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Woody’s Roundup 10-12-2008

I’ve been occupied with a bit of research lately, trying to cobble together something interesting as well as trying to ascertain what the current economic situation is going to mean for the tenuous future of many long hoped-for park enhancements. So I’ll let other writers do the heavy lifting, as I empty out my bookmarks once more and share a few interesting stories from the last few months.

When we previously discussed the impending vintage Disney park music boxed set, Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair, it was scheduled for a November release. Now that’s changed, but while park music fans might be frustrated with a delay in this long-hoped for boxed set, they’ll be pleased with the eventual outcome. Disney park music overlord Randy Thornton has stated that the set will now be released in February, a delay necessitated by the last-minute addition of new material to the collection. An entire extra disc of music has been added, making the final release a whopping five discs. Thornton has yet to announce what this new disc will consist of, but thankfully he was able to secure the funding and time to make this the best release possible.

For more about Thornton, his work at Disney and the philosophy behind his groundbreaking park music releases, check out this interview recently published at LaughingPlace.

One of my patented latter-day Disney diatribes involves the galling lack of any Disney-related content on the Disney channel. Ever since we lost Vault Disney lo those many years ago, fans have had to look elsewhere for their fix of Walt-approved entertainment. Thankfully, my beloved Turner Classic Movies has stepped up to the challenge and a posting on MiceAge has revealed that December will be a good month for television-viewing fans of classic Disney live-action film. What’s more, TCM will debut a new 90-minute documentary, The Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics. Gotta love TCM. The schedule:

December 7th, beginning at 12:00 PM:

Treasure Island (1950)
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Old Yeller (1957)
The Parent Trap! (1961)
Pollyanna (1960)
The Barefoot Executive (1971)

December 14th, beginning at 12:00 PM:

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)
The Strongest Man in the World (1975)
The Absent Minded Professor (1961)
Son of Flubber (1963)
The Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics (2008)
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979)

December 21st, beginning at 12:00 PM:

The Black Hole (1979)
Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
Return From Witch Mountain (1978)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Candleshoe (1977)
Freaky Friday (1976)

December 28th, beginning at 10:30 AM:

The Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics (2008)
The Shaggy Dog (1959)
The Shaggy D.A. (1976)
The Love Bug (1969)
Herbie Rides Again (1974)
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
The World’s Greatest Athlete (1975)

TRON 2 (or TR2N) is on the way. After managing to announce the film without actually committing to it at this year’s ComicCon, Disney executives confirmed the project at a lavish Hollywood shindig in September. Jeff Bridges spoke to The Guardian about the project, mentioning that some degree of motion capture technology will be used in the project. Director Joseph Kosinski spoke to Ain’t It Cool News, revealing that the film will be shot in stereoscopic 3-D and is aiming for a release sometime in 2010. Original TRON director Steven Lisberger is indeed consulting on the project, and Watchmen costume designer Michael Wilkinson is also on board.

Also announced at September’s Disney press event was that Johnny Depp would indeed be returning to the high seas in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film (surprise!) as well as saddling up as Tonto in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Lone Ranger revival (surprise! in a non-ironic way!) John Lasseter showed up to trumpet that Cars 2 has been bumped up a year to 2011, which no doubt led to a ticker-tape parade at Disney Consumer Products. No word on what happens to the two Pixar films already announced for 2011, but whatever happens to newt and The Bear and the Bow, it looks like Uncle John’s attempt to top pigs with pigs is on its way. The Brad Lewis-directed film will be preceded by several new shorts, known collectively as “Cars Toons”, which will play on the Disney Channel and possibly in theaters. The first of these shorts debuts later this month.

Jeff Kurtti’s long-awaited book about prominent Walt-era Imagineers finally shipped recently after years of delay. Thankfully, it’s a good read and includes information about a number of individuals who not only made critical contributions to the development of theme parks but might also not be well-known to the general public. Disney historian Didier Ghez has posted an interview he conducted with Kurtti.

Quick Hits:

- Discussing the legacy of the 1941 Disney Studios strike

- Collecting Fastpasses

- The Joel Chandler Harris museum’s take on Song of the South. Bob Iger, free this movie!

- A great new resource: The Walt Disney World map library

- Vote President GARCO in 2008!

- Proof that the Disney Studios was a friendlier place to work than Don Draper’s office


From the “writers I wish I were” department: EPCOT Central is back with as concise distillation as I’ve found discussing what’s wrong with Team Disney’s mindset these days. Meanwhile, Passport to Dreams Old & New takes a look at walkthough attractions from the parks’ past and present. Germane considering the impeding re-opening of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, I’ll bet you’ll never have realized how much you missed CommuniCore.

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