Scarlett Stahl recently gave Disney voice artist Mark Silverman a special tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, including the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. Her photos and narrative describing the day are fascinating. ~~Rick
This past July, I had the pleasure of hearing Margaret “Tinker Bell” Kerry speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to a standing ovation, and her emcee was well known voice artist, Mark Silverman. When Mark asked to visit Air Force One and was told that unfortunately it was off hours and they had not arranged security clearance previously, I promised to take him on a tour of the Library and Air Force One as my guest at a later time. I am a docent and a qualified tour guide at the Library. As Mark has been a guest speaker at both Disney Clubs, where I am on the Board, he accepted my invitation happily.
Mark Silverman as Emcee for Margaret Tinker Bell Kerry speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Mark, growing up in Los Angeles, became obsessed with Disneyland and even took a tape recorder with him to learn the voices. Eventually he became the voice of Rod Serling on the Tower of Terror ride and is also the voice of Friend Owl for all sorts of Bambi projects, and does numerous other voices.
Mark and the figures of President and Mrs Reagan
I met Mark at the Reagan Presidential Library and went first to the D23 exhibit, which we enjoyed thoroughly. Seventy percent of the exhibit has never been seen before. It begins with Walt’s early days, has small TV screens showing those days with Virginia Davis in the Alice Comedies. Virginia, as a little girl, had long blonde corkscrew curls and looked so angelic but had shared with me years ago that she was always a tom boy. There was a Pinocchio costume that Dick Jones (the original Voice and Model for Pinocchio) said he had only worn one time. I particularly loved the Cinderella sketch that Mary Blair had done, as I am a fan of Mary Blair and love Cinderella.
Mary Blair sketch of Cinderella
Continuing on down the aisle, we came upon an exact replica of Walt’s office. Dave Smith, former director of the Walt Disney Studio Archives, had shared with the docents previously that Walt never played the piano in his office, but kept it to hear the music for his films. Dave said that the Sherman Brothers knew to play Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins, when Walt would cryptically say “play the song,” as that was Walt’s favorite. There were costumes and pictures and props from various films. James really liked the Nautilus submarine from the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Mark especially enjoyed Fred MacMurray’s sweater from The Happiest Millionaire because Mark helped restore that film by doing the voice of Fred MacMurray for the last couple of scenes in the movie. That was particularly satisfying to him because that was the last film Walt personally supervised.
Mark with Fred MacMurray pictures
At the end of the aisle, we descended down the stairs into darkness, much like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, and there was indeed a Pirate Ship on display. There were costumes from the Annie Liebowitz photos that I appreciated. The set from 101 Dalmations was especially interesting, while again I gazed at the Cinderella gown. Then there were the figures, costumes and set from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Naturally I was drawn to the Chesire Cat and the Alice costume, as I am also an Alice fan. The motorcycle from Tron and the Iron Man attracted crowds. Mark was drawn to the Hitchhiking Ghosts from The Haunted Mansion and said the tall thin one was always the one in his doom buggy. He also liked the Pirate figure from Pirates of the Caribbean and shared that he had done a pirate voice professionally the other day. However, when I asked him to voice it, he declined as he said it was too loud for the space.
Tim Burton’s Cheshire Cat
Motorcyle from Tron
Iron Man, Ship, etc
Ghosts from Haunted Mansion
Back up the stairs we went to continue on the opposite side of the aisle, with figures from WDCC and a wall of all the Disney characters. This led into a room with the sculpted heads of all the presidents, done by Blaine Gibson. I recalled once, when someone had asked Blaine which of his creations he would like to have, his reply was that they were all where they were supposed to be. The artwork and a chessboard were especially appealing.
Artwork in D23 exhibit
Chessboard in D23 exhibit
I took him on a tour of the Library, where some children were crawling through the play Berlin wall. Mark stood behind the mockup of the Presidential inaugural podium and voiced President Reagan at my urging and said “My fellow Americans, Welcome to Disneyland.” The other guests in the room were so surprised and begged for more, but Mark just smiled modestly. Mark especially enjoyed being able to see inside of Air Force One.
Mark at the Presidential Podium
Me taking my turn at the Presidential Podium
Here’s news about a special program at the Reagan Library starring Kathryn Beaumont on November 7th: