Welcome to Dan Alexander Dizmentia

Welcome to Dan Alexander Dizmentia
Thank You For Visiting


Join the Crime Wave

Bad Biker Kitties Are On The Prowl

Bad Biker Kitties Are On The Prowl
Join The Kitten Motorcycle Gang

Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!

Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!
A Real Wild Juan

Baby Formula Juan Racer

Baby Formula Juan Racer
Juan Year Old

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Disney's Seven Dwarfs Funhouse

Everyone knows that the Dwarfs from Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" have a sense of humor. The folks at the Disney Store and Disney Catalog sure are aware of this! "The Seven Foot Dwarfs" Funhouse Mirror shirt is one of the funniest Snow White items I've seen.

Have you ever wondered what the Seven Dwarfs smell like? You'd think that after working in a diamond mine all day, they'd really stink. Well, you'd be partially wrong! Grumpy, Happy and Dopey have a Christmas-like fragrance.

Not shown are the less popular Body Odor Bashful, Sweaty Sneezy, Dirty Clothing Doc, and Soiled Sheets Sleepy.

The Seven Dwarfs show up in some interesting places.

Oh my!

After successfully taking St. Patrick's Day from the Leprechauns, The Seven Dwarfs decided they'd take Christmas from the Elves.

I'm not sure I like having Grumpy in charge of making presents. It looks like he's planning on giving out lots of coal!

For a comprehensive look at all things Snow White, be sure to check out Filmic Light: A Snow White Sanctum.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Wizarding World Of Winnie The Pooh

Winnie the Pooh and his British pals will soon find a new home at "The Wizarding World of Winnie the Pooh," a new theme park planned for Walt Disney World in Florida.

Guests will be able to explore the restaurants and shops at Pigletsmeade Village (don't forget to drop by Owl's Post Office!). Visitors will also have the opportunity to take a Journey through the Forbidden Hundred Acre Woods. Here they will battle characters from "The Wind in the Willows" on "Mr. Toad's Really Wild Ride."

Spend the night at Pigletwarts Castle, a luxury hotel featuring interactive experiences and high-tech special effects! Pigletwarts Castle will be located on a mountain overlooking the rest of the park.

There's more exciting news for the Downtown Disney shopping district at Walt Disney World, too! Winnie the Pooh and friends recently started appearing as guest stars in the Cirque du Soleil show, "La Nouba."

The characters have proven to be so popular that Cirque du Soleil is planning a brand new show called "La Poohba."

Walt Disney Pictures is currently filming a re-make of Davy Crockett, starring Winnie the Pooh.

Didn't Davy Crockett kill a bear when he was three years old? Awkward!

Winnie the Pooh was smart enough to have a "Plan B" for times when he could not get acting work. Not many people know this, but Winnie the Pooh spent years studying in medical school.

Here is a rare photo of Winnie the Pooh, OB/GYN.

Dr. Pooh has delivered thousands of Steiff Teddy Bears over the years.

Like many professionals, Pooh has a wild side. When he turned 40, he got a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Tigger and Pooh started a biker gang called "The Hundred Acre Hooligans."

One day, Christopher Robin introduced his animal friends to the music of Christopher Cross. Pooh was so taken with the song "Sailing" that it inspired him to try recreational boating.

Pooh and Eeyore enjoy frequent trips to the ocean, even though the tags sewn on to their bodies clearly state "DO NOT IMMERSE TOY IN WATER."

If you find yourself in Honolulu, Hawaii, be sure to visit "Pooh Pooh Platters," a great dining location that the silly old bear opened in 1991.

Uh-oh! Has anyone seen Luau Piglet?!? He was here earlier, with an apple in his mouth...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Disney Down Under: Walt Disney Animation Australia

How would you like a job at Walt Disney Animation in Australia? Well, before you grab a vegemite sandwich, some treats to feed the kangaroos, and your resume and hop a plane to Sydney, you should know that this Disney facility closed down in 2006. It's a real shame, too, because they created some top-notch animation over the years.

Disney's Australian animation studio had its origins as Hanna Barbera Australia, which opened in 1974. The Hanna Barbera studio produced numerous episodes of TV shows like "CBS Storybreak" and "Teen Wolf."

Disney took over Hanna Barbera Australia in 1989. The Australia studio created the animation for many Disney TV Animated series, including Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, Bonkers, and Quack Pack. Walt Disney Animation Australia had its own exuberant style, and had a knack for animating some fantastic facial expressions.

The studio also worked on direct-to-video projects and some Disney TV theatrical releases (they animated the concert sequence in "A Goofy Movie"), and gradually they started to channel Walt Disney Feature Animation's style. This was especially the case with "The Lion King 1 1/2" from 2004 which blended pretty seamlessly with Disney Feature's "The Lion King" from 1994.

The last project Disney Animation Australia worked on was "Cinderella III: A Twist in Time."

Disney had set up satellite studios around the world to handle animation production. Disney Feature Animation and Disney Television Animation were two different divisions. Disney Feature had its studio in California and one at Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney Television Animation in California had Disney animation studios in Japan, Australia, France and Canada. Additionally, Disney subcontracted animation to many other animation studios around the world (this is why you may notice a different "look" to many episodes of Disney TV shows). Walt Disney Animation France later became part of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Eventually, Disney shut down its studios in Florida, Japan, France, Canada, and Australia. Hand drawn animation was no longer the focus, with Disney Feature Animation in California becoming a CGI animation house.

Hand-drawn animation made by various studios today is largely outsourced to companies in other countries. These days, more and more CGI animation is also being outsourced, too.

Disney had other satellite studios that never took off.

When Icelandic singer Bjork became a media sensation with her famous swan dress, Disney developed a "DuckTales" spin-off called "SwanSongs," and launched Walt Disney Animation Iceland to produce the show.

This animated series featured Scrooge McDuck's niece, Swan (voiced by Bjork) and followed her adventures as a singer on a world tour. Each episode would feature a song written by Bjork.

A studio was established in Reykjavik, to allow Bjork the ability to have some creative control. However, as she became more popular, her touring schedule did not allow enough time in Iceland, and the "SwanSongs" project and studio were quickly shut down.

Then there was Walt Disney Animation Antarctica.

When it was discovered that penguins excelled in the performing arts, the decision was made to start up a studio in Antarctica. Penguins were cheap labor (most would take a job just for the halibut). Penguins proved to be very difficult to train, were not skilled animators, and made a mess of things. The Penguins were, however, excellent dancers.

*For those that don't realize this, please note that the Iceland and Antarctica studios were not real. I had fun making them up, though.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't Be Crabby, Winnie The Pooh!

Did you know that Winnie the Pooh used to be the mascot for Joe's Crab Shack restaurants? Walt Disney World is home to the Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex Cafe, and the Yak & Yeti Restaurant, all owned by Landry's Restaurants, which also owned Joe's Crab Shack. When Landry's sold Joe's Crab Shack in 2006, Pooh had to hang up his giant crab costume. I'm pretty sure that's what happened.

Pooh was temporarily without a seafood product to pitch. Luckily, the folks at Gorton's quickly offered Pooh the chance to play the Gorton's Fisherman. I bet you thought Pooh's favorite food was honey (or is that "hunny?") but you'd be wrong. Pooh just loves his fish sticks!

Pooh would later reprise his Fisherman persona in the film, "I Know What You Did Last Summer 5", which went straight to video.

When Gorton's decided to bring back its human Fisherman, Pooh was available to sell more frozen foods. Happily, the folks at Eskimo Pie were interested in signing on both Pooh and Piglet to be their spokes-characters.

Pooh enjoyed the role so much that he decided to take a break from acting and move to Alaska.

He rented a cabin in Juneau and befriended Grizzly Adams and Gentle Ben.

Pooh had suddenly become an accomplished hunter, and was known to get in fights with some of the deadliest grizzlies in the wilderness.

Winnie the Pooh's new image attracted the interest of Brawny Paper Towels, which featured Pooh on product packages and specially printed Limited Edition paper towels.

Pooh is a Lumberjack, and he's okay!

Winnie the Pooh was suddenly very much in demand. He soon became the story editor and mascot for Ranger Rick Magazine. At the same time, he also auditioned for Julie Taymor's new project, "Bullwinkle: The Musical."

Pooh did not last very long at Ranger Rick Magazine (he was really only knowledgeable about the lives of stuffed animals, and "was not believable as a raccoon."). Julie Taymor's Bullwinkle project was sadly shelved during its workshop.

Pooh was more fit than ever, and wanted to compete in the Slalom at the Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately, Pooh got stressed out, started over-eating, and quickly gained weight. He ended his career as Slalom Pooh after constantly falling, getting tired easily, and crashing into trees and people.

However, he did encourage his pals Piglet and Tigger to compete in the Bobsled Races in the Winter Olympics.

Tigger and Piglet ended up winning the Gold Medal. They also won a trip to Disneyland (so they basically won a trip home).

Be sure to check out Pooh's stint as an Elvis impersonator and find out about his Super Hero alter-ego!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Amazing Stories: Steven Spielberg Presents Brad Bird's Family Dog

When I was a kid in middle school in 1987, I was completely obsessed with the "Family Dog" episode of Steven Spielberg's NBC series, "Amazing Stories." The film was written and directed by Brad Bird (director of Disney Pixar's "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille"), and was different from anything seen on TV at the time. It wasn't just the quirky character designs (by Tim Burton). This was not a Saturday Morning kid's cartoon.

I remember being slightly surprised when Skip Binford (voiced by multi-talented veteran voice actor Stan Freberg), the father character, complained about "that cheap damn dog food!" Gasp! It was rare to hear a cartoon character curse back then. Annie Potts (probably best known for her role as Mary Jo on the series "Designing Women") gives an outstanding performance as mother Bev (she would later voice Bo Peep in Disney Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story 2---it's too bad she wasn't in Toy Story 3). Scott Menville (a prolific voice and screen actor, who was Wayne Arnold's friend Wart on "The Wonder Years" TV series) played Billy, the nasty little boy that terrorizes the poor Dog. Brooke Ashley is Buffy, the little girl that is somehow cute and a bit bizarre. I think my favorite part of the film is the "Home Movies" section, narrated by the family. The interplay between Bev and Buffy here is hilarious. The cast also includes Brad Bird, Mercedes McCambridge, Marshall Efron, Stanley Ralph Ross, and Jack Angel.

The animation was created by some well known animators, including Duncan Marjoribanks (he was the lead animator for Sebastian the crab in Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and Abu in "Aladdin"). I think I can spot some of his animation when the Dog is riding in the car with the robbers (the scene where the fat robber is upset with being called "The Dog Gang" and suggests they get a cat, which triggers an attack from the Dog).

I ripped this advertisement out of TV Guide magazine. On the back, it shows what was on TV the night "Family Dog" debuted in 1987.

Nickelodeon viewers could catch episodes of "You Can't Do That On Television" and "DangerMouse." HBO was still showing Jim Henson's "Fraggle Rock." In reruns were shows like "Bosom Buddies" (starring Tom Hanks) and "The Facts Of Life" (what was Tootie up to this week?) plus older favorites like "The Jeffersons," "The Honeymooners" and "Donna Reed." Newer programs included "Kate and Allie," "MacGyver" (what will he make out of a Dixie Cup and a rubber band to save the world this time?), "ALF," and "My Sister Sam" (many remember this Pam Dawber sitcom being in the news due to the tragic death of star Rebecca Schaeffer).

"Family Dog" proved to be very popular, and it was spun off into its own series from Universal, Amblin, Warner Brothers and Nelvana Animation in 1992. The show featured a new cast, and the magic of the original was missing. It did not last very long.

As I write this, you can find the original on YouTube:

I feel sorry for the poor Dog. Would you want to live with this family?

I wonder if the actors got to ad-lib anything. The dialogue sounds very natural.

Buffy's burping baby doll and Bev's reaction is one of my favorite parts of this show.

I wonder if it's just a coincidence that "Family Dog," Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" and "Toy Story" all feature Bull Terriers as main characters. Maybe it's because there's something inherently funny about their appearance.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beauty And The Beast Valentines

I vividly remember seeing Beauty and the Beast's characters for the first time during the Animation Studio Tour at Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World in Florida. This was when the movie was still in production. I can remember seeing the enchanted object characters and wondering, "what are they doing?!?" Of course, what they were doing was creating a mega-hit.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast debuted in theaters in 1991, and wound up getting nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (a first for an animated film). Three of the film's songs created by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken were nominated for Best Music, Original Song ("Beauty and the Beast" won, beating "Be Our Guest" and "Belle").

The story and songs were a natural fit for Broadway (especially the "Be Our Guest" number), and an expanded "Beauty and the Beast" stage musical debuted in 1994.

For "Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition," a special IMAX version of the movie released in 2002, the "Human Again" song from the Broadway show was inserted into the animated film.

The animated "Beauty and the Beast" had a powerhouse crew and cast, lead by directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, Producer Don Hahn and Executive Producer Howard Ashman, and Linda Woolverton's screenplay.

Paige O'Hara voiced and sang the part of Belle. Robby Benson seemed like an unlikely choice for the Beast, but it's difficult to imagine someone else giving him a voice. Jerry Orbach played Lumiere, the show-stopping candlestick. David Ogden Stiers made Cogsworth tick. Angela Lansbury was warm as Mrs. Potts. Bradley Michael Pierce played her mischievous son, Chip. Richard White was that boorish, bellowing brute, Gaston.

The movie had its star lead animators, too. Glen Keane used all sorts of animal parts to create the Beast, one of the best Disney characters ever made. His Beauty, Belle, was brought to life by James Baxter. Andreas Deja gave Gaston his debonair "charm", with Chris Wahl tackling Gaston's toady, LeFou. Nik Raineri lit things up with Lumiere, while Will Finn kept Cogsworth running like clockwork. David Pruiksma poured his talent into Mrs. Potts and Chip. And of course, there were many, many other talented folks who worked to bring the Beast and his co-stars roaring to life.

Walt Disney World will soon be bringing the world of Beauty and the Beast to life in the Magic Kingdom as part of an expanded Fantasyland. Visitors will be able to explore Maurice's Workshop, home to the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction. The Be Our Guest Restaurant will allow guests to dine in the Beast's Castle. The area will also feature Gaston's Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.

These Valentines were released by Mars, Inc. (I believe they were available in boxes of Starburst candy). These cards feature trivia questions on the back. Let's see how you do with these mind-boggling questions (no cheating!):

Mrs. Potts was an elderly old woman cook with a son that sounded like he was maybe nine years old. The enchantment at the Beast's castle had been going on for ten years when Belle showed up. This little head-scratcher was (sort of) addressed in the 1997 mid-quel, "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas," as it showed a very young human Chip with the grandmotherly Mrs. Potts. Who was Chip's Father? I bet it was that lecherous bright copper kettle tea pot!

If you go in the West Wing, you'll find the Enchanted Rose, plus Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, and Martin Sheen!

Belle loved the Library, but everyone else loved the spinning, gasp-inducing CGI Ballroom!

Belle did not care much for life in her town. With everyone around her singing at the top of their lungs about how odd she was, it's no wonder that she instead opted to live in a huge castle with a buffalo and some magic kitchen utensils.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Many Outrageous Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh

When most folks hear about "Classic Pooh," they typically don't imagine a gray-haired Winnie the Pooh dressed in a suit. But at the height of the bean bag craze at the Disney Store and Catalog (around 2002 to 2005) the gang from the Hundred Acre Woods had to expand their horizons and go where they had never gone before.

Pooh became an intimidating Super Hero! What was Pooh's power? He could control the world's bees, and could make them sting his foes! Pooh's catch-phrase was "Oh, Bee-have!" (yes, he got permission from Austin Powers). Piglet was enlisted to become Super Pooh's sidekick.

Piglet was given growth hormones, and as pigs tend to do, he got huge!

Winnie the Pooh had already established a Beatles cover band, so naturally the quartet assumed the identity of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

They hope you enjoyed their show!

When an asteroid threatened to destroy Earth, Pooh and his crew decided to become astronauts.

Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Aerosmith destroyed the asteroid before Pooh and his friends completed Space Camp training.

Pooh later moved to Chicago, Illinois to perform with the Blues Brothers.

Pooh adored the Blustery City. I mean, the Windy City. He also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, did guest appearances with Bozo the Clown (he even helped set up the buckets for The Grand Prize Game), and was a reporter for WGN News.

Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore later joined the circus! Eeyore was not a fan of dressing up as an elephant, or Pooh's strict training process.

Not shown is Kanga as the Bearded Lady.

Pooh may be stuffed with fluff, but he's a also a stocky tough guy that is buff. He took up weightlifting when he went to Australia.

Piglet became a Judo Master in Australia, and opened a training studio called "Pork Chops."

Pooh then went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he hoped to finally open the "Disney's America" theme park that had originally been planned for Virginia in the 1990s.

As was the case in Virginia, the locals protested, and the park wasn't built. The "Disney's America" sites later became lackluster shopping centers.

After spending so much money traveling, Pooh and Piglet temporarily became vagabonds, and hopped on trains to get around the country.

When they finally landed a new gig, they were able to travel first class again.

And what a fantastic new show they got!

Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore put on a show that the world had always wanted to see. A Winnie the Pooh Barbershop Quartet!

Pooh and his friends now can be seen sporting their handlebar moustaches and performing musical numbers on Main Street at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Bear Necessities Of A Good Breakfast: TaleSpin Cereal Figures!

What "TaleSpin" character did you find in your box of Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies cereal? Figures of Baloo, Kit, Molly and Don Karnage were available as part of a big promotion for the 1990 Disney Afternoon TV series. These figures could also be ordered as a set through the mail.

TaleSpin took Baloo the Bear, Louie the Orangutan, and Shere Khan the tiger from Disney's 1967 film, "The Jungle Book", and cast the characters in new roles. Baloo became a cargo pilot for a business called Higher for Hire. Louie became an island nightclub owner, and Shere Khan was a ruthless tycoon. Baloo and Kit Cloudkicker worked for Rebecca Cunningham (mother to Molly). The characters often had run-ins with air pirate Don Karnage.

Kellogg's made sets of figurines from other Disney Afternoon shows, too. This Kellogg's promotion also featured figure sets for Gummi Bears, DuckTales, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

Kellogg's also had a cereal prize promotion featuring TaleSpin stampers.

My favorite TaleSpin story is "Time Waits For No Bear." This was one of the very first episodes (it was shown on The Disney Channel before the series debuted on The Disney Afternoon) and there are some production glitches (the voices of the hilarious Gorilla Goon and Rhino Goon are accidentally switched in one scene, and mechanic lion Wildcat's costume is the victim of some paint color confusion as he gives a Hippo lady and her Stork husband a tour of the town of Cape Suzette). This episode sticks out in my mind not only because it is really funny, but also because it starts off with a robbery committed by an Elephant cat-burglar! It's not surprising that the police end up catching him (it's an elephant---how could they miss him?!?).