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Old 09-16-2012, 03:04 PM   #106
franandaj

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Animating The Disney Parks

This seminar was hosted by Tim O’Day and Becky Cline and featured current and former Disney Imagineers discussing how legendary Disney Imagineers, including Marc Davis, Mary Blair, Claude Coates, Herb Ryman, John Hench, and many others, successfully transferred their skills and talents from the world of Disney feature animation to “animating the Disney Parks.



• Tony Baxter—Senior vice president, Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering, whose project credits include Disneyland Paris, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones™ Adventure, and Splash Mountain.

• Eddie Sotto—Noted experiential designer, mixed-media producer, conceptualist, and former Disney Imagineer, whose projects included the design of Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Paris, early work on Indiana Jones™ Adventure at Disneyland, plus Mission: SPACE at Epcot and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland.

Also on the panel was Tom Morris though he wasn’t listed in the advance materials, he was in the program they handed out to us at the event, he is Imagineering vice president of creative development.



When Walt started work on the Theme Park he moved WDI to a location about 10 minutes away from the studio.



Claude Coates was the first imagineer that they discussed. He was Tony’s mentor when he was first hired at Disney. As many of you know he started off scooping ice cream and worked his way up the Disney Food Chain. Tony was 24 when the picture below was taken. If you don’t recognize him, he is the one in the left side of this picture.



Some other pictures from that day.



Claude Coates graduated from USC and started at Disney around the time of Sleeping Beauty. He was best known for his work in Pinnochio. These are some of the background scenes from Pinnochio that he animated.





He worked on Fantasia, my notes say “Green Hill” and I’m wondering what I meant by that! I’m assuming that was a scene that he animated either in Pinnochio or Fantasia. I wrote the previous sentence and then in my pictures I came across the answer! (See Angela, I really DON’T remember as much as you think, I just have the pictures to back it up! )



They did say that he had soft touch as an animator, especially for a guy who was 6’7”.



He worked on Peter and the Wolf and got along very well with Mary Blair. They worked on several projects together.



Some animation from Peter and the Wolf



And here he is with Mary Blair



These are some of her scenes, you can see the distinctive style she has





The only notes I have about this photo is that it is John Hensch without a moustache.





Now these photos are of Walt, Claude and John from when they were working on Alice in Wonderland. Tony Baxter talked about fond memories of Claude and that he treated Tony very well. Often times Claude would have Tony over for dinner and let him stay the night as Tony lived rather far away. Claude would also work into the wee hours of the morning in his wood shop making all sorts of creations.



Evidently Claude did not let much of anything get to him. The little things that used to irk other animators, he just let it slide by knowing that everything would work itself out in the end.



More of Mary Blair’s handiwork



Now this photo was not staged. It was actually Tramp’s model.





One of Claude’s specialties was his ability to take you to altered places. Look how different each of these backgrounds are, but each one really “takes you in” as if you were really there. It’s instantaneous the feeling that you get just from the picture itself. No animation, music or dialogue is necessary. In fact the picture almost helps you create your own in your mind.




[Continued in Next Post]
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:09 PM   #107
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[Continued from Previous Post]

It was this ability of Claude’s which made him one of Walt’s top choices to help create his park. One of the early concepts was “Big Rock Candy Mountain”. Below you will see the sketch, but later models were created. The problem with the model? They actually used Candy! It sat around for quite a long time, so long that it began to rot and eventually infested with ants!



This was another concept that never came to fruition, but Claude did a lot of development on it. Rainbow Caverns. One of the problems was how were they going to have colored water flowing through caverns and not have the colors blur together and become murky brown. They figured that if anyone could do it, Claude would be the one.



Claude did the Grand Canyon for the NY World’s Fair. They noted one difference between WED back then and today was that everyone worked on everything. Now they are divided up into teams by project and work on one project at a time.







Claude also was in charge of POTC. Some of you who read about the Pirates Dinner on my PTR might remember the story that Tony Baxter told us. For those who didn’t I’ll relate it again. Back when Tony was working scooping Ice Cream on Main Street, he remembered a time when he was backstage at New Orleans Square (currently under construction). He found himself looking down a staircase that was clearly off limits for unauthorized CMs. However, as he peered inside, an Imagineer beckoned him down to come take a look. This man proudly showed him what they were working on, and Tony was thrilled with the experience. Later when Claude was his boss, he asked, “Do remember giving a tour of this attraction to a young CM years ago?” They had a good laugh over that one.

Now he did not relate this part of the story at Destination D, but since I know I will tell it. Years later, the situation was reversed. It was Tony beckoning a young lad to come down into the prop room where he showed off the treats and treasures stored there. As he thought back on the experience, he warned us to always keep an open mind in every situation. There was no way he could have known at the time that the young lad would turn out to be his current boss, John Lasseter!



Now here is something interesting and amazing that they shared with us. Next time you are on Pirates take a look at the ceiling. You don’t really see it. Why? Because they have painted it black to diminish it’s visibility. This is always a problem when you have a ride where you are supposed to be outside. Also as you ride through the fire scene, notice the fire diminishes as it gets higher so that you don’t notice the ceiling. Sort of a similar concept as the forced perspective on Main Street. They did point out on Splash Mountain that they cheated and just covered the ceiling with leaves.





Another one that he worked on (which was one of my favorites, I’m sorry it’s gone, but I suppose if I had to choose between Star Tours and that I’d pick Star Tours) was Adventure Through Inner Space.



The Haunted Mansion was another ride that he worked on. He studied “the Haunting” to get his concepts. This was a British psychological horror film released in 1963. They referred to Claude as “an environment guy” meaning that he created environments to tell his stories whereas another of the imagineers working on the HM, Mark Davis, was a “character guy”.

Also notice that the picture on the left, although this did not make it into the ride in this manifestation, does it look familiar from a later movie?





This was a picture that Tony did



After he retired Claude did this picture, I think it was a gift for Tony.



So I think this is a good time to take a break. We still have two more guys to go in this session, but it’s been a while since I posted an update so it’s about time. Next up will be Herb Ryman.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #108
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Wonderful update. Thanks for the memory of Adventures Through Inner Space, when I was a kid I really thought the people in the tube were real and the eyeball looking at us.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #109
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Alison - fantastic update. Those pictures you have to go along with the information are equally as fantastic.

Loving all the detail and the information.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:06 PM   #110
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Great update of Animating the Disney Parks. The information and pictures that you shared are great. I would love to go see that seminar with all those Imagineers.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:38 AM   #111
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Started out in ice cream and it went to new places for his talent. I almost forgot Inner space. I do miss that ride. Thanks for sharing. I am in the right spot now, no longer in the Twilight Zone.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:04 PM   #112
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Once again you have out done yourself.

Thanks so much for the details and the trip through memory lane!
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDSNY View Post
Wonderful update. Thanks for the memory of Adventures Through Inner Space, when I was a kid I really thought the people in the tube were real and the eyeball looking at us.
I used to love that ride, it's too bad that DL has such limited space and has to remove things to put new ones in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Alison - fantastic update. Those pictures you have to go along with the information are equally as fantastic.

Loving all the detail and the information.
I really had to scrape the internet for this one (and especially the next one) because my notes weren't that good. I've found that the pictures have been out there (some of them), but without going to these presentations, you'd never be able to string all the facts together. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvf-m11c View Post
Great update of Animating the Disney Parks. The information and pictures that you shared are great. I would love to go see that seminar with all those Imagineers.
Thanks! It was really fascinating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by usnuzuloose View Post
Started out in ice cream and it went to new places for his talent. I almost forgot Inner space. I do miss that ride. Thanks for sharing. I am in the right spot now, no longer in the Twilight Zone.
Tony Baxter is truly one of those Disney CMs who started in working as a regular CM and made it to the top, just like John Lasseter.

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Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
Once again you have out done yourself.

Thanks so much for the details and the trip through memory lane!
You're welcome!
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:28 PM   #114
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OMG. What is wrong with me that I can't simply follow your PTRs and TRs. This is the one I read and saved. Did I just post on ANOTHER ONE yesterday? Let's pray it was yours and I didn't ramble sh!t on some random person's TR.

I have a computer now. Maybe in some alternate universe I told you that.

And I'm catching up at record speed. I'm hoping!
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:55 PM   #115
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Wow what an experience to have Alison. And thank you for all the links and the time putting this together. Some of them were wild and made me smile because it's unreal when how QUICKLY they can take you back in time. Like snap. One forgets the changes. Simple small details - I found myself saying "oh yeah" over and over.

So incredibly interesting. Thank you.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:59 PM   #116
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Oh and here's a neat fact that I just learned. They started to build WDW on the day I was born. And I was very late (and very big poor poor Mom). I must have been like "get the dam@ shovel moving boys!" I'm dying in here.

Okay off me and on you. Loving this Alison.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:25 PM   #117
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OMG. What is wrong with me that I can't simply follow your PTRs and TRs. This is the one I read and saved. Did I just post on ANOTHER ONE yesterday? Let's pray it was yours and I didn't ramble sh!t on some random person's TR.

I have a computer now. Maybe in some alternate universe I told you that.

And I'm catching up at record speed. I'm hoping!
I would say that you aren't crazy. I was my PTR, but only one of those two statements is true! I know, I'm really weird, I have two PTRs and a TR going right now. Not ideal but with keeping to have to put off my "Cheating with Harry" trip that one seems like a perpetual PTR!

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Originally Posted by lisaviolet View Post
Wow what an experience to have Alison. And thank you for all the links and the time putting this together. Some of them were wild and made me smile because it's unreal when how QUICKLY they can take you back in time. Like snap. One forgets the changes. Simple small details - I found myself saying "oh yeah" over and over.

So incredibly interesting. Thank you.
This was such an amazing event the best of the three I've been to. By the last night when it was over for everyone else, I was so "high" on Disney it was amazing and we still had a tour of the studio!

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Oh and here's a neat fact that I just learned. They started to build WDW on the day I was born. And I was very late (and very big poor poor Mom). I must have been like "get the dam@ shovel moving boys!" I'm dying in here.

Okay off me and on you. Loving this Alison.
That's so cool, they must have known you were going to be coming to see all the light fixtures and knew they had to work fast!
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:32 PM   #118
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Wonderful update! They really share fun tidbits at these events. I love seeing the old photos of them working. I think it's fabulous that they caught those memories. Thanks again
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:13 PM   #119
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I would say that you aren't crazy. I was my PTR, but only one of those two statements is true!
:
Hey! Watch it!

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:04 AM   #120
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Wonderful update! They really share fun tidbits at these events. I love seeing the old photos of them working. I think it's fabulous that they caught those memories. Thanks again
I know, I sometimes want to pinch myself during these things to find out if I'm really there because it's just so cool.....

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Hey! Watch it!

You know I love you! If you weren't so crazy you wouldn't be so much fun!

And no comments about pinching myself!












































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Last edited by franandaj; 09-30-2012 at 12:11 AM. Reason: spelling
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