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SINGING VOICE OF DISNEY'S DUCHESS FINALLY OFFICIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED
Blog
Posted on Feb 05 2008 by Greg



Back when acclaimed writer/producer Les Perkins told us he was  preparing a wonderful new Disney DVD bonus feature that acknowledged Robie Lester as the singing voice of Duchess, we had our fingers crossed, hoping nothing would prevent it. Fortunately, when you see the "Deleted Song" Bonus Feature on the new THE ARISTOCATS SPECIAL EDITION DVD released today, you and world will see the great Richard Sherman host a seven-minute segment telling, for the first time, the story behind the song, "She Never Felt Alone."

In the finished film, Duchess -- with the speaking voice of Eva Gabor -- recites a few lines of the song's lyrics. But originally it was a full-fledged song, performed by our beloved Disneyland Story Reader, the late Robie Lester.


Robie in 1965

Tim supplied the personal photos of Robie for Les, which she herself had provided for use in Mouse Tracks. You'll see one photo in which Robie is made up as the Blue Fairy, a publicity shot from a musical TV version she did of "Pinocchio" with Paul Winchell.

Even we have never heard the snippet of studio chat, as well as the song demo, that is heard in this new segment. Of course, Robie can be heard in the finished film singing "Scales and Arpeggios" and the solo with the harp during "Ev'ry body Wants to Be a Cat." She later also sang "Rescue Aid Society" for Bianca in The Rescuers.

Disneyland Records' fully-orchestrated version of "She Never Felt Alone," sung by Robie and produced by Camarata, was released on CD a few years ago on an abbreviated disc called Songs from The Aristocats.


Robie in 2001

But the big news is that Robie Lester is finally being publicly acknowledged on the new DVD by Disney for her contributions to two animated features. Her husband Geoff was delighted to hear the news and to share it all with her daughter and grandchildren.







MY FAVORITE MARTIAN & THE AVENGERS soundtrack albums FINALLY released!
Blog
Posted on Jan 31 2008 by Greg
There's never been an original soundtrack album of the 1960's TV fantasy classic MY FAVORITE MARTIAN until now, but it's here on a limited release CD. There are lots of interesting facts about the show in the accompanying liner notes, too.



There's also never really been a soundtrack album of another 60's TV classic, THE AVENGERS, though the theme song has popped up on various complilations. Apparently this one is only available as part of a three-disc set saluting composer Laurie Johnson.








CLASSIC DISNEY ALBUMS ADDED TO iTUNES!
Blog
Posted on Jan 19 2008 by Greg
Randy Thornton of Walt Disney Records is pleased to announce that:
Uploading for release on January 29th are the following albums...

NEW RELEASES
 Italiannette (BV 3304)
 Annette Sings Anka (BV 3302)
 Westward Ho the Wagons (WDL 3041)
 Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House
 (DQ 1257; the original 1964 release, narrated by Laura Olsher)
 
PLUS THESE TITLES, PREVIOUSLY ONLY AVAILABLE AT DISNEY THEME PARKS:
 Meet Me Down On Main Street
 A Musical Tour of France with Maurice Chevalier
 Songs from Lady and the Tramp
 The Disney Afternoon
 Country Bear Jamboree
 
PLUS A VERY SPECIAL TITLE -- THE FIRST CLASSIC DISNEY SOUNDTRACK PREMIERE ON iTUNES.
 Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (an album 10 years in the making)!



Beginning January 29, visit your iTunes store and search for each of these by title to locate each album.







THE GREAT CHIPMUNK DEBATE
Blog
Posted on Jan 06 2008 by Greg
Apparently the big controversy nowadays isn't about Iowa caucases or Hillary, Barack, Rudy and Mitt. It's about Alvin, Simon, Theodore and Dave.



The runaway smash success of the Alvin and the Chipmunks feature has set animation fans and insiders ablaze with strong opinions about the relative strength or weakness of this film, the earlier feature, both TV series, and the records that started it all. The animation web site Cartoon Brew has the comment thread here (some explicit language; parental discretion advised).



The fact that what appears to some to be a mere novelty gimmick has actually had such a cultural impact is well worth noting. Perhaps Clyde Crashcup's assistant Leonardo espressed it best when he said, "Mwsserpishwssswrrssurruhswss..."







WHERE WERE YOU ON NEW YEAR'S EVE?
Blog
Posted on Jan 02 2008 by Greg
On New Year's Eve, I spent five and a half hours directing Epcot guests to step to their right and proceed over this lovely bridge to and from the France and United Kingdom pavilions. I waved one of those lighted wand things that air traffic controllers use in the movies.



This is a phenomenon among Disney salaried Cast Members known as "Cross-U" (cross utilization), in which we're asked very nicely to help out in the Parks during especially popular times.

I've done this many many times over the years, at Crystal Palace, Pecos Bill's Pinocchio Village Haus, The Haunted Mansion, The Hall of Presidents, Odyssey Restaurant, Main Street Emporium, Mouse Gear and others. It's kind of fun and it really helps me realize how many hard working, dedicated Cast Members work extremely hard all year. I like to cross-u because I get a chance to meet guests, who really do see Cast Members as "Disney" personified.

Anyway, sometimes when I didn't have a lighted rod to wave, I used one of those lighted cocktail cubes. It was red and as long as I waved it around, no one realized how humble it was -- some guests got a big kick of it if they realized it was a little cube! And we laughed and laughed.







"HOW INTERESTING! I NEVER KNEW THAT."
Blog
Posted on Dec 29 2007 by Greg

That's what Leonard Maltin, an expert himself, says on the audio commentary for the new DISNEYLAND SECRETS, STORIES & MAGIC Walt Disney Treasures DVD.

Leonard is reacting to this factoid made by master Imagineer Tony  Baxter, who is on the DVD commentary for the theatrical featurette, Disneyland, U.S.A., with him:

"People think of the Disney characters--Mickey and the gang--that they meet at Disneyland, but in the early 50's, when we first opened, the characters weren't allowed.

"You see a few on the opening day. Those were loaned from the Ice Capades, but from that opening until the late 50's, like '59 or '60, Mickey and the gang didn't appear. So [streetmosphere-type] characters like "Trinidad," the fellow that was sweeping the streets there, became very, very important in kind of giving that sense of people "living" in Disneyland. So you see boat captains and saloon girls and native american dancers and everything that really made this place come to life because there were no characters."








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