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Posts Tagged ‘Walt Disney’

Journalist Remembers the Day John Glenn’s Car Broke Down

Every Tuesday, veteran journalist and aspiring novelist Katharine Blossom Lowrie chronicles the offbeat side of Redondo Beach and environs for her local Patch site, under the column heading “Blossom Chronicles.” Today, her focus is 78-year-old retired fellow reporter Mary Ann Keating.

It’s a fun read, starting out with the recollection of how Jack Benny held Keating’s hand during an interview and moving on to some early 1960s Colorado Springs Gazette reminiscences involving Walt Disney and John Glenn (pictured):

“One Saturday afternoon, I got a call from a mechanic at one of the garages, and he was whispering, ‘John Glenn’s here! John Glenn’s here!’” she recalled.

It turned out Glenn’s car had broken down, said Keating, who had worked to develop sources all over town. “Here he had gone around the globe, but he got to Colorado Springs and his car broke down.”

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Tom Hanks About to Begin Wonderful Role of Disney

Although it’s admittedly way early to start sizing up next year’s Oscar prospects, one thing seems pretty certain. The artistic journey that Tom Hanks is about to embark on will lead him straight to the Dolby Theatre in February of 2014.

Shooting started today (without Hanks) on location in LA for Saving Mr. Banks, the story of how it took 20 years for Walt Disney to land the film rights to P.L. TraversMary Poppins. Essaying the first-ever portrayal of Walt in a dramatic film is the two-time Oscar winner, opposite Emma Thompson as the cagey author. From today’s announcement:

When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney’s desire to bring her beloved character to the screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario’s concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past. During her stay in California, Travers’ reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book.

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Jon Favreau on Walt Disney

A year after Jon Favreau explained to Geoff Boucher just how important the iconography of Walt Disney was to him growing up, he returned to the pages of Hero Complex late last week to pen a guest essay about the Magic Kingdom maestro.

Although Favreau glosses over Walt’s live action catalog, he does put forth the intriguing idea that Disney had three perfect creative moments: Steamboat Willie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Disneyland. He also recalls one of the many moments in his life when the theme park loomed large:

My 1988 cross-country trip on motorcycle culminated with my Sportster padlocked in front of the happiest place on Earth. It was this month-long adventure that ultimately inspired me to leave New York and try to make it in showbiz. My first screenplay, Swingers, was rife with Disneyland references. Even now, with my own three children, I make the pilgrimage several times a year.

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Culver City Séance Generates Unique Portrait

Jeffrey Valance (pictured), a visiting professor in new genres at UCLA, shares in the pages of UK’s Fortean Times a most intriguing recent Culver City expedition. He watched as spiritualists Christian Cummings and Michael Decker donned blackout sleep-masks at the Culver Hotel to conduct one of their famous art-seances.

The pair use a Ouija board and specially configured art tools to collaborate with ghosts on paintings, drawings and sculptures. The famous spirits they claim to have connected with include Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell and Gertrude Stein, but in this particular case, the individual whose semi-self-portrait was minted boasted a more modest pedigree.

We discover that Tim [Gondeman] worked at a local Togo’s restaurant on Venice Boulevard, no more than a mile from where the séance took place. We pack up our things and head for Togo’s to catch a late lunch.

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Elvis, Ruth 2010′s ‘Most Dangerous’ Autographs

Veracity has left the building. This according to Santa Ana based grading company Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA).

The firm says 2010 was another banner year for autograph forgeries, with roughly half of all received submissions from third-party purchasers turning out to be as real as last week’s Farmer’s Market Elvis sighting. Per PSA, the year’s “Ten Most Dangerous Autographs” of entertainment and historical figures are:

1- Elvis Presley
2- The Beatles
3- John F. Kennedy
4- Marilyn Monroe
5- Michael Jackson
6- Jim Morrison
7- Neil Armstrong
8- Jimi Hendrix
9- James Dean
10- Walt Disney

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Airing Out More Hollywood Dirty Laundry

Even though Blood Moon Productions mastermind Darwin Porter lives in a Victorian home on Staten Island with a menagerie of once-abandoned pets, his focus remains squarely on Hollywood.

Earlier this year, Porter uncorked a series of wild accusations in his book Hollywood Babylon Strikes Again! (co-authored with Danforth Prince), including the charge that Walt Disney regularly hired male prostitutes. Now, alongside his many celebrity biography endeavors, the former Miami Herald bureau chief for Key West has started a new weekly gossip sheet called Dirty Laundry, which promises to share “all the gossip unfit to print.”

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Journos And Marketers Tee Off On Hollywood Re: Oscars

alexbenblock.jpgThe same day Golden Globe nominations were announced, a panel of journos and Oscar-experienced marketers held a small crowd in rapt attention last night for the L.A. Press Club, telling horror stories out of school about the sleazy tricks committed over the last decade in the name of getting the prized statue.

Not the Globes, but definitely their kissing cousin, the Oscars.

The topic was Oscar marketing and how reporters covered it, studios manipulated it and the great unwashed out there lived through it, year after year.

Show business historian and Editor-at-Large of The Hollywood Reporter Alex Ben Block (see, at left) moderated the panel, which included at Ben Block’s request, Patrick Goldstein, film writer for the Los Angeles Times and author of the column and blog, “The Big Picture;” John Horn, entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times; Mark Pogachefsky, Co-founder and co-president of mPRm Public Relations; and Dennis Rice, a veteran marketing guru and publicity expert who has held high-level posts at Miramax, October, Walt Disney and United Artists Pictures.

Mordant bunch of battle-scarred vets…at least when it comes to the Oscars.

More below.

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Philip Glass Puts Walt Disney In His Sights

glass2.jpgPhilip Glass will compose an opera based on the last few months of the life of Walt Disney, Variety says.waltdisney.jpg

The piece, which is commissioned by the New York City Opera, will be performed in collaboration with Britain’s Improbable Theater Group.

As is typical with Glass with films like “Koyaanisqatsi,” it will take an offbeat approach to the Disney life, telling it though the eyes of a fictional Austrian cartoonist who worked for him. It will be based on Peter Stephan Jungk’s German-language novel “The Perfect American.”

Hard to say whether Mickey will be making an appearance.

Upcoming Hefner Biography Chronicles ‘Romance’?

hughhh.jpg

Steven Watts, professor at University of Missouri, penned a bio of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner out Oct. 1.

The press release tells us:

“The first time I arrived at the Playboy Mansion was like
parachuting onto a new planet,” Watts said. “Hefner is one of the smartest people I ever met and a genuine romantic. For him, the glass is not only half full, it’s completely full.”

For his biography, Watts was given unprecedented access to
Hefner and the Playboy archives. Watts interviewed Hefner for more than 40 hours and searched over 1,800 scrapbooks about his life. As a historian who also has written best-selling biographies of Walt Disney and Henry Ford, Watts tried to discover the real person behind the flamboyant public persona. He found that Hefner pursued a dream of “personal, political and economic freedom” and viewed his pursuit of fun not as immature, but as a happy embodiment of childhood optimism in a cynical world.

Yeah, uh…talk about lipstick on a pig.