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A Japanese university plans to return about 250 pieces of original animation art to the Walt Disney Company that were mislaid in storage after traveling to Japan nearly five decades ago. Disney said that the art — cels, backgrounds, preliminary paintings and storyboard sketches — was part of a collection that was handpicked by Walt Disney himself. It was sent to Japan in 1960 for a touring exhibition timed to the opening of the film “Sleeping Beauty.” The exhibition opened at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo in May of that year and traveled to 16 other stores throughout Japan. “Walt wanted to explain every element of the animation process, so he chose artwork from all phases of production and a number of films,” said Lella Smith, creative director of the Disney Animation Research Library in Burbank, Calif., which preserves the studio’s artwork. “But the primary focus was ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ ” Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE slideshow Going HomeMARCH 17, 2008 Although most of the art is from that film, the collection also includes rare set-ups (cel and background combinations) from two Oscar-winning Silly Symphony cartoons: “Flowers and Trees” (1932), the first Technicolor cartoon and the first film to win the Academy Award for animated short film, and the landmark short “Three Little Pigs” (1933). “The ‘Flowers and Trees’ set-up is an extremely important piece,” Ms. Smith said in an interview at her office in the library. She said other highlights included two backgrounds from the “Nutcracker Suite” and “Rite of Spring” sequences in the 1940 film “Fantasia.” Among other striking works is a sequence of images by the designer Eyvind Earle that show how he created the stylized forest backgrounds for “Sleeping Beauty.” The delicate clusters of leaves and intricately textured bark on the trees reflect Mr. Earle’s interest in 15th-century French manuscripts and the painting of Van Eyck, and foreshadow his later serigraphs. After the department store tour, Disney donated the artwork to the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. But the material was not considered a good fit for its permanent collection, so the museum gave the pieces to Chiba University to enhance the study of the visual arts. Chiba’s academic focus was on science, engineering and medicine, however, and the Disney art was consigned to a janitor’s closet and forgotten until it was found by chance four years ago. Although the artwork suffered some damage because of dampness, the rarest pieces were sealed in frames, which protected them somewhat. After a year of restoration work by technicians at Disney’s Animation Research Library, some 200 works went on tour in Japan, along with 350 additional pieces lent by the studio in an exhibition titled “The Art of Disney.” The show toured seven museums around the country in 2006 and 2007, including the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art. At the end of its run, Chiba University offered to return the artwork to Disney. In a statement Chiba University’s president, Toyoki Kozai, said, “The response to the exhibit gave us a new appreciation for the historical and artistic value of these works.”Disney Stuff - Pooh and Goofy Disney Store Cuddle Tot Plush by Chris Barry, staff writer May 15, 2015 Advertisement "That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up." – Walt Disney By far, this quote has always been my favorite Walt quote. I couldn't agree with him more. As a matter of fact, I'm sure the people that know me best might refer to that very quote as my life's credo, and I probably wouldn't disagree with them. Why grow up? Why lose that innocence, that sense of wonder, that unadulterated ability to have fun? I just spent the last few hours out in the yard dismantling our backyard play set and I have to admit it started to get to me. As I unhooked the swings, detached the slide, and began to take the whole thing apart, I got really sad. It has to go. I can accept that. It's old, probably no longer that safe, and we need to do something else with such a prime spot in the yard, but the major reality is… the kids are too big to play with it. They've grown up and don't use it anymore. How depressing is that? Not that they're completely grown up—My daughter is 16 and our twin boys are 12, so they still have plenty of their youth left to go—but taking down the swing set did make me nostalgic for the old days when they were just little tots.
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With a Disney Stuff article on the horizon, I started to brainstorm out there in the yard. The sun was going down. It was a beautiful evening and besides feeling sentimental, I was also pondering about what to write. I've always wanted this column to be about the personal significance that the Disney stuff we all accumulate has for us. Sure, it's about collectibles and their value, but mostly it's about what this stuff means to us. As I was sadly wiping this part of my kid's childhood away, it dawned on me that there are two Disney items in our home that have been pretty significant in our lives for the past 12 years and have never gotten their due here in an article. Like the play set in the yard, these two items pretty much defined childhood for my sons and, happily, they can thank their big sister for bringing these items into their lives. I can remember clear as a bell, a dozen years ago, taking my then 3-year-old daughter to our local mall. We were going to buy something for her to give to her new brothers. We, of course, made our way into the Disney Store and after ogling plenty of Princess-ey stuff that she was interested in we turned our attention to the gift for her brothers. The Disney Store at the time had a whole line of baby items on the shelves and we found just the thing. She picked them each a Disney stuffed animal that was made especially for infants. There were no loose parts, no buttons or eyes to be bitten off and swallowed. I had her choose from the selection; I wanted it to be up to her. It was her gift after all. As I said, it's been about 12 years but as best as I can recall, the choices were Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Donald, Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie. She chose Goofy for Alex and Pooh for Casey. To this day I have no idea why and I'm sure she doesn't either, but she was adamant on her choices and who was I to disagree? In hindsight, the personalities would eventually fit, so it seems like she was wise beyond her years at that age. We went home that day and allowed her to place the animals in their new respective owner's crib. We figured they might live there for a while, but would more than likely make it over to a shelf or into the toy box. Eventually as the boys got a little older, it became obvious that these two animals were going to be "THE" animals of their childhood. If you're a parent, you probably know exactly what I mean. Actually, you really don't have to be a parent to understand this one. Pooh and Goofy became the all-important toys in my sons' lives. They became the ones that got slept with, the ones that got cried on, the ones that got carried and dragged everywhere. You know the ones, don't you? For some kids it's a doll or a stuffed animal or a blanket. For one reason or another a kid latches onto an item and never ever lets it go. You've probably got one in your closet or back at your parent's house somewhere, or perhaps yours completely fell apart and you don't have it anymore. But when you had it—way back when—it was your life, your security blanket. I had a little dog puppet. My wife had a bunny. My daughter had her baby doll. And my boys had Pooh Bear and Goofy. Just take a look at these things. It's painfully obvious they have been through the wringer. I wish I had before and after photos. I promise you they were both colorful at one time. There's a good reason for this condition: washing them became a practical impossibility. As gross as it sounds, they haven't been washed in years… lots and lots of years. They probably would have disintegrated in a washing machine, and I'm not too sure they would have held up through a hand washing either. My son's Pooh Bear wears a shirt to hold him together. Photo by Chris Barry. The reason that Pooh Bear is wearing an oversized grey t-shirt is because eventually, he began to fall apart. We went to Build-a-Bear and bought a tiny shirt to try and protect him. Our best friend is a seamstress and she did all she could for Pooh, but he was beyond help. He is what he is. My son's Goofy has been well-loved. Photo by Chris Barry. A toy doesn't get to be in this condition unless it's loved though. Pooh and Goofy were the main guys. It's like Buzz and Woody were to Andy in Toy Story. They went everywhere. They've been on planes, on boats, and in cars. They've been to Walt Disney World, of course, as well as just about every trip we ever went on, large or small. They've been left behind and had a frantic parent backtracking though malls, hotels, and playgrounds just to retrieve them. They've been through it all and then some. Of all of the Disney things in this house that I have collected over the years, I can't imagine that any of them have been as important to any of us as these two little guys were to our boys. In general, twins are very lucky. They have a built in full-time friend in each other. They never did anything alone. Their mirror image was always right there next to them, but they also had Pooh and Goofy to play with, eat with, cry with, get dirty with, and just be with. The toys never really fell too far out of reach either. They were like having yet another brother to be with at all times, and will always be remembered as those toys that they couldn't live without. As I finished putting the old play set to the curb, I came inside, made sure to hug my kids and tell them I loved them, and went looking for Pooh and Goofy. They were in a safe place, as I said, never too far out of reach. I realized that the play set was gone; the kids would never be out back swinging and sliding, or hanging out in the "fort" up top or having a tea party on the little table on the bottom. But as long as the kids hold onto the Poohs and Goofys in their lives, either physically or mentally, then they'll never completely grow up. I think that's what old uncle Walt was talking about when he famously uttered those lines above. Don't be afraid to hold onto something that makes you feel young. Every once in a while, dig out your Pooh or Goofy, or bunny or puppet or whatever you call your own and remember just how amazing it was to be a kid. If you don't have your special thing anymore, don't fret. Being young is a state of mind and it's a good state of mind to be in. Walt was right. Too many people do grow up. That is the problem with this world. Not this writer. Not anytime soon and I hope I can say the same for my kids. As they inevitably grow older and the swing sets and slides go away, I hope they hold onto something that keeps them young. Unlike the play set, Pooh and Goofy certainly have proven themselves to be pretty indestructible. Let's just hope my kids' sense of wonder and their sense of being a kid is pretty indestructible as well. For those interested in specifics, these stuffed toys were known as Cuddle Tots and were sold exclusively at Disney Store. Now they are only available online from collectors on sites like eBay and Amazon. As usual, I'd like to hear what you have to say about Pooh and Goofy, or whatever your own remnants of childhood may be. Click on the link below; let me hear your thoughts and I'll see you next time with more Disney Stuff.
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Share this articleDisney Princess is a media franchise owned by The Walt Disney Company, originally created by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney in the late 1990s and officially launched in 2000. The original nine princesses consisted of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan and Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell was removed shortly after the franchise debuted, leaving eight official Disney Princesses. The franchise spotlights a line-up of fictional female heroines who have appeared in Disney animated feature films. The franchise currently includes eleven female protagonists from ten different Walt Disney Animation Studios films and one Pixar film, each of whom is either royal by birth, royal by marriage, or considered a "princess" due to her significant portrayal of heroism. Most recently, the line-up has expanded to include Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida after the successes of their respective films. Anna and Elsa from Frozen and most recently Princess Moana from the upcoming movie Moana are expected to join the line-up. The Disney Princesses are featured in a wide variety of merchandise, appearing in anything from various sing-a-long movies, dolls and other toys to bed linens, clothing and toiletries (such as hairbrushes and toothpaste). The Princesses are also prominently featured at the Disney theme parks. Since 2013, with the exception of those created after the Disney Renaissance, the Princesses have been showcased in their enhanced and modified/redesigned outfits (excluding Ariel and Mulan), instead of the actual garments that they wear in their respective movies. Contents[show] Requirements to be a "Disney Princess" Each Official Disney Princess must meet the following requirements: A) has a primary role in a Disney animated feature film, B) is human or mostly human-like (e.g. Ariel), and C) does not appear primarily in a sequel. The actual title of Princess (or equivalent) is not necessary, but certainly helps. Facts pertaining to the original fairy tales upon which the films are based are irrelevant to the versions appearing in the franchise. The Princesses themselves, despite appearing in separate films, have distinct similarities. Most Princesses have the common ability to communicate with animals (even if the animals do not actually talk back). They are also known for their inner and outer beauty, as well as having beautiful singing voices (the exception to this is Merida, who only sings a song with her mother when she is little). Each Princess (excluding Merida and Elsa) also has a romance that is resolved by the end of the film; the male counterparts are known as Disney Princes. The Princesses can also be grouped depending on what era their films debuted. The "original" three (Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora), are quiet, classy, graceful and romantic daydreamers; they play more of a "damsel in distress" role and suffer from the actions caused by others. They hold an inner strength through compassion, love, kindness and (particularly with Snow White) a strong sense of resilience. During the Disney Renaissance Era, which started with The Little Mermaid in 1989 and ended in 2000, the heroines in Disney feature films became more active than reactive and included Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan. These women were strong-willed, adventurous, feisty, cunning and determined. They were less interested in finding love and more interested in finding adventure and freedom. The Renaissance Princesses also existed in worlds that were more self-aware of the changing roles of women. For example, in The Little Mermaid, the villainess Ursula assures Ariel that she won't need her voice on land as men prefer silent women; Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, is told by Gaston that "it's not right for a woman to read." And Mulan, who joins an army under the guise of a man, must listen to her peers extol masculine traits, while describing an ideal wife who is pretty, obedient and a good cook. The latest Princesses were created within the past decade and are more modern. Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is a young woman who doesn't rely on magic and knows that it takes hard work to reach one's goals; Rapunzel from Tangled, however, is more idealistic and isn't afraid to go after what she wants. We spent a week at Walt Disney World and Universal, thanks to my parents. What an adventure! After scouring Pinterest, I learned that there was no post, anywhere, that could really walk me through planning an entire trip to Disney. Throughout the series, I shared our days at the parks, tips and tricks, taming the souvenir beast, money saving ideas, things we learned and photos we captured. They’re all linked below. Enjoy! Tags