Fri, 26 February 2016
This week, Team Mouse Castle didn't make our usual trek to the red carpet in Hollywood to preview the Academy Awards. We found a pretty suitable substitute venue though, Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. Give a listen to Christi Andersen and me for our annual vague and highly suspect predictions on who will win at Sunday's Oscars.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Boy and the World
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow
Chris Rock hosts the Oscars on ABC Sunday, February 28 at 4:00 p.m. PT.
Sun, 21 February 2016
Tyrus Wong is a Disney Legend. Though his time at the Disney Studios was brief—only three years from 1938-1941—his contributions there were profound. It was Tyrus’ artistic vision that gave Disney’s Bambi it’s lush impressionistic forest backgrounds, a look that still influences and inspires artists and animators nearly 75 years after the film’s release.
Tyrus’ work on Bambi represents only a small portion of his life’s prolific artistic output. Tyrus was part of the “Orientalist” art movement popular in the U.S. in the 1930s. After leaving Disney, Tyrus would spend over 25 years at Warner Bros. as a production illustrator and concept artists on such films as The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rebel Without a Cause, Harper and The Wild Bunch. He designed menus for restaurants and greeting cards for Hallmark. Today, at 105 years old, he still creates art, most notably ornate kites that he flies once a month on the beach at Santa Monica.
Two and a half years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Tyrus Wong for an episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge. We were at the opening of an art exhibition at The Walt Disney Family Museum--Water to Paper, Paint to Sky—that celebrated Tyrus’ life’s work. Our interview remains one of my all-time favorites as I was charmed by the man’s modesty, good humor and immense talent. It was also at this exhibition where I first met filmmaker Pamela Tom, who was in the middle of shooting a documentary about Tyrus. Today, that film is complete and Pamela is my guest.
Her film, appropriately titled Tyrus, is a moving and inspiring story of a man who overcame the hardships of poverty and racism to succeed as both a popular and fine artist. Completing this film has been a labor of love for Pamela as she met Tyrus Wong and conducted her first interview with him over 15 years ago.
Pamela is an award winning producer and director who has been involved with numerous film projects on PBS including WW2: Behind Closed Doors, Wired Science and the short film Two Lies. She is a respected educator who has taught at UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount and UCLA Extension.
Sat, 13 February 2016
After 3 ½ years, two full seasons and 40 episodes, Disney XD’s Gravity Falls is about to air its final show—and we're a little bummed by this. Gravity Falls is our favorite thing on Disney television right now, ranking right up there with Phineas and Ferb, another great Disney animated series that came to an end.
The summer adventures of Dipper and Mabel Pines at their great uncle Stan’s Mystery Shack in the Oregon backwoods has been consistently funny, irreverent, exciting and even a little sweet. There have been mysteries solved, monsters defeated and life lessons learned in a show that is as entertaining for kids as it is for adults.
The show’s final episode, “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls,” will air on Disney XD Monday, February 15 at 7:00 p.m. In it, we'll find out the fate of the Gravity Falls townsfolk at the hands of Bill Cipher, the one-eyed, triangle-shaped being from another dimension hell-bent on ruling—and possibly destroying—the entire known universe. It’s going to be fun, really.
This week, Tim attended a press event in Burbank with some of the cast and creative people of Gravity Falls. On hand was the show’s creator and voice of Grunkle Stan, as well as the lovable handyman Soos, Alex Hirsch. Joining him were the actors who voice Dipper and Mabel Pines, Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal. And finally, we heard from the composer of Gravity Falls' catchy, mysterious and whimsical music, Brad Breeck.
Drew Taylor with the Disney Insider moderated the panel discussion, which was followed by questions from the press. Alex, Jason, Kristen and Brad shared their favorite moments from the show, how the Gravity Falls characters developed and grew, and why it made sense to end the series when they did.
Adventure Thru Liquid Space
In a move inspired by Garry Apgar, our guest in the Lounge last week, Tim challenged our resident mixologist Carolyn to devise a cocktail worthy of Mickey Mouse's arch-nemesis Black Pete. We're happy to report she came through with flying colors (or maybe she was just Plane Crazy).
1 1/2 oz. Scotch
In a shaker, combine the Scotch, Cherry Heering, and Ramazzotti, fill with ice, and shake to chill. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with Coke. Garnish.
Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge02-13-2016.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Sat, 6 February 2016
It’s our pleasure to welcome back Garry Apgar to The Mouse Castle Lounge. In 2014, Garry compiled the book A Mickey Mouse Reader, an impressive collection of essays and articles spanning more than 80 years that bore witness to the immense popularity of Mickey Mouse and the impact Walt Disney’s creation had on popular culture. Garry revisits the eternal mouse once again in his latest book, Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit. It’s a worthy companion to A Mickey Mouse Reader and an educated and thoughtful study--in words and pictures--not only of Mickey’s life within the Walt Disney Studios, but also his ever-evolving presence as a uniquely American cultural icon.
After Tim's conversation with Garry, stick around for a new segment in the Lounge with our friend Carolyn. She knows a lot about cocktails and is going to start sharing her wisdom with us on a regular basis. Mickey Mouse and booze, what could be better? They're all in today's episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge.
Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge02-06-2016.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Thu, 28 January 2016
In our last show, historian Sam Gennawey and journalist Mark Eades shared their thoughts about Disneyland’s upcoming Star Wars Land expansion. We had some lively conversations and after the dust settled, Mark stuck around. He’s back today to tell us about his fascinating career, not only in his current role as multimedia reporter with the Orange County Register, but also as a 20-plus year veteran at the Walt Disney Company.
In 1972, Mark started out bussing tables at the River Belle Terrace at Disneyland before becoming a ride operator in Tomorrowland. After graduating from college, he interned at the Walt Disney Studios and eventually worked his way into WED Enterprises, later known as Walt Disney Imagineering. Mark had his hand in developing attractions for the openings of Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland, attractions that included Magic Journeys and Horizons. He worked on the Circle-Vision 360 film American Journeys for the Magic Kingdom and researched the use of motion simulators for what would become Star Tours.
Mark left Disney and a few years after that, began working at the Orange County Register. He’s now a multimedia reporter for the Register and Disneyland is his beat. Today, Mark shares with us what it was like to be inside Disney Imagineering and what you can learn by camping out on Main Street U.S.A. for an entire day. Mark Eades is Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
Fri, 15 January 2016
Star Wars Land is officially under construction at Disneyland. This week, to make way for the 14-acre addition to the park’s northwest corner, several sections of the park were closed—some temporarily, some permanently. The Rivers of America will be drained and rerouted, resulting in a shorter trip around a smaller Tom Sawyer Island. That project will take at least a year, which means no Mark Twain, no Columbia, no canoes, no island rafts and no Fantasmic! during that time. The Disneyland Railroad will also take a hiatus so the track around the river can be reconfigured. Big Thunder Ranch and the Big Thunder BBQ: gone forever, their footprints expected to become the gateway to Star Wars Land.
What will we get when the dust finally settles? The largest single-themed land expansion in Disneyland history, featuring two E-ticket attractions: one that puts you in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance, another that puts you behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon.
The changes don’t come without controversy, though. While many hail the arrival of a galaxy far, far away at the Happiest Place on Earth, others are less than enthusiastic, feeling this is a sea change that alters the very core of what makes Disneyland Disneyland--what my first guest, Disney historian Sam Gennawey, calls the park’s historic DNA. I spoke with Sam a week ago, when guests were still clamoring for one final float around the river and one final grand circle tour. I also spoke with multimedia reporter Mark Eades with the Orange County Register. Mark has written extensively about Disneyland and is a former Imagineer himself. He knows his stuff.
Sam Gennaway and Mark Eades offer two distinct viewpoints about what may be the most significant expansion in Disneyland history. They’re my guests today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
Sun, 20 December 2015
MCL 12-20-2015 - Jim Korkis's 'Vault of Walt' and the Spirit of Christmas at the Winchester Mystery House
When you know as much stuff about Disney history as Jim Korkis does, you get asked a lot of questions. Sometimes it’s pretty basic like “When did Disneyland open?” Other times it’s more obscure like “When did Mickey Mouse start wearing gloves?” Then there’s the question that’s totally off the wall like “How much does Walt Disney World weigh?” No, really, someone asked him that once.
By the way, the answers are July 17, 1955, in the 1929 cartoon The Opry House, and haven’t got a clue. But, I digress.
Jim is back in the Lounge once again, finishing up a conversation we started last week. We heard all about his latest book, Secret Stories of Walt Disney World. Today, we take a look at his other recent publication, The Vault of Walt: Volume 4. Jim always has terrific stories to tell about Disney. Today is no different.
Earlier this month, I took a trip up to the San Francisco Bay Area and paid a visit to my friends at the Walt Disney Family Museum. I finally got to see their special exhibition Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination. By all means, go see it. It runs through January 3. While I was there, I was also invited to drive an hour down the road to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House. Now, unless you’ve lived in the Bay Area, like I once did, you may not be familiar with the Winchester Mystery House. It’s a sprawling Victorian mansion in San Jose once owned by the widow Sarah Winchester. Sarah’s late husband, William Winchester was heir to the Winchester firearms fortune. Sarah was quite well off financially.
In 1884, Sarah purchased an unfinished farmhouse in the Santa Clara Valley and commenced adding onto it--for the next 38 years. At the time of Sarah’s death in 1922 the house spread over six acres and contained 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. Why Sarah kept building all those years remains a mystery. Was she distraught over the deaths of her husband and a daughter in infancy? Did she believe that continually building would somehow appease evil spirits? Was she just a kindly woman who chose to spend her money supporting local builders, carpenters, landscapers and artisans? Whatever the reason, the continuous construction resulted in a labyrinth of rooms and hallways, staircases running into ceilings, doorways leading to nowhere and all manner of building oddities.
You can still tour the house today and marvel at its mind-boggling construction and design. Visit during the holidays and you can see the house decorated in Christmas finery with over 20 custom designed Christmas trees. On select nights you can enjoy, like I did, the Spirit of Christmas with carolers, festive beverages and holiday treats. Don’t be surprised if you see some snow fall too. Here to tell us more about the Winchester Mystery House is Janan Boehme.
Wed, 16 December 2015
We are just days away from the release—finally—of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh episode in the Star Wars saga and the first since Disney plunked down $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm and its assorted intellectual properties. It’s been ten years since we saw a new Star Wars film in theaters and—let’s be honest—32 years since we saw a really good one. The Force Awakens comes with ridiculously high expectations from older fans who grew up with Star Wars as well as generations of younger fans gearing up for the next wave of new Star Wars films that will be coming out every year until at least 2019.
No pressure, but the future success of the franchise really hinges on how good a film director J.J. Abrams delivers this week. Certainly $100 million in advance ticket sales and early positive reviews aren’t hurting The Force Awakens one bit. We’ll see if the fan base embraces it as well. I’m catching it Thursday night and I cannot wait. I especially can’t wait until you see it so we can have dorky conversations without worrying about spoilers.
Anyway, flashback to Monday night for this special edition of The Mouse Castle Lounge. We are eavesdropping on the red carpet on Hollywood Boulevard for the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now, in the annals of Hollywood world premieres, this ranks up there as one of the biggest if not the biggest ever. The red carpet stretched about four blocks—a quarter of a mile—in front of the El Capitan, Dolby and Chinese theaters, all three of which screened the film for celebrities, invited guests and lucky fans. The majority of the red carpet was covered by tents which housed an after-party following the screenings. It was an epic night for the latest installment of the epic Star Wars saga and we’re about to hear from the cast right now in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
Fri, 11 December 2015
This week, the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank unveiled and rededicated the restored office suite of Walt Disney. It was a painstaking labor of love by Disney studio employees and archivists to recreate Walt’s office exactly as it appeared at the time of his death. It was authentic down to the actual furniture and personal items that were there in 1966. On hand for the dedication were Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, Walt’s granddaughter Joanna, and Disney Legends Richard Sherman and Dave Smith. We’ll be hearing from all of them in today's show.
Before that, though, we welcome the return of Disney historian Jim Korkis to the Lounge. Jim is a meticulous researcher and a marvelous storyteller and his two most recent books, Secret Stories of Walt Disney World and The Vault of Walt: Volume 4, belong in your collection, as do Jim’s many other books. Please welcome Jim Korkis, Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
Fri, 4 December 2015
On December 17, PBS SoCal will air the musical special Richard M. Sherman: Songs of a Lifetime. It’s a one-hour studio performance by the songwriter and Disney Legend. Just him, a piano, and a few friends to sing along. It celebrates the decades-long musical collaboration that was the Sherman Brothers and it’s certain to include tunes from such classic Disney and non-Disney films like Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and so many others.
Richard M. Sherman: Songs of a Lifetime is produced by Tim's guest today, a gentleman who’s also made significant contributions to the Disney legacy. Don Hahn’s producer and executive producer credits include Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Emperor’s New Groove, Waking Sleeping Beauty, Frankenweenie, Maleficent, and the Disneynature films Oceans and African Cats. Don is a respected author, whose latest book, Before Ever After, recounts in exquisite detail the history of the artists’ training program at the Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s and ‘40s. Don is also a tireless supporter of preserving animation and film history. You know, someone should probably give him an award for that. Don Hahn is Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.
Direct download: TheMouseCastleLounge12-04-2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 12:00am PDT