Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cuban Sculptor Carves Furniture for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

  Sculptor Santana busy at work on furniture for Haunted Mansion.
02.17.11 - For Ciro Rolando Santana y Arrite, a soft-spoken, wiry little Cuban sculptor of extraordinary talent, a temporary position at Disneyland has become a springboard to the fulfillment of a longtime dream — to bring his family from an adopted home in Puerto Rico to the United States and continue his career as a sculptor.

Rolando Santana came to this country early in 1969. He had been at Disneyland for only a few weeks when the word went out from WED that new projects required the talents of an additional sculptor.

Rolando went to WED for an interview, presented his credentials, and was promptly made a member of the WED Imagineering staff.

The sculptor's work has been exhibited in many countries throughout the Americas and in Spain. For two decades, art and educational publications have featured articles on his works.

Rolando received his formal art training as a student for seven years at Havana's St. Alexander's National School of Fine Arts and two years at the Havana Center of Fine Arts.

Adept in sculpturing all media, Rolando has begun the resumption of his career at WED by carving wooden furniture and ornamentation for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

While one part of Rolando's dream became a reality, the other part came true in May when his wife and three children joined him in their new home in the United States.

From Disney News, Fall 1969

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Robert A. Iger Short Biography

Robert A. Iger
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company

Robert A. Iger is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. Mr. Iger, the sixth CEO in The Walt Disney Company's 86-year history, was appointed to this post on October 1, 2005 after the company's board of directors elected him to succeed Michael D. Eisner in March, 2005. 

Previously, Mr. Iger served as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Walt Disney Company, a position he had held since January, 2000. In this role, he partnered with Mr. Eisner in overseeing all aspects of the company's worldwide operations including its filmed entertainment, theme parks and resorts, media networks and consumer products businesses. Mr. Iger also became a member of Disney's board of directors at this time. 

Mr. Iger began his career at ABC in 1974. Throughout his tenure at the company, Mr. Iger has held a series of increasingly responsible senior management positions, including serving as President and Chief Operating Officer of Capital Cities/ABC, where he guided the complex merger of ABC with The Walt Disney Company. During Mr. Iger's years with ABC, he oversaw its broadcast television network and station, cable television, radio and publishing businesses, which includes the market leading brands of ABC, ESPN, Lifetime and The History Channel.

He officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as Chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group and in 1999, was given the additional responsibility of President, Walt Disney International.

Mr. Iger is a member of the board of directors for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. He serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

About 1982's TRON

The First Electronic Gunslinger

02.09.11 - Long a fan of the mythic heroes of the Old West, Bruce Boxleitner finds himself playing the hero in a different kind of mythology. He is a computer programmer fighting to save his electronic world in Walt Disney Productions' futuristic adventure, "TRON."

Powerful Programmer… Bruce Boxleitner stars as a computer expert whose alter-ego is the most powerful game warrior in an electronic universe in Walt Disney Productions' futuristic adventure, "TRON."
"TRON" combines state-of-the-art computer graphics with special techniques in live-action photography to create a fantasy world never before seen on a motion picture screen. It is a world where energy lives and breathes, where laws of logic are defied, where an electronic civilization thrives.

All of which is quite a departure for Boxleitner, a tall and athletic actor whose career is rooted in roles as rawboned types who helped tame the West. Collector of frontier art, reader of historical fiction, Boxleitner relished such vehicles as the television series "How the West Was Won" and the telefilm "I Married Wyatt Earp." "I loved the idea of reliving history," he says. "Playing a Western hero you sense how strong those people must have been. Let me tell you it's a thrill."

Expectedly, he was not enthralled with the notion of starring in an effects-laden picture like "TRON.' "I was really feeling my oats," he says today. "I had just finished doing a Western movie-of-the-week and was still thinking of myself as the gunfighter hero. When I got the script for "TRON" I rejected it. I didn't want to spend that time cooped up on sound stages.

"Then Kitty (his wife, actress Kathryn Holcomb) read the script and told me I'd better reconsider. She thought it was something special. When I reread it, I realized that Tron, my character in the film, was not so different from a traditional Western hero."

Boxleitner's Tron character is the only being who can save his electronic world from domination by a huge and despotic master computer program. Ironically, while the completed film portrays an epic battle set in a fantastic landscape of light and electricity, the actors performed against sets that were practically bare. The live-action was mated with computer-generated settings in post-production.

"We looked at storyboards (rough drawings of each shot in the movie) before each scene. Then it was up to the imagination. And when you realize that what we are seeing in 'TRON's' world can't possibly exist — then you know how difficult a job the actors had. 'TRON' is the most difficult movie I've ever done." Boxleitner may have had it a bit easier than the others, however. Faced with a duel on the video game grid, chased by a Recognizer or a data pirate, or confronted by any of the electronic world's myriad dangers, he could always ask himself, "What would Wyatt Earp do?" The settings may change but the heroes remain the same.

In color by Technicolor, "TRON" also stars Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Cindy Morgan and Barnard Hughes. The film was written and directed by Steven Lisberger for producer Donald Kushner and executive producer Ron Miller. Buena Vista releases. Filmed in Super Panavision ® 70.

From the original 1982 Tron press materials.

Lisberger Breaks with Convention

02.09.11 - In 1976 he stretched a $10,000 American Film Institute grant into a multi-million dollar animated film. Today, Steve Lisberger is the guiding creative force behind "TRON," a motion picture that is not only unconventional, but the first of its kind.

Writer-Director Steven Lisberger is the mastermind behind "TRON," Walt Disney Productions futuristic adventure about an electronic world in which video games come to life through state-of-the-art computer imaging.
Writer-director Steven Lisberger is not one to settle for the conventional. As a college student in Boston he formed his own film production company. In 1976 he stretched a $10,000 American Film Institute grant into a multi-million dollar animated film. Today, Lisberger is the guiding creative force behind "TRON," a motion picture that is not only unconventional, but the first of its kind.

"TRON" combines live action with computer-generated imagery to create a fantasy world where video games are arenas of life and death. Long a devotee of video games, the filmmaker first conceived the project in 1978.

"Everyone's looking for new fantasies in the movies," he says. "Outer space has been done to death. They've gone inside the body and under the sea. We've created this world in 'TRON' by taking video games and just blowing them out to the point where they are a reality. At the point where the games met computer graphics, something came alive that hadn't been alive before. Video games were the basis for the fantasy; the computer imagery was the means to create it."

Lisberger and his partner, producer Donald Kushner, brought their project to Disney in mid-1980 and a deal was quickly struck. "They first gave us money to do a demonstration, to prove that we could create the effects we claimed were possible," Lisberger says. "It's to Disney's credit that they didn't say, 'Call us when the computers can do a dog.' We were interested in creating objects and environments that couldn't exist in the physical world. That's something computer-generated images can do very well."

With the boundless enthusiasm of the first boy out to recess, Lisberger began, in early 1981, to choose his creative team for "TRON." French comics artist Moebius — one of the founders of Heavy Metal — was lured from his Pyrenees mountain home to work on character styling and storyboarding. Futurist Syd Mead was called to design vehicles that would later be computer-generated. High-tech artist Peter Lloyd was hired for color styling and background design. Richard Taylor, currently manager of the Movie Technology Division of Information International, Inc. (Triple-I) and an art director whose glowing designs gained him fame in the 1970s with his commercials for Levi and Seven-Up, joined the group to oversee the computer imaging and optical effects. Harrison Ellenshaw, matte painter for "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back," signed on as co-director (with Taylor) of special effects and associate producer.

The Mathematical Applications Group, Inc. (MAGI), Triple-I, Digital Effects Inc. and Robert Abel and Associates were hired to execute computer images choreographed by animators Bill Kroyer and Jerry Rees. Matched with the live action, those computer scenarios bring Lisberger's world to life.

"We're taking risks with this film," admits the director who spends his days buzzing through the production like a low-flying plane looking for fires to put out. "But that's what got this place (Disney) rolling in the first place. They broke with convention. Computer imagery is never going to replace actors. Actors are what I call the ultimate special effect. And it won't challenge the hand-crafted animation for which Disney is famous. But for this particular fantasy in "TRON" it's the perfect artists' tool."

In color by Technicolor, "TRON" stars Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Bruce Boxleitner, Cindy Morgan and Barnard Hughes. The film was written and directed by Steven Lisberger for producer Donald Kushner and executive producer Ron Miller. Buena Vista releases. Filmed in Super Panavision® 70.

From the original 1982 Tron press materials.  

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

This Day in Disney History - Disney California Adventure Park Opens

A Decade of Fun at Disney California Adventure Park: Top Attractions, 552,000 Points, 236 Doors and More

At the Disneyland Resort, there is one anniversary date we set aside as unique: July 17. On that day in 1955, Walt Disney’s big dream became reality with a theme park that was clean, safe and a magical playground for families.

While July 17 launched it all with Disneyland park, there are special milestones that deserve recognition – like today! February 8, 2011, is the 10th birthday for Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim, Calif. 

To thank all the guests who have enjoyed visiting Disney California Adventure park, we collected some fun bits of trivia that capture the excitement of the past 10 years. I hope you enjoy! 

    California Screamin' at Disney California Adventure Park
  1. Six of the most popular attractions at the Disneyland Resort are at Disney California Adventure park: The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror*, California Screamin’, Soarin’ Over California, “World of Color,” Toy Story Mania! and “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular.”
  2. The interactive attraction Toy Story Midway Mania! invites guests to take aim at moving targets. The highest recorded score by a guest is 552,000. (For perspective, beginners are happy to score 25,000.) ©Disney/Pixar
  3. In Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, you’ll see 236 doors in the door vault scene. This attraction is the first at a Disney park that takes guests through the middle of a restroom (the Monsters, Inc. employee restroom). ©Disney/Pixar
  4. Mickey’s Fun Wheel takes riders for an exhilarating spin that rises up nearly 150 feet above Paradise Bay. It’s a full-size replica of the original “Wonder Wheel” Ferris wheel, which was built in 1920 and still operates in Coney Island, New York.
  5. At Flik’s Fun Fair, in A Bug’s Land, there are 75 clovers – one of which is a four-leaf clover. ©Disney/Pixar
  6. Which attraction is known for this phrase: “Launch in five, four, three, two, ONE!” You probably guessed it – California Screamin’. The fastest and longest roller coaster at the Disneyland Resort, it takes guests on an adventure that’s nearly 1 ⅛-miles long.
  7. You might know that Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror* is the tallest attraction in the Disneyland Resort, at 183 feet. Did you know that it also extends 40 feet underground?
  8. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park
  9. Phew! At “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!,” it takes 70,000 “perfume” pellets to create the “stink bug” effect. This show won the 1999 Themed Entertainment Association’s “THEA Award” in the category of “Outstanding Achievement, Attraction.” ©Disney/Pixar
  10. Since opening in 2001, the Food and Beverage team has served guests plenty of delicious things to eat. Here’s the total for a few favorites: 10.9 million bowls of chowder and 9.6 million rolls (at Pacific Wharf Café), and 2.3 million tacos (at Cocina Cucamonga Grill).
  11. “World of Color” celebrated its 500th performance on January 25, 2011. More than 2 million guests have enjoyed this nighttime water spectacular since it premiered on June 11, 2010.
And there’s more. The expansion of Disney California Adventure park continues this summer with the opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

So much to celebrate already, and so much to anticipate. What are your favorite things to see or do at DIsney California Adventure park?

*The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc., and is used with permission pursuant to a license from CBS, Inc. ©Disney/CBS, Inc.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...