Tink Challenges Imagineering and Flipping Out at Disneyland

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 278 - Tink Challenges Imagineering and "Flipping Out at Disneyland"

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Show run time 0:31:36

In today's show, Steven Ng talks with Margaret Kerry, the life model and incarnation of Tinker Bell and Becky Cline of the Disney Archives.

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Feature: Tink Challenges Imagineering

Steven Ng joined a conversation with our friend Margaret Kerry, the life model and embodiment of Tinker Bell, as she chatted with a family this past weekend at the NFFC Show and Sale in Garden Grove, California.

As we joined the discussion, Margaret was talking with the family about modeling for Tinker Bell and how they now do motion capture animation, then gave them a review of the Tinker Bell movie (buy on DVD or Blu-Ray). The movie is a prequel about how Tink gets to Neverland. A baby's first laugh traveled all the way to Neverland on the wind and that's how pixies are born. Tink is like a 3- or 4-year-old and then you get introduced to everyone. Margaret then tells the boy that he wouldn't like it because it's really for kids 12 years old and younger and adults who are also 12 years old and younger; there's not much for boys. It's a good story with lots of action. Tink gets into and out of trouble in the movie. The bonus disc talks about how the movie was made. Margaret recommends seeing the movie because the next movie is coming in the summer, another one next winter, and yet another the following spring. She suggested to the boy that he can watch science fiction instead.

Steven asked Margaret about the difference between the previews that she saw and the final version of the movie. Margaret thinks that John Lasseter made a big difference. She liked the original story, but the company's other divisions (such as publishing and merchandising) didn't like it because they really couldn't sell it, so the movie was repositioned. They threw out the original voice recordings (one month's work) and the voices were re-recorded. Margaret thinks that the new recording is so much better; the voices were so much lighter and so much more that you can believe in.

Margaret feels taht the DVD's visual effects are like a visual feast, with rainbows like you've never seen before. She feels that they struggled with turning Tink from a silent sidekick to a vocal lead and had difficulty finding a voice that worked for Tink. Margaret feels that Mae Whitman did a great job, and that everybody watching it will have fun (except boys, because there's no menace or "that kind of action").

When Steven asked Margaret about Pixie Hollow, though, her tone changed dramatically, saying "I don't understand it." She seemed to think that there should be more to do once you get inside Pixie Hollow. Margaret thinks it's the first negative thing that she's ever said. While she feels that the queue is beautifully turned out and the cast members really work hard to make you feel happy and good once you get inside, she thinks that the Imagineers can do better. Margaret challenged Imagineering to do better.

Feature: "Flipping Out at Disneyland"

Following her presentation at a session at last summer's NFFC convention, Steven talked with Becky Cline of the Disney Archives about the pancake races at Disneyland back in the 1950s.

Becky refers to her presentation as "Flipping out at Disneyland, or Perspiration and Pancakes," which is based on an article that she wrote a few years ago for the Disney Magazine.

Many early promotions at the park were small, unusual things because Disney couldn't afford big parades while they worked on fleshing out the unfinished areas of the park. They used a lot of local kids, local chapters of organizations, etc. From 1957-1964, they held pancake races on Main Street co-sponsored by Quaker Oats and Aunt Jemimah's Kitchen Restaurant in Frontierland. Becky described what a pancake race is, why old-time participants would weare traditional costume, and talked about how the Main Street trolley trackspoasd an obstacles to contestants.

Next, she gave some history of pancake races, starting in the 1440s during Wars of the Roses. She traced the event's appearance as it became more popular in the United States in the 1950s in Liberal, KS, where they started doing them as fundraisers. After they heard about the races from news reports, Disneyland decided to hold their own event. They even hosted a competition between Liberal and Olney, England (where the races reportedly originated). Disney had celebrities host events. The first race was hosted by Aunt Jemimah and local dignitaries, but the event eventually has more popular sponsors, including: Sebastian Cabot, Clarence ("Ducky")Nash (with Donald), Dean Cromwell (USC track coach), Mel Patton (world record holder in 100 & 220 yard dashes), Jimmie Dodd, Don DeFore, other TV stars of the time, Patricia White (of Ichabod & Me), Patricia Blair (Becky had no idea what she was in) and Robert Fuller (of Laramie). The races ended in 1964 when more money became available and the races were replaced by big parades. Still, it's fun to look back and see the quaint stuff.

Now, while Becky claimed that she still doesn't know what Patricia Blair did, a quick check of her page on iMDB.com shows that she was probably best known for doing 22 episodes of The Rifleman and 55 episodes of Daniel Boone. The fact that Daniel Boone starred Fess Parker and featured Dal McKennon probably helped the Disney connection a bit.

Our thanks to Margaret Kerry and Becky Cline for talking with Steven, and to Chuck Oberleitner and the NFFC for setting that up.

Listener Feedback

Brian in the Bay Area thanked us for playing Steven's interview with Jeff Kurtti. He's looking forward to visiting the museum when it opens. He also noted that the Bay Area has lots of cartoon related places to visit as well:

  • Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco – Located downtown, current shows include the Totoro Forest Project and The Art of Gene Colan, while an upcoming exhibit will be The Art of the Movie Coraline.
  • ZEUM in San Francisco – A hands on Art and Technology museum, while it's not exactly about cartoons you can make your own claymation animation.
  • Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa – A beautiful museum with some really great exhibits. You can have lunch in a 'dog dish' at the Warm Puppy Café next door and watch kids learning how to skate.
  • Of course you can also find great things for sale at stores like Kid Robot and Super 7 (urban vinyl toys and collectibles), Kinokuniya Bookstore in Japan Town has an entire floor of Anime and Manga as well as some of the best Comic Book Stores in the US like Comic Relief and Isotope.

Dave in San Francisco also wrote on the same topic. He's been watching the development of the museum with a great deal of interest, and will definitely be there when it opens. He noted that the Presidio is a beautiful location, and the Disney museum's location is close to the bay and has some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

March of Dimes fundraising kick-off

Mark has gotten an early start on raising funds for the March of Dimes! Last year, MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners helped Mark to raise over $5,000 for the worthy charity. We're looking to beat that this year and raise $6,000! Just go to Mark's fundraising page and help to provide a better chance to prevent prematurity and to help those babies that are born prematurely.


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Wrapping up

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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

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