Friday, March 9, 2012

March 09 - Disney Legend John Lounsbery is Born, Disneyland airs "Man in Space", Tokyo Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade debuts & More

March 9, 1911
Disney Legend John Lounsbery is Born

John Lounsbery, who was born on this day in 1911, first joined Walt's studio in 1935 as a member of the Studio's first training group and worked as an animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A member of Walt's Nine Old Men group, Lounsbery worked on most of the classic features as an animator or a directing animator. Disney animator Andreas Deja, the man who drew Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, among others, recently said of Lounsbery's work: "He liked characters he could sink his teeth into," Andreas muses. "Once he got one of those assignments then he could outshine anyone. Characters and scenes that had comedy in them, physicality and real caricature — characters with a little less realism — he'd just go to town with them. Like Tony and Joe from Lady and the Tramp, the elephants from The Jungle Book and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. His animation is very gutsy. He uses a lot of squash and stretch — his characters really squash and really stretch ("squash and stretch" is a technique that gives an animated object dimension and volume and is often used for comedic effect)." Disney animator Dale Baer, who trained with Lounsbery, said he was the only one of the Nine Old Men who drew with a carpenter pencil (a rectangular pencil with a quarter-inch wide piece of lead). "He would roughly block in with the wide flat part of pencil then when he found the line he wanted he would put it in thinner pencil," he notes. "John wasn't one of those guys that demanded that this or that happens or acted out all his scenes for the fellows. He showed up at 8, did his thing and left at 5. He did his day's work, but his family was just as important to him." He was honored posthumously in 1989 as a Disney Legend.

On ABC-TV, Disneyland airs "Man in Space," the first of a 3-part series about space travel. The show features Walt Disney, animator Ward Kimball (the director of the series), and scientists Willy Ley, Heinz Haber, and Wernher Von Braun (who will later be one of the leaders in the American space program). The show is narrated by Dick Tufeld (who will later be known as the voice of the robot on the TV series Lost in Space). The next two parts "Man and the Moon" and "Mars and Beyond" will be aired over the next few years. (The Disney "science factual" series will be very influential in drumming up support in the U.S. for a manned space project.)

Watch it on Youtube:

Roy E. Disney resigns from the central board of the Walt Disney Company, setting in motion a series of takeover bids and maneuvering that by August will actually leave him in control of the company.

Tokyo Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade debuts. It is basically a carbon copy of the original Disneyland parade.

Previews begin for Disney's newest Broadway stage show Beauty and the Beast. (Opening night will be April 18.)

It is reported that the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park (set to open in September) has already booked 10,000 room reservations for its hotel since it opened a customer call center three weeks ago.

Disney's Block Party Bash makes its first public appearance at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. The parade features the Pixar family of characters in three segments - Toy Story, Monsters Inc and A Bug's Life, with The Incredibles making an appearance at the parade's finale.

Disney's science fiction action film John Carter is released to U.S. theaters. Largely based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, the film is the live-action debut of director/writer Andrew Stanton (known for the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo and WALL-E). Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet named John Carter (played by Taylor Kitsch) discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians.

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