Episode 20: Adventures in Randomness

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●     “Feature Film” The Reluctant Dragon - Info from IMDB

○   Released on June 20th 1941

○   Humorist Robert Benchley attempts to find Walt Disney to ask him to adapt a short story about a gentle dragon who would rather recite poetry than be ferocious. Along the way, he is given a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and learns about the animation process.

○   According to supplemental information on the DVD this film was rushed into production to help keep the studio solvent. The start of WW2 closed Europe to American movies and this cut off much needed revenue for Disney. When it was released it did save the studio but it was not well received and was heavily criticized by the public who were expecting a full animated feature.

○    Features How to Ride a Horse (1950), the first of the Goofy "How-to" cartoons. When narrator John McLeish was brought in to record the narration, he was asked to read it in a very straightforward manner, as if for a serious documentary about horse riding. He was shocked when he was told that the narration he recorded would be used in a Goofy cartoon.

○    In the sound effects department the workers are creating sound effects for a piece of film with the train Casey Junior. Casey would pop up in Disney's next film, Dumbo (1941). Likewise in the art department, the animators are making sketches for "Dumbo". Bambi also makes a minor appearance in this film, a year before Bambi (1942) was released.

○    Most of the 'animators' shown in the film were actually actors hired to portray animators. And this film, showing the Disney animation studios as a happy, coherent family, was released at the worst possible moment, when half of the actual animators went out on strike. The strikers frequently picketed theaters showing the film, sometimes holding up a large cardboard sign depicting Walt Disney as a dragon, labeled 'The Reluctant Disney.'

○    Maquettes in the model department include Jiminy Cricket and the drunk cuckoo clock from Pinocchio (1940), characters from Fantasia (1940) including Chernabog, a black centaurette that Robert Benchley takes with him, and the Knight from The Reluctant Dragon (1941).

○    In the "Baby Weems" sequence, Mount Rushmore is seen with only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The faces were still under construction until October 1941 and this movie was released before it was finished, which is why Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson are missing.

●     Segment: This week in Disney history “Once Upon a Time”

○   March 20th 2014 – Aladdin the stage musical opens on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

○   March 22nd 2018 Frozen The Broadway Musical opens at the St. James Theatre.

●     Segment: News/Announcements  “The Newsies Banner”

○   Toy Story 4 Trailer Release

○   Thoughts on the 21st Century Fox Purchase

■   Disney has 60% stake in Hulu

○   Captain Marvel News

■   18th highest Opening Weekend film after Rogue One.

■   Number one at the Box office 2 weekends in a row

■   In its opening weekend, Marvel Studios' "Captain Marvel" made $153 million in North America and $455 million worldwide. It's the biggest global debut for a women-fronted film ever and the second-biggest debut for a Super Hero movie, right behind Marvel Studios' "Avengers: Infinity War."

■   6th Worldwide opening weekend after Harry Potter Deathly Hallows pt 2

●     Segment: weekly top 4 (secret from each other)”Let’s get down to business”

○   Top 4 Walt Disney Era Films:

■   101 Dalmatians

■   Mary Poppins

■   Lady and the Tramp

■   Peter Pan

●     Tease Next Week:  Pollyanna   Top 4:  TBD