Thursday, January 31, 2008

2008 Production Mark Has Been Sighted!

The 2008 Production Mark has been sighted! Belle ("Forbidden Discovery"), the 2008 Members Only Of Dreams & Magic release has arrived at retailers and begun to ship!

The 2008 Production Mark is the Sleeping Beauty Crown bestowed by the three Good Fairies (Flora, Fauna and Merryweather) upon the Princess Aurora from Walt Disney's masterpiece Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty was originally released to theatres on January 29, 1959 by Buena Vista Distribution. The sixteenth animated feature, was the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney to be based upon a fairy tale (after his death, the studio returned to the genre with 1989's The Little Mermaid). In addition, Sleeping Beauty was the first animated feature to be shot in Super Technirama 70, one of many large-format widescreen processes. Only one more animated film, The Black Cauldron, was ever shot in Super Technirama 70.

Thanks Michelle for this breaking news! Be watching for a future update with artwork and more information on this year's production mark! Michelle also took photos and has shared them at the Cafe.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary Sleeping Beauty!

Nearing it's Golden Anniversary next year, Sleeping Beauty marks its 49th Anniversary today. Sleeping Beauty was released to theatres on January 29, 1959. The sixteenth animated feature, it was the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney to be based upon a fairy tale (after his death, the studio returned to the genre with 1989's The Little Mermaid).

Art direction for this movie was inspired by medieval painting and architecture. For the first time on a Disney animated feature, one man was in charge of the color styling, background design, and the overall look of the film. Eyvind Earle's modernistic approach to design and painting resulted provided this film a bold, unique art style, even though Earle's colleagues did not care for his production methods and art style while the film was in production. This was the last Disney feature to have cels inked by hand. From One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) on, the cleaned-up pencil drawings were Xeroxed onto the cels. However, some of the scenes in this movie did use the Xerox process. In active production from 1951 until the end of 1958, setting a record (for which it is tied with another 70mm Disney film, The Black Cauldron (1985)) for being the Disney animated film with the longest production schedule.

  • The elaborate background paintings usually took seven to ten days to paint. By contrast, a typical animation background takes one workday to complete.
  • Second only to Dumbo (who didn't speak at all), this Disney title character has very few lines of actual dialogue throughout the entire film. In fact, Briar Rose/Aurora says nothing at all in the film's second half. After she wakes up, Princess Aurora doesn't have any lines whatsoever.
  • Disney Studios has no record as to who provided the voice for the queen, Briar Rose's mother.
  • When the fairies discuss how to help the king and queen, notice Merryweather magically creates cookies, they are the shape of Mickey Mouse.
  • Walt Disney had suggested that all three fairies should look alike, but veteran animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston contrasted this idea saying that having them be like that wouldn't be exciting. Also, the idea originally included seven fairies instead of three.
Featured in this blog entry is Prince Phillip & Briar Rose ("Chance Encounter")sculpted by Margi Wray, a 2006 Open Edition release. Other WDCC releases from this film can be seen in the Sleeping Beauty Image Gallery section of the website.

Monday, January 28, 2008

WDCC Calendar Update: 1993-1995 On-Line!

Last weekend I uploaded the 2000 WDCC Calendar followed by the 1992 WDCC Calendar. Since then have been working on 1993 thru 1999. It's been an interesting journey looking back at the older catalogs, Greenbook, Sketches, Newsflash, old notes and sell sheets. Nearing completion on 1996 thru 1999 and uploaded this morning 1993 thru 1995!

As mentioned in my blog entry last weekend, as I build each year, choosing a mascot that represents my favorite sculpture for that particular year.

I chose Donald & Daisy (the Jitterbug sculpt) for 1993. I recall seeing this sculpture for the first time at a dealer I bought from at that time in OH. The sculpture had already sold out but they had a cabinet with one of every sculpture released. I would stand there and stare at pieces I missed and at that time, not very easy to find (the Field Mouse, Donald & Daisy and Cinderella's Dress). Fortunately, I was able to add Donald & Daisy approximately in 1997-1998 and have displayed prominently on a rotating riser, being the only animated short (Mr Duck Steps Out) that I have on display in my curios.

Tic-Toc Croc is my favorite from 1994. I remembered being so impressed with it when I saw featured in Sketches for the first time and rather glad that Croc won out over Mr. Smee as collector favorite as the character to be added to the upcoming Peter Pan and Captain Hook sculptures. Some early collectors may recall this poll done by the WDCC.

No question, Dumbo in Bathtub (featured above) would be my favorite from 1995. This is my all-time favorite WDCC sculpture. I remember a discussion a number years ago, discussing on the WDCC message board if we could keep one sculpt, what would it be? Then and even now, still my favorite WDCC sculpt to date.

A funny story. When I was interviewed for Sketches magazine in 2000, one of the questions was "what is your favorite sculpture?" My response, "Dumbo in Bathtub." I received a call prior to publication and it was noticed my favorite sculpt was not a Donald sculpt and since the article was on the Duckman, I was asked if I minded choosing my favorite Donald sculpt and chose the Donald & Daisy sculpture "With Love From Daisy" which was featured in the article.

As you look over the 1993 thru 1995 calendars, please post your favorite from those years either here on the blog or at the Internet Cafe.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary 101 Dalmatians!

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians) is the seventeenth animated feature film produced by Walt Disney. It was originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961 by Buena Vista Division. It is based on the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Today marks the anniversary of its release!

The production of the film signaled a change in the graphic style of Disney's animation. This occurred with the introduction of Xerography which eased graphic reproduction requirements, but at the price of being unable to deviate from a scratchy outline style because of the new (and time and money saving) technology's limitations, recognizable by its thick black lines. Since the line would not have fit the "round" Disney drawing style used until then (with the exception of Sleeping Beauty), a more graphic, angular style was chosen for this and subsequent films. Rotoscoping, a technique formerly used for tracing live action human characters into animated drawings, became less important.

The technology change also happened when Disney cut its animation department after the economical failure of the very expensive Sleeping Beauty,
resulting in a reduction of staff from well over 500 to less than 100 and fewer resources put into the movies. Walt Disney, who at this point had started to direct his attention more towards television and his Disneyland amusement park and less on his animated features, disliked this development, but his next three animated films, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book and The Aristocats, were all xerography films. All animated films since Disney's death use xerography. The "sketchy" graphic style would, however, remain the norm at Disney for years until the technology improved prior to the release of The Rescuers to allow a softer look. In later animated features the Xeroxed lines could be printed in different colors.

Unlike many other Walt Disney animated features, One Hundred and One Dalmatians features very few songs, only three, with just one, "Cruella De Vil", playing a big part in the film (ironic, considering that Roger was a professional songwriter). Even this song isn't sung in one setting (a scene between Cruella and Anita splits it into two parts). The other two songs are "Kanine Krunchies Jingle" (sung by Lucille Bliss
, who voiced Anastasia in Disney's Cinderella), and "Dalmatian Plantation", of which only two lines are sung as the film's closer. The MPAA was close to re-rating this movie due to the new criteria about smoking.

Some Interesting Trivia:
  • Several of the characters from Lady and the Tramp (1955) can be seen in a pet shop window during the twilight bark sequence and when Pongo and Perdita fight the Baduns, the same sounds in the background are from the scene that Tramp fights the three alley dogs.
  • Cruella De Vil was designed as a manic take-off on the flamboyant actress Tallulah Bankhead, as well as some of her personality quirks.
  • This was the final film for animator Marc Davis. After animating Cruella De Vil in this film, Davis went to work for WED Enterprises, designing for such Disneyland rides as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Quite a few liberties were taken in bringing the book to the screen. In the original story, the two Dalmatians who ran across England to rescue their pups were named Pongo and Missis Pongo, or just plain Missis; Perdita was a stray whose own puppies had been sold, and who was taken into the household to help wet nurse Missis' fifteen puppies. In the film, their owners are named Roger and Anita Radcliffe; in the book, they're Mr. and Mrs. Dearly, no first names given. The book also features two Nannies (Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler) to the film's one; Jasper appears under the same name in both versions, but Saul is changed to Horace for the film; and Tib, the book's heroic gray tabby female, is transformed into an orange-colored tom.

Featured in this blog entry is Roger & Anita with Pongo & Perdita ("Tangled Up Romance") sculpted by Kent Melton, a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,000 which was a 2006 Gold Circle Exclusive. Other WDCC releases from this film can be seen in the One Hundred and One Dalmatians Image Gallery section of the website.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

WDCC Presents Pirates of the Caribbean Upcoming Release & Signing!

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

Special Guest: Ruben Procopio, Designer
Date: Saturday, February 02, 2008
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon PST
Location: Disneyana Shop, Main Street, U.S.A.,Disneyland® Park

A Special Signing Event will be held on February 02, 2008 with Ruben Procopio, Concept Designer for the sixth (and final) release in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series.

As the flames spread throughout the city, pirates locked in the town jail are desperate to escape before their underground dungeon turns into an inferno. The local constabulary are nowhere to be seen. Only a mangy mutt is around to witness their plight and he holds the keys to their cells in his mouth. The pirates try to lure the dog within their reach so they can grab the keys and attempt an escape. The boat passes underneath another bridge, which appears to be a reinforced sewer entrance to the underground parts of the city.

Jail Scene with Dog ("Here Give Us the Key ya Scrawny Little Beast!") is a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 750 with a SRP of $599.00 US. Concept by Ruben Procopio and sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

Ruben also sculpted the following releases in the Pirates of the Caribbean Series:

Pirate with Pigs ("Drink Up Me 'earties!") - Fourth Release in Series.

Pirate on Archway Bridge ("A Parrot's Life for Me!") - Fifth Release in Series.

Pirate on Cannon ("(Mr. Coote): "Peligro, Explosivos!") - Special Limited Edition Release.

Guests will be able to purchase those Pirates of the Caribbean pieces that Ruben sculpted listed above (subject to availability) plus sign the two film-based releases, Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow which Ruben concepted. Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow were sculpted by Tim Bruckner.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ratatouille Gets Oscar Nomination for Best Animated Feature Film!

The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2007 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.

The following Disney films were nominated with Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille having the most nominations for a Disney release:


Remy the rat longs to exercise his talents as a gourmet chef and gets the chance when he finds himself in a famous Parisian restaurant after becoming separated from his family during an escape through the sewers. When his secret improvements to the restaurant's food are mistakenly attributed to Linguini, the garbage boy, the two team up to form an unlikely culinary partnership that will benefit them both.

Nominations (5):

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
Achievement in Sound Editing
Achievement in Sound Mixing
Original Screenplay


A fairy tale princess finds herself stranded in modern-day New York when the stepmother of her fiancé pushes her down a well that connects the magical land of Andalasia with the real world. Still wrapped in the sweetness and innocence of her enchanted existence as she wanders the streets of Manhattan, Princess Giselle is soon befriended by six-year-old Morgan and her divorced father, Robert.

Nominations (3):

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Captain Jack Sparrow is trapped in the netherworld of Davy Jones's Locker, with his only hope of rescue lying in the hands of his friends Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. With the help of Captain Barbossa, the pair set out from Singapore to find Jack, and then take on Cutler Beckett, the evil head of the East India Trading Company, and Davy Jones himself in an attempt to free Will's father from Jones's grasp.

Nominations (2):

Achievement in Makeup
Achievement in Visual Effects

For a complete listing plus more details on the upcoming awards show, please visit

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Previous Years WDCC Calendars Update!

One of the things I enjoy most about the website is building the history of the line. I guess being an accountant, paying attention to details is a common characteristic of someone in this profession. I want to know all the details when I receive information on the latest upcoming releases-size, sculptor, how released, etc. Over the years I've found I'm not alone and have received many requests on building calendars for each year from the line's inception (1992) until today (2008).

After numerous requests in 2007, I began building these calendars going in reverse, starting from 2002 and working backwards to 1992. Last year as many know, I was able to build 2002 and 2001. I began working on 2000 and like many, put to the side planning to finish only to never get back to it. Those who enjoy the calendars noticed this and when I released the 2008 Calendar began receiving emails asking "where are the remaining calendars?"

Last night decided to finish up 2000 and just finished uploading to the webstie. Next task will be to begin working on 1999 thru 1992. The fun part of this exercise is choosing the mascot for that calendar year. In 2000-2002, you are also seeing what my favorite sculpt was for that year, in case you're interested :) As for 1992-1999, a mascot won't be chosen until all calendars are complete.

This is going to be a bit of a challenge because I began doing a yearly calendar format in 2000, so had a template to pull information from in building 2000-2002. With starting the website in 1997, have nothing prior too and up until 2000, so need to pull out my Sketches and Newsflash and try to rebuild those years. I will have these as a work in progress and will welcome any information fellow collectors and/or dealers may have on release dates during those years. Members Only, Events and Convention releases will be a no brainer, it's everything else in between :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Been a Real Slice!

Megara from Disney's Hercules, second release in the Leading Ladies Series is now Sold Out!

Megara is very sarcastic, flirty, strong and independent. She prefers to do things on her own, but when she meets Hercules, she falls in love with him and follows him on his adventures.

Walt Disney Classics Collection introduced the Leading Ladies Series in 2004. Megara (better known as Meg) made her WDCC Debut as the second release in this series and was sculpted by Kent Melton. She was Limited to Production Year 2005.

There are in fact two versions of Meg that were produced. The first version, she had thicker eyebrows (picture at left). A running production change was made and in the second version, her eyebrows are thinner. An image of second version can be found in the Image Gallery.

Collectors should check with their retailer regarding availability since Megara is no longer in inventory.

Originally, Meg was to sing a ballad titled 'I Can't Believe My Heart'. However, as it was decided that Meg's attitude did not suit this ballad, another song 'I Won't Say I'm In Love' was chosen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winter Wonderland

After getting spoiled last week with unseasonably warmer weather, it had me thinking of spring but reality set back in this week with the return of colder temps and snow .. ugh! A definite reminder that winter is still here :(

Being back in a winter mode, I looked over past Walt Disney Classics Collection releases for winter-themed releases. The first one that came to mind was the Winter Scene from Bambi. This Open Edition release was released in November, 2005 consisting of Bambi, Thumper and Flower & Burrow (a 2-piece set).

This charmin
g scene also included a Frozen Pond Base (released in January, 2006). The Base had complete openings (all the way through the porcelain) in which the Bambi and Thumper pieces can sit into making the surface of the ice of the base and the sculpts flush.
Flower in the Burrow will sit on top of the ice base.

The classic winter scene was sculpted by one of our premier sculptors, Kent Melton, and it marks the first time Kent has had an opportunity to sculpt Bambi (he was always hopeful he would have a chance).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Back View of Elliott-A 2nd Look :)

In addition to additional angles being added, I've also received sizing on Elliott. Elliott stands 10-1/2" tall and his footprint is roughly a circle, 8" in one direction and 9-1/4" in another direction.

Elliott, a Numbered Limited Edition of 750 sculpted by Ruben Procopio is making his WDCC debut (in animated form) next month.

"This sculpt was a lot of fun, it actually reminded me of my years at the studio sculpting maquettes. Its the type of pose I would have done if I had worked on this movie. I couldn't help but mimic Charlie Callas' voice while working on the piece, hope you have the same enjoyable experience." (Ruben Procopio)

Images of the unpainted resin can be seen at Ruben's blog, Masked Avengers Studios. This is my favorite of the non-member releases and what an amazing job done by Ruben, bringing this endearing character to 3D life. I like the subtle sense of movement in this sculpture plus Elliott's facial expression and the detail in the base.

A clip of Elliott from Pete's Dragon (courtesy of can be seen in this earlier blog entry.

Robin Hood Continues to Find New Life on the Secondary Market!

Last August, I did a blog entry regarding the many emails I receive from collectors looking for Robin Hood. It's been some time since the sculpture has been available either through authorized Walt Disney Classics Collection Dealers and/or the Walt Disney Theme Parks®.

Robin Hood's popularity hasn't waned, this sculpture continues to rise on the Secondary Market and most recently, another sculpture release from this film, Prince John & Sir Hiss is showing signs of new life on the secondary as well!

The complete Robin Hood Scene was sculpted by Dusty Horner. Initially, Robin Hood, Little John, Sheriff of Nottingham and an Opening Title were released as an Open Edition release in February, 2003. Also released was Maid Marian, a Members Only release, the 2003 Scene Completer available from January 01, 2003 thru March 31, 2004. All Open Edition releases from this film were retired in November, 2004 except for the Opening Title.

In 2004, the Walt Disney Classics Collection released another Members Only release from this film, Prince John & Sir Hiss, a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 1,973. Available to Society members by Special Order with a Redemption Certificate from August 01, 2004 until edition closed on March 31, 2005.

As mentioned in my original blog entry, when initially released, I don't believe there was a strong interest in these characters, hence sales weren't robust and possibly thwarted any chances of more releases from this film. Hopefully the renewed interest in these characters on the Secondary Market will open the door to the possibility of more releases from this film.

I very much much would like to see
Lady Cluck and The Rooster/Alan-A-Dale released and Little John revisited. I personally didn't care for the Flamboyant Fop version originally done. Just not as how I see/remember Little John. I would like to see him redone in his Sherwood Forest attire. A Little John Poll has been added to the Cafe.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Where Has the Week Gone??

Where has this week gone?? It's been a hectic week at work plus trying to put away all the Christmas decorations. Why is it always more fun putting everything up vs. taking them down? :)

Donald Duck Membership kits are starting to arrive at retailers. Nephew Duck began to arrive in December. Haven't heard any sightings of Belle at this time. Don't forget, the redemption period for Wendy begins in January but she is not expected to arrive in stores until February. Fellow collector and friend Matthew received his Donald and all 3 Nephews and posted images of photos he took on his blog. Check out Matthew's Blog for these photos!

Geoffrey, thanks for your help regarding Charles's question on the Pirates of the Caribbean Series Jail Scene release. Hope you guys don't mind, going to copy/paste your question/answer into the Jail Scene Blog Entry since it might help others in a similar situation plus added phone numbers in that entry for the Art of Disney in Downtown Disney® and Epcot® plus the Animation Gallery at Disney's Hollywood Studios®.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Silly Symphony Series: Part I

One of the high points for me in 2007 was the debut of the Silly Symphony Series. I must admit, I was disappointed when 1st Quarter 2008 was unveiled and missing was the next release from this series. Was anyone else as disappointed as well?

I recall back around 1999 or 2000, WDAC asking me to poll collectors on their thoughts of seeing a series focusing on Walt Disney's Silly Symphony Shorts. The poll was created, results tallied but nothing came of it.

Fast forward to December 2002, attended my first signing event at Gallery of the Lakes and met Kent Melton. At dinner that evening, recall asking Kent, "is there one piece you hope some day to sculpt?" His reply was Wynken, Blynken and Nod. It reminded me of the poll I did and how I wish that series would materialize or at least have a larger representation in the line of those early shorts.

Fast forward again to December 2006 and the announcement of 1st Quarter 2007 and in that announcement, the unveiling of the debut piece in the Silly Symphony Series, The Ugly Duckling and His Mother, an Open Edition release sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales. Yay! It may have taken 7-8 years but the series FINALLY happened!!

To me, this sculpture was amazing and reminded me of the Field Mouse, for the simple fact these were esoteric characters and not something you've seen overdone in other mediums and a series that would showcase characters that may only be familiar to the die-hard Disney fan. Throughout 2007, I featured these releases here in my blog.

My first blog entry on the Silly Symphony Series was in April, 2007 titled Silly Symphony Releases: Past & Present which not only focused on the debut release in the series but previous releases where a Silly Symphony short was the subject of a Walt Disney Classics Collection release.

These shorts not only had endearing characters, many who may have only appeared in one short but animation rich in colors set to music. As I keep fingers crossed the next quarter contains another release from this series, possibly Elmer & Tillie? The Skeleton Dance? Jenny Wren and Cock Robin? Wynken, Blynken and Nod?

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, I've included a clip of the animated short Wynken, Blynken and Nod (courtesy of

Wynken, Blynken and Nod is a Silly Symphony Cartoon ©Disney

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Peter! Oh! Peter!

Additional angles have been added for Wendy (a back view pictured at right plus a side view), a Members Only Commissioned Release sculpted by Dusty Horner. Wendy can be ordered from January 01, 2008 thru March 31, 2009, available in stores February, 2008.

This could be my favorite Wendy released to date. Keep hoping (and campaigning) we see the remaining Mermaids from this sequence.

To coincide with Wendy's redemption period, Peter and the Mermaids (2007 Of Dreams & Magic Release) has been extended thru March 31, 2009.

More Views of the Malevolent Magistrate!

Additional angles have been added for Frollo (a side view pictured at left plus back view), a Numbered Limited Edition of 750 sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons making his WDCC debut in March, 2008.

This side view gives a profile view of this Malevolent Magistrate. Frollo's rings will be plussed with ruby, sapphire and emerald colored gemstones. His chair is adorned with three golden fleur-de-lis made of pewter and antiqued with a gold finish as well as portions of his chair. A pewter heraldic emblem is inlaid in the chair. An additional front view angle will be added at a later date.

Without sounding to gung-ho, am looking forward to this sculpture. Quasimodo and Esmerelda rank amongst my top five favorite releases of 2007, so look forward to seeing how Frollo will look with them in person.

A clip of the Festival of Fools sequence (courtesy of can be seen in this earlier blog entry.

Another Side of Clarabelle!

Clarabelle Cow, the newest member of the Mickey Mouse Club will be joining the rest of the gang in March, 2008.

Sculpted by Bruce Lau (who has sculpted the rest of Mickey Mouse Club gang to date) is Limited to Production Year 2008.

A back view has been made available (pictured at right) of that bovine beauty. I like this angle much better vs. the one available when the sculpture was first announced. You get a better idea of Clarabelle, whereas the initial image, the pom-poms hid most of her.

A clip of the Mickey Mouse Club Opening Sequence (courtesy of can be seen in this earlier blog entry.