dropped entirely. John Candy had provided a large amount of voice work for this character who was to be Pocahontas's sidekick. However after Candy's death in 1994, the concept was scrapped.

In the very first draft of the script the character of "Grandmother Willow" was written as a male character who was the spirit of the river, the character was named "Old Man River". The song "Just Around the Riverbend" was written for this character to be sung. Gregory Peck was offered the role and as much as it pained him to do it, turned down the role because he felt the title character needed a motherly figure to turn to for advice. Soon the filmmakers agreed with him and the character was changed.

Pocahontas made her second appearance in 2006 as the third release in the Leading Ladies Series. "Legendary Beauty," sculpted by Margi Wray was Limited to Production Year 2006. Many collectors hope the Walt Disney Classics Collection will release John Smith to recreate the moment when Pocahontas meets John Smith for the first time.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Donald Duck: The WDCS Membership Gift for 2008!

Merrily marching over hill and dale, Donald Duck is the 2008 Membership Gift sculpture! Huey, Dewey and Louie are the perfect companions to Good Scout Donald.

Donald Duck ("Happy Camper") and Nephew ("A Real Trooper") are sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons. Patrick is no stranger sculpting Donald Duck but this is Patrick's first membership gift sculpture release for the Walt Disney Classics Collection!

Donald is available from January 01 thru December 31, 2007. Nephew Duck sculpture will be available from January 01, 2008 thru March 31, 2009. Purchase three identical Nephew Duck sculptures (sold separately) to represent Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Contact any Authorized Walt Disney Classics Collection Dealer and/or the Walt Disney Collectors Society and join Good Scout Donald and his devoted troop as they blaze a trail of excitement into a world of fun-filled adventure!

For those unfamiliar with the short Good Scout, I've included a clip of the animated short (courtesy of below:

Good Scouts is a Donald Duck Cartoon ©Disney

A Spellbinding Adventure Continues!

This year, Walt Disney Collector Society members will have the opportunity for another Members-Only Commissioned Release!

Wendy Darling ("Peter! Oh Peter!"), sculpted by Dusty Horner is available to active Society members from January 01, 2008 thru March 31, 2009. Wendy can begin to be pre-ordered starting in January, 2008 and will begin shipping and arriving at retailers in February, 2008.

Once in Peter's world, Wendy wants to meet the beautiful sea maidens from Mermaid Lagoon but will she catch Peter's attention?

A Spellbinding Adventure Continues ..
Two new exciting sculptures were released this year from Walt Disney's animated classic, Peter Pan (1953) and when paired with Wendy, this spellbinding adventure continues!

This years Of Dreams & Magic release, a Walt Disney Collectors Society Members Only Sculpture is straight from Mermaid Lagoon from that moment when Peter is boasting of his escapades to Never Land's bevy of beautiful mermaids.

"Spinning a Spellbinding Story," sculpted by Dusty Horner which originally was available to active Society members from January 01, 2007 thru March 31, 2008, has been extended to March 31, 2009 with the upcoming release of Wendy.

In one of the most famous images in Disney animation, Captain Hook masterfully commands the rowboat as the bumbling Mr. Smee rows for Skull Rock. A Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,500, "An Irresistible Lure," a two-piece set that also includes Tiger Lily and Tick-Tock Croc is sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

Pictured with all three releases is Skull Rock, a gift given to registered convention guests upon registering for the 2003 Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics aboard the Disney Cruise Line®, May 15-18, 2003. Skull Rock was a Limited Edition of 500.

A Forbidden Discovery!

The sixth release in the Of Dreams & Magic Series is from Disney's animated classic, Beauty and the Beast. This beautiful Members-Only sculpture captures the haunting beauty of one of Disney's most enthralling animated films.

Belle with the Rose Table ("Forbidden Discovery"), sculpted by Dusty Horner is available to active Society members from January 01, 2008 thru March 31, 2009.

A perfect pairing is Belle with the 2004 Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) sculpture of Beast ("Fury Unleashed") sculpted by Kent Melton. Within my presentation for Belle, I put together an image of Belle with Beast and I think you'll agree, they look awesome together!

Friday, November 2, 2007

'The Little Mermaid' Swims onto Broadway Nov. 3rd!

Disney Theatrical Productions proudly presents the theatrical stage production of The Little Mermaid, based on the Disney film and the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, beginning previews at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre November 3, 2007 for an official opening December 6, 2007.

The company features Sierra Boggess as Ariel, Sean Palmer as Prince Eric, Norm Lewis as King Triton, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian, Eddie Korbich as Scuttle, Jonathan Freeman as Grimsby, Derrick Baskin as Jetsam, Tyler Maynard Flotsam, Cody Hanford and J.J. Singleton as Flounder and Sherie Rene Scott as Ursula.

Francesca Zambello directs, with a score featuring classic songs "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl" and the Academy Award-winning Best Original Song, "Under the Sea," composed by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken and his longtime collaborator, the late Howard Ashman. The musical debuts 11 new songs by Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. Book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright.

Performances begin on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street, NYC) today, November 3, 2007. The official Broadway opening night is December 6, 2007.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Brother Bear Celebrates it's 4th Anniversary!

Brother Bear is a 2003 traditionally-animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 1, 2003.

Originally titled Bears, it was the third and final Disney animated feature produced primarily by the Feature Animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida; the studio was shut down in March 2004, not long after the release of this film in favor of computer animated features.

One of the two releases from Walt Disney Classics Collection is a personal favorite of mine, Koda, a talkative, pesky bear cub.

"Sitting Cub", an Open Edition release sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons was released in July, 2004. Earlier in 2004, Patrick also sculpted the Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 2,000 featuring Koda & Kenai ("Brotherly Time").

Next year, Brother Bear will be celebrating it's 5th Anniversary!

2008 Members Only Release Update!

Have received quite a few emails this evening regarding the Members Only releases for 2008, wondering when I'll be updating the website with this info.

Enesco, LLC released images and information to their sales reps earlier this afternoon and asked I wait until Saturday morning, to allow reps to get the information out to their dealers. This avoids collectors contacting their dealers and them not prepared to answer any questions on the upcoming Members Only releases.

Thank You for your patience.

What to Look Forward to in November!

Halloween has come and gone, hopefully your day ended with more treats than tricks :)

November is here and fall is definitely in the air and we begin to think of the next holiday, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving you ask? But the stores are switched or switching over to Christmas you say?? It seems Christmas has become so commercial, we begin seeing signs as early as July and almost in full swing by Halloween. Thanksgiving seems to take a back seat, considered a minor holiday. Did you ever notice you don't see much in the way of decorations and cards for Thanksgiving and they are usually in a small section in the stores, not getting the store space like Halloween and Christmas? Same can be said for WDCC. There really isn't much representing this holiday as well.

As I refuse to put up Christmas lights and decorations until after Thanksgiving, I plan to do the same here at the blog on the website. This month's entries may be light but the focus will be on some fall/Thanksgiving related releases -- Pocahontas, Little Hiawatha and Soup's On from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs plus this month we should also see the 2008 Members Only Releases and quite possibly the remainder of 1st Quarter 2008 as well! An actual date has not been confirmed at this time.