John “Doc” Anello started working at Disneyland in 1975. After a brief stint filling in for talent booker Sonny Anderson, John became the park’s production manager, ensuring Disney quality at all entertainment venues. He later became the manager of Disneyland entertainment’s education department. For several years after retiring he would conduct his own big band, “Doc Anello and the Swing Machine” at at Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland. (See below for more photos and audio index)
3:07 John had a band before working for Disney; He started working for Disney in 1975 as production manager for entertainment; Took over the All-American College Program from 1976 until 1980; Taught at College of the Desert in Palm Desert from 1980 until 1988; He had a performing group that traveled all over the United States; He started his band again in 1989; Stan Freese was working at Disneyland and hired him in 1991 to play at least once a month at Disneyland; Moved to Florida to help write a book with Ron Logan (who headed Disney live entertainment for the whole company)
4:48 Working on a Disney intern program which would have been similar to “Dancing with the Stars,” but years before that show was created
6:48 Started his band again and played at Disneyland, but first played in a band at the age of 15 in New Jersey; Also had a trio and quartet he performed with outside of Disney; About John’s band, the Doc Anello and the Swing Machine, and some of the band members;
8:27 John was discovered by Disney talent booker Sonny Anderson when he was performing at the Disneyland Hotel with bandleader, Bernie Bernard, who often performed there and Sonny, who was playing the drums; Director of entertainment Bob Jani hired John as a temporary talent booker when Sonny Anderson was ill; Went on leave of absence from where he was teaching to work for Disney; About Bob Jani
11:47 John became in charge of the All American College Program, which original was the All American College Band and the All American Singers and Dancers for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World; From 1977 through 1980 he would travel the country auditioning talent for the program
16:02 John went back to teaching college and leading a group of talented students
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)
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
Kathleen Mitts Micalizzi was the 1993 Disneyland Ambassador to the World. (More photos and audio index below)
Kathleen in the 1993 Tournament of Roses parade
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
SW: That’s awesome! So you were there for the opening of Magic Kingdom?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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)
: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
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)
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
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.
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