Did you know that there are two different Disney Legends Awards? The Disneyana Fan Club holds their Disney Legends Awards Ceremony to recognize those people who have brought Disney magic to their members. Scarlett Stahl brings us photos and news about the 2013 award winners. ~~Rick
THE DISNEYANA FAN CLUB
2013 DISNEY LEGEND AWARDS
by Scarlett Stahl
The Disneyana Fan Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich legacy of Walt Disney. Their common goal is to provide Disneyana enthusiasts of all ages from around the world with news, information, and events that enhance their experience with, and love of, all things Disney. In 1993, the Disneyana Fan Club, which was then called the NFFC, created the Disney Legend Awards. These awards were, and are, a way for members to say thank you to the people who have created the magic, and to let them know that their work is recognized and beloved. In addition, when the awards are presented, members often hear the recipients talk about their work and careers. To date, the Disneyana Fan Club has honored 122 people. Each has helped create lasting memories for Disney fans, and their work continues to delight new generations of Disney fans.
(This award is not to be confused with The Walt Disney Company’s own Legend Award and ceremony, though often both the Disneyana Fan Club and the Walt Disney Studios do honor the same person, as they have similar goals.)
On Friday, July 12, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Anaheim/ Garden Grove, California, members of the Club, who had come from various cities throughout the United States, gathered in the ballroom for the Disneyana Fan Club Disney Legend Luncheon, which is held during their annual convention.
Towards the front of the room were tables filled with previous honorees, such as Alice Davis (Disney Legend, creator of costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean, etc), Bob Gurr (Disney Legend and Imagineer, who helped create the monorail, the trains, etc), Marty Sklar (retired President of Walt Disney Imagineering and International Ambassador), Kathryn Beaumont (Disney Legend and Voice of Alice and Wendy), Leonard Maltin (historian), Tony Baxter (Imagineer and soon to be Disney Legend), Dave Smith (Disney Legend and former director of the Walt Disney Studio Archives), Tony Anselmo (Disney Legend and Voice of Donald Duck), to name some of the luminaries in attendance.
The luncheon consisted of salad, chicken Wellington or vegetarian, followed by a dessert of chocolate mousse. After the luncheon, there was a short video, showing the pictures and names of all the previous Legend recipients. Then Allan Halcrow, the moderator, invited Bruce Reitherman up to the stage to accept the Disneyana Fan Club Disney Legend Award for himself and also for his father, Wolfgang Reitherman, who was being given the award posthumously. Bruce brought some film clips of himself and his family for the guests to view while he talked about himself and his father. Being a modest man, he admitted that he preferred talking about his father rather than himself.
However it was soon apparent that Bruce is a very intelligent and interesting speaker. As a child, Bruce had provided the voice for Mowgli in the Disney animated classic Jungle Book, as well as Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. He said that they had wanted the voice and the attitude of a real child, rather than an actor. Wolfgang Reitherman, who was one of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, was Bruce’s father and also the director of both films.
To give a little history of Bruce’s background, in 1977, after graduating from UC Berkeley, Bruce worked as a river guide, field biologist, naturalist, expedition leader and biological consultant. He became a multitalented film artist, who has performed as an actor, cinematographer, director, writer and producer. Beginning in 1983 he worked on natural history productions as a freelance cinematographer. Since then he has produced documentaries, shown on PBS, National Geographic Television, The Discovery Channel, the BBC and Canal Plus. He wrote, produced and directed Big Sur and California’s Wild Coast. He also produced and photographed New True Life Adventures: Alaska, Dances of the Caribou and contributed to television programs: In the Wild, Nature, and Big Bear Week. In addition to all of the above, he has appeared as himself in several documentaries.
When listening to Bruce talk about his father, Wolfgang or Woolie Reitherman, the guests could see the great pride and love that Bruce had for him. Woolie was born in Munich, Germany but came to the United State as an infant and was raised in Sierra Madre, California. He attended Pasadena Junior College, planning on becoming an aircraft engineer. He even took a job at Douglas Aircraft but soon changed his mind and enrolled at Chouinard Art Institute to study watercolor. His teacher also worked at Walt Disney Studios and Woolie soon joined the Disney Animation Department.
World War II interrupted his animation career when he enlisted with the US Army Air Force as a pilot and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he returned to his true love of animation and Woolie became one of Walt’s Legendary Nine Old Men. He worked on numerous shorts and animated films which included: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Jungle Book. He also directed The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and Robin Hood. The cartoon feature Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which he directed, won an Academy Woolie stayed another fifteen years after Walt’s death to help stabilize and unify the Studio before he finally retired.
After Bruce left the stage, Howard Green was called upon to join Allan on the stage. Howard also had brought some film and clips to show while he talked about the high points in his own life. Howard is a 36-year veteran of The Walt Disney Studios and is not well known by the general public. Howard, however, is a Legend within the industry and is beloved, as well as admired, by one and all. Though he was not born a Disney, he is the closest person to being a Disney at the Studio today.
He has worked in publicity, marketing, communications and serves presently as Vice President, communications for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. His main special area of expertise has been animated features produced for both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. He is Disney’s resident authority on that subject and has been integrally involved in the publicity and marketing campaigns for nearly every major animated release since 1978. Green has also written two books for Disney: Remembering Walt: Favorite Memories of Walt Disney (with Amy Boothe Green; 1999), and The Tarzan Chronicles (1999). He served as producer for Disney on the 1981 theatrical featurette Once Upon a Mouse, and received an associate producer credit on the 2001 feature length documentary, Walt: The Man Behind the Myth.
His proudest duties at the Studio include his interaction with such animation legends as Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Joe Grant, Marc Davis, Eric Larson, Woolie Reitherman, Ward Kimball, etc. These legendary men became like family to Howard and they even traveled on vacations together. Alice Davis commented that “Howard became an adopted son to my husband Marc (legendary animator) and me”.
In addition to his role with Disney, Green served as co-producer of the Emmy-nominated TCM Original Film, Clint Eastwood Presents: Johnny Mercer “The Dreams On Me”, which aired in November, 2009 to mark the legendary singer/songwriter’s centennial. Green also collaborated on the narration for the film, which was executive produced by Clint Eastwood. He recently received an honorary Annie Award from ASIFA (the international animated film society) for his contributions to the animation industry.
Tony Baxter had previously been honored as a Disneyana Fan Club Legend in 2004 and was surprised when he was called to the stage after Howard had returned to his seat. Allan Halcrow presented Tony with a crystal plaque which had Mickey and Minnie engraved on it along with his name, and thanks from the DFC for 47 years of making magic, as he had recently retired from Imagineering. Tony will also become a Disney Legend at the Disney Legend Ceremony at the D23 Expo on Saturday August 10th, which will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center.
As the luncheon ended, the members gathered around the celebrities, who have made the magic, for autographs, photos and to speak to the people they admire so very much.