Walt Wednesdays: A Spire Of Hope

Ray Bradbury was famous for being a futurist and author. What he is less famous for was being a huge fan of Walt Disney.

Ray often told the story of how he was a wide-eyed young author when he bumped into Walt Disney while Christmas shopping. Ray took the initiative to introduce himself, unsure of how his hero would react. Not only had Walt Disney heard of him, Mr. Disney invited him over to the studio to look at some ideas Walt was considering for Tomorrowland and the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow- EPCOT. Ray was overjoyed.

While Walt Disney’s original ideas for Florida were scrapped, Ray stayed around as a consultant, hoping to inject as much Walt into the project as possible. Not long after the project’s completion, Mr. Bradbury took a trip to Paris. He took in all of the sights, including the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. Upon returning to the states, he visited DISNEYLAND and noticed for the first time a familiar spire.

Ray thought that it had to have added recently, as he never remembered seeing it before. He contacted a Disney Imagineer who confirmed that the spire had been there from day one in 1955.

The Imagineer also verified that the spire was indeed inspired by the one at Notre Dame Cathedral and had been inserted into the castle design by Walt Disney himself. What was the reason given for why Walt put it there? Because he had seen the spire in Paris while touring Notre Dame and had liked it. While the DISNEYLAND spire will doubtless get added attention in light of recent events, it has spent most of its existence sitting atop the most recognizable castle in the world mostly going unrecognized.

This small detail is what makes DISNEYLAND so unique as the only Disney Theme Park fully designed and overseen by Walt Disney. The park is full of these little touches, added because Walt Disney loved what they represented. It is these things, whether we notice them or not, that have made DISNEYLAND more than just a theme park.

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Toontown Tuesdays: Shnookums & Meat

The initial success of Nickelodeon’s Ren and Stimpy led other animation studios to re-evaluate their television shows. Believing its content was now outdated in comparison, Disney Television decided to try its hand at a more absurdist cartoon- thus The Shnookums & Meat Funny Cartoon Show was put into production. The show never caught on and was canceled after just a handful of episodes. While audiences might not have bought the weird premise, the strangest stories attached to the show lurked behind the scenes.

Best known for his crude animated show Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane is hardly the type of guy who anyone would imagine might be tied to a Disney cartoon. Now that Family Guy is part of the Disney Family after the purchase of Twentieth-Century-Fox, many have wondered what that might mean for the show. In actuality, Seth had already worked for Disney in the past- as a writer for Jungle Cubs and the voice of an ant in Shnookums & Meat Funny Cartoon Show.

But the strangest Shnookums & Meat Funny Cartoon Show crewmember would have to be Katherine Victor. Ms. Victor had been a B-List movie star, bringing actual talent and class to every film she made, even when she was forced to wear a ridiculous costume like the one shown above in The Wild World Of Batwoman. (Not associated with DC’s Bat Empire.) At Disney Animation, she served as a continuity director, making sure that the backgrounds and animation were consistent and free of errors.

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Music Mondays: “Hello Everybody”

Magical memories can be triggered at the most random times by sights, smells and sounds. Soundtrack albums featuring the sounds and songs of Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom have long been popular souvenirs, primarily because listening to them can bring back a flood of happy memories, even if the listener is thousands of miles away from the park.

One of the greatest shows to ever grace a theme park stage was the Golden Horseshoe Revue. Staffed by genuine showbiz talents, the show was the sort of entertainment that had never before been seen anywhere and sadly might never be seen again. The show’s quality was reflected in its signature song, written specially for the Revue- Hello, Everybody. The song gave a hearty welcome to the audience and was a high kicking prelude of things to come. Luckily, the song was preserved on the show’s own soundtrack which was remastered and sold on demand at DISNEYLAND in the early 2000’s. It was later included in the park’s 50th Anniversary soundtrack as well as its current Legacy Collection CD. To read about a personal memory of the show here on the site, please click here: http://www.retlawyensid.com/2018/10/the-magic-of-disneyland-memories.html?m=0

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