Hello Dear Readers! While wading through press releases trying to figure out what to include in today’s list, a theme began to emerge and I realized today’s topics all have one thing in common, Magic — the magic of laughter, the magic of art, movie & music magic, and always ... the magic of, yep, Disney.

Here’s what we’ll be discussing today:

Condolences • Wow! What An Auction • Hellboy & Other Heroes •
Only Make Believe • Hear and See Cars 2 • Free Charles • Magic Maker

I’m always going to remember him through my childhood eyes, sitting inside the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland, watching him spit out all those “teeth” and then marveling at his great big, tooth-filled grin. At the time, the child who was me just couldn’t understand how Wally Boag could spit out sooo many teeth and still have any left to smile with. If you were ever lucky enough to see the Golden Horseshoe Revue then you know that me saying Wally Boag was a comic genius, is a bit of an understatement. And Betty Taylor, who starred along with Wally, as Slue Foot Sue — oh my, she was gorgeous and boy could she sing! How she kept a straight face around Wally and his wackiness ... well, she was just one terrific entertainer.

As you no doubt have heard the sad news by now, we’ve lost those two Disneylanders. I made a point of walking over to the Golden Horseshoe this past weekend to give a nod and say a silent, “Thanks for all those wonderful memories, Wally and Betty.” But now, you and I can do a little better than a silent word of remembrance, a guest book has been set up for Wally in which anyone can leave a kind word:

Wally Boag Guest Book: sign their guest book, share your condolences, or read their obituary, all at this link.

And just in case you’re too young to remember who Wally Boag & Betty Taylor were, MiceAge’s Al Lutz will fill you in on these two Disney Legends and the great shows you missed at this link.

Now ... moving on, you know who Debbie Reynolds is, right? And you’ve probably heard that, for years Miss Reynolds has collected all kinds of movie memorabilia. Her dream was to open a Hollywood museum to house her amazing collection. Sadly, that dream never came to fruition and Debbie has decided to auction off the collection that began back in the 1970’s when MGM Studios liquidated props and costumes:

“I heard the news that MGM was going to sell their inventory of costumes and props,” says Reynolds on how she started collecting, “I went everyday for weeks and focused on purchasing the costumes and props of Academy Award winning films. It soon turned into an obsession. Until now!  I've concluded that my dream of having a museum cannot be fulfilled, so I have decided to share my fabulous collection with other collectors.”

Using the word amazing to describe what’s being auctioned off is not hyperbole. I was perusing the pages of the auction catalog the other night and was absolutely stunned at what’s being sold. I’m still stunned (and I wish I had a heftier bank account so I could place a bid or two).

The auction’s contents are simply nothing short of cinema history ... Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp character” signature bowler top hat, Julie Andrews’ brown jumper and blouse with original guitar from the “Do-Re-Mi” sequence in The Sound of Music (seen above), Marilyn Monroe’s red sequin dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Judy Garland’s  “Dorothy” original blue and white gingham test dress with puff-sleeved white blouse from the first two weeks of Wizard of Oz filming, and Audrey Hepburn’s most recognizable costume from any of her films, the  “Eliza Doolittle” signature ivory ribbon embroidery lace Ascot dress and hat designed by Cecil Beaton ... are just the “tip of the ice berg” when it comes to the auction contents.

The bad news is that once the collection is broken up, you’ll never, ever, be able to see all these amazing pieces together again. The good news is that everything is on display at the Paley Center For Media and you can go have a look-see at the auction previews:

The Debbie Reynolds Collection is deemed to be the most significant collection of Hollywood costumes and props since the liquidation of the MGM and FOX studios in the 1970’s. Profiles in History plans to sell this massive collection through a series of auctions starting with part one in June 2011 and part two in December 2011. This entire collection contains over 3,500 costumes, 20,000 original photographs, several thousand original movie posters, original costume sketches and hundreds of key props from film history.

The Debbie Reynolds auction will take place on June 18th. Remaining Public Preview Dates are: June 8th - June 12th and June 15th - June 17th from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The Paley Center for Media is located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. For more information visit: http://www.profilesinhistory.com/ The Debbie Reynolds Auction Catalog is sold out but a free PDF of it can be downloaded here at this link.

From movie history to movie “now,” head out to the LA Times Hero Complex Film Festival this weekend for more cinema magic. The festival starts today and runs through June 12th at the Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood. On Saturday, Hellboy creator, Mike Mignola will be signing posters:

Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy, will be a special guest at the Hero Complex Film Festival and on Saturday he will be signing special limited-edition posters at the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, the site of the four-day film and pop-culture event. Mignola, one of the signature figures in comics over the last 25 years, created an exclusive image for this year’s festival and that striking image will be available in two formats. One is the official poster for the event — with the show information and names of featured guests – while the other is a “pure” version of Mignola’s sinewy vision. Only 100 copies are being made of each version. The posters are 19" x 13" cost $25, and are produced and sold by Every Picture Tells a Story, the landmark Santa Monica gallery and shop that specializes in the images of the fantastic. Every Picture will be on-site all weekend with the posters and other collectible items for sale, including their exclusive Marvel ArtWorks series.

Mignola will do the one-hour free signing on Saturday beginning at 2:45 p.m. The signing is part of the Saturday program, which is highlighted by the on-stage interviews with Richard Donner, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee and screenings of “Superman” and “Superman II: The Donner Cut.” For more information, visit this link.

And speaking of Super heroes, D23 has updated the line-up and offerings for its June 21st Rocketeer 20th anniversary event at the El Capitan Theatre:

Director Joe Johnston joins the panel (he also directed this summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger.) Already announced to participate are Rocketeer Bill Campbell, make-up designer Rick Baker, screenwriters Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo and illustrator William Stout. Writer/producer/director Kevin Smith – Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma – will host the discussion, which includes rare film footage and photos, before the first-ever, public presentation of the new digitally remastered and projected version of The Rocketeer.

Afterwards, everyone heads on over to the Hollywood Museum in the nearby Max Factor building, where they are invited to explore four floors of movie memories and exhibits highlighted by a special presentation of props and costumes from The Rocketeer, set up exclusively for this event by the Walt Disney Archives.

The group will also be able to shop a selection of commemorative and limited-edition Rocketeer merchandise and collectibles, available from D23 and event co-sponsor, Creature Features. Expect Bulldog Cafe coffee mugs and T-shirts, Rocketeer black light and 20th anniversary posters, assorted commemorative T-shirts and pins, Hughes Industries giclee prints, and a limited edition Cirrus X-3 double pin set (packaged inside a miniature replica of the Hughes Industries 1939 New York World’s Fair prop folder used by Howard Hughes – actor Terry O’ Quinn – in the film). Another merchandise highlight is the highly detailed Bull Dog Cafe Art Directors Model, limited to an edition size of only 23.

Tickets are on sale now to both the general public and D23 Members online at www.elcapitantickets.com or by calling (818) 845-3110 at $50 per person. Check-in begins at 6:45 p.m. at the El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd; panel and screening begins at 7:30 p.m. The Walt Disney Archives exhibit runs from 9:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Museum located at 1660 N. Highland Ave.

Now, the event is a tad pricey, and there's no mention of composer James Horner (whose soaring film score is arguably the key factor in the film's continuing appeal). But at least all audience members get a complimentary Rocketeer 20th anniversary program and D23 Members/guests will receive a special commemorative Rocketeer gift.

From movie magic to magic of a different kind ... The Laguna Pageant of the Masters. This is another event that isn’t hyperbole to describe as amazing and is something you have to see to believe. Each year the pageant stages what they call, tableaux vivants — a series of artworks brought to life. Simply put, the tableaux consist of painted backdrops of familiar works of art in which living people are posed as part of the art to bring the whole picture together. There is always at least one tableau that allows the audience to see how the magic is made, but even when they show you how they put these pictures together, with the performers climbing into the painted backdrops, it’s still astonishing and never fails to draw gasps of amazement from the audience.

This year’s theme is Only Make Believe and at least one of the art pieces involves a Sir John Tenniel illustration from Alice In Wonderland, which I for one, cannot wait to see come to life:

Only Make Believe will showcase the creative expressions of artists who devoted themselves to conjuring everything from Victorian historical fantasies to illustrations for fairytales beginning "once upon a time." From the mythological legends of ancient Greece to evocations of classic stories of buried treasure, spooky encounters and the simple pleasures of playing dress-up, the 2011 Pageant promises no shortage of fantasy fun for the entire family.

The Pageant of the Masters will be performed nightly from Thursday, July 7th, through Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at the Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters at 650 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach, CA. For information about the Pageant of the Masters, call 949-497-6852, or toll free 800-487-3378, or visit the Festival website at this link. For tickets visit this link.

Now, let’s - ahem - shift gears and talk about Pixar’s upcoming Cars 2. Excited? Much? I am, can’t wait to find out what Lightning McQueen, Mater, and the rest of the gang are up to. A little music is in order to tide us over till the film opens on June 24th — Cars 2 is the fourth Pixar feature score for Michael Giacchino, who has previously composed the music for "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," and won the Oscar for "Up." He also scored half a dozen short films from the Studio as well as a few park attractions, including Space Mountain here at Disneyland.

About Giacchino’s music, the film’s director, John Lasseter said, "Michael is doing such a cool score for the film. We did not want to do a typical spy movie score. We wanted it to be something very different–a whole new approach." Cars 2 features a score by Giacchino, plus music from alternative rock's Weezer, country music's Brad Paisley, British singer/songwriter Robbie Williams, France's Benabar and the power pop Japanese girl band Perfume.

The soundtrack hits June 14; the movie opens on June 24, 2011, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D in select theaters. And don't forget, if you're a D23 member in San Francisco, Chicago or Washington DC you get a special Cars 2 perk which we detailed last week, and we'll note again:

D23 Members have the opportunity to see Cars 2 Disney Digital 3D the weekend the movie races into theaters. Members in San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, DC are invited to bring a pal to see the high-octane sequel on Saturday, June 25 at 10 AM.

Tickets for the screenings are now available, and the cost is $10 for two people to attend. For more information, visit this link.

Okay, we’re almost done for today, two more brief mentions and I’ll let you go off to find your own particular kind of magic, whatever that may be...

Regular readers might recall me mentioning Charles Phoenix from time to time. I’m quite fond of his shows and guess what? He’s got a free show coming up in LA at the end of the month:

Be prepared for your civic pride to swell when Charles Phoenix presents an all-new show – a spirited, fun-filled tour of the city’s many kitschy and classic “attractions” in its many “lands” including Downtown, Hollywood, Boyle Heights and more! Charles Phoenix: Los Angelesland is part of the FREE Grand Performance Summer Series that takes place downtown at the California Plaza. Come early for picnicking and pre-show fun on Friday, June 24th at 8:30 PM.

The California Plaza is located at 300-350 Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit this link.

And lastly, I want to leave you with a video about magic.

I think that word gets tossed around quite a bit when referring to Disney or Disney parks. And sometimes it may seem a bit, well, over-used. But all of you reading this probably know what that feeling of magic is and you know it’s a tangible, if somewhat indefinable thing. For each person, it probably has a different meaning. But we Disney fans, all of us, from the littlest, to the folks who make the magic, we are all somehow linked together by that thing we call Disney Magic.

Senior Concept Writer and Director for Walt Disney Imagineering, Kevin Rafferty, will take you on a little trip to Disneyland sharing his experiences creating magic at the Happiest Place on Earth. For my money, he defines the term Disney Magic, to perfection:

Want to know what I’m up to? Then you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland!

Follow me along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find:

I’ll leave you and say goodbye until next week when we meet again to discuss more...

If you'd like to submit something to be considered for the column, please send it to both Sue and Al at the following email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected] with the words "Pressing Matters" in the subject line. Due to our already extensive email loads we won't be able to acknowledge each submission, but those under consideration may get a note from us asking for more details. Representatives from the items chosen are invited to answer questions from readers at the forum linked at the end of each column.

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.

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2011 Sue Kruse