Category Archives: Interview

Interview: Jim Adams & Don Payne (Disneyland entertainers)

Disneyland entertainers Jim Adams and Don Payne
Disneyland entertainers Jim Adams and Don Payne

Jim Adams and Don Payne entertained thousands of guests at Disneyland and toured the country for Disney in the 1970s.

Together and individually Jim and Don were involved in performing, writing and directing many of Disneyland’s events such as “The Baby Animal Show” at Carnation Plaza Gardens, the “Fun with Music” show at the Fantasyland Theater, “The Great Annual Easter Walking Race” and much more. Jim and Don both also starred in Disneyland’s historic “Golden Horseshoe Revue,” alternating with Disney Legend Wally Boag. (See more photos and audio index below)

Jim Adams delights an audience member during the "Golden Horseshoe Revue"
Jim Adams delights an audience member during the “Golden Horseshoe Revue”
Don Payne entertains in the "Golden Horseshoe Revue"
Don Payne entertains in the “Golden Horseshoe Revue”
Jim Adams hosts "The Baby Animal Show" with Goofy and a live duckling
Jim Adams hosts “The Baby Animal Show” with Goofy and a live duckling
As puppeteer, Don Payne takes a break during a television appearance to promote Disney's "101 Dalmatians"
As puppeteer, Don Payne takes a break during a television appearance to promote Disney’s “101 Dalmatians”
Jim Adams shares a laugh with Disney Legend Fulton Burley in a bicentennial-themed version of the "Golden Horseshoe Revue"
Jim Adams shares a laugh with Disney Legend Fulton Burley in a bicentennial-themed version of the “Golden Horseshoe Revue”

AUDIO INDEX

2:56 Jim’s start in entertainment at Disneyland; Began in the Christmas parade; Meeting Wally Boag for the first time; Wally enlisted Jim to perform in the Disneyland Drama Workshop including “Chicken Ranching for Fun and Profit” and “Tail of the West”; Intended for internal performances, “Chicken Ranching” was eventually seen by the public; Jim started performing in the “Golden Horseshoe Revue”

11:10 Jim toured the country promoting Disneyland and Disney’s latest film releases; Did television and radio shows, live shows at malls and hospital visits

13:06 Remembering Disney Legend Fulton Burley; Fulton was always entertaining people, both on and off stage; Fulton even entertained in the bathroom!; Working with Fulton in the “Golden Horseshoe Revue”

23:16 Don’s start at Disneyland; Began in the Christmas Parade, with his first performance on December 15, 1966, the day Walt Disney died; Don remembers snow at Disneyland that night; Don joins the character department and then becomes a performer in the “Golden Horseshoe Revue”

28:34 Jim begins performing the Mountain Man character as the “Golden Horseshoe Revue” pre-show, and Don takes over the Mountain Man pre-show when Jim was in the main show

Interview: Kathleen Mitts Micalizzi (1993 Disneyland Ambassador to the World)

Kathleen after being named Disneyland Ambassador 1993
Kathleen after being named Disneyland Ambassador 1993

Kathleen Mitts Micalizzi was the 1993 Disneyland Ambassador to the World. (More photos and audio index below)

As part of the press, we were notified moments before the winner was announced so we could focus in on her
As part of the press, we were notified moments before the winner was announced so we could focus in on her
Kathleen and Pluto in the Hollywood Christmas Parade
Kathleen and Pluto in the Hollywood Christmas Parade

Kathleen in the 1993 Tournament of Roses parade

Kathleen in the 1993 Tournament of Roses parade

Kathleen in the Space Mountain attraction safety video
Kathleen in the Space Mountain attraction safety video

AUDIO INDEX

1:38 How Kathleen came to appear in the Space Mountain safety video

2:49 Kathleen got her start at Disneyland performing in parades and shows including the Main Street Electrical Parade, Party Gras, Main Street Hop and Fantasmic!

5:07 After three attempts, Kathleen was finally chosen as Disneyland Ambassador to the World for 1993. Everything immediately changed for Kathleen as soon as she was selected; A funny memory of her first day as Ambassador

7:32 A lot of traveling was involved, representing Disney throughout the United States; About the Mickey’s Toontown promotional tour, and making television and radio appearances as well as hospital visits for sick children

9:03 The opening of Mickey’s Toontown, dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony

9:34 Traveling to Tokyo Disneyland for their 10th anniversary with all Disney Ambassadors, and visiting Paris

11:46 Appearing in the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the Tournament of Roses; Receiving gifts as Ambassador

15:53 Summing up her Ambassador year

Interview: Alyja Kalinich (Costume designer for Disney parks)

Disney costume designer Alyja Kalinich
Disney costume designer Alyja Kalinich

For decades, Alyja Kalinich was a costume designer for Disney, and her work has been seen all over the world! Her costumes include many characters, overdressing for characters, and an almost unimaginable array of designs for Disney’s many parades and shows at Disney theme parks here and abroad.  Alyja has done costume design for Disney on Ice, the New York City Ambassador Theatre, and Radio City Music Hall. She had to take so much into consideration when designing, such as where to place the battery packs and LED lights for the costumes she designed for Tokyo Disneyland’s Electrical Parade Dreamlights. In fact, an update to that parade in 2015, including lighted Rapunzel and Flynn costumes, would be her last designs before retiring.  From Roger Rabbit, Aladdin and the Genie, to dancing seaweed, dancing film strips, insects, cheetahs and gazelle – the thousands of costumes Alyja has designed has brought joy to millions of people.

Scott Wolf: How did you get into designing costumes?

Alyja Kalinich: I went to art school. I majored in fine art at St. John’s University and then transferred to Parsons School of Design in New York. I studied illustration, and that was going to be my career… to illustrate.
When I finished there, I came to California on a vacation and loved it so much.

Before that, I started working for Oleg Cassini, who was a designer in New York, and doing his illustrations because a lot of designers can’t really draw very well – they do stick figures. I happened to have a saleable way of drawing, so they would use me to do their sketches, and some of them don’t have time, so I would do them.
Then I went on vacation to California and loved it and said goodbye to all my friends in New York and goodbye to Oleg Cassini. I decided to start a new life in California, and he actually came out two weeks later to do a film and he asked me to be his assistant designer on the film. So it worked out that I got into that and kind of saw the designer’s actual working, not just the sketch.

After that finished, I went looking around and found Disneyland and I thought, Well, okay, I’ll go by and check it out and see if there’s any design with sketching involved of any kind, because I could do interiors and all that.

I was hired by Bob Phelps and Tom Peirce. I believe Tom Peirce and Jack Muhs were the very first designers there, and they hired me as their sketch artist and I would do their sketches. They would of course have to present their designs and their ideas to the producer of the show and all that, so their idea would go with my sketch and they would talk it through and so on.

I did that for a number of years and then they needed a designer so they put me as an assistant designer first.

Larry Billman helped me actually helped me. It was serendipitous. Life is so serendipitous really. You can plan all you want, but it just takes you where it goes if you don’t say no. Larry rushed down to me, and he said, “Jack isn’t here, I need a design for Bob Jani,” who was at that time the big entertainment guru there. So I did a sketch and he took it from me and presented it to Bob Jani and Bob liked it, so it became my turn to actually art direct it, too. So that was my first thing. I remember it was kind of a bland look but I learned a lot from my very first experience and I owe it to Larry Billman, and the fact that Jack wasn’t there.

Then they put me on to other things and it came on and on and then I did parades. “The Lion King” parade, I did that one.

SW: That had spectacular costumes. Which ones did you work on for that?

AK: I did all the costumes for the parade.

Alyja's costumes from the "Lion King Celebration" in Disneyland
Alyja’s costumes from the “Lion King Celebration” in Disneyland

SW: The gazelles and and cheetahs and zebras? Those were a very unique style. Just beautiful. Was that the first time that Disney did kind of an artsy kind of animal like that?

AK: Yes, it was the very first time. The whole parade was a little bit of an abstraction. That was told to us by the producer/director so that was their input to us, the set designer and the costume designer. Then we, inspired by their thought, stepped away a little bit from reality. It was great fun.

SW: Did you have to do any kind of research for those costumes?

AK: Always. Before you begin a project, you kind of ruminate what goes on in your head through the days as you do your regular stuff, it’s in the back of your mind. Then I have tear sheets, every time I look at a magazine I always pull stuff out and put it away, and all of that stays in your mind and the act of seeing and that recognizing what you’ve seen that it could be like a hook to something. Taking and saving, all of that is a constant process in the life of a designer, I would think. A constant process, life is never dull.

Alyja designed all the '50s costumes and overdressings for this Tokyo Disneyland show from Minnie's poodle skirt to Dale's slicked back hair
Alyja designed all the ’50s costumes and overdressings for this Tokyo Disneyland show, from Minnie’s poodle skirt to Dale’s slicked back hair

SW: So you were no longer the assistant by the time you did “Lion King”?

AK: Right. I was a designer then.

SW: Were you working strictly for Disneyland at that time?

AK: Yes, I was on staff for 20 years. When I was an assistant, I did go to Walt Disney World for awhile when it opened. My name is on one of the store fronts in Disney World! It’s my maiden name, Alyja Paskevicius! I couldn’t believe it! It’s there still!

Alyja in a 1971 newspaper article for the opening of Walt Disney World
Alyja in a 1971 newspaper article for the opening of Walt Disney World

SW: That’s awesome! So you were there for the opening of Magic Kingdom?

AK: Yes.

SW: What kinds of costumes did you do back then in the ‘70s?

AK: That was the beginning of the park so there were a lot of operational costumes that I did drawings for Tom Peirce.

SW: What do you mean by “operational”? Is that like shops and restaurants and things?

AK: Yes, like what your wife wore (when she worked serving food) at Carnation.

SW: So you were working on a lot more than just shows and parades.

AK: I did both for Tom Peirce who did operational and for Jack Muhs who did entertainment. Tom Peirce is such a part of Disney history, and Jack Muhs, too, he’s passed away. He did the costumes for the Golden Horseshoe and then I redid them toward the end.

Film reel costumes "Disney on Parade at Tokyo Disneyland"
Film reel costumes “Disney on Parade at Tokyo Disneyland”

SW: What was the process when you would start designing, like a parade?

AK: The producer and the director come to you, the designer. Usually the director comes and says we’re doing this parade or this show, and they give you the script or they give you the number of units in a parade, the general idea of the whole thing and the number of people, the number of men and women. They give you a lot of the technical details plus the general feeling and an inspirational talk as to what the story is, and what the music will be like. Then you go back to that little room or wherever, and you come up with your concepts. Then you have a meeting and you present the concepts.

I tend to like to do the whole parade rather than one costume at a time, because then you get a general overview in your mind’s eye. So you present that to usually the director and the producer, and they’ll say, “This looks good, this looks good, let’s change this, let’s do this different,” or whatever. It’s a very malleable process and you just stay flexible. It’s a group thing, but you have your own contribution. Then the set designer comes in and he has the same process. Then we all come together and we look at all the work together. The music comes in and we get approval on what to begin with and then we go to the prototype costume first.

A bug character from the Disney Silly Symphony "Flowers and Trees"
A bug character from the Disney Silly Symphony “Flowers and Trees”

What I would do then is take my sketch that has been finally approved by the show director and the producer. Take it to a costume house, which is sort of like how an architect would have a contractor. The architect goes to the contractor and says, “I would like this built, how would you do it? Let’s talk about what the materials would be,” and so on, so in that sense I go to a costume house and I would say, “Let’s talk about this. I would like this, this big, maybe a cage,” or whatever thoughts I may have and then listening to their experience. I need them badly because they’re the people with a lot of good thoughts, so I welcome everything. That’s where you really have to communicate. Communication is pretty big in this process, and then to inspire them to really get the essence of it, of that elephant or whatever you’re doing, the essence of it so that they would understand it and be excited to do it.

SW: When you set out to design something, do you have to worry about limitations, like is it even possible to do something like this, or do you shoot for the moon and see what the costume house can do?

An array of bugs from "A Bug's Life"
An array of bugs from “A Bug’s Life”

AK: I know what can be done. I know that I can’t have someone fly in the air without wires or that I need a harness if they’re up in the air. I know that from experience. So I do take that into account already. But if there’s new materials, plastic materials say, new types of fabric that I haven’t seen out there yet that they may know about, I welcome all those new ideas. I welcome everything from them. But I do know my limitations, and also the budgetary limitations and the time. The clock is always ticking behind me.

SW: Out of everything you’ve worked on, do you have a favorite project?

Alyja's costume designs for the Jim Henson show "Here Come the Muppets" in Disney-MGM Studios
Alyja’s costume designs for the Jim Henson show “Here Come the Muppets” in Disney-MGM Studios

AK: I guess “The Lion King” parade. That to me is everything, because of the music, too, it makes me kind of get a tear in my eye, but I love a lot of the stuff I did for Japan, and I love some of the Muppet stuff I did in 3-D, for the characters in Walt Disney World. I learned a lot about their quality of work because their art is softer and Disney art is more hard-edged. The Muppets have a lot of soft flowing things. I learned a lot from going from one kind of discipline to another, I was very fortunate.

SW: Did Jim Henson have to approve your work?

AK: Yes, but he died right then. It was just so horrible, and then someone else had to approve it, but he was such a nice guy. Such a tragedy.

One of Alyja's costumes for the Party Gras parade in Disneyland
One of Alyja’s costumes for the Party Gras parade in Disneyland

SW: I know you worked on my favorite parade Party Gras, I saw the photo of the banana character in your other room.

AK: Most of the parade was done by Jack Muhs and I just contributed the new characters. That’s how it worked. That was assigned to me because I like to do little new characters or think them up.

SW: I saw you designed a seaweed costume. What’s the strangest costume you’ve done?

AK: Maybe the elephants for Radio City Music Hall.

SW: Was that the live Magical World of Disney show?

AK: Yes, the elephants, we did sort of a black light elephant dream sequence from “Dumbo” and we had them stretch and jump around. It was a good effect.

SW: What was that Magic World of Disney show?

AK: Similar to what Barnette Ricci usually does in the time I was there she would combine all the Disney music and all that, and all the characters and bring them all out and times. We had the giant brooms from “Fantasia” and the Rockettes had to get inside of them and they were not happy. They were not happy with me because they weren’t seen. I felt so bad, because when the performer is not happy, it’s not pleasant, but they did get to show themselves later. It was just a moment. I said, “It was just a moment when you’re a broom.”

SW: Was that the biggest show you’ve done?

AK: I did an Ambassador Theatre one for the premiere of “Hercules.” That was a big show as well. Every one of them is pretty detailed. Most of my projects have over a hundred people in them.

SW: Were you working for Disneyland when you were asked to do the Radio City show?

AK: Yes, it was all Disney, through Barnette. Barnette came to ask me. She was on staff in entertainment at Disneyland, so we were all kind of a group.

SW: Which “Disney On Ice” shows did you work on?

AK: “Pocahontas,” and a lot of the characters for the other shows, overdressings for like Mickey and Minnie and stuff like that.

SW: Overdressings are like the character’s “wardrobe,” right?

Dale wear one of Alyja's overdressings for the Disney Dreams on Parade in Tokyo Disneyland
Dale wears one of Alyja’s overdressings for the Disney Dreams on Parade in Tokyo Disneyland

AK: Yes. It changes the look of the character. The character still remains Mickey and Minnie but maybe has a raincoat on instead of the little dress that Minnie’s wearing. That’s an overdressing.

SW: When you design for ice shows, is it different than a stage show or a Disney parade?

Mickey and Minnie overdressings designed by Alyja for Tokyo Disneyland
Mickey and Minnie overdressings designed by Alyja for Tokyo Disneyland

AK: Oh yes, it’s a whole different venue and different needs for the person. They have to move quite a bit. It’s quite another world.

Also, if you are doing an indoor show, it’s a whole other world than an outdoor entertainment because outside it’s very unforgiving. There’s no lights to hide behind. The lighting designer can help you with your costume, make them look more mysterious, the moodiness. You have to create that mood right there in the sunshine and it’s a strange little world, outdoor entertainment. You also have to have that costume be a focal point as you’re looking at it because behind that costume there are myriads of people, taking your attention away from what’s going on in the parade. There’s all kinds of faces, colors, and all of that. You have to keep that in mind and you have to make sure that when the person sees the costume up close that it looks like a well-made piece and that it has the quality of the thing that you’re trying to portray up close. It’s very unforgiving. It’s not very easy. I think theatrical design is easier because you’re in the dark, you can collaborate with the lighting person and determine color – it’s a lot more forgiving.

SW: You mentioned the lighting people a moment ago. What other people would you deal with?

AK: On every production it’s the director, the set designer, the lighting designer and the costume designer, working together, and the choreographer as well.

SW: Why would the choreographer work with you?

AK: If for some reason the person can’t move properly with the costume I’ve done, that I’d need to fix. That’s my problem unless we collaborate and they do a little less choreography and I do a little fixing on the costume. It’s very collaborative.

SW: Some characters have extravagant makeup, like some of your costumes for parades, flowers for example, also have flowery makeup on their face. Are you involved in that?

AK: Yes, I approve the makeup during dress rehearsal. We work out every problem that we can work out at dress rehearsal. We usually have a few dress before we do the final dress, and by the final dress all problems should be worked out and makeup should be the way it would be on the opening day. So yes, makeup is part of my thing, and also hair.

It is a hard job and it requires a lot of people cooperating and coming together and working with a lot of different personalities and a lot of different time frames, the money, all of that. But the final happy time is when you see the people looking at it and you can see the faces and you can tell there’s something in them that’s lifted up a little or taken away from their cares of the day by something visual and something musical. Those two things. Those two things can transport you to a much different world than the world you’re in. So I could see that.

And then I look at the things I could have done better and then I look at things I like, too, so I bask in that, I don’t negate that, but then I think, “Next time this…” but it’s the reaction of the people.

Alyja holds dolls wearing her costumes she designed for a parade. These were sold in Tokyo Disneyland.
Alyja holds dolls wearing her costumes she designed for a parade. These were sold in Tokyo Disneyland.

Interview: Ron Logan (His journey to head of Disney entertainment)

Ron Logan at the Disney Legends ceremony
Ron Logan at the Disney Legends ceremony

From trumpet playing in the 1958 Christmas parade at Disneyland, Ron Logan climbed the ladder to become the executive vice president, executive producer of Walt Disney Entertainment, responsible for all the live entertainment in the entire company.

(Audio index and more photos below)

Ron Logan, Betty Taylor and Dennis Despie at the final performance of the Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland
Ron Logan, Betty Taylor and Dennis Despie at the final performance of the Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland
Ron Logan's windows on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
Ron Logan’s windows on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
Ron Logan's fresh handprints in cement after receiving his Disney Legends award
Ron Logan’s fresh handprints in cement after receiving his Disney Legends award

AUDIO INDEX
1:40 Started with Disney in 10th grade in a band headed by Les Brown, Jr.; In 1958, Ron was in the toy soldier band in the Disneyland Christmas parade; Was in the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics playing trumpet; About Disney’s participation in the Olympics; Ron became the leader of the fanfare group for the Olympics and he stayed as a consultant for Disney for 18 years, wrote scripts, worked on half time shows, put bands together for parades and New Year’s Eve and more

6:45 About the Disneyland entertainment department when it was headed by Tommy Walker who was the son of Vesey Walker who headed the Disneyland Band; The start of the Disneyland Band; About Tommy Walker; There were no rules at the time; The entertainment industry was a bawdy industry but brought into a family atmosphere;

10:10 Shows and parades back when Ron started; The entertainment was very professional; Entertainers were not even allowed to wear glasses, rings, watches, and jewelry; Ron demanded top quality entertainment; Ron did not like band members wearing sunglasses, but the union stepped in; Ron demanded quality in the entertainment

12:56 Meeting Walt Disney three times, Walt was very friendly to people and interested in people; A story about Roy Disney when the band decided to “have some fun”; Ron worked for talent booker Sonny Anderson, putting bands for together for various parades and events and was responsible for them

15:58 Ron went from music up the ladder to executive vice president of Walt Disney Entertainment Worldwide; His responsibilities as music director; What being the director of entertainment for Disneyland entailed

19:55 About Disneyland director of entertainment, Bob Jani; Bob discovering Ron during a rehearsal of a fanfare group led to Ron becoming music director in Walt Disney World

22:50 His role as executive vice president of Walt Disney Entertainment Worldwide, responsible for all entertainment in The Walt Disney Company; The day Ron Logan inherited the Mighty Ducks as part of the job; Inherited the Angels the same way; Also responsible for Asia, South America, Europe; The opening of Epcot; Bob Jani did a lot of planning for the grand opening of Epcot, but then Ron inherited that to make sure everything ran properly; Bob came up with the concepts

32:12 Disney was so unique there really wasn’t competition; Bob Jani made Dennis Despie the vice president of entertainment for Disneyland, and Ron was made the director; When Dennis left, Ron took over the job; Becoming Disneyland director of entertainment; Creative side vs. operational side; Training in Japan for Tokyo Disneyland; Big challenges for Euro Disneyland

43:32 Ron’s favorite projects

Interview: Gary Krueger (Disney photographer)

Disney photographer Gary Krueger
Disney photographer Gary Krueger

Gary has been a photographer for Disney since 1967, photographing all of Disney’s theme parks here and abroad, including the grand opening of Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Euro Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line and events such as many of Disney’s movie premieres including Lion King in London and New York, Pocahontas in Central Park, two Pirates of the Caribbean movies at Disneyland,  Cars at the Charlotte Speedway, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Mickey Mouse in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey Mouse in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and Geppetto in Fantasyland, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and Geppetto in Fantasyland, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey & MInnie in the American pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey & MInnie in the American pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Polynesia Village Resort, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Polynesia Village Resort, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Tomorrowland attractions, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Tomorrowland attractions, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Pirates of the Caribbean, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Pirates of the Caribbean, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Liberty Square attractions, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Liberty Square attractions, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Haunted Mansion, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Haunted Mansion, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Universe of Energy in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Universe of Energy in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Romantic Mickey and Minnie on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Romantic Mickey and Minnie on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and the gang in front of Cinderella Castle, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and the gang in front of Cinderella Castle, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Land pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Land pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Fireworks seen from the Japan pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Fireworks seen from the Japan pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and the gang ride the Toontown Jolly Trolley, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and the gang ride the Toontown Jolly Trolley, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Journey Into Imagination pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Journey Into Imagination pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Italy pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Italy pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
China Pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
China Pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and Minnie in Mickey's Toontown, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and Minnie in Mickey’s Toontown, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Streetmosphere in Disney-MGM Studios, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Streetmosphere in Disney-MGM Studios, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
it's a small world, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
it’s a small world, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Journey Into Imagination pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney world postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Journey Into Imagination pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney world postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and the gang at Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey and the gang at Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Characters at the Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Characters at the Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Frontierland attractions, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Frontierland attractions, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Main Street in Disneyland (Dapper Dans: Bill Lewis, Jim Schamp, Shelby Grimm and Jim Campbell, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Main Street in Disneyland (Dapper Dans: Bill Lewis, Jim Schamp, Shelby Grimm and Jim Campbell, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Chip 'n Dale in Mickey's Toontown, Disneylandpostcard photo by Gary Krueger
Chip ‘n Dale in Mickey’s Toontown, Disneylandpostcard photo by Gary Krueger
Minnie and Mickey at The Great Movie Ride, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Minnie and Mickey at The Great Movie Ride, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey & Minnie in Mickey's Toontown, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mickey & Minnie in Mickey’s Toontown, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
it's a small world, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
it’s a small world, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Tree of Life at dusk, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Tree of Life at dusk, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Disney-MGM Studios water tower, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Disney-MGM Studios water tower, Walt Disney World postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mr. Smee and Captain Hook on the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Mr. Smee and Captain Hook on the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Stan Freese and Mickey Mouse lead the Disneyland Band, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Stan Freese and Mickey Mouse lead the Disneyland Band, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Fantasyland, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Fantasyland, Disneyland postcard photo by Gary Krueger

AUDIO INDEX

1:13 Gary’s start in photography and working for Disney; Getting hired by Walt Disney Imagineering; He quit and then became freelance

3:04 Photographed the opening of Walt Disney World; His photos were used for multimedia shows, slide presentations and much internal use; shooting Disneyland photos

6:49 Hired by Disneyland and Walt Disney Imagineering and some of his other work such as the L.A. Times, Los Angeles magazine and airplane magazines; He photographed an Evil Kneivel jump for Rolling Stone magazine

8:41 Many countries and cities around the world that Gary visited for Disney, including Morocco for presentations regarding the Moroccan pavilion in Epcot, and photographing the opening of Disneyland Paris and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Hong Kong Disneyland and much more

10:11 Gary photographed many movie premieres, including Beauty and the Beast in London or the Pirates of the Caribbean movie at Disneyland; takes hundreds of pictures per event

12:19 Moving into the digital age; Some of Gary’s techniques

17:50 How he was given various assignments, and he would choose the composition, such as for postcards

20:35 Gary’s hands became Abraham Lincoln’s for “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”

22:49 Waiting for just the right moment for a photo, such as lining up the monorail and submarines

Interview: Gary Dubin (His acting career & voicing Talouse in The Aristocats)

Actor Gary Dubin
Actor Gary Dubin

Actor Gary Dubin began his acting career at the age of six, and went on to appear in numerous movies and television series, including a recurring role as Punky Lazaar in “The Partridge Family,” and voicing the character of kitten Talouse in the 1970 Disney animated feature “The Aristocats” (More photos below)

Gary appears in an episode of Adam 12
Gary appears in an episode of Adam 12
interview-gary-dubin-adam12-close
Close-up of Gary in Adam 12
interview-gary-dubin-aristocats
Gary recording the voice of Talouse in The Aristocats
interview-gary-dubin-paper-chase
Gary Dubin in an episode of The Paper Chase

AUDIO INDEX

:56 How Gary got started in acting at the age of six; Some of the films he appeared in, including his recurring role as Punky Lazaar in “The Partridge Family”

3:47 Auditioning for The Aristocats in 1969 at the age of 10; Being on the Disney lot; Preparing for and recording the songs

5:43 Spending time in studio schools as a child actor

6:15 Getting recognized for his work

Interview: Harriet Burns (Babes in Toyland/Mary Poppins)

Walt Disney and Harriet Burns study a bird
Walt Disney and Harriet Burns study a bird

Harriet Burns worked on some of Disney’s most classic movies, television shows and theme parks, having started on the earliest days of Disneyland and retiring after working on Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. Harriet often worked on props for Disney movies such as “Babes in Toyland” and “Mary  Poppins.” Primarily a scenic designer/model maker, Harriet ended up involved in much more than what her job typically entailed,  and often appeared on television with Walt Disney.  (See more photos below)

AUDIO INDEX

1:16 Working on “Babes in Toyland”; Working on the big cake for the “Babes in Toyland” cast party, which was a televised as an episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” entitled “Backstage Party”; performing the goose puppet for Mother Goose in the movie and television show

4:26 Working on the robin for the “Spoonful of Sugar” scene in “Mary Poppins”; Obtaining a robin skin from 1893 from the Natural History Museum for authenticity – trading it for Disneyland tickets; Julie Andrews wore a ring that went from the robin to the controls of the mechanical bird; Walt Disney liked to “show off” the bird

Harriet burns sits behind Walt Disney in the "Backstage Party" episode of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color"
Harriet burns sits behind Walt Disney on the set of the “Babes in Toyland” movie, for the “Backstage Party” episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color”
Mary McCarty appears as Mother Goose as Harriet operates her goose puppet for the close-up camera shots
Mary McCarty appears as Mother Goose as Harriet operates her goose puppet for the close-up camera shots

Interview: Jack Gladish (Creating Jungle Cruise animals)

Jack Gladish, working on "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" for the World's Fair
Jack Gladish, working on “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” for the World’s Fair

Jack Gladish started his Disney career as a precision camera machinist, working on classic animated films, and he later became an engineer working on attractions for Disneyland and Disney’s exhibits at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and eventually for the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Some of the projects Jack was involved with throughout the years include Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the Carousel of Progress, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the Jungle Cruise, Adventure Thru Inner Space and much more.

AUDIO INDEX
1:11 The process for creating the Jungle Cruise animals, particularly an elephant; Creating a master mold; How to cure the animals in an oven; Creating the vinyl skins and ensuring they won’t wear from rubbing against the fiberglass shell

Interview: Jay Meyer (Haunted Mansion ghost/Golden Horseshoe performer)

Jay Meyer in Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe
Jay Meyer in Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe

As a singer, Jay Meyer has appeared in countless performances on television, movies and stage. He was a regular singer with the Ray Conniff singers, in the “Top Twenty” choir on the Tennessee Ernie Ford television show, and with the Sportsmen Quartet in the Phil Silvers and Alice Faye show and the Jack Benny show, first on radio, then on television. Jay sang in the chorus on such movies as “Mary Poppins,” “The Sound of Music,” “Annie get your Gun,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad,Mad World” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” He’s appeared in concerts at the Hollywood Bowl with people such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Ray Charles, and in radio and television commercials for companies such as Post cereals, Mattel, Knotts Berry Farm and was seen singing “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonalds. Jay is also seen and heard as a singing statue in the Disney “Haunted Mansion” attractions around the world. For fourteen years, Jay also appeared live in Disneyland entertaining audiences with Irish tunes in the historical Golden Horseshoe Revue.

HEAR JAY’S INTERVIEW:


SEE JAY IN VARIOUS PERFORMANCES:

ENJOY THESE PHOTOS:

Jay Meyer with a photo of his image in the "Haunted Mansion"
Jay Meyer with a photo of his image in the “Haunted Mansion”
Jay Meyer as a bust in Disney's Haunted Mansion attraction
Jay Meyer as a singing statue in Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction
Jay Meyer (top) with the Sportsmen Quartet
Jay Meyer (top) with the Sportsmen Quartet
Jay Meyer in a performance of Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Revue
Jay Meyer in a performance of Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Revue

AUDIO INDEX
1:19 Jay sings “It’s a Great Day for the Irish”

1:30 Jay’s start as a singer; Played trumpet and was the sole cheerleader at school; Jay joined the Marine Corps; Performed in the Marines

4:37 Jay moved to Los Angeles; Sang with Spike Jones, when Jones’ singer wife was pregnant; Joined the Jack Benny show as part of the Sportsmen
Quartet, including the Lucky Strike commercials

5:47 Jay sings one of the Lucky Strike songs plus clips of the original Lucky Strike commercials

8:29 Working on the Jack Benny Show and the Phil Harris/Alice Faye show; Went to New York and did Summer Stock; His wife, Tommy Meyer was a writer; Came back to California and did films and television

11:14 Jay was called to become a singing statue in the Haunted Mansion; Also did the Golden Horseshoe Revue as Fulton Burley’s substitute; Agreed to do the Horseshoe for six weeks in 1972 and stayed for 14 years

13:20 Jay sings “Too Ra Loo Ral” in a Golden Horseshoe Revue performance at Disneyland

 

Interview: Don Dorsey (Career in Disney Audio)

Don Dorsey and Sadie Mae, the band organ heard in America on Parade (1976)
Don Dorsey and Sadie Mae, the band organ heard in America on Parade (1976)

Enjoy these Electrical Parade facts and other Disney entertainment history!

ATTENTION FACEBOOK USERS: Although my Facebook page makes no profit, Facebook wants “fan pages” to pay to be seen, so please follow my private Mouse Clubhouse Facebook page so you won’t miss a thing at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mouseclubhouse/

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.

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 with his E-MU Synth (1977)
Don Dorsey with his E-MU Synth (1977)
Don Dorsey and his Minimoog (1972)
Don Dorsey and his Minimoog (1972)
Don Dorsey recording "tap dancing" sounds for America on Parade soundtrack (1975)
Don Dorsey recording “tap dancing” sounds for America on Parade soundtrack (1975)
Bob Jani stands on Main Street in Disneyland to hear the America on Parade soundtrack mix (1975)
Bob Jani stands on Main Street in Disneyland to hear the America on Parade soundtrack mix (1975)
Recording the Electrical Water Pageant at Jack Wagner's home studio (1977)
Recording the Electrical Water Pageant at Jack Wagner’s home studio (1977)

 

AUDIO INDEX

1:36 Jack Wagner, the “voice of Disneyland,” and audio producer, and Don’s mentor; Bob Jani, the vice president of entertainment at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, creator of the Main Street Electrical Parade, Electrical Water Pageant and America on Parade among others

2:42 America on Parade, one of Disney’s largest parades, produced for America’s bicentennial; the Sherman Brothers’ song “The Glorious Fourth” was the overture for America on Parade; Sadie Mae, the band organ used for the America on Parade soundtrack

3:48 Don’s musical beginnings

8:12 Meeting Jack Wagner, and getting a one time for Disneyland; Being rediscovered by Jack Wagner while performing on his synthesizer for a concert; Being asked to do synthesizer work on the America on Parade soundtrack and performing banjo and various sound effects in Jack’s home dining room studio

13:33 The unique soundtrack of America on Parade, deemed “the Great American Music Box” by Bob Jani and the music of the Sadie Mae band organ; recording “The Glorious Fourth” parade overture

19:04 Following America on Parade, going to Florida and becoming Jack Wagner’s assistant; Working with Jack at his house each day; A funny Bob Jani memory when Bob gets cherry pie on his white suit

22:38 Learning from Jack Wagner

24:50 The Electrical Water Pageant; the E-MU synthesizer; the Main Street Electrical Parade returns after a hiatus during America on Parade; Don creates new music for the Electrical Parade; the beginning of Disneyland parade introductions – the opening window; the opening fanfare for the Main Street Electrical Parade

28:33 Updates to the Main Street Electrical Parade, including soundtrack and more dimensional units and new units; the parade became more efficient in terms of battery power and less cables; the history of the closing music of the Electrical Parade, which originated at the Orange Bowl halftime show in 1978; how Battlestar Gallactica inspired the original introduction dialogue sound