Add to My Yahoo! Add to Google


Posted on Apr 23 2010 by Greg
Sometimes you get so caught up with rishing from task to task, meeting to meeting, deadline to deadline, standing in lines, waiting for lights to change and otherwise racing against the day that you forget that not everyone is rude, selfish and inconsiderate -- quite the opposite.

Today I was running late for an appointment this morning and had not had breakfast so I stopped at McD's for a burrito and of course there was a line and of course I had forgotten change so I left the line to go back to the car and a little old lady got my place in line.

When I got back I called my appointment to say I would be late and the little lady heard me and asked me to step ahead of her. "After all," she said, "You had to go back to your car."

I told her that her, when people do nice things like that, it reminds me that there are nice people who think of others. She smiled shyly. What a lovely woman.

My Aunt Rosie was wrong about the world in general, but then she was wrong about a lot of things. She was a hoot at times, though.

Blog, Movies
Posted on Apr 22 2010 by Greg
The Great Mouse Detective came along -- and was somewhat lost -- during a highly transitional period as Walt Disney Productions became The Walt Disney Company (see the fine new documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty, for details). It's definitely worth more attention that it seems to get, perhaps because it gets left between the "troubled" post-Walt era and the "second golden age" that began essentially with The Little Mermaid.

Detective, which was supposed to be called "Basil of Baker Street" after the book upon which it is based but was renamed by a nervous Marketing department (hmmm...Tangled?) is a Sherlock Holmes-style adventure with some memorable moments and a nice score by multi-Oscar, Gold Record and Grammy winner Henry Mancini (his only score for a Disney animated feature).

Disney features have always had trouble with their lead characters being engaging enough and leaving the audience empathy on the shoulders of the sidekicks. In the case of Basil, he is true to the Holmes persona in that he is a bit prickly and distant, but he becomes more likable as you get to know him in the story.

Of course, Vincent Price chews the animation cels like so many Chee-tos as the villain Rattigan. He delivers as you might expect and again, should not be as forgotten a Disney villain as he seems to be today. I did take exception when, in the film's original theatrical release, that Price's performance was being touted as his first in animation -- that was actually as Irontail in the Rankin/Bass special, Here Comes Peter Cottontail.

Price was the only "big name" voice in the film with the exception of Melissa Manchester, who sings in the saloon scene. The use of stars was not as common a practice then as it is now. Manchester was actually added to the soundtrack in order to generate publicity to "today's" audience, yet Disney did not release a soundtrack album or a single version of her song (Varese Sarabande released a CD years after).

Manchester replaced Shani Wallis, who was going to sing the song before being removed for the "name." Wallis was one of my childhood crushes as the doomed Nancy in the Oscar winning Best Picture, Oliver! At least she was given a small speaking role at the end of the The Great Mouse Detective.

Anyway, the film's highlights include a Rube Goldberg-like "mouse trap" set by Rattigan to destroy Basil and his friends and the historic Big Ben sequence, one of the first to use CG as an effect device. It is still a compelling sequence.

But you'll have to hang on to your 2002 DVD edition of The Great Mouse Detective to keep the image gallery "scrapbook," and if you don't already have the cartoons "Clock Cleaners" and "Donald's Crime" on other DVDs. The new "Mystery in the Mist" Edition adds a "game" that is more of a short video called "So You Think You Can Sleuth" and the "making of" documentary from the previous edition.

If you never got a copy of this film before, it really is worth having -- unless you want to wait for a possible Blu-Ray, But who knows?

Posted on Apr 19 2010 by Greg
The kids were very young when they first saw the original 1967 musical version of Doctor Dolittle so we watched it yesterday and it was nice to revisit again.

Not to be confused with the Eddie Murphy comedy, which apparently took the premise of Hugh Lofting's classic children's books and left the remainder behind, this Rex Harrison film was adapted directly from the books by the composer/lyricist Leslie Bricusse (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Scrooge) and produced on a very grand scale. Costarring Anthony Newley and Samantha Eggar ("my eyes are green, my hair is auburn and my dress is vivid red"), the epic spectacular was filmed on numerous breathtaking locations, including Tobago for the last sequence, and featured a score that yielded the Oscar winning "Talk to the Animals." An Oscar also was given for special effects, which were impressive in their pre-CG day. It was even nominated for best picture.

Also of note is Sir Richard "Jurassic" Attenborough (with Wizard of Oz-like putty nose) as the circus owner in a very elaborate musical number that included Disney entertainment executive Gene Columbus in the cast. Oh, and in case Samantha Eggar's singing sounds like Charlie Bucket's mom, it's because that's Diana Lee you're hearing.

What I remember is that the music from Doctor Dolittle was recorded by numerous artists in the late '60s, from Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bobby Darin to Alvin and the Chipmunks. The problem was that, while Fox was clearly expecting a Mary Poppins/Sound of Music success, Dolittle did little at the box office largely because audiences were tiring of three-hour musical extravaganzas, Hollywood movies were getting gritier and popular music was getting groovier. Still, taken on its own, this lavish experience stands up very well today as Disneyesque family fun.

Posted on Apr 18 2010 by Greg
Just kidding. Actually, it's just me with the Disney Parks version of Phineas and Ferb, the stars of the Disney Channel series, which has become a substantial hit.

Any show that mentions "Tralfaz" in a throwaway gag has my highest rating already, but it is a well-crafted show with perhaps the most angst-ridden, self-loathing, delightfully disfunctional villain in recent memory, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

Posted on Apr 14 2010 by Greg
You know who's a great talent with a legendary career?
Alan Young
. Best known as Wilbur Post on TV's Mister Ed, he was a star of radio and film as well. You can hear a Stu's Show interview and find out all about it on the bonus feature of the new Mister Ed Season Two DVD.

He's also been the voice of Uncle Scrooge McDuck for over three decades. He first did the voice on the first issue of the Grammy-nominated record album, "Dickens' Christmas Carol Featuring The Walt Disney Players," in 1975. It was adapted into the 1983 film version, renamed "Mickey's Christmas Carol" in 1983. I didn't realize until he told me that he did the voice of Mickey Mouse as well as Uncle Scrooge on the record, but of course not in the film. He also wrote the script for the album. A talented and nice man.

<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 Next >>















Home | About Us | Contact Us | Book Purchase | News & Events | Blog Tracks | Greg's Picks | Links

Mouse Tracks - The Story of Walt Disney Records