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Hello Dear Readers! Ready for the Academy Awards on Sunday? I still have some films to watch. Which movie have you picked to win? A couple of today’s topics have to do with Oscars, so before you get back to your Oscar party planning, let’s get busy with today’s Pressing Matters. Here are today’s topics:

But Why Is It Named Oscar? • Leo And The Last Pair Of Slippers
• Disney Wedding Planning • Flower Fields
• Whales • March At The Walt Disney Family Museum

Who holds the world’s record for winning more Academy Awards than anyone else? Steven Spielberg? Meryl Streep? Frank Capra?

Nope. None of those fine folks. Any Disney fan should be able to easily answer the question though. It’s, of course, Walt Disney who holds the record, with 32 Academy Award wins — and the company has a nifty article about Walt’s history with Oscar:

When the Oscars were presented on November 18, 1932, Walt was the recipient of the Best Short Subject: Cartoon award for Flowers and Trees (1932), part of his artistically unprecedented Silly Symphonies series. In addition, Walt was awarded a special Oscar for creating what even the biggest name in Hollywood would admit was filmdom’s brightest star Mickey Mouse. For the glamorous ceremonies on that big night, Walt had produced a special Mouse cartoon, in which Mickey appeared in color for the very first time.

Entitled Mickey’s Parade of Nominees, this unique Disney production presented the acting candidates in the fun-filled form of animated caricatures designed by Disney Legend Joe Grant, at the end of which Mickey piped, “I’m sorry. I can’t come any further so I’ll have to ask Mr. Disney to accept my prize for me.” At this point Walt received his honorary Oscar, only the second Special Award given to an individual in the Academy’s five-year history (the first such Special Award was given in 1929 to Walt’s idol, Charlie Chaplin for The Circus, 1928). Mickey was nominated that year too, for Mickey’s Orphans (1932), but would not appear in an Oscar-winning film until Lend a Paw (1941).

Read the rest of Walt’s Oscar story at this link

Yesterday one of the most famous pairs of shoes in cinematic history found a home and actor Leonardo DiCaprio helped find that home for the last remaining pair of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers:

The famous footwear, worn by Judy Garland in 1939's The Wizard of Oz, was just acquired by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In a Wednesday announcement, the Academy cites Leonardo DiCaprio as the primary benefactor."Leo's passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history," said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. "It's a wonderful gift to the Academy museum project, and a perfect representation of the work we do year-round to preserve and share our film heritage."

Joe Maddalena, owner of Profiles in History, arranged the sale of a screen-used pair of Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939) to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences:

They are the Holy Grail of all Hollywood Memorabilia," said Rhys Thomas, expert and author of The Ruby Slippers of Oz, "Far more than just a pair of red-sequined shoes, they are an indelible icon of a uniquely American fairy tale. And of the four pairs of authentic ruby slippers known to exist, this pair offered by Profiles in History, marked '#7 Judy Garland' and known as the 'Witch's Shoes,' are the most important and most valuable. Without question, they are the 'close-up' shoes, worn by Garland when she clicks her heels three times. They are the 'take me home to Kansas,' shoes, transcending Hollywood, representing an enduring symbol of the power of belief."

(Something most people don't know is that the slippers in the original Wizard of Oz book were described as being silver in color. It was MGM's costume designers that changed their color to ruby red to take better advantage of Technicolor.)

The history of the Ruby Slippers is interesting — there are four pairs of screen-used Ruby Slippers known to have survived since the making of The Wizard of Oz. One pair is at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and is one of the most asked about artifacts at the museum. Another pair was unfortunately, stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and will probably never be recovered. The third pair is in private hands and will not be reaching the market any time soon. The pair acquired by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is the final fourth pair.

Eventually, the famous footwear will be on display in the yet-to-be-completed Academy Museum that the Academy and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are working together to open in the old May Co. building in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, currently known as LACMA West. And the chairman of the fund-raising campaign to bring that museum to fruition is none other than Disney’s own Bob Iger. To read more about the acquisition of the Ruby Slippers, visit this link.

Now … let’s move on from the movie talk and discuss something completely different. It’s the time of year when brides-to-be step up their wedding planning and for a Disney fan, nothing could be better than a Disney-themed wedding, unless it’s a Disney-themed wedding at a Disney theme park. If that’s you, then you need to give a listen to The Disney Wedding Podcast, a weekly program providing handy tips for planning your Disney wedding:

"The Disney Wedding Podcast" is the only program dedicated to weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries and other romantic occasions at the Disney parks and resorts. Each week, Carrie Hayward takes a look at what’s new and exciting in the world of Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings. Topics range from the latest news, planning information and money-saving tips to in-depth interviews and event coverage. The program also features special guests, including industry experts, wedding vendors and real Disney brides and grooms.

The podcast’s host, Carrie Hayward knows what she’s talking about — she’s the author of "PassPorter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons," a guidebook and bridal organizer for weddings, vow renewals, commitment ceremonies and honeymoons at Walt Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line, and is also the E-Book Editor at PassPorter Travel Press, an independent publisher of best-selling Disney park guidebooks. And yes, Carrie had her very own Disney wedding — she was married at Walt Disney World in 2008. The Disney Wedding Podcast is released weekly on Wednesday and is available via iTunes worldwide at this link. You’ll also find the program at its own link and on Facebook at this link.Want more? Follow the show's Twitter account @DisneyWedCast.

If you’re a bride, you’re going to need flowers and even if you’re not a bride, you need flowers. At least that’s what I think as I try to follow what the artist Monet said, “I must have flowers. Always,” or something to that effect. One of the showiest flower displays in the southland is about to open, and it’s a sight to see — the flower fields of Carlsbad:

For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of North San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year - from early March through early May - literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area's local heritage, is also one of nature's official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in Southern California.

The flower fields open this year on March 1st and will remain open through May 13th, 2012. The fields are open to the public seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Tickets are available for purchase onsite and online — $11.00 for Adults, $10.00 for Seniors 60+, $6.00 for Children 3 - 10, Children 2 and under are free. If you want to visit over and over again, there are also season passes available. They even have wagon rides through the flower fields. For more information and directions to the fields, visit this link, or call the Flower Information Line: (760) 431-0352.

Another thing of beauty taking place this time of year is the annual migration of the California Gray Whale. The nearby town of Dana Point celebrates with the Festival of Whales:

The whales will begin their migration in late November, but from March 3 – 4 and 10 - 11 hundreds of these 35-ton leviathans will splash through the seaside community of Dana Point, California – the West Coast’s premier location to meet and greet these incredible creatures during the 41st Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales. The Dana Point Festival of Whales is one of Southern California’s largest seafaring celebrations and reaches out to whale admirers around the world. 

Festival highlights include an opening day parade, Whale of a Block Party, art exhibits, classic car exhibits, paddling events, sand sculpting, concerts on land and water, environmental activities, educational opportunities, interpretive crafts, kids activities, and of course, whale watching excursions on a variety of vessels or whale watching from breathtaking Dana Point Headlands Conservation Park. 

For background information on the Festival and Dana Point, as well as a calendar of all the events Dana Point has planned, visit this link.

Now let’s turn our attention to the Walt Disney Family Museum for a look at all the events they have planned for the month of March.

• Film of the Month is one of my all-time favorites, Pollyanna. It will screen in the theater from March 1st through March 31st at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM daily except Tuesdays, and March 9, 10, and 17.

• On Saturday, March 3rd, see the presentation of Bambi and the Library of Congress at 11:00 AM and 3:30 PM in the Theater: In celebration of the perpetual preservation of beloved Bambi by the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, we're screening the 1942 classic animated film in our theater. Hosted Disney Historian J.B. Kaufman, the screenings bookend a discussion of the Museum's extensive collection of Bambi artifacts. Each screening will include a question and answer session, too. These screenings will be free with Museum admission.

• On Saturday, March 17th — A Conversation with Nancy Olson at 3:00 PM in the Theater: In celebration of Women's History Month and our Film of the Month, Pollyanna, Disney historian and friend of the Museum Jeff Kurtti will host a conversation with this delightful star, and share rare photographs and film clips from her projects for Walt.

• On Friday March 23rd, Saturday March 24th, Sunday March 25th the museum presents — Look Closer: Ladies of the Ink and Paint Department at 1:00 & 3:00 PM in Gallery 3

• On Sunday, March 4th — Sunday Story Time from 3:00 PM to 3:45 PM in the Theater Lobby:

• On Saturday March 10th the museum holds a Ukulele Workshop with the time to still be determined: Join the director of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble Peter Luongo and members of the group for a hands-on workshop experience at locations throughout the Museum.

• On Sunday March 18th — Disney Discoveries take place from 1:00 to 3:00 PM in the Learning Center Art Studio: Ring in the spring with your own cheerfully decorated flower pot! This easy-to-make craft will brighten up any room in the spirit of the Film of the Month for March, Pollyanna.

• On Saturday March 17th — You Are What You Paint Workshop with Felicia Forte from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the Learning Center Art Studio: Join Bay Area Artist Felicia Forte in a fun and inspiring painting workshop. We will use yummy foods as the subject of your study to paint. All materials will be supplied. Space is limited. Registration required. email: [email protected]

Some of the events listed require separate fees from admission so be sure to check the museum’s website for details. The Walt Disney Family Museum is located at: 104 Montgomery Street in The Presidio of San Francisco. For more information on events, event tickets, and museum entry fees, visit this link.

That pretty much wraps it up for this week, thanks for stopping by. I’ve got some Oscar-day planning to do so I’ll leave you and say good-bye till next week. In the mean time, if you want to know what I’m up to, you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland, Movies! Follow along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find:


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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Sue Kruse and Al Lutz did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in this article. They pay for their own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

© 2012 Sue Kruse