Friday, April 18, 2008

Updated Facts & Firsts for 2008!

An updated edition of Facts & Firsts for 2008 has just been finalized and available for download (click on image at left). This update includes all releases through Second Quarter 2008 plus today's retirements and suspension.

Should you catch any errors, please email me at so we can be sure to get those corrected in the next update.

Fire-Related Retirements!

The Walt Disney Classics Collection is pleased to announce several sculpture retirements effective April 18, 2008:

Fire's Out!

From the Mickey Mouse Cartoon, Mickey's Fire Brigade:

Opening Title: "Mickey's Fire Brigade"
Donald Duck: "Duck! A Fire!"
Mickey Mouse: "Fireman to the Rescue"

Special Note: Both the Opening Title and Donald Duck are sold out at the warehouse.


From Disney's 101 Dalmatians, the Opening Title has been suspended. The Opening Title has not been retired but completely sold out at the warehouse and there are no immediate plans to re-order.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oliver "Ollie" Martin Johnston, Jr. (1912-2008)

The last of Disney's Nine Old Men, Ollie Johnston passed away on Monday, April 14, 2008.

Oliver Martin Johnston, Jr. was a pioneer in the field of motion picture animation. He was a directing animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935-1978. He contributed to many films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi and Pinocchio. His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers, which was the last film of the second golden age of Disney animation that had begun in 1950 with Cinderella. In The Rescuers, hew was caricatured as one of the film's characters, the cat Rufus.

Animator Ollie Johnston infused an unusual level of warmth and heartfelt emotion into his Disney characters. As lifelong friend and fellow animator Frank Thomas recalled, "Ollie was the only one of the Studio animators who was sensitive to character relationships and how they affected story," explained Frank -- "Back then cartoon characters seldom touched unless they hit each other. But one day Ollie said, 'You know, the act of two people holding hands communicates in a powerful way.' And he was right. His warmth made a difference in so many of our characters."

Indeed, Ollie animated such memorable friendships as that of Baloo and Mowgli in The Jungle Book and the sycophantic relationship shared by Sir Hiss and Prince John in Robin Hood. And he valued his own relationship with the characters he animated, including Thumper in Bambi, Mr. Smee in Peter Pan and the trio of fanciful fairies in Sleeping Beauty. Ollie says, "They were all good friends, whom I remember fondly."

Born in Palo Alto, California, on October 31, 1912, Ollie attended grammar school on the campus of Stanford University, where his father served as professor of romance languages. After graduating from Palo Alto High School, he returned to Stanford and spent his last year of study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

On January 21, 1935, Ollie joined The Walt Disney Studios as an apprentice animator, working on such early Disney shorts as Mickey's Garden and The Tortoise and the Hare, which won an Academy Award® for Best Cartoon. He went on to work as animator and directing animator on more than 24 feature films including, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty, among others.

Ollie married a fellow Disney employee, Ink and Paint artist Marie Worthey, in 1943. Marie Johnston died May 20, 2005. An avid train enthusiast, in his spare time, Ollie created a backyard railroad at his home and was instrumental in helping stir Walt Disney's own personal interest in trains.

After 43 years with the Studio, Ollie retired in 1978. He went on to co-author four books with Frank Thomas beginning with the definitive Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, followed by Too Funny For Words, Walt Disney's Bambi: The Story and the Film, and The Disney Villain. He and Frank were also the subjects of the 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie, which chronicles their unique friendship, which began at Stanford, and creative relationship at Disney. That same year, Disney artists also paid tribute to the legendary elder-animators in the Mickey Mouse featurette Runaway Brain, by creating a villain whimsically named Dr. Frankenollie. Visit Frank & Ollie's Official Website.

Below are three (3) clips courtesy of honoring the works of Ollie Johnston. Rest in Peace Ollie! We thank you for the legacy you leave us. You will be greatly missed!

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Q&A Session with Traci Thomas on the Upcoming Collectors Choice Series!

As part of the 2nd Quarter announcement for 2008 was the debut of an upcoming new series from the Walt Disney Collectors Society -- Collectors Choice Series. The debut sculpture in this series, Peg from Disney's animated classic Lady and the Tramp will make both her series and WDCC debut in August, 2008.

I'm sure many have questions regarding this new series. Below is a Q&A session I had with Traci Thomas, Brand Manager for the Walt Disney Classics Collection regarding the inception and future of this series.

Q: How did the Collectors Choice Series come to be?

A: Collectors' Choice is a new series we've launched in response to numerous requests we've received from Walt Disney Collectors Society Members wanting to participate in selecting the Disney moments we recreate in porcelain.

Q: How was Peg from Disney's Lady and the Tramp chosen as the debut release in this series?

A: For the first release we consulted a variety of sources including surveys from past Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics Events, feedback from collectors at artist signing events, letters and phone calls to the Walt Disney Collectors Society and collector requests on internet enthusiast websites such as yours.

Q: How will future releases be determined for this series?

A: We are working to create a ballot (preferably on-line) where collectors can log in with their WDCS Membership number and vote on the next sculpture in the series from a list of 8-10 choices. If the on-line balloting does not work logistically we will pursue other ways to make the selection such as those used for this year's release.

Q: Can a future release be either an addition to an existing scene or the start of new scene?

A: The next release in the series will depend on our collectors. We are developing our tentative ballot now that will include a character from Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp Dog Pound Scene (if collectors want Peg to be a start of a new scene they can vote for that character). Another choice would be Friar Tuck from Disney's Robin Hood (if collectors want us to add a character to a scene we've released previously). The list will also include other frequently mentioned candidates such as Sgt Tibbs and the Colonel from Walt Disney's 101 Dalmatians, the Horned King from Disney's The Black Cauldron, Pain and Panic from Disney's Hercules, the Gargoyles from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc. Society Members will be limited to one vote and the winner with the most votes would be the next sculpture in the series.

Q: When can collectors expect to see the next release in this series?

A: From concept to finished sculpture it takes us more than a year to bring a moment to life so the next release in the series would be towards the end of 2009.

Thanks Traci very much for taking the time for this Q&A session on the upcoming Collectors Choice Series. Don't forget to participate in Peg and Dog Pound Gang Poll and Lady Too? Poll at the Internet Cafe.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Queen of Hearts: Side View Added & Meet Verna Felton!

Received this evening an additional angle of the Queen of Hearts, this years Villains Series release from Alice in Wonderland.

Who's Been Painting My Roses Red? (12") will be the 2008 Villains Series sculpture debuting in May 2008. Sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons. Redemption period is May 15-October 31, 2008.

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. Verna was a popular actress at the Walt Disney Studios, lending her voice to several animated features including:

Dumbo (1941) as The Matriarch Elephant
Cinderella (1950) as the Fairy Godmother
Alice in Wonderland (1951) as the Queen of Hearts
Lady and the Tramp (1955) as Aunt Sarah
Sleeping Beauty (1959) as Flora
Goliath II (1960) as Eloise the Elephant
The Jungle Book (1967) as Winifred the Elephant

Coincidentally, she died on the evening of December 14, 1966, and Disney died the next morning. Both her first and her last voice acting roles for Disney were those of elephants, The Matriarch Elephant in Dumbo and Winifred the Elephant in The Jungle Book. Besides the two elephants, her warm character voice was versatile enough to voice two kind fairies (Fairy Godmother and Flora) and three villains (Matriarch, Queen of Hearts and Aunt Sarah).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Two Opening Titles Suspended!

Today the Walt Disney Classics Collection announced the suspension of the following two Opening Title Plaques:

Alice in Wonderland
Sleeping Beauty

These items have not been retired but are sold out at the warehouse and there are no immediate plans to re-order. Collectors who are interested in either of these items should contact an Authorized Walt Disney Classics Collection retailer for availability.

The Alice in Wonderland Opening Title was released in March 1999 with the first scene release from Alice in Wonderland which consisted of Alice, the King & Queen of Hearts and the Card Painter.

The Sleeping Beauty Opening Title was released in April 1998 with the release of the Dancing Aurora, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Figment Pigment Update! has updated their website with more information regarding the upcoming release of Figment Pigment!

Event: Figment Pigment, from the Walt Disney Classics Collection
Special Guest: Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales
Event Date: Saturday, April 26, 2008
Event Times: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Event Location: Art of Disney, Epcot®

Product Information

Sculpted by Jacqueline Perrault Gonzales, Figment Pigment is a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 750 pieces that will be available exclusively at Disney Theme Parks. Figment is hand-crafted in fine porcelain and plussed with metallic silver paint.

Event Information

On Saturday, April 26, Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales (pictured at left), who will be on hand for a special appearance and signing the newest Disney Theme Park Exclusive sculpture from Walt Disney Classics Collection, Figment Pigment. Jacqueline will be appearing at the Art of Disney, in Epcot® from 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For a complete listing of Jacqueline's Walt Disney Classics Collection releases and her bio, please visit her Sculptor Listing page.

Pre-Order Opportunity

A special pre-ordering opportunity will be available to guests who are unable to attend the product release on Saturday, April 26. Guests who would like to purchase the Walt Disney Classics Collection Sculpture, Figment Pigment, are encouraged to call Walt Disney Event Services to pre-order the sculpture before it is released in Epcot® on April 26th. Limit two sculptures per person. All pre-ordered sculptures will be signed by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales.

Contact Information

Walt Disney Event Services
(407) 827-7600
Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Third Quarter Preview: Peg a True Dog Pound Diva!

Peg, a sassy, stray female Lhasa Apso, whom Lady meets (along with the other dog inmates she was put in a cage with), when she is caught by the dog pound. It is implied that she had a relationship with Tramp in the past, through the lyrics of the song she sings, He's A Tramp). She was formerly from the Dog and Pony Follies (dog and pony show). Either the shows ended or she was left behind.

Peg and the rest of the Dog Pound Gang (Toughy, Boris, Pedro, Bull and Dachsie) have been highly requested by collectors and Peg has been given the honor to be the first in a brand-new Members Only series, the Collectors Choice Series.

Dog Pound Diva, sculpted by Margi Wray will be available to current Walt Disney Collector Society

Previous Lady and the Tramp releases can be seen in the Lady and the Tramp Gallery section of the website and also participate in Peg and Dog Pound Gang Poll and Lady Too? Poll at the Internet Cafe.

Below is how Peg came to be part of Lady and the Tramp (as told by Walt Disney) courtesy of YouTube:

Lady and the Tramp is ©Disney

American Folk Heroes Series Returns with Johnny Appleseed!

Many books and films have been based on the life of Johnny Appleseed. One of the more successful films was Melody Time, the animated 1948 film from Walt Disney Studios featuring Dennis Day.
The Legend of Johnny Appleseed, a 19-minute segment, tells the story of an apple farmer who sees others going west, wistfully wishing he was not tied down by his orchard, until an angel appears, singing an apple song, setting Johnny on a mission. When he treats a skunk kindly, all animals everywhere thereafter trust him. The cartoon features lively tunes, and a childlike simplicity of message, offering a bright, well-groomed park environment instead of a dark and rugged malarial swamp, friendly, pet-like creatures instead of dangerous animals, and a lack of hunger, loneliness, disease, and extremes of temperature. Uniquely for a cartoon of its period, it shows Johnny at the moment of his death, followed by his resurrection in heaven and the commitment to sow the clouds with apple trees.

Johnny Appleseed, sculpted by Dusty Horner makes his WDCC debut as part of the American Folk Heroes Series. The American Folk Heroes Series was first introduced in 1994 with the release of Pecos Bill (also from Melody Time), a Walt Disney Collectors Society Commission Only release. The series would continue until 1996 before going on hiatus. Pecos Bill was followed by Sue Foot Slue (Melody Time) and Casey (Make Mine Music).

For those wondering what happened to the video clip. Unfortunately, YouTube has removed the video clip from their website, so I removed the link :(

Goofy: An Olympic Champ???

The 2008 Summer Premiere Event Sculpture will feature Goofy from The Olympic Champ (1942). Torchbearer, a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) of 2,008 will be available through Authorized Walt Disney Classics Collection Dealers and the Walt Disney Theme Parks, June 20-22, 2008.

As was common for shorts starring Disney's clumsy anthropomorphic dog, Goofy remains silent as a calm narrator provides contrast to the pratfalls on screen. In ancient Greece nearly 3000 years ago, a solo Goof illustrates different techniques of foot racing as well as hurdling, pole-vaulting, hammer-throwing and the decathlon, all events in the early days of the Olympics. Needless to say, visual gags are in high supply, from a finger-burning Olympic torch to a hammer throw which ends with a potent discovery of oil.

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

The Olympic Champ is a Goofy Cartoon ©Disney

Donald Strikes 'Pirate Gold' in New Series!

In 1942, Western Publishing began creating original comic-book stories about Donald and other Disney characters. Bob Karp worked on the earliest of these, a story called Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold. The script was by Karp and illustrated by Carl Barks and Jack Hannah. This story introduced the comic book personalities of Donald Duck and his nephews.

The storyline was originally developed for a Mickey Mouse feature cartoon in which Mickey, Donald, and Goofy meet Yellow Beak and encounter Pete, but the cartoon was never produced. Barks would later repeat the treasure-hunting theme in many more stories.

Barks soon took over the major development of the comic-book version of the duck as both writer and illustrator. Under his pen, the comic version of Donald diverged even further from his animated counterpart, becoming more adventurous, less temperamental, and more eloquent. Black Pete was the only other major character from the Mickey Mouse comic strip to feature in Barks' new Donald Duck universe.

Based on the cover of the first Disney comic book to feature original story and art created expressly for the comic book medium, the Walt Disney Classics Collection releases the first release in it's new series, Classic Comics Series. The debut sculpture features Donald Duck & Yellow Beak and is Limited to Production Year 2008. Pirate Gold is sculpted by Bruce Lau.

Minnie Turns 80!

Mickey and Minnie Mouse have been charming audiences now for 80 years. In honor of that milestone, the Walt Disney Classics Collection is releasing Minnie Then and Now. The sculpture depicts as she looked in 1928 (Plane Crazy) and 1995 (Runaway Brain).

Minnie Then and Now was sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales and joins previous Then and Now releases for Mickey Mouse (2003) and Donald Duck (2006). Mickey Then and Now, sculpted by Patrick Romandy-Simmons was released in honor of Mickey's 75th Birthday and Donald Then and Now, sculpted by Bruce Lau was released in honor of Donald's 70th Birthday.

Happy Anniversary Roger!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the 1988 film produced by Amblin Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company (released on its Touchstone Pictures banner) blends both traditional animation and live action is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2008!

Based on the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, the film is set in a fictionalized version of 1947 Los Angeles, where animated characters (always referred to as "Toons") are real beings who live and work alongside humans in the real world, most of them as actors in animated cartoons.

In honor of it's 20th Anniversary, the Walt Disney Classics Collection is releasing a two-piece sculpture featuring the film's star, Roger Rabbit! The two-piece set consists of Roger Rabbit and a Base which will allow collectors to either display Roger on the base, off the base or without the base. Two Bits! is sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales.

Previous Who Framed Roger Rabbit releases can be seen in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit Gallery section of the website and also participate in Roger Rabbit Poll at the Internet Cafe.

Drumming Up Some Noise: Small World Zebra!

Those who regularly follow the Blog may recall back in October, a discussion we had regarding the Small World Zebra (discussing the Convention Gift version from the 2000 Disneyana Convention) and Poll to coincide at the Internet Cafe. In our poll, 55% said they would like to see the Zebra done.

We obviously were on the right track :) Included in the balance of the 2008 Second Quarter assortment is the Zebra with his Drum ("Jungle Percussion") from the ever-popular It's a Small World Series.

The Africa sequence of the ride is really fleshing out into a great representation of that portion of the ride. We have the African Boy with Giraffe, Hippo and Oxpecker Bird and now the Zebra. How about some Hyena's?? Time for another Poll? You Bet! Follow the link to the Hyena Poll at the Duckburg Cafe!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Second Quarter: Balance of Quarter Update!

Update: Quite a few emails between last night and this morning regarding the balance of Second Quarter for 2008. As reported in both my Blog Entry and Website Presentation, we were to expect the balance to be unveiled within the next few weeks of that announcement but ended up being a couple weeks longer than what other websites had posted.

The Duckman's Inside Report will go live tomorrow evening (Friday, April 4th). This allows information to flow from Burbank to the sales force and then to authorized dealers. I will also have individual blog postings for each new release for anyone who has any specific comments plus all the pertinent information such as sizing, plussing and sculptor information.

Thanks for your patience!