Mousetalgia Podcast 303: Touring the Disney Studio and Disney Music Group

Written by Jeff Baham. Posted in Disney, Disney Movies, Mousetalgia, Podcasts

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Mousestalgia

Published on August 11, 2014 at 12:01 am with 2 Comments

It’s Rewards Points Week at Mousetalgia, as Kristen cashes in 15,000 Disney Movie Rewards points to earn a private tour of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank! Listen to all the details as Kristen and Jeff describe the process of applying for the tour and discuss the tour itself. We’ll compare it with the D23 fan club tours and contrast the various features of both tours. Next, the tour reports continue as we visit Imagineering and the Disney Music Group for an in-depth look at the variety of services and musical expertise that makes up Disney’s important music department, including a look at the sorting, score archiving, album cover design, orchestrating and record label business that comprises this world-class business division. Plus – a trip to Warner Bros. studios, a walk on the Disney Studios’ rooftop – and more!

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    When I was 13, I toured the Disney Studios in 1968. My father wrote the studio that I was an artist and interested in animation and they replied with a letter (on Mickey Mouse letter head) that we would be welcomed to come and take a tour when we were in Southern California. Oh My God!!! My dad is so great, and this is just one reason.

    The studio was pretty much the same as it was during Disney’s heyday, since it was only a couple years since he passed away. Today, my memories are a little clouded and I wish they would have allowed pictures but it was pretty much the same from pictures I’ve seen online or on DVDs.

    I can remember vividly touring “Pollyanna” street, which was being prepped for the movie “Rascal”. All the grass was dead, and they were dressing large sections of lawn with green cloth and fake grass; they were also spray-painting the leaves on the trees to represent fall (it was either June or Jul at the time). It was fun that they let me go climbing behind the facades, to see pretty much… nothing. The rest of the backlot I remember seeing was the Zorro building area, which they explained was actually some office buildings. I do not remember seeing the small town square or western towns. Probably because we immediately went into a soundstage where they were filming Rascal. They had the lead actor pretending to be playing a piano, while just offstage, a real pianist was playing. The set was a living room, in the early 1900s, I’ll have to see if I can find a copy of the movie.

    Next we went into the animation wing, and toured several animator’s offices and the camera operators room. I remember one of the animators (can’t remember his name…) sharing his work on his animation board from an upcoming movie, which was the Jungle Book. He demonstrated how he worked with multiple drawings at a time and then we viewed a clip on the Moviola in his office. It was really amazing and I wish I could have been more inquisitive at the time, but I know I was really awestruck and shy.

    Today, I wish I appreciated this amazing opportunity as much then, as I do now- it was really beyond my teen comprehension of what a significant opportunity I was given. One of these days I will have to tour the studios again.

    Thanks again, Dad.

  • Thanks for sharing those memories! A tour of the studios today gives glimpses into those days, and you can almost sense what was, like ghosts walking the halls. Of course, much of what you remember is now converted to production offices and leased-out space, but the history lingers.