Keith Bradford explains how an old idea has come back from the past with a brand new title, Virtual Radio Tours: When I was a very young teenager I was listening to my favorite local radio station in my home state of Rhode Island. All of a sudden the disk jockey started asking Elvis Presley some questions and he was answering them right on the spot. I couldn’t believe ELVIS was visiting our little tiny state. That same weekend our family packed into the car and drove off to Vermont to visit my father’s brother and on the way we had the radio on. The local DJ in Vermont was interviewing ELVIS. I thought wow he sure travels around a lot. Later that night my cousin in another state called to tell me that she just heard ELVIS being interviewed by a DJ on her local radio station. This of course was all done by pre-recorded answers to a script provided to all the radio stations by Elvis Presley’s record company. They actually mailed out 45 RPM records with the answers to the questions that were sent along in written form for the DJ to read on the air. Prior to all of this the record companies tried this form of promotion by mailing the stations reel-to-reel tapes. This didn’t last long and was replaced with sending the answers by vinyl records. Now we move into 2012 and VIRTUAL RADIO TOURS is now the new name for OPEN ENDED interviews. An artist or band can answer a series of questions about their new release and by way of MP3 format those answers can be sent to thousands of radio stations along with the questions written down in order for the DJ to read on the air. What was once a way of promotion that could only be used by MAJOR STARS is now available to anyone willing to do the work necessary to get it done. VIRTUAL RADIO TOURS is here, it is practical and it works.
Virtual Radio Tours is a division of The Nashville Broadcasting Network. Once you visit the site you will quickly discover that NBN and NBRN.FM and KMA Records are involved in every phase of promotion in the industry. Interviews that were originally called “Open Ended,” date all the way back to the early 1950’s when reel to reels were shipped to radio with the star answering a series of questions that was all part of a pre determined script. With today’s technology we can now offer what once was used for STAR interviews only, the same service to radio by way of MP3 format. We now offer the opportunity to an aspiring artist or band the chance to be presented to radio right along side of the biggest names in the music business. This is an exciting time in the radio business and we welcome you to Virtual Radio Tours and the way things are done in today’s radio market.
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Disney is particularly noted as a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created some of the world’s most well-known fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, for whom Disney himself provided the original voice. During his lifetime he received four honorary Academy Awards and won twenty-two Academy Awards from a total of fifty-nine nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history. Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland Hong Kong.The year after his December 15, 1966 death from lung cancer in Burbank, California, construction began on Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. His brother Roy Disney inaugurated the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971.
Disney was born on December 5, 1901, at 2156 N. Tripp Avenue in Chicago’s Hermosa community area to Irish-Canadian father Elias Disney and German-American mother Flora Call Disney. His great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, had emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny, Ireland where he was born in 1801. Arundel Disney was a descendant of Robert d’Isigny, a Frenchman who had travelled to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. With the d’Isigny name anglicised as “Disney”, the family settled in a village now known as Norton Disney, south of the city of Lincoln, in the county of Lincolnshire. In 1878, Disney’s father Elias had moved from Huron County, Ontario, Canada to the United States at first seeking gold in California before finally settling down to farm with his parents near Ellis, Kansas, until 1884. Elias worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and married Flora Call on January 1, 1888, in Acron, Florida. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1890, hometown of his brother Robert who helped Elias financially for most of his early life. In 1906, when Walt was four, Elias and his family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where his brother Roy had recently purchased farmland. In Marceline, Disney developed his love for drawing with one of the family’s neighbors, a retired doctor named “Doc” Sherwood, paying him to draw pictures of Sherwood’s horse, Rupert. His interest in trains also developed in Marceline, a town that owed its existence to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which ran through it. Walt would put his ear to the tracks in anticipation of the coming train then try and spot his uncle, engineer Michael Martin, conducting the train. The Disneys remained in Marceline for four years,[12 before moving to Kansas City in 1911 where Walt and his younger sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School. At school he met Walter Pfeiffer who came from a family of theatre aficionados, and introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Before long Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers’ than at home. As well as attending Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute, Walt often took Ruth to Electric Park, 15 blocks from their home, which Disney would later acknowledge as a major influence of his design of Disneyland).
In 1917, Elias acquired shares in the O-Zell jelly factory in Chicago and moved his family back to the city, where in the fall Disney began his freshman year at McKinley High School and took night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. He became the cartoonist for the school newspaper, drawing patriotic topics and focusing on World War I. Despite dropping out of high school at the age of sixteen to join the army, Disney was rejected for being underage. Disney as an ambulance driver immediately after World War I:After his rejection by the army, Walt and a friend decided to join the Red Cross. Soon after joining he was sent to France for a year, where he drove an ambulance, but only after the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Hoping to find work outside the Chicago O-Zell factory, in 1919 Walt moved back to Kansas City to begin his artistic career. After considering whether to become an actor or a newspaper artist, he decided on a career as a newspaper artist, drawing political caricatures or comic strips. But when nobody wanted to hire him as either an artist or even as an ambulance driver, his brother Roy, then working in a local bank, got Walt a temporary job through a bank colleague at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio where he created advertisements for newspapers, magazines, and movie theaters. At Pesmen-Rubin he met cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks and when their time at the studio expired, they decided to start their own commercial company together.
In January 1920, Disney and Iwerks formed a short-lived company called, “Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists”. However, following a rough start, Disney left temporarily to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, and was soon joined by Iwerks who was not able to run their business alone. While working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, where he made commercials based on cutout animations, Disney became interested in animation, and decided to become an animator. The owner of the Ad Company, A.V. Cauger, allowed him to borrow a camera from work to experiment with at home. After reading the Edwin G. Lutz book Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, Disney considered cel animation to be much more promising than the cutout animation he was doing for Cauger. Walt eventually decided to open his own animation business, and recruited a fellow co-worker at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, Fred Harman, as his first employee. Walt and Harman then secured a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman, arguably the most popular “showman” in the Kansas City area at the time, to screen their cartoons at his local theater, which they titled Laugh-O-Grams.
Presented as “Newman Laugh-O-Grams”, Disney’s cartoons became widely popular in the Kansas City area and through their success, he was able to acquire his own studio, also called Laugh-O-Gram, for which he hired a vast number of additional animators, including Fred Harman’s brother Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, and his close friend Ubbe Iwerks. Unfortunately, studio profits were insufficient to cover the high salaries paid to employees. Unable to successfully manage money, Disney’s studio became loaded with debt and wound up bankrupt whereupon he decided to set up a studio in the movie industry’s capital city, Hollywood, California.
Disney and his brother Roy pooled their money and set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood where they needed to find a distributor for Walt’s new Alice Comedies, which he had started making while in Kansas City but never got to distribute. Disney sent an unfinished print to New York distributor Margaret Winkler, who promptly wrote back to him that she was keen on a distribution deal for more live-action/animated shorts based upon Alice’s Wonderland.
Virginia Davis, the live-action star of Alice’s Wonderland and her family relocated from Kansas City to Hollywood at Disney’s request, as did Iwerks and his family. This was the beginning of the Disney Brothers’ Studio located on Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake district, where it remained until 1939. In 1925, Disney hired a young woman named Lillian Bounds to ink and paint celluloid. After a brief courtship, the pair married that same year.The new series, Alice Comedies, proved reasonably successful, and featured both Dawn O’Day and Margie Gay as Alice with Lois Hardwick also briefly assuming the role. By the time the series ended in 1927, its focus was more on the animated characters and in particular a cat named Julius who resembled Felix the Cat, rather than the live-action Alice.
By 1927, Charles Mintz had married Margaret Winkler and assumed control of her business. He then ordered a new all-animated series to be put into production for distribution through Universal Pictures. The new series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was an almost instant success, and the character, Oswald — drawn and created by Iwerks — became a popular figure. The Disney studio expanded and Walt re-hired Harman, Rudolph Ising, Carman Maxwell, and Friz Freleng from Kansas City. Disney went to New York in February 1928 to negotiate a higher fee per short and was shocked when Mintz told him that not only did he want to reduce the fee he paid Disney per short but also that he had most of his main animators, including Harman, Ising, Maxwell, and Freleng—but not Iwerks, who refused to leave Disney—under contract and would start his own studio if Disney did not accept the reduced production budgets. Universal, not Disney, owned the Oswald trademark, and could make the films without Walt. Disney declined Mintz’s offer and as a result lost most of his animation staff whereupon he found himself on his own again. It subsequently took his company 78 years to get back the rights to the Oswald character when in 2006 the Walt Disney Company reacquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBC Universal, through a trade for longtime ABC sports commentator Al Michaels.
After losing the rights to Oswald, Disney felt the need to develop a new character to replace him, which was based on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while working in his Laugh-O-Gram studio in Kansas City. Ub Iwerks reworked the sketches made by Disney to make the character easier to animate although Mickey’s voice and personality were provided by Disney himself until 1947. In the words of one Disney employee, “Ub designed Mickey’s physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul.” Besides Oswald and Mickey, a similar mouse-character is seen in the Alice Comedies, which featured “Ike the Mouse”. Moreover, the first Flip the Frog cartoon called Fiddlesticks showed a Mickey Mouse look-alike playing fiddle. The initial films were animated by Iwerks with his name prominently featured on the title cards. Originally named “Mortimer”, the mouse was later re-christened “Mickey” by Lillian Disney who thought that the name Mortimer did not fit. Mortimer later became the name of Mickey’s rival for Minnie – taller than his renowned adversary and speaking with a Brooklyn accent
The first animated short to feature Mickey, Plane Crazy was a silent film like all of Disney’s previous works. After failing to find a distributor for the short and its follow-up, The Gallopin’ Gaucho, Disney created a Mickey cartoon with sound called Steamboat Willie. A businessman named Pat Powers provided Disney with both distribution and Cinephone, a sound-synchronization process. Steamboat Willie became an instant success, and Plane Crazy, The Galloping Gaucho, and all future Mickey cartoons were released with soundtracks. After the release of Steamboat Willie, Disney successfully used sound in all of his subsequent cartoons, and Cinephone also became the new distributor for Disney’s early sound cartoons. Mickey soon eclipsed Felix the Cat as the world’s most popular cartoon character and by 1930, despite their having sound, cartoons featuring Felix had faded from the screen after failing to gain attention. Mickey’s popularity would subsequently skyrocket in the early 1930s.
Following in the footsteps of Mickey Mouse series, a series of musical shorts titled, Silly Symphonies were released in 1929. The first, The Skeleton Dance was entirely drawn and animated by Iwerks, who was also responsible for drawing the majority of cartoons released by Disney in 1928 and 1929. Although both series were successful, the Disney studio thought it was not receiving its rightful share of profits from Pat Powers, and in 1930, Disney signed a new distribution deal with Columbia Pictures. The original basis of the cartoons was their musical novelty with the first Silly Symphony cartoons featuring scores by Carl Stalling.Iwerks was soon lured by Powers into opening his own studio with an exclusive contract, while Stalling would also later leave Disney to join Iwerks. Iwerks launched his Flip the Frog series with the first voiced color cartoon Fiddlesticks, filmed in two-strip Technicolor. Iwerks also created two other cartoon series, Willie Whopper and the Comicolor. In 1936, Iwerks shut down his studio in order to work on various projects dealing with animation technology. He would return to Disney in 1940 and go on to pioneer a number of film processes and specialized animation technologies in the studio’s research and development department. By 1932, although Mickey Mouse had become a relatively popular cinema character, Silly Symphonies was not as successful. The same year also saw competition increase as Max Fleischer’s flapper cartoon character, Betty Boop, gained popularity among theater audiences. Fleischer, considered Disney’s main rival in the 1930s, was also the father of Richard Fleischer, whom Disney would later hire to direct his 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Meanwhile, Columbia Pictures dropped the distribution of Disney cartoons to be replaced by United Artists. In late 1932, Herbert Kalmus, who had just completed work on the first three-strip technicolor camera, approached Walt and convinced him to reshoot the black and white Flowers and Trees in three-strip Technicolor. Flowers and Trees would go on to be a phenomenal success and would also win the first 1932 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. After the release of Flowers and Trees, all subsequent Silly Symphony cartoons were in color while Disney was also able to negotiate a two-year deal with Technicolor, giving him the sole right to use their three-strip process, a period eventually extended to five years. Through Silly Symphonies, Disney also created his most successful cartoon short of all time, The Three Little Pigs (1933). The cartoon ran in theaters for many months, featuring the hit song that became the anthem of the Great Depression, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”.
One of two stars dedicated to Walt Disney on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1932, Disney received a special Academy Award for the creation of “Mickey Mouse”, a series which switched to color in 1935 and soon launched spin-offs for supporting characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Pluto and Donald became standalone cartoons in 1937, with Goofy following in 1939. Of all Mickey’s partners, Donald Duck, who first teamed up with Mickey in the 1934 cartoon, Orphan’s Benefit, was arguably the most popular, going on to become Disney’s second most successful cartoon character of all time.
The Disneys’ first attempt at pregnancy ended when Lillian miscarried. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter, Diane Marie Disney, on December 18, 1933. The Disneys adopted Sharon Mae Disney (December 31, 1936 – February 16, 1993).
Walt Disney introduces each of the Seven Dwarfs in a scene from the original 1937 Snow White theatrical trailer: Following the creation of two cartoon series, in 1934 Disney began planning a full-length feature. The following year, opinion polls showed that another cartoon series, Popeye the Sailor, produced by Max Fleischer, was more popular than Mickey Mouse. Nevertheless, Disney was able to put Mickey back on top as well as increase his popularity by colorizing and partially redesigning the character to become what was considered his most appealing design to date. When the film industry learned of Disney’s plans to produce an animated feature-length version of Snow White, they were certain that the endeavor would destroy the Disney Studio and dubbed the project “Disney’s Folly”. Both Lillian and Roy tried to talk Disney out of the project, but he continued plans for the feature, employing Chouinard Art Institute professor Don Graham to start a training operation for the studio staff. Disney then used the Silly Symphonies as a platform for experiments in realistic human animation, distinctive character animation, special effects, and the use of specialized processes and apparatus such as the multiplane camera – a new technique first used by Disney in the 1937 Silly Symphonies short The Old Mill.All of this development and training was used to increase quality at the studio and to ensure that the feature film would match Disney’s quality expectations. Entitled Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the feature went into full production in 1934 and continued until mid-1937, when the studio ran out of money. To obtain the funding to complete Snow White, Disney had to show a rough cut of the motion picture to loan officers at the Bank of America, who then gave the studio the money to finish the picture. The film premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937 and at its conclusion the audience gave Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a standing ovation. Snow White, the first animated feature in America made in Technicolor, was released in February 1938 under a new distribution deal with RKO Radio Pictures. RKO had been the distributor for Disney cartoons in 1936, after it closed down the Van Beuren Studios in exchange for distribution. The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and earned over $8 million on its initial release. These initial release earnings for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be the equivalent of $122,487,945 in 2010.
Following the success of Snow White, for which Disney received one full-size, and seven miniature Oscar statuettes, he was able to build a new campus for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, which opened for business on December 24, 1939. Snow White was not only the peak of Disney’s success, but also ushered in a period that would later be known as the Golden Age of Animation for the studio. Feature animation staff, having just completed Pinocchio, continued work on Fantasia and Bambi as well as the early production stages of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wind in the Willows while the shorts staff carried on working on the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto cartoon series, ending the Silly Symphonies at this time. Animator Fred Moore had redesigned Mickey Mouse in the late 1930s after Donald Duck overtook him in popularity among theater audiences. Pinocchio and Fantasia followed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into the movie theaters in 1940, but both proved financial disappointments. The inexpensive Dumbo was then planned as an income generator, but during production most of the animation staff went on strike, permanently straining relations between Disney and his artists.
In 1941, the U.S. State Department sent Disney and a group of animators to South America as part of its Good Neighbor policy, at the same time guaranteeing financing for the resultant movie, Saludos Amigos.Shortly after the release of Dumbo in October 1941, the United States entered World War II. The U.S. Army contracted most of the Disney studio’s facilities where the staff created training and instruction films for the military, home-front morale-boosting shorts such as Der Fuehrer’s Face and the 1943 feature film Victory Through Air Power. However, military films did not generate income, and the feature film Bambi underperformed on its release in April 1942. Disney successfully re-issued Snow White in 1944, establishing a seven-year re-release tradition for his features. In 1945, The Three Caballeros was the last animated feature released by the studio during the war. In 1944, Encyclopædia Britannica publisher William Benton, entered into unsuccessful negotiations with Disney to make six to twelve educational films per annum. Disney was asked by the US Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA), to make an educational film about the Amazon Basin, which resulted in the 1944 animated short, The Amazon Awakens.
Disney studios also created inexpensive package films, containing collections of cartoon shorts, and issued them to theaters during this period. These included Make Mine Music (1946), Melody Time (1948), Fun and Fancy Free (1947) and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949). The latter had only two sections, the first based on The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, and the second on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. During this period, Disney also ventured into full-length dramatic films that mixed live action and animated scenes, including Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart. After the war ended, Mickey’s popularity would also fade.By the late 1940s, the studio had recovered enough to continue production on the full-length features Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, both of which had been shelved during the war years. Work also began on Cinderella, which became Disney’s most successful film since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In 1948 the studio also initiated a series of live-action nature films, titled True-Life Adventures, with On Seal Island the first. Despite its resounding success with feature films, the studio’s animation shorts were no longer as popular as they once were, with people paying more attention to Warner Bros. and their animation star Bugs Bunny. By 1942, Leon Schlesinger Productions, which produced the Warner Bros. cartoons, had become the country’s most popular animation studio. However, while Bugs Bunny’s popularity rose in the 1940s, so did Donald Duck’s, a character who would replace Mickey Mouse as Disney’s star character by 1949. Walt Disney meets Wernher von Braun in 1954: During the mid-1950s, Disney produced a number of educational films on the space program in collaboration with NASA rocket designer Wernher von Braun: Man in Space and Man and the Moon in 1955, and Mars and Beyond in 1957.
Disney was a founding member of the anti-communist Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. In 1947, during the early years of the Cold War, Disney testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), where he branded Herbert Sorrell, David Hilberman and William Pomerance, former animators and labor union organizers, Communist agitators. All three men denied the allegations and Sorrell went on to testify before the HUAC in 1946 when insufficient evidence was found to link him to the Communist Party. Disney also accused the Screen Actors Guild of being a Communist front, and charged that the 1941 strike was part of an organized Communist effort to gain influence in Hollywood.
Disneyland: aerial view, August 1963, looking SE. New Melodyland Theater at top. Santa Ana Freeway (US 101 at the time, now I-5) upper left corner: On a business trip to Chicago in the late-1940s, Disney drew sketches of his ideas for an amusement park where he envisioned his employees spending time with their children. The idea for a children’s theme park came after a visit to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California.It also said that Disney may have been inspired to create Disneyland in the park Republic of the Children located in Manuel B. Gonnet, La Plata, Argentina, and opened in 1951. This plan was originally intended to be built on a plot located across the street to the south of the studio. These original ideas developed into a concept for a larger enterprise that would become Disneyland. Disney spent five years developing Disneyland and created a new subsidiary company, WED Enterprises, to carry out planning and production of the park. A small group of Disney studio employees joined the Disneyland development project as engineers and planners, and were dubbed Imagineers. As Disney explained one of his earliest plans to Herb Ryman, who created the first aerial drawing of Disneyland presented to the Bank of America during fund raising for the project, he said, “Herbie, I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train.” Entertaining his daughters and their friends in his backyard and taking them for rides on his Carolwood Pacific Railroad had inspired Disney to include a railroad in the plans for Disneyland.
Walt Disney giving the dedication day speech July 17, 1955: Disneyland officially opened on July 18, 1955. On Sunday, July 17, 1955, Disneyland hosted a live TV preview, among the thousands of people in attendance were Ronald Reagan, Bob Cummings and Art Linkletter, who shared cohosting duties, as well as the mayor of Anaheim. Walt gave the following dedication day speech: “To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past …. and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America … with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”
As Walt Disney Productions began work on Disneyland, it also began expanding its other entertainment operations. In 1950, Treasure Island became the studio’s first all-live-action feature, soon followed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (in CinemaScope, 1954), Old Yeller (1957), The Shaggy Dog (1959), Pollyanna (1960), Swiss Family Robinson (1960), The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), and The Parent Trap (1961). The studio produced its first TV special, One Hour in Wonderland, in 1950. Disney began hosting a weekly anthology series on ABC entitled Disneyland, after the park, on which he aired clips of past Disney productions, gave tours of his studio, and familiarized the public with Disneyland as it was being constructed in Anaheim. The show also featured a Davy Crockett miniseries, which started the “Davy Crockett craze” among American youth, during which millions of coonskin caps and other Crockett memorabilia were sold across the country. In 1955, the studio’s first daily television show, Mickey Mouse Club debuted and would continue in various incarnations into the 1990s.
As the studio expanded and diversified into other media, Disney devoted less of his attention to the animation department, entrusting most of its operations to his key animators, whom he dubbed the Nine Old Men. Although he was spending less time supervising the production of the animated films, he was always present at story meetings. During Disney’s lifetime, the animation department created the successful Lady and the Tramp ( the first animated film in CinemaScope) in 1955, Sleeping Beauty ( the first animated film in Super Technirama 70mm) in 1959, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (the first animated feature film to use Xerox cels) in 1961, and The Sword in the Stone in 1963.Production of short cartoons kept pace until 1956, when Disney shut down the responsible division although special shorts projects would continue for the remainder of the studio’s duration on an irregular basis. These productions were all distributed by Disney’s new subsidiary, Buena Vista Distribution, which had taken over all distribution duties for Disney films from RKO by 1955. Disneyland, one of the world’s first theme parks, finally opened on July 17, 1955, and was immediately successful. Visitors from around the world came to visit Disneyland, which contained attractions based on a number of successful Disney characters and films.After 1955, the Disneyland TV show was renamed Walt Disney Presents. It switched from black-and-white to color in 1961 and changed its name to Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, at the same time moving from ABC to NBC and eventually evolving into its current form as The Wonderful World of Disney. The series continued to air on NBC until 1981, when it was picked up by CBS. Since then, it has aired on ABC, NBC, the Hallmark Channel and the Cartoon Network via separate broadcast rights deals. During its run, the Disney series offered some recurring characters, such as the newspaper reporter and sleuth “Gallegher” played by Roger Mobley with a plot based on the writings of Richard Harding Davis.Disney had already formed his own music publishing division in 1949 and in 1956, partly inspired by the huge success of the television theme song The Ballad of Davy Crockett, he created a company-owned record production and distribution entity called Disneyland Records.
In early 1964, Disney announced plans to develop another theme park to be called Disney World a few miles west of Orlando, Florida. Disney World was to include “the Magic Kingdom”, a larger, more elaborate version of Disneyland. It would also feature a number of golf courses and resort hotels. The heart of Disney World, however, was to be the Experimental Prototype City (or Community) of Tomorrow, known as EPCOT for short.
During the early-to-mid 1960s, Walt Disney developed plans for a ski resort in Mineral King, a glacial valley in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. He brought in experts such as the renowned Olympic ski coach and ski-area designer Willy Schaeffler, who helped plan a visitor village, ski runs and ski lifts among the several bowls surrounding the valley. Plans finally moved into action in the mid 1960s, but Walt died before the actual work started. Disney’s death and opposition from conservationists ensured that the resort was never built.
Like many people of the time, Walt Disney was a smoker his entire adult life, although he made sure he was not seen smoking around children. In 1966, Disney was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair an old neck injury caused by many years of playing polo at the Riviera Club in Hollywood. On November 2, during pre-operative X-rays, doctors at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, across the street from the Disney Studio, discovered a tumor in his left lung. Five days later a biopsy showed the tumor to be malignant and to have spread throughout the entire left lung. After removal of the lung, doctors informed Disney that his life expectancy was six months to two years. After several chemotherapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short amount of time in Palm Springs, California. On November 30, Disney collapsed at his home. He was revived by fire department personnel and rushed to St. Joseph’s where on December 15, 1966, at 9:30 a.m., ten days after his 65th birthday, Disney died of acute circulatory collapse, caused by lung cancer. The last thing he reportedly wrote before his death was the name of actor Kurt Russell, the significance of which remains a mystery, even to Russell.Roy O. Disney continued out with the Florida project, insisting that the name be changed to Walt Disney World in honor of his brother. The final productions in which Disney played an active role were the animated feature The Jungle Book and the animated short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, as well as the live-action musical feature The Happiest Millionaire, all released in 1967. Songwriter Robert B. Sherman recalled of the last time he saw Disney: “He was up in the third floor of the animation building after a run-through of The Happiest Millionaire. He usually held court in the hallway afterward for the people involved with the picture. And he started talking to them, telling them what he liked and what they should change, and then, when they were through, he turned to us and with a big smile, he said, ‘Keep up the good work, boys.’ And he walked to his office. It was the last we ever saw of him.
A long-standing urban legend maintains that Disney was cryogenically frozen, and his frozen corpse stored beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. In fact, Disney was cremated on December 17, 1966, and his ashes interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. The first known human cryogenic freezing did not occur until January 1967, more than a month after Disney’s death. According to “at least one Disney publicist”, as reported in the French magazine Ici Paris in 1969, the source of the rumor was a group of Disney Studio animators with “a bizarre sense of humor” who were playing a final prank on their late boss.Although the rumor is acknowledged as false by most historians, Robert Mosley (in Disney’s World (1986)) and Marc Eliot (in Walt Disney – Hollywood’s Dark Prince (1993)) argue that Disney may have known of cryonics and may have had an interest in the science. However his daughter Diane wrote in 1972, “There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that my father, Walt Disney, wished to be frozen. I doubt that my father had ever heard of cryonics.”
Plaque at the entrance that embodies the intended spirit of Disneyland by Walt Disney: to leave reality and enter fantasyAfter Walt Disney’s death, Roy Disney returned from retirement to take full control of Walt Disney Productions and WED Enterprises. In October 1971, the families of Walt and Roy met in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom to officially open the Walt Disney World Resort. After giving his dedication for Walt Disney World, Roy asked Lillian Disney to join him. As the orchestra played “When You Wish Upon a Star”, she stepped up to the podium accompanied by Mickey Mouse. He then said, “Lilly, you knew all of Walt’s ideas and hopes as well as anybody; what would Walt think of it [Walt Disney World]?”. “I think Walt would have approved,” she replied. Roy died from a cerebral hemorrhage on December 20, 1971, the day he was due to open the Disneyland Christmas parade.
During the second phase of the “Walt Disney World” theme park, EPCOT was translated by Disney’s successors into EPCOT Center, which opened in 1982. As it currently exists, EPCOT is essentially a living world’s fair, different from the actual functional city that Disney had envisioned. In 1992, Walt Disney Imagineering took the step closer to Disney’s original ideas and dedicated Celebration, Florida, a town built by the Walt Disney Company adjacent to Walt Disney World, that hearkens back to the spirit of EPCOT. EPCOT was also originally intended to be devoid of Disney characters which initially limited the appeal of the park to young children. However, the company later changed this policy and Disney characters can now be found throughout the park, often dressed in costumes reflecting the different pavilions.
Today, Walt Disney’s animation/motion picture studios and theme parks have developed into a multi-billion dollar television, motion picture, vacation destination and media corporation that carry his name. Among other assets The Walt Disney Company owns five vacation resorts, eleven theme parks, two water parks, thirty-nine hotels, eight motion picture studios, six record labels, eleven cable television networks, and one terrestrial television network. As of 2007, the company had annual revenues of over U.S. $35 billion.
Walt Disney was a pioneer in character animation. He was one of the first people to move away from basic cartoons with just “impossible outlandish gags” and crudely drawn characters to an art form with heartwarming stories and characters the audience can connect to on an emotional level. The personality displayed in the characters of his films and the technological advancements remain influential when animating today. He was also considered by many of his colleagues to be a master storyteller and the animation department did not fully recover from his demise until the late 1980s in a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The most financially and critically successful films produced during this time include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994). In 1995, Walt Disney Pictures distributed Pixar’s Toy Story, the first computer animated feature film. Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney claimed that Walt would have loved Toy Story and that it was “his kind of movie”. With the rise of computer animated films a stream of financially unsuccessful Traditional hand-drawn animated features in the early years of the 2000s (decade) emerged. This led to the company’s controversial decision to close the traditional animation department. The two satellite studios in Paris and Orlando were closed, and the main studio in Burbank was converted to a computer animation production facility, firing hundreds of people in the process. In 2004, Disney released what was announced as their final “traditionally animated” feature film, Home on the Range. However, since the 2006 acquisition of Pixar, and the resulting rise of John Lasseter to Chief Creative Officer, that position has changed with the largely successful 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. This marked Disney’s return to traditional hand-drawn animation and the studio hired back staff who had been laid-off in the past. Today, Disney produces both traditional and computer animation.
In his later years, Disney devoted substantial time to funding The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Formed in 1961 through a merger of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute, which had helped in the training of the animation staff during the 1930s, when Disney died, one-fourth of his estate went to CalArts, which helped in building its campus. In his will, Disney paved the way for the creation of several charitable trusts which included one for the California Institute of the Arts and other for the Disney Foundation. He also donated 38 acres (0.154 km2) of the Golden Oaks ranch in Valencia for construction of the school. CalArts moved onto the Valencia campus in 1972. In an early admissions bulletin, Disney explained: A hundred years ago, Wagner conceived of a perfect and all-embracing art, combining music, drama, painting, and the dance, but in his wildest imagination he had no hint what infinite possibilities were to become commonplace through the invention of recording, radio, cinema and television. There already have been geniuses combining the arts in the mass-communications media, and they have already given us powerful new art forms. The future holds bright promise for those who imaginations are trained to play on the vast orchestra of the art-in-combination. Such supermen will appear most certainly in those environments which provide contact with all the arts, but even those who devote themselves to a single phase of art will benefit from broadened horizons.
In 2009, the Walt Disney Family Museum opened in the Presidio of San Francisco. Thousands of artifacts from Disney’s life and career are on display, including 248 awards that he received.
Disney was long rumored to be antisemitic during his lifetime, and such rumors have persisted after his death. Indeed, in the 1930s he welcomed German filmmaker and Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl to Hollywood. Disney biographer Neal Gabler, the first writer to gain unrestricted access to the Disney archives, concluded in 2006 that available evidence does not support such accusations. In a CBS interview Gabler summarized his findings: “That’s one of the questions everybody asks me… My answer to that is, not in the conventional sense that we think of someone as being an antisemite. But he got the reputation because, in the 1940s, he got himself allied with a group called the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which was an anti-Communist and antisemitic organization. And though Walt himself, in my estimation, was not antisemitic, nevertheless, he willingly allied himself with people who were antisemitic, and that reputation stuck. He was never really able to expunge it throughout his life” Disney eventually distanced himself from the Motion Picture Alliance in the 1950s. The Walt Disney Family Museum acknowledges that Disney did have “difficult relationships” with some Jewish individuals, and that ethnic stereotypes common to films of the 1930s were included in some early cartoons, such as Three Little Pigs and The Opry House. However, the museum points out that Disney employed Jews throughout his career, donated to several Jewish charities (The Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Yeshiva College, Jewish Home for the Aged, The American League for a Free Palestine) and was named “1955 Man of the Year” by the B’nai B’rith chapter in Beverly Hills.
This display case in the lobby of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco shows many of the Academy Awards he won, including the distinctive special award at the bottom for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Walt Disney holds the record for both the most Academy Award nominations (59) and the number of Oscars awarded (22). He also earned four honorary Oscars. His last competitive Academy Award was posthumous.
Walt Disney was the inaugural recipient of a star on the Anaheim walk of stars awarded in recognition of his significant contribution to the city of Anaheim and specifically Disneyland, which is now the Disneyland Resort. The star is located at the pedestrian entrance to the Disneyland Resort on Harbor Boulevard. Disney has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures and the other for his television work. Walt Disney received the Congressional Gold Medal on May 24, 1968 (P.L. 90-316, 82 Stat. 130–131) and the Légion d’Honneur awarded by France in 1935. In 1935, Walt received a special medal from the League of Nations for creation of Mickey Mouse, held to be Mickey Mouse award. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on September 14, 1964. On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Walt Disney into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts. A minor planet, 4017 Disneya, discovered in 1980 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Georgievna Karachkina, is named after him. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, opened in 2003, was named in his honor. In 1993, HBO began development of a Walt Disney biopic, directed by Frank Pierson and produced by Lawrence Turman, but the project never materialized and was soon abandoned. However, Walt – The Man Behind the Myth, a biographical documentary about Disney, was later made.
Terra Nova Canceled: After days, weeks and months of speculation if FOX would bring back their big budget prehistoric adventure Terra Nova, it has been officially canceled. Viewers of Terra Nova were asked a few months ago if Terra Nova was a disappointment. Gathering responses from there, Twitter, Facebook, and just the Internet in general, it seemed to be a solid 50/50 split. Some thought it had creativity and could only get better if it had a second season. Yet others, felt it was just another show built up from hype and would ultimately just be a disappointment.The plot was seriously kind of way out, a dinosaur was sent to the future to help save the past? Or was it a dinosaur sent to the present to help save the present from the past destroying our future? Very confusing all around. Although Terra Nova produced decent enough ratings for a scripted show, but for its budget and overwhelming expectations, it was likely best for FOX to dispose of it. Well if you agree or not there will be no second season and the secrets of Terra Nova will never be revealed.
I think when the studios cancel a show and we the viewers are left without any answers they should be forced to make, what they could call a closing show. In this so-called closing show they can end the series so that we feel that we have some closing to the show. It would go a long way to make us feel we did not waste 12 or 24 hours of our life watching a show with no ending. So Hollywood give us an ending to all your canceled shows, some of us would very much like that.
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