ILLUSION OF LIFE Plugged on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life is a book by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two Disney Legends of animation counted among the famous group of Walt Disney’s  Nine Old Men. The book topped the list of “best animation books of all time” in a poll at AWN, and is still used as a reference for inspiration on character animation.

I have this book and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who wants to better understand the animation process. After reading it, my own drawing skills improved noticeably!

In 1980, they appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to plug the book and chat about animation. Here they are on stage:

During the interview, Carson mentions that they are almost unknown, despite the fact that they had worked on some of the most famous animated films of all time. They replied that they liked it that way!

Frank Thomas

They mentioned that when they would sit in a theatre to watch their films with children, they would almost die. Why? Because children could be so cruel! No wonder they preferred to hide back in the studio.

Ollie Johnston

Carson asked about the rumors that Walt Disney was a cold man and hard to work for, among other things. Both men answered that he was all of those things. However, they clarified that it was also a great pleasure to work for Walt because he was so inspiring, albeit awfully tough! Perfection was expected at all times.

Carson next marvels at how animators are able to give life to even inanimate objects, so Frank and Ollie pulled out the following drawings to illustrate the point:

And last but not least:

Who Wouldn’t Be?

It was great to see these Disney Legends chat about their passion for animation. But it almost wasn’t to be! Frank wanted to be a landscape artist and Ollie was heading towards a career in magazine illustration. But Disney put out a casting call and both answered, arriving at the studio to become lowly In-betweeners before rising in the ranks to full-fledged animators.

The Interview Ends

Look to the left in the above picture and you’ll notice another Disney Alumni, Suzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008). You may remember her for her roles in The Ugly Dachshund, Blackbeard’s Ghost, and The Shaggy D.A.

Also, if you look to the far right in the above picture, you can see Carson holding up the book in question (blurry though it is).

For the full interview (5:54), please take a listen. It’s well worth it:

Frank and Ollie on Carson

Paul McCartney – The Music and Animation Collection

Everyone knows Paul McCartney from his time in the Beatles, and afterwards, his own efforts and popular work with Wings. He has also dabbled in scoring movies and writing classical music. Enough for anyone, right?

Enter the Paul McCartney – The Music and Animation Collection:

Enchanted Animated Tales with Original Music

This set contains three original animated tales featuring one famous bear (who is not named Pooh), one book adaption, and one completely original effort (my favorite!)

But before we go on, below is some information about the two men who led the teams that created these wonderful pieces:

The Collaborators

McCartney was definitely the man behind the music but equally important was the man behind the animation, Geoff Dunbar. Between them, I believe they produced some Oscar-worthy material!

Introduction Screen

Here you can select to play all three animated films in sequence, or select them one by one. There are also many extras to choose from, which we will touch on later.

Main Menu

You can choose from Rupert & The Frog Song (1984), Tropic Island Hum (1997), and Tuesday (2002).

Let’s have a look at each in turn:

Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip character created by the English artist Mary Tourtel. He first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. Rupert was a childhood favorite of McCartney and a natural selection for his first foray into animation.

Rupert Bear

Perhaps not as well know outside of the British Isles as Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear, Rupert is still a very popular character.

McCartney himself introduces the tale:

The book he is dusting off is presumably his own childhood copy of the original children’s book.

Shush! ‘The Frog Song’ is about to begin…

The Frog Song, actually called We All Stand Together, happens only once every 200 years or so, so listen now for you won’t have a chance to hear it again! It was released and  reached number three in the UK Singles Chart in 1984.

This animated film about Rupert stumbling upon the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hearing The Frog Song is animated in a simplified style but with beautiful imagery. The highlight of the film, however, is the music.

Psychedelic!

One scene of the frogs swimming to the music is reminiscent of some of the work done for Disney’s Fantasia. Given how both collaborators praise Disney in the Special Features section, this homage is not surprising!

I just wonder why McCartney never did any more of the Rupert Shorts?

The next film is:

Disney-like Animation

A squirrel is saved by a hot air ballooning frog and taken to a tropical island where animals of all sorts have gone to escape slaughter by man. Upon arriving, the two new friends are welcomed with a song.

Love

Tropic Island Hum is a catchy, imaginative, animated musical romp! By far my favorite of the set. The single of the title song reached #21 in the UK. The animated Short accompanied Disney’s Hercules movie in theaters in 1997.

The final film in this set is:

This film is based on a children’s book by David Wiesner but contains no words, only images to convey the story. Other than croaking and a few comments from confused humans at the end of the story, and a final piece of narration by Dustin Hoffman, the film pretty much follows that storytelling device.

Flying Lilly Pads

The story takes place on a Tuesday around 8pm. Frogs are lifted into the air, much to their surprise, and enabled to fly. They do so, right into town, where they cause all sorts of mischief.

Like knocking on windows…

… and crashing houses to watch TV.

The town is left littered with debris and lily pads. The mystery is never solved. But this is not the end! It seems that this occurs every Tuesday, but not just with frogs:

Even pigs get a turn to fly!

And why now pigs? The closing narration tells us:

The events recorded here are verified by an undisclosed source to have happened somewhere, U.S.A.. on Tuesday. All those in doubt are reminded that there is always another Tuesday.” So… why not, I guess?

The Special Features are interesting:

This is a nice collection of extras that round out the DVD collection. The set comes with a 16-page booklet with details about the production:

COOL FACTOR: 5/5

I love Paul McCartney’s music. I love animation. So having the two together is just amazing! The quality of animation is Disney-worthy and the soundtracks and original songs are obviously good. McCartney himself provides most of the voices for all three films with an assist by wife Linda for one female character.

If you are a Disney fan, an animation fan, or a music fan, this collection is for you! If only to hear Tropic Island Hum. Man, that’s one catchy tune! See for yourself:

Touch the Sky

The Power of a Disney Song: Touch the Sky

Touch the Sky

Image ©Disney

When it comes to Disney, one of the things that strikes deep into the core of why I love all things Disney so much is the music. As I’ve written about before, often the Disney music is the strongest part of the Disney experience. Today, I’m sharing with you my thoughts on the song Touch the Sky from the Disney/Pixar film Brave.

For me, the song Touch the Sky is one of the most powerful of all the Disney songs of any movie.  Take a look at just some of the power in these lyrics:

I will ride, I will fly, Chase the wind and touch the sky

then, later on…

Take hold of my own dream, be as strong as the seas are stormy,

and proud as an Eagle’s scream!

Lastly, one last reminder for us all…

Chase the Wind,

Touch the Sky.

This song in my opinion transcends beyond just a movie, beyond Disney, for that matter.  This song can become a mantra for each and every one of us!  How, you might ask?  Well, let’s explore that a bit.

With the start of 2017, a new year often brings about a new sense of optimism, a new hope for what we can accomplish in our lives.  At this moment, we have this hope to remind us that we can be better in this year than perhaps we were in the last year.  The lyrics from Touch the Sky can empower us, and give us the passion, the drive, the energy to embrace who we are, what we do, and what we want to become, and, as the song says, take hold of our own dreams!

It won’t happen overnight, necessarily, but it may very well happen, if you remember these key components:

  1. Chase the wind, reach for and touch the sky.
  2. Take charge of your dream, but remember to stand strong against any adversity.
  3. Be proud of your accomplishments, and build off of them to even greater success!

Who’s with me?  Who’s ready to chase the wind and touch the sky of their dream for 2017? Let me know in the comments, and enjoy the incredible music from our friends at Disney/Pixar!

Top Five Indications You Are a Hopeless Disney Fan

Well, I wouldn’t call myself hopeless. But others would! Since my first visit to Walt Disney World as an adult in 2006 I have been hooked on The Mouse. I don’t take it overboard (no, really) but I do enjoy the wholesome and oft-times folksy charm of the Disney brand.

But maybe you’re wondering if you are a hopeless Disney fan? If so, I think I can help you to answer that question. Here is my Top Five List of indications that you are indeed a hopeless Disney fan:

INDICATION FIVE

Your favorite movie is a Disney animated classic

From the Golden era to the modern renaissance to today’s instant classics everyone has a favorite Disney animated movie. But you: Your favorite movie of all time is a Disney animated movie! Citizen Kane? The Bodyguard? James Bond? Garbage compared to Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, and Big Hero 6 as far as you’re concerned!

INDICATION FOUR

Your house looks like a Disney Store

You say you just collect a few things here and there, but your house guests get a different impression when they enter room after room of Disney merchandise. To steal a bit from Jeff Foxworthy: When The Disney Store calls you when they run low on stock… you may be a hopeless Disney fan!

INDICATION THREE

You visit a Disney Park at least yearly

Walt Disney World. Disneyland. Disney’s California Adventure. If it’s in North America, you’ve been there! And if you’ve been to a Disney park abroad? Man, you really are a hopeless Disney fan!

INDICATION TWO

You have a Disney Blog

Oh my goodness! I just realized… I really am a hopeless Disney fan! Yes, in my case, it all started with a blog called Disleelandia back in 2009. I then wrote for other sites like Chip & Company, Disney Dose, the original Theme Park Press site, as well as numerous guest posts on other sites like My Dreams of Disney. I have contributed to The Magical Blogorail in addition to writing my own blog called Disney Nouns and lastly Cool Nouns. I now contribute to various blogs.

Hello. My name is Lee. I have a blogging problem.

INDICATION ONE

You read about being a hopeless Disney fan

Admit it: If you could have this ceiling fan in your house, you would! Admit it: You see Hidden Mickeys everywhere! Admit it: You know more about Walt Disney than you’re own grandfather! Admit it: You have more Disney t-shirts than plain ones! Admit it: You have worn Mickey Ears outside a Disney park! Admit it: If Disney became illegal, you’d buy it on the street! Just admit it: You are a hopeless Disney fan!

Coming Soon: Remembering your #DisneyMemory

 

#DisneyMemory

When is comes to Disney, we all have memories if you’ve gone. What is your #DisneyMemory?

Coming Soon: Remembering your #DisneyMemory

Disney Memories.  Certainly not a new topic here at My Dreams of Disney — but it isn’t one that we focus on as much as we used to.  Well, my friends, that is about to change.  Starting on Monday, we’re going to be taking a look at a special something at Disney, and I’m going to share with you my #DisneyMemory in that post.  It could be a picture of an attraction, a resort, some food, whatever strikes me on that day, but it will have a Disney focus.  Better yet, though, I’d love for my post to trigger your own Memory — your own #DisneyMemory — that you would share with all of us.  That’s the purpose of this blog, you know — to take My Dreams of Disney and to help you make them Your Dreams of Disney.  So who’s up for the challenge?  Who’s ready to get started? Come join in the fun, and follow along online with the hashtag #DisneyMemory!  I’ll see you online, and I’ll see you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram too!

Our first memory comes to us from the Walt Disney World sign on World Drive.  I remember as a punky 11 year old kid in 1979 riding to the Magic Kingdom with my grandparents and my Mom and Sister and seeing that sign.  Back then, the only park was the Magic Kingdom, so when you saw the sign, you still drove for about 3 miles until you actually got near the Transportation and Ticketing Center, and to this 11 year old, that drive felt like driving out of Florida and into an entirely new world.  That, of course, is exactly what Disney wanted — for you to leave your life behind, even for just a short while, and to remember what it was like to be a kid again.  I’ll touch on this theme a bit more in future posts, but for me, on that summer day in 1979, seeing that incredible sign was just the first #DisneyMemory.  Tell us about your first Disney Memory online here in the comments, or on any of our social media platforms!  Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting!