Blaine Gibson began his Disney career in animation in 1939, and worked on some of Disney’s early classic features, animated shorts and even military films during World War II. Eventually Blaine began sculpting for Disney, creating the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, Abraham Lincoln for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all the president before Barrack Obama for Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Mark Twain and others for the American Adventure in Epcot, and much more. Blaine also sculpted the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.
1:11 Blaine Gibson’s start in Disney animation; His first drawing
5:26 Learning that he got a job for Disney while chopping wood in 1939
9:44 At the Disney studio on Hyperion Avenue; Beginning in “traffic”; Listening to the Philadelphia Symphony recording for “Fantasia”; Exploring the Disney Studios
12:35 Getting into production as an in-betweener; Working on his first scene in the Pluto short “Bone Trouble”; Fantasia, Pinocchio and Bambi
14:26 In-betweeners/assistant animators/breakdown men and about the animation process; working for Ken Hultgren on Bambi; Art classes at the Disney Studios, and instructor Rico Lebrun
17:57 Walt’s goals in animation; Believability – not real, but believable
26:56 Sculpting, starting at five years old; The thrill of drawing; Effects animation; World War II films; Becoming assistant to great animator Frank Thomas
Barry Lane worked at Disneyland in the 1960s, when Walt Disney would still wander the parks, and was a tour guide there, one of the last male tour guides for many years to follow. Barry also was a skipper on the Jungle Cruise and worked in Disneyland’s historic Golden Horseshoe Revue!
:59 Barry Lane’s start with Disneyland; Interviewed and was hired as a tour guide; Barry begin in April 1960, and was the last male tour guide for years to come
3:32 Giving his first tour at Disneyland without training, due to high park attendance
5:36 Becoming a skipper on the Jungle Cruise, because they had the best parties; Was laid off of his job 13 times
9:19 Worked at the Golden Horseshoe in foods, and ushering Guests into the building; Became a foreman at the Golden Horseshoe
Here’s two interviews tangled together in one… Zachary Levi, the voice of Flynn Rider, and Mandy Moore, the voice of Rapunzel. Enjoy the photos below and as always, see the Audio Index.
1:49 Zachary Levi explains if Flynn Rider’s look was modeled after him
2:37 Working with Mandy on music and dialogue; Working with the orchestra; He was new to professional singing, this was Zach’s first professional singing job
5:28 Singing Alan Menken’s music in Tangled, but a huge fan of Menken’s work
6:42 Zach’s audition process
9:11 Changing his voice for the role
10:45 Mandy Moore discusses performing as a voice role vs. an on-camera role; She only had sketches and oral explanations for character reference; Recording the dialogue; Directors Bryon Howard and Nathan Greno
13:50 Mandy’s audition process; Becoming a Disney princess
15:16 Seeing the finished movie; Being a part of a Disney legacy and Mandy’s feelings about her character, Rapunzel; Differences from other animation she’s worked
18:05 Mandy’s favorite memories working on Tangled, and how part of it was a career highlight
Connie Swanson Lane worked at Disneyland in the 1960s as a tour guide, VIP hostess, and she was the 1966 Disneyland Ambassador to the World. As Ambassador, Connie traveled both locally and abroad, bringing brought the joy of Disneyland around the world. She was involved in many historic Disneyland events, such as the grand openings of New Orleans Square, “it’s a small world,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Connie’s Disneyland career was filled with numerous unforgettable experiences such as in 1969, leading her tour to Tomorrowland, to view the live broadcast of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, and during her Ambassador year, getting the chance to work with Walt Disney.
0:00 Special introduction with audio of Walt Disney, Connie as Ambassador in 1966, and some thoughts of Connie by Disney Legend Jack Lindquist
2:59 Her start at Disneyland; Don Novis of the Golden Horseshoe Revue; Becoming a tour guide and working in Guest Relations
6:38 Connie saving a young boy who fell in the Rivers of America; The tour guide hat
8:40 Connie’s love of the international Guests of Disneyland; a memory of Walt Disney
10:35 Early Disneyland – Disneyland attire in the early days; Robert Shore
12:10 Cast member functions including Drama Club
13:00 Learning about and trying out for the Disneyland Ambassador program; The Disneyland tencennial Ambassador ceremony; Her path to becoming Ambassador in 1966
17:24 Learning about becoming Ambassador; Her Ambassador year; Getting an Ambassador makeover – getting her hair cut at the studio; Jack Lindquist; working with Frank Forsythe of the Disneyland Ambassador program
22:14 Connie’s year as Disneyland Ambassador to the World; Traveling internationally and much of the US; Representing Disneyland, Walt Disney, and all of Walt Disney Productions
25:11 Working with and reporting to Walt Disney; A photo session of Walt; Walt’s advice on how to treat Disney park Guests
28:15 The grand opening of “it’s a small world” in Disneyland – participating from Sweden
30:23 Hospital visits as Disneyland Ambassador; Polio sanitarium in Columbia
Jeffrey C. Sherman is a writer, producer and director for film and television. One of his Disney credits includes serving as story editor on the television series Boy meets World. He is the son of the legendary Disney songwriter Robert B. Sherman, one half of the famed Sherman Brothers team.
1:14 Some of the differences between Bob and Richard
2:45 Jeff’s memories of his father
3:43 Jeff visits the set of Mary Poppins as a child and meets Walt Disney
Don Dorsey is a musician, director, producer, and audio engineer whose work for Disney includes everything from musical performances and arrangements to sound design to complete show design and direction for several Disney parks.
Don started his long-lasting relationship with Disney in 1975 and for the first 17 years served as the main audio recording and post-production engineer for the Entertainment Division of the Disneyland Park, manning console knobs and faders for recording sessions with Mickey and his cohorts, and for musical groups which ran the gamut from bagpipes, steel drums and accordion to marching band, 100-voice choir and symphony orchestra. His electronic arrangements and performances for Disney’s original Main Street Electrical Parade have been heard by hundreds of millions of Disney Park guests.
With the opening of Epcot in 1982, Don began creating and directing nighttime spectaculars for the World Showcase Lagoon beginning with A New World Fantasy and moving on to Laserphonic Fantasy, IllumiNations, and most recently Reflections of Earth. Other nighttime shows created and directed by Don include “Sorcery in the Sky” for Disney Studios Florida, and “Starlight Magic” for Tokyo Disneyland.
As of 2015, Don is in his 41st year of consulting to Disney and works mostly behind the scenes coordinating sound and music for Creative Entertainment at the Disneyland Resort.
I sat down with Don in 2009 to find out more about the creation of “Reflections of Earth.” I hope you enjoy hearing his interview! And don’t miss the photos below. As always, I’ve also included the Audio Index below. (Transcription available here)
Don Dorsey is a music director, whose work, amongst other things, includes the Main Street Electrical Parade, America on Parade, Reflections of Earth, Fantasmic!, and Sorcery in the Sky
1:49 The beginnings of Reflections of Earth; Air launch fireworks technology; Don came onboard as creative director of the show; Computer chip for firework shells; Benefits of the air launch technology; Mickey ears fireworks; Shooting star effect
7:36 Creating a production for the Millennium; Early ideas; The Millennium lagoon show comes together; The story of Earth
13:46 The music of Reflections of Earth; Hans Zimmer out-Gavin Greenaway in; Hearing the music for the first time; Creating the moment human beings appear on the planet; A hockey game was the inspiration for the opening of the music; future uses of the music; “Promise” (with music from the Epcot parade “Tapestry of Nations” and “We Go On”; Gavin wins an Emmy for the music; Don wrote the lyrics for “We Go On”
25:16 Opening narration featuring Jim Cummings; The show’s lighting cue when the lights go out, and the opening lighting cue for the Main Street Electrical Parade
27:58 More about music; Don wrote the lyrics for “We Go On”; the inspiration for “We Go On”
32:46 The video globe in Reflections of Earth; The thought of Spaceship Earth being covered with LEDs; Challenges with the globe; Fire effects and inferno barge; Programming the fire using a Midi keyboard
37:59 Producing the video on the globe; The process of creating the video and a graphic simulation; Determining how to display the various video “continents”; Creating a model of the Earth and engineering it
43:38 he movements and limitations of the fountains; Color coordination of fountains, fireworks and smoke
47:24 The lasers; The safety aspect of the lasers are regulated by the government; Achieving unique colors with lasers
48:32 The show officially premiered on October 1, 2000 and was expected to remain for ten years; Don’s feelings about the show
Scott Weinger is a television actor and writer, probably best known for his role as Steve Hale on the TV series “Full House.” Although he wasn’t seen onscreen, another of his most famous roles was providing the voice of the title character in Disney’s animated feature, “Aladdin.”
2:13 Working on the Disney Studios lot as a writer for ABC shows
I hope you enjoy these excerpts from interviews I did with people who were at Disneyland on its opening day on July 17, 1955.
Don’t miss any of my interviews. Send an email and let me know you want to be on my email list!
1:26 Harriet Burns, of the Imagineering model shop, talks about having to be at various positions in Disneyland on its opening day; Crowds and counterfeit tickets and heat; Melting asphalt; The day before Disneyland opened there was a gap in Tomorrowland; The Disney staff’s thoughts about Disneyland
4:41 Cubby O’Brien was a very young boy debuting as a Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer at the opening day of Disneyland
6:19 Mouseketeer Sherry Alberoni Van Meter won a prize to attend Disneyland on its opening day; Serving ice cream for Walt Disney
8:25 Bobby Burgess danced with the other Mouseketeers on Disneyland’s opening day and it was hot; Disneyland parade; A special memory of riding the Skyway a few years later
10:31 Sculptor Blaine Gibson attended Disneyland’s opening with his wife; The heat; Blaine’s assistant Jack Ferges did not have a good experience
12:10 Marketing guru and president of Disneyland, Jack Lindquist was at the park on opening day as a guest of Kelvinator; Crowds and heat; Tickets had different times on them but the guests didn’t leave; Jack’s five year old son had an experience on the Canal Boats attraction; Eddie Meck was the publicity person for Disneyland; Jack knew Eddie Meck since he was a kid; Eddie Meck helped turn upset members of the press into fans of Disneyland
16:43 Miriam Nelson choreographed the performances for Disneyland’s opening day; Choosing a white knight and black knight for the opening of the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty castle; Dancers got lost; New Orleans dance problems; Little boy tap dancer was not at his spot; The characters at the opening of Fantasyland; Frontierland was supposed to have cement for dancers who danced to “Bang! Went Old Betsy”; Walt Disney
Blaine Gibson began his Disney career as an inbetweener on a Pluto cartoon short film “Bone Trouble,” and then on “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio” and as an assistant animator on“Bambi.” Blaine eventually began sculpting for Disney, creating the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, Abraham Lincoln for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all the president before Barrack Obama for Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Mark Twain and others for the American Adventure in Epcot, and much more. Blaine also sculpted the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.
1:52 The Haunted Mansion; Developing three dimension characters from Marc Davis’ drawings
3:18 The inverted concavity busts whose eyes seem to follow you; Sculptor George Snowden and Yale Gracey, special effects wizard; Working on Disneyland and animating; the first Mickey Mouse head
6:35 Yale Gracey and the technique to create multiple sea gulls from Blaine’s animation for the If You Had Wings attraction in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
8:30 Sculpting the head for Leota Toombs (the Imagineer who appears in the crystal ball in the Haunted Mansion) and a problem with the materials used to capture her life mask
10:13 Basing his sculptures on people – a worker at Disney Studios had a great head