Auction: Collection of Disney Artist Rolly Crump

Auction: Collection of Disney Artist Rolly Crump

Posted on April 15, 2018 at 9:12 am

Copyright Disney 1960
Rolly Crump is a true Disney Legend, an artist and designer who helped create some of Disneyland’s most iconic images in attractions like the Tiki Room, the Haunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World. His lifelong collection of Disney treasures is being auctioned April 28, 2018 by Van Eaton Galleries and the gorgeous catalogue can be viewed online. It includes animation cells, drawings, posters, correspondence, props, and Crump’s own stories about the objects.

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Cool Stuff

Tomorrowland’s Inspirations

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

Brad Bird’s gorgeously imagined “Tomorrowland” is not just inspired by an area in the original Disneyland, celebrating its 60th anniversary this week, it is a tribute to the sensationally imaginative work of the “imagineers” and artists who created it and an explicit invitation to everyone in the audience to bring their own ideas and creative energy to join in, and to help create a “great new beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day.” If it feels at times like the sunny introductory videos that set the stage while you’re waiting in line for an attraction at the theme park, well, that is part of the fun.

It is also very much in the spirit of the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, with the theme “Peace Through Understanding.” Early in the movie a boy named Frank (Thomas Robinson) visits the fair, bringing his invention, a jetpack. I got a special kick out of that because I went to the fair with my family and remember very well being completely enchanted by my first time on the It’s a Small World ride, which premiered there and which plays a very important role in the film. I also remember the Carousel of Progress, and its theme song heard in the film. I check it out on every trip to Disney World to see how it is been updated.

One scene in “Tomorrowland” features a diorama with four of the 20th century’s greatest “imagineers.” They are:

Nikola Tesla: This mysterious genius was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. 21st century imagineer Elon Musk named his electric car in Tesla’s honor.

Thomas Edison: The most prolific inventor of his era, Edison was dubbed “the Wizard of Menlo Park” for his work on the electric light, the phonograph, and movie cameras and projectors. He had over 1000 patents, and his inventions established the foundation for enormous advances in industry and technology.

Jules Verne: Before something can be invented, it must be imagined. Verne’s novels include Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, From the Earth to the Moon, and Around the World in Eighty Days. He not only inspired the entire genre of science fiction; he inspired the creation of some of the technology he imagined.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel: The man for whom the Eiffel Tower is named was a French engineer and architect. He also worked on the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the United States. The Eiffel Tower was also created for a World’s Fair, and it plays an important role in “Tomorrowland.”

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture


Posted on May 22, 2015 at 7:10 am

Copyright 2015 Disney
Copyright 2015 Disney

It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The only way he can do that is to go back to when he last felt upbeat, as a child in 1964, when he brought his not-quite-working-yet invention to the New York World’s Fair to submit it in competition. The judge (Hugh Laurie) rejected it, but a young girl who was watching them follows Frank, hands him a pin, and tells him to follow her without being noticed. She is Athena, played with saucer-eyed charm by Raffey Cassidy. That leads him to the “It’s a Small World” ride, which had its premiere at the 1964 World’s Fair, but in this version of the ride, there is a portal to a fabulous Oz-like city of the future.

We then meet Casey in the present day, where she is engaging in a little breaking and entering at a NASA facility in Cape Canaveral, trying to stop the machines that are tearing it down. Her father (a warm and wonderfully natural Tim McGraw) is a NASA engineer who has been laid off as his entire program is shutting down. Casey is caught and arrested, and when she is being released, among her things is the same pin. And when she touches it, she is transported to a wheat field with that same city in the distance. The shot is an homage to the iconic image of the Emerald City from the poppy field. She wants to get back there. She feels that she needs to get back there. And so she tries to track down the pin, which takes her to a store filled with sci-fi artifacts run by Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key, who manage to be both very funny and surprisingly menacing. The store is called Blast from the Past, a name that turns out to be quite literal when some guys dressed in black with scary grins and big guns show up.

Athena arrives, looking not a day older than in 1964, and takes Casey to see Frank, now a grumpy recluse with a grizzly gray beard stubble and a holographic dog. When the guys in black show up, they are held back by Frank’s elaborate system of booby traps long enough for Frank, Casey, and Athena to escape. Eventually they make it back to Tomorrowland, which looks quite different from the pristine and joyful version Casey first saw.

There are some magical moments, but also some choices so poor they suggest last-minute panic re-cutting.  That last scene with Clooney and Cassidy is weird and creepy, even more so because it is intended to be touching.  But in much of the film, co-writer/director Brad Bird, working with “Lost’s” Damon Lindelof, combines some of the themes from his earlier films, “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” and even “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” so that the story’s superbly staged action sequences and gorgeously imagined settings underlie ideas about creativity, optimism, and the power of ideas and imagination. It is all in the tradition and the spirit of the man behind the theme park area that inspired the film.

Early on, Casey tells her dispirited father, who describes himself as “a NASA engineer without a launch,” the Cherokee story he used to tell her. Two wolves are fighting. One represents darkness and despair. One represents light and hope. Which one will win? The one that you feed. It is clear that Bird wants us to feed the wolf of light and hope, and this film gives that wolf some real nourishment.

Parents should know that this film includes sci-fi/action/fantasy peril and violence including weapons, characters injured and killed, themes of dystopia and destruction, and some mild language (hell, damn).

Family discussion: What made Casey special? What invention would you like to create to make a better future? Would you like to have a friend like Athena?

If you like this, try: Disney classics from the original Tomorrowland era like “Escape from Witch Mountain” and “Swiss Family Robinson”

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Action/Adventure Fantasy Science-Fiction

You Can Own A Piece of Disneyland History

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 8:00 am

disneyland catalThe Story of Disneyland Collection will be auctioned on February 28th and March 1st 2015 at Van Eaton Galleries, 13613 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA. With over 1000 pieces of memorabilia dating from the very beginning of Walt’s planning to his expansions in Florida and beyond, this one-of-a-kind rare collection has been amassed over thirty years and includes an extraordinary glimpse into the life of Walt Disney, his close group of original Imagineers, the initial plans for Disneyland and the amazing legacy he left behind.

A visionary and master showman, Walt Disney was inspired to build his theme park after spending time with his daughters at a local Los Angeles park and carousel. At that time, the unclean boardwalks and shady game booths of “Amusement Piers” were not places considered family-friendly. Disney’s extensive travels had taken him to some of Europe’s more popular parks, and he wanted to build something in America that both adults and children could enjoy together. By the time Disney broke ground in 1954 on a 75-acre plot in Anaheim he had put almost everything he owned and more into the project. Considered “Walt’s Folly” by many who felt his idea would never work, the park welcomed its millionth visitor in less than one year, and has since become a worldwide cultural icon, influencing popular culture and generations of loyal followers across the globe.matterhorn

From the moment you enter the turn-of the century Main Street, a portal between the real world and the adventures yet to come, you enter into the creative mind of Walt Disney and his Imagineers. This exhibit and sale allows people the opportunity to not only experience, but also to own a piece of that magic.

Among the collection’s highlights are several original artworks including a rare early concept for Tomorrowland by Bruce Bushman. Bushman was one of the major designers working by Walt’s side during the park development and construction. The artwork is a very early concept and was actually featured in the 1954 series premiere of Walt Disney’s “Disneyland” television show (Estimate: $50,000-$70,000). An original Slue Foot Sue costume dress from the Golden Horseshoe (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000) used from 1956 to 1986 and worn by one of the most well-known performers in the park, Betty Taylor; an original “Pinocchio” character head from a 1968 walk-around character (Estimate: $7,000-$9,000); an etched glass E-ticket sign that hung at The Pirates of the Caribbean entrance which is one of only two made (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000); an original Disneyland Tiki Bird from the enchanted Tiki Room (Estimate: $20,000-$25,000), and a house from the Storybookland Village from the Disneyland attraction are only a few of the hundreds of items offered in the collection.

Everyone knows Walt Disney was a man of big dreams but he also took great delight in the world of miniatures. Disney constructed and collected a huge variety of miniatures during his lifetime which ultimately inspired some of his much bigger ideas including attractions at the Disney theme parks. A rare miniature pot belly stove hand-crafted and hand painted by Walt Disney himself will be offered in the online auction (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000)

Other highlights include the original Cigar Store Indian that stood at the front of Frontierland in the 1960s (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000), an actual skeleton prop from the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction (Estimate:$ 60,000-$90,000), a large panel from the first monorail in the park (Estimate: $12,000-$15,000) and a doll from one of the most famous attractions of all time, “It’s a Small World.”

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Disney Imagineers Take Audio-Animatronics To a New Level — For an Old Movie

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

Disney’s first feature-length animated film was “Snow White,” so it is fitting that their first use of stunning new technology for animating life-size figures should be a return to those beloved characters.  Take a look at this — it will amaze you!

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