What a great afternoon, and once again the D23 folks show they go way beyond expectations in pulling together what was virtually a free event! Yes, there was a $5/ticket charge, but that was really a way to cover administration of issuing tickets and making provisions to not oversell, and the effort put into the event far exceeded that price. I imagine the next event, Pollyanna, will "sell out" a whole lot faster!
I arrived with friends a little before 1, the official "entry" time at the gate, but they were kindly letting us in (and we were not the first). There really isnt anywhere to "wait" outside the studio so this was much appreciated, and the gate security quickly checked off our names and directed us to parking. We noted the store was not open and got through the event check in table with maybe a one minute wait, there were lots of D23 helpers and it was set up alphabetically and went very smoothly. We thought the store was open because we saw people going in the door, but it was just the "foyer" part where D23 merchandise was available.
In regards to that, yes, the pdf link on the confirm email earlier this week initially said that 5 patches were available, but by Friday that Pdf link was updated and only 2 were shown, as noted elsewhere. And, they had added a $10 signed photo of Kevin. As to the posters, they did have all four initially and eventually sold out of all but the mad hatter, eventually maybe even that one, because they were a big poster and a great value for $5. The signed photos were going to be available after the screening, so I got a pin, the patches and the posters and put them in the car.
A friend who arrived with us had brought their "Toby Tyler" book with them but we were not sure that there would be any signing, since the photo was being sold (and limited to 100 copies), so they left it in their car. We walked around the back of the theatre but only because it was a little shorter route than past the store and commissary, but I think security probably realized that they needed to direct foot traffic from the parking lot so ... I guess we were bad that way. We took a couple of photos by the "sign" and then entered the theatre.
They had a photo with the event logo on the screen and classic Disney songs were playing (and seemed to get louder as it approached 2 pm to the point that people had to talk VERY loudly to hear one another). I am not good at inserting photos here so I know others will (I am surprised there arent any reports yet!). Eventually Becky Cline entered from the front side and announced that Kevin would be introducing the film, and welcomed us all. I think it was at this point Becky announced that we should all check under our seats for an envelope - and one lucky winner in the back found it! They were awarded a beautiful "half sheet" original Toby Tyler poster signed by Kevin Corcoran - I will forever wonder if they found it under an empty seat though (there were a few no shows I guess). And who knows what method they will use at the next screening to pick a winner, because undoubtedly early arrivers will be checking under seats! What a great prize, I wondered where they found it, it appeared to be in very good condition too.
Kevin was most gracious with his praise for all the folks involved in the production - the actors, the director, and the crew. He spoke about the special training he was sent to, at 2 different riding schools, to learn the specialized "stand up" riding techniques. He shared about the scenes at the Disney ranch where the circus parade was filmed as well. He did not speak much of his other roles at Disney, or ever meeting Walt, or his subsequent career - personally, I greatly admire the dense plotting, characterization and scripting of "Sons of Anarchy" which he executive produces and which is almost as far away from Disney in theme as you can get! But he really chose to focus on the production crew and was quite kind, talking about what some of them did later in their years. With that, he invited us to join the film, and Becky had previously announced he would be signing DVD's in the store afterwards.
The print itself was gorgeous, clean, and the sound superb. There was one point with a focal issue, not sure if it was in the film or the projection, but all was well. I had not seen the film in probably 35 years but it was just as I remembered, only without the Sunday night commercial breaks and the one week intermission! I must say, you could make a very intense drinking game out of taking a shot every time Kevin declares "Mr. Stubbs"! Of course the chimp is a major factor for the storyline and the success of the film, but my oh my - the things they had in this movie that would not make it in now, these "more progressive" times. A kid runs away from home and a man invites him to be his boy selling concessions, and no one thinks to ask around? Of course it was set not even in the 50s, and was based on a novel. I was particularly impressed with the period circus elements - the caravan, the calliope, the costumes. A friend chatting prior to the film was sharing about some of the additional marketing items that were released at the time, including a song about Mr. Stubbs! That is one I would find interesting.
After the film and a round of applause, we headed out the front side exit to make it to the store because members of our group REALLY REALLY wanted a signed photo, and they got it (and so did I). The "store" was open now as well and a line quickly formed to buy a DVD, and another line for the signing. I passed on the DVD although I would have appreciated being able to tell Mr. C how much I admired Sons of Anarchy. Anyway, we found that a special patch was given out as you exited the theatre from the main entrance, which we had missed, but were able to procure one without problem.
What a super afternoon! I did not get to thank Becky but I did tell Jeff how much I appreciated their effort. One of my friends is particularly anxious to enjoy Pollyanna which is coming up in early May. I did ask Jeff if more info is known yet about the Archive anniversary event, scheduled for late June, and he indicated that would be shared soon. In any case, I cannot think of anything that could be added to make this a more perfect event, and for $5 it was the Disney bargain of the year. I realize some did not get something they wanted, etc., but, from me only applause for the team on this one. Thanks D23!
PS it was nice to see Dusty Sage and Fishbulb in front of us, hope you had fun!