American Magic: The Sequel (2005-present)

Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina

    On August 29, 2005, the city of New Orleans was struck by what was then the costliest natural disaster to hit the United States.




    The Louisiana Superdome (above) is normally home to the Saints of Pro Football International. As the hurricane drew near, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin opened the stadium to be a shelter of last resort for those evacuating their homes. Because of the extensive damage to the facility, the Saints will play their 2005 home games in Baton Rouge and San Antonio. In the meantime, repairs will take place for the Saints to return to the Superdome for the 2006 season.


    The Jazzland theme park (above) immediately after Katrina struck.
     
    Lost 60 Minutes Interview with Walt



  • BOB SCHIEFFER:

    "In the summer of 1993, Morley Safer caught up with Walt Disney on the eve of the premiere of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The film would ultimately be the last animated feature to be released in his lifetime. Only Hyperion's Coneheads would earn the distinction of being Disney's last overall release prior to Walt's death in September of that year. Out of respect for Walt's memory, CBS executives at the time elected not to go through with airing the following interview. That is, of course, until now. So sit back, relax and enjoy our special edition of 60 Minutes. A masterpiece we call Walt Disney: The Final Dream Come True."



    MORLEY SAFER:

    "Months before leaving office, then-President Lee Iacocca presented Walt Disney with the National Medal of Arts. The year prior, he celebrated his 90th birthday on a televised ceremony in New York City. Many A-list celebrities were on hand for the occasion. Ted Turner arrived with Jane Fonda by his side. Even Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera put aside their rivalry with Walt to pay tribute. However, one A-list guest in particular stuck out like a sore thumb."



    WALT:
    "The first person to greet me at the Waldorf-Astoria that week was Donald Trump. Now, I've always appreciated his admiration of myself as a businessman, but on that particular night, he ran up to me jumping up and down as if I were St. Nick. Turns out, he was anxious to share with me a sample of a new cable program his company had put together."


    Donald Trump, circa 1991.

    SAFER:
    "That was Ren and Stimpy, right?"

    WALT:
    "Yes...that was it. The title escaped me somehow. Anyways...Donald introduced me to some of his staff members. One of whom was a fella dressed in these cat-ear glasses...and a very flashy bowling shirt. He introduced himself as John...uh...Chrysanthemum...or something like that..."

    SAFER:
    "You mean Kricfalusi?"

    WALT:
    "You're right...'Kricfalusi'...I apologize. Now, John right off the bat did not make a good impression. In fact, I thought he was incredibly rude and disrespectful to me while the other fellas from Trump's staff were much more courteous. John was the one who claimed to have created the characters. Later on, another staff member, Bob Camp, told me privately that he felt he deserved more credit."

    SAFER:
    "On your staff, you have several folks that worked with John at other places, right?"

    WALT:
    "Yes, that's true. Daniel Abbott, who was with me on the night of the encounter with Trump, came to us from Universal in '88. Daniel told me he worked with John a bit before that on a picture about...I think it was the one with the girl who sings a rock n' roll band or something. Daniel also said that John did not stay on that picture in question for too long. Apparently, John left abruptly after a big fight broke out over the appropriateness of a scene, I was later told, was supposed to show the girl scantily clad but wound up on the cutting room floor."

    SAFER:
    "Getting back to the incident with Trump and the gang, did he get the chance to actually show you their work?"

    WALT:
    "Yes. From the very get-go I wanted to give this little project a chance, yet I couldn't help but cringe. Firstly, one the characters I was later told was supposed to be a dog, but he looked more like one of those hairless mole rats. Secondly, I must admit that the segment with the cat building a helmet to cheer up his pal had me rethinking all the scary scenes from my own films..."


    Clip from THE REN AND STIMPY SHOW; Courtesy of USA Network Group and Trump Manhattan Television.

    "...the second segment was the turning point, but in a negative way unfortunately. In that segment, the dog kept refusing to brush his teeth until they all fell out. Once he started plucking out his nerve endings towards the end of the piece, I finally had enough. I had to tell Donald to turn the damn thing off about five times. Because of his child-like demeanor, it took the fifth time, and for me to raise my voice, for Donald to listen. Perhaps I must've overreacted because some of Trump's boys were reduced to tears...except for John."


    The exact moment from Ren's Toothache that pushed Walt over the edge.

    SAFER:
    "Would Ren and Stimpy be something you'd show to a six or seven year old?"

    WALT:
    "If Diane and Sharon were still that age, I would've said no, but they are now adults. If that show had launched decades earlier, I would've come out against it much more staunchly. Nowadays, I recognize that the onus should be more on grownups to monitor what their children watch."

    SAFER:
    "We met Walt in June [1993], a mere month before the release of his latest animated feature, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit."



    SAFER:
    "Mickey Mouse may have been Walt's most iconic creation, but Oswald the Lucky Rabbit predates Mickey by roughly two years. Oswald came about in 1926 after Walt and his frequent collaborator Ub Iwerks decided to phase out the Alice Comedies due to rising costs. Two years later, Walt's then-co-producer Charles Mintz raided the Disney staff. When Walt balked at a proposed 20% budget cut, Oswald would become the intellectual property of Universal Pictures for the next 55 years. In 1982, Walt regained the rights to Oswald in exchange for Universal CEO Lew Wasserman hiring away Ted Berman, Art Stevens and Joe Hale to head up the feature film unit of Gemini, formerly DePatie-Freleng. Eleven years later, Oswald may be long forgotten, but that doesn't stop the Disney studio from bringing the character out of retirement."



    SAFER:
    "With all due respect Walt, I would've thought that because you were able to rebound so quickly with Mickey Mouse, that you would've moved on and forgotten about Oswald altogether."

    WALT:
    "People forget that when Mickey came about, it was at a time when the fortunes of Roy and myself were at lowest ebb. I was in New York when Mintz snatched Oswald from me. After the train ride back to Los Angeles, I immediately asked Ub Iwerks to help develop a new character. We tried dogs, cats, cows, frogs and so on until we settled on mice..."



    "...I initially wanted to call the new character 'Mortimer Mouse.' But you can thank Lilly for suggesting the name 'Mickey.'"


    Steamboat Willie (1928). This was actually Mickey's third cartoon, but was the first with synchronized sound.

    SAFER:
    "Today's generation of Disney animators may remember Mickey more so than Oswald, but this group of magic makers has never shied away from a challenge."


    Al Hirschfeld's caricature of Eric Goldberg; drawn shortly after the release of Aladdin.



    ERIC GOLDBERG:
    "The Oswald film had been brewing in Walt's mind for a number of years. When it came time to actually start working on it, a significant number of our crew members had never seen any of the original Oswald shorts. After we sat down and watched the few shorts that still survive, we had another problem to solve. Walt worked on Oswald right before the silent era drew to a close, so we brought in Frank Welker to develop a voice for Oswald and we like what we've heard so far."



    SAFER:
    "Walt, what do you think it'll take for Oswald to connect with today's kids?"

    WALT:
    "If, somehow, we're able to execute a cohesive story without having to depend on the kind of low-brow, outhouse humor that has become more commonplace these days on screens great and small, I'd say we'd in pretty damn good shape."



    SAFER:
    "Next year [1994], Disney will open yet another theme park. This time, a resurrection of the attractions Walt produced for the World's Fair some thirty years ago."

    WALT:
    "After the World's Fair of '64 and '65 ended, the city claimed that much of their tourism started to drop. By the time the Fair was over I pretty much moved on. But then I get calls from governor Mario Cuomo and the newly elected mayor Rudy Giuliani asking if I'd help bring tourists back to New York."



    "...Save for the Unisphere and the New York State Pavilion, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park had pretty much sat mostly empty since the fair ended. After maybe two years of back and fourth between myself, the city, the state and the local residents, we came to a resolution that we could move forward with the park redevelopment while allowing the Hall of Science, the Queens Zoo and the tennis facilities to keep their doors open."



    SAFER:
    "Walt Disney says he is confident that the newly restored World's Fair will be ready for its slated reopening in the Summer of 1994. For 60 Minutes, I'm Morley Safer."​
     
    TV Funhouse Retrospective
  • TV Funhouse
    Produced by JJ Sedelmaier Productions and Broadway Video
    Distributed by Hyperion Television


    For the past nine years, TV Funhouse has been a staple on the long running NBC series Saturday Night Live. In recent years however, TV Funhouse would get a spinoff that ran on Wednesday nights after South Park on Comedy Central. The driving force behind TV Funhouse the entire time has been co-creator Robert Smigel (below), who also happens to be the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.


    The first TV Funhouse segment was none other than The Ambiguously Gay Duo, who made their debut on the September 28, 1996 episode of SNL. A few months afterwards, the Duo would be temporarily cast aside as SNL's writers scrambled quickly to comment on John Kricfalusi, just as his trial was getting underway. After the trial was over, the Duo would return in 1999 on a sketch that lampooned the initial backlash from religious parents over the debut of Cartoon Network's Shezow. A year later, the Duo would form an alliance with the Lesbian Space Rocks. A send up of the characters from Steven Universe, the Space Rocks were mainly on screen for fanservice and to generate hoots and hollers from the studio audience.


    The All New Adventures of Mr T follows our favorite 80's tough guy as he struggles to navigate life after fame. Most of the time, he auditions for ill fitting roles, from delivering soliloquies in Shakespeare plays to hawking fraudulent herbal supplements. And let's not forget about the time we saw Mr T give the notorious gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar "...a taste of his own medicine." Trust me, that one turned pretty violent real fast.


    ...and who could forget T's confrontation with the most hated man in America?...

    MR. T (Tracy Morgan)
    "Hey foo'! What the hell is a scrawny ass sucka like you doing drivin' this big ass truck?"

    *pointing towards a white Ford Bronco*

    JOHN K (Robert Smigel)
    "You eediot, this is a MAN'S TRUCK!!!! It's not for the likes of you."

    And I'm sure you guys remember how that one played out.

    Bambi 2002 was another gem in the TV Funhouse crown...


    ...and we all remember how that skit began...

    GREAT PRINCE OF THE FOREST (Darrell Hammond)
    "Hey Bambi, your mom's dead..."

    *pause*

    "...let's go get drunk!"

    Also, don't forget to pick up your copy of Air Dog Quasi.​
     
    Robot Chicken
  • Robot Chicken
    Created by Seth Green & Matthew Senreich
    Based on ToyFare
    Produced by Stoopid Monkey
    Distributed by 20th Century Fox Television
    Airs nightly at midnight on Fox

     
    Entertainment News for September/October 2005
  • @Goldwind2

    Rogue Squadron already came out.

    Donald Trump has been found guilty of more than 30 felonies; Multiple counts of money laundering, bribery, bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion. He was also convicted of failure to report in connection to a scandal that rocked the field of animation nine years ago.
    - The New York Times

    Trump's personal attorney admitted the self-proclaimed real estate mogul sought to acquire The Walt Disney Company in a hostile takeover as early as 2001.
    - The Chicago Tribune
     
    Mad Magazine Retrospective Part 1
  • In light of Mad Magazine going bye-bye IOTL, I thought I'd do this retrospective.



    Mad's origins and early years are pretty much the same as OTL, having begun in 1952 as a comic book for the first 23 issues before becoming a magazine for its 24th issue in 1955.



    At first, Mad struggled to find an audience until it made the breakthrough in its 4th issue (April-May 1953).



    Like most other pillars of pop culture, Disney was not immune from a skewering from the Usual Gang of Idiots.




    The first permanent fixture for Mad came in Issue 60 (January 1961) in the form of the first Spy vs Spy strips written and drawn by Cuban exile Antonio Prohias.



    In the same year the Spies first waged war, Dave Berg debuted his Lighter Side series.



    Same as OTL, Mad was eventually commandeered by the Warner conglomerate. Until his death in 1992, founder William M Gaines did the best he could to keep Mad an autonomous presence within the Warner family.



    Before Mad, Gaines reluctantly inherited EC Comics from his father Max, who was killed in a boating accident. Under Bill's command, EC changed from Educational to Entertaining Comics. After a few hit or miss duds, EC struck gold with its horror comics.


    Things were going great for EC in the early 50's. But by 1954, the zeitgeist turned against comic books when Dr. Frederic Wertham published his book Seduction of the Innocent.

    In a hail mary attempt to save his cash cows, Bill volunteered to testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.

    WILLIAM M GAINES:
    "My name is William Gaines."

    "Two decades ago, my late father was instrumental in starting the comic magazine industry. He edited the first few issues of the first modern comic magazine Famous Funnies."

    "I was the first publisher in these United States to publish horror comics. I'm responsible. I started them."

    "What are we afraid of?! Are we afraid of our own children?! Do we forget that they are citizens too, and entitled to the essential freedom to read? Or do we think our children so evil, so vicious, so simple minded, that it takes but a comic magazine of murder to set them to murder, of robbery to set them to robbery?!!"

     
    Mad Magazine Retrospective Part 2
  • Other than Spy vs Spy and the Lighter Side, another constant for Mad has been the inside back-cover Fold-Ins drawn by Al Jaffee.

    As of 2005, Jaffee is one of Mad's longest contributors.

    By the early to mid 1970's, Mad's circulation topped two million and change. Since then, Mad's readership has dropped for 30 consecutive years. However, Mad enjoyed a mini-renaissance of sorts in the late 90's as the rest of the world became transfixed by the John Kricfalusi scandal. Not surprising that such a fiasco would give Mad a gold-mine of ideas for almost 14 months straight.

    In a bid to expand the Mad brand beyond the magazine, the WB Network launched MadTV in January of 1996.
     
    King Kong (2005 film)
  • Thanksgiving 2005 offered many new films to choose from, like Revolution's Worst Band in the Universe, Polar Express from Warner Bros, or Fox's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit. But none of those garnered as much attention as RKO Radio Pictures' remake of King Kong. Directed by Peter Jackson and starring Jack Black, Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody, King Kong does take some creative license to spice up the story for mid-2000's moviegoers. Thanks to the critical box office success of King Kong, you can expect more doors to open for Peter Jackson in North America.



    Sorry for the delay guys. Had tons of fun at Comic Con over the weekend.​
     
    From Earth to the Moon (2005 Film)
  • From Earth to the Moon

    Released by Walt Disney Pictures on December 2, 2005.

    Directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale

    Produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation aka the B-Squad

    Screenplay by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio

    Based on the novel by Jules Verne

    VOICES
    David Ogden Stiers as Impey Barbicane
    Jeff Daniels as Captain Nicholl
    Marisa Tomei as Virginia Nicholl
    Daniel Day-Lewis as Michel Ardan

    From Earth to the Moon retells the classic story of Impey Barbicane's quest to build a cannon that can shoot a manned bullet...From Earth to the Moon. The film takes many creative liberties, yet retains the time setting of the original novel, which in this case, is post-Civil War America, circa 1865. Of course, back when Verne wrote the book, space flights were roughly a century away and scientists of the era knew nothing about the moon's characteristics. Therefore, the creative liberties Disney takes with From Earth to the Moon was to ground the scientific knowledge of the film's universe to that which had been available in Verne's day.

    See Science Marches On at TV Tropes's website if the above blurb sounds confusing.

    Such liberties left critics divided, but Sci-Fi enthusiasts flocked to this film anyway.​
     
    Entertainment News for December 2005
  • Busan city officials finalize talks for a possible South Korean Disneyland
    - The New York Times

    General Electric, Comcast and AOL jockeying for position to acquire USA Network Group
    - The Wall Street Journal

    Fox and CS Lewis estate finalize deal for Peter Jackson to helm Narnia reboot
    - Entertainment Weekly

    Grand Diamond reaches deal with Haley Joel Osment to reprise voiceover role as Link in Legend of Zelda sequel slated for 2007
    - Variety

    Alex H, 20, of Piedmont, to produce senior project at Corman Institute due Spring 2007
    - The Oakland Tribune

    Rebecca S, 18, of Silver Spring, accepted into animation program at Rhode Island School of Design
    - The Washington Post

    Blair, now 25, to appear on an upcoming BBC Panorama documentary slated for July 2006. First ever sit down interview with the woman who was abducted and abused at age 15 by John Kricfalusi. The BBC is currently negotiating with HBO, Showtime, UPN, NBC or PBS to air the documentary in the United States.
    - The St Louis Post Dispatch
     
    Magic City opens....finally!
  • After years of legal wrangling and red tape, Berkshire Hathaway finally got to work on what they hope will be their signature theme park in its home town of Omaha.

    Magic City was originally set for a Labor Day weekend opening. However, that would be washed away by events far away from Omaha. In the months since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the parking lot of Magic City had been a staging area for Berkshire Hathaway's various divisions to supply FEMA with medical supplies and other necessities that would then be delivered to Katrina survivors fleeing to Nebraska.

    Once FEMA decided their job was done in Omaha, the parking lot and theme park were reopened for the Christmas season. The park is mainly themed for Omaha's history, with a few rides from the original park rebuilt or restored. There is even a kids section populated by Jim Henson's iconic Muppet characters.
     
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    Christmas Day 2005 Movies
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Released by Universal Pictures
    Produced by Gemini Animation

    Herbie: Fully Loaded

    Released by Walt Disney Pictures
    Produced with cooperation from NASCAR


    Will Ferrell (above) plays Max Peyton, a clumsy, inexperienced rookie behind the wheel of Herbie.

    Sin City

    Released by New Line Cinema
    Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller

    Those who went to see Sin City in theatres got to see the first trailer for 20th Century Fox's upcoming American Crime Story.

    The Family Stone

    Released by 20th Century Fox

    Cheaper by the Dozen 2

    Released by 20th Century Fox

    Fun With Dick and Jane

    Released by United Artists

    Metroid

    Released by Grand Diamond
    Produced by Ruby Spears in association with Nintendo
    Samus Aran voiced by Kirsten Dunst​
     
    January 2006 Movies
  • January 2006 Movies

    Grandma's Boy


    Released by Revolution Studios

    Hostel

    Released by Lionsgate

    Glory Road

    Released by Walt Disney Pictures
    Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer

    Annapolis

    Released by Touchstone Pictures

    Hoodwinked

    Released by Republic Pictures

    Underworld: Evolution

    The first Underworld came out in 2003, but I forget who released it ITTL.​
     
    February 2006 Movies
  • Final Destination 3

    Released by New Line Cinema.
    In case you're wondering, the infamous tanning bed scenes are more gruesome than IOTL.

    When a Stranger Calls

    Released by Republic Pictures

    Curious George

    Released by Columbia Pictures.
    Produced by Screen Gems.
    Will Ferrell voices the Man in the Yellow Hat, whose name is revealed to be Ted Shackleford.

    Eight Below

    Released by Walt Disney Pictures.

    High School Musical

    Released by Hanna-Barbera. This title represents a shift in the trajectory of HB's live action output.​
     
    March 2006 Movies Part 1
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown

    Released by 20th Century Fox

    Thank You For Smoking

    Released by RKO Radio Pictures

    Aquamarine


    Released by 20th Century Fox

    She's the Man

    Released by Geffen Pictures.
    A modern retelling of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.​
     
    March 2006 Movies Part 2
  • Failure to Launch

    Released by Paramount Pictures

    V For Vendetta

    Released by Universal Pictures
    Based on the graphic novel published by Gemini Comics

    Inside Man

    Released by Warner Bros.

    Stay Alive

    Released by Lionsgate

    ATL

    Released by Trimark Pictures.

    Slither

    Released by Hemdale Film Corporation.

    The Last Holiday

    Released by Paramount Pictures

    Firewall

    Released by Hyperion Pictures.​
     
    Entertainment News for March 2006
  • Hearst, the legendary newspaper giant, is looking to purchase Paramount Communications for $3.5 Billion USD. Currently, Hearst owns King Features Syndicate and the proposed purchase could bring characters like Betty Boop and Popeye back into the Paramount fold after close to five decades apart. However, regulators from both parties want Hearst to sell its stakes in ESPN, A&E and Lifetime before the deal can close. Currently, Hearst co-owns the aforementioned networks with ABC. Another condition in the deal would call for Paramount to sell its 50% share of the USA Network Group, which Paramount co-owns with MCA. The boards of directors of both companies say it's too early to vote on the proposed acquisition and that further kinks would need to be ironed out.
    - The Wall Street Journal

    Trans World Entertainment, parent company of Suncoast, Sam Goody and For Your Entertainment (FYE) hopes to add struggling Sacramento-based chain Tower Records to its portfolio.
    - Rolling Stone

    AOL withdraws bid for USA Network Group. Comcast and GE are still at the negotiating table.
    - The New York Times.
     
    Scary Movie 4
  • Scary Movie 4

    Scary Movie 4 was the first installment of the series to be released by Lionsgate. The previous three were released by the now-defunct Trump Manhattan studio from 2000 to 2003.​
     
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