More than likely, you are going to know what Imagineers are. They are the folks who conceive and design all aspects of the Disney Theme Parks. It is taking Imagination and Engineers and they become Imagineers. It is a very Disney-fied word. He created WED Enterprises in 1952 to work on and concept Disneyland. This episode looks exclusively at Randy Bright, Bill Justice, Tim Delaney, X Atencio, and Dave Feiten.
|I would love to have that scale model of EPCOT behind X Atencio. It's probably bigger than my house.|
We also check in with Dave Feiten who works on the audio-animatronics. He talks about how they were working on an audio-animatronic that would walk on its own. Dave, that would be a robot which would be scary! Actually in 2005, Imagineering did unveil the first audio-animatronic that could walk on its own, Lucky the Dinosaur. What I have seen of him, Lucky is pretty cool!
The Sherman Brothers TX: 1985
The episodes of The Disney Family Album were produced in the 1980s. It was produced by Cardon Walker (son of one time Disney CEO E. Cardon Walker) and Michael Bonifer. It was narrated by Buddy Ebsen. In the excellent article by Wade Sampson for Mouse Planet Jim Fanning recalls why they wanted Buddy Ebsen to do this, “I thought Buddy Ebsen was an excellent choice as narrator as he had a Disney connection but not an exclusively Disney connection. I know that Mike and Cardon wanted a narrator with a lot of character in his voice and Buddy certainly had that."
Although the series looked like a product of the 1980s in terms of being made on video, it is a lot of fun to watch. It goes into great detail about its subject and provides all sorts of archival clips. A lot of them I have seen a ton of times but I could imagine that in the mid-1980s, a lot of this would have been new and not so readily seen before. Even the behind the scenes of making the audio-animatronics would have been somewhat new apart from the behind the scenes glimpse Walt would have given us in his anthology series of the 1950s and 1960s.
If you are looking at my screen grabs for these episodes, you will notice that these have the Disney Channel logo on them. That is because this series is not on DVD. These recordings were possibly from the early 21st century but probably from the late 1990s. I am not sure of the frequency of when they were shown but these were part of the Vault Disney line up. Vault Disney programming on the Disney Channel was a way to run countless hours of vintage programs late night on the Disney Channel. Not only did it include this series bit would also feature programs like Disneyland and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. These were incredible programs that gave us a glimpse into what the Disney Studios were like in the 1950s-1960s. In fact, it showed us what the theme parks were like in a different time. The program shown would give the viewer a look at what made Disney……well Disney. Vault Disney programming stopped on the Disney Channel in 2002. Replaced by the popular programs that were running on the channel earlier that evening. Channels “evolve” for the lack of a better term. Maybe more accurately some of the viewers like me just don’t like change. I want to continue to see them run old black & white shows or programs like The Disney Family Album. May I want new (younger) viewers to be exposed to the stuff I loved. I don’t buy into the fact that black & white programs are a complete turn off to younger viewers or maybe myself and others had more of an open mind to it. I am fascinated by the past and without Walt Disney there would be no Phineas and Ferb, Wizards of Waverly Place or The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. People of my ilk would love to see a cable channel devoted to the old programs such as a Vault Disney Channel. Remember, all channels (de) evolve from their original intention. Look at Nick at Nite. The days of solid 1960s and 1970s programs are long gone. Now we are watching 1990s programs or “original” series created by the network. A Vault Disney channel may show stuff like Zorro, Disneyland or even The Disney Family Album but it would only be a matter of time before old shows for the channel are considered to be stuff like Lizzie McGuire or That’s So Raven.
I don’t think The Disney Family Album will ever get a release on DVD or at least in the original form that has been shown on the Disney Channel. I am sure if Disney wanted to do a documentary or a series of programs based on the talent that made the house of Disney, they would probably want to make it all flashier and contemporary. I can see why but hopefully everyone remembers all the precious footage that was shot for this series of people who are no longer with us. Even the voice of Buddy Ebsen makes the series almost more reassuring. Of course, I am of the mind that there is nothing wrong with the presentation the way it is. It is a historical document and I would like to see it stay this way.
Amongst a lot of fans, there is anger about how some of this output of not only early Disney Channel series but of little known or seen films are not getting a release. Because they are not mainstream titles, it looks like they may never be released. This is why groups such as Open Vault Disney came about. Launched in 2010 Open Vault Disney existence is about “Getting Disney to release DVD-on-Demand titles as well as get the "Disney Afternoon" titles re-started and the rest of the current unreleased "Walt-era" titles released.” There may be a chance for some of these titles to get released as Disney is adopting the manufactured on demand (MOD) DVDs that was started by Warner in 2009. I know a lot of people who hate this model but I think it is a great idea. Anything to get rarely seen, hard to find titles out on a high quality (non-download) format is fine by me. Maybe there is hope for The Disney Family Album to be released yet?
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