Laughin' Place: Redefining Disney

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by HeX, Oct 18, 2018.

Loading...
  1. Nevermore All Killer, No Filler

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    A Rock and a Hard Place
    I just stumbled across this TL the other day, HeX, and I have to say I'm hooked. Alternate Disney TLs are always fun and I'm always up for utopias (or at least those that lean a little more towards the "glass half full" interpretation anyway). Park stuff isn't really my thing, but you've made it engaging enough that I couldn't help following it along. I'm wondering if EuroDisney will have a long lasting impact ITTL or if it'll still be a flash in the pan, albeit under different circumstances (can't have Disney win all the time, of course). The attempted bombing is bound to lead to visitors getting jitters.

    I'm extremely curious about the fact that the '80s will apparently be a pop culture Cold War between Universal and Disney based on the hints we've gotten. The fact that Universal has their foot in the door with Atari in the video game market leads me to think that Paramount might not sell Sega ITTL to help compete against them, especially as they try to carve out a mark for themselves. A less harsh industry crash in '83 means that Mattel and Coleco might still be bumbling around the console market though I think the former is much more likely given their focus on toys, but the real 800 lb. gorilla in the room is going to be Nintendo when they decide to bring over the Famicom to American shores. It's hard to say if Atari would turn down potentially distributing it like they did OTL under Bushnell but an event where their sales dip but don't completely crater might mean they're not interested in doing so for other reasons. But if you're going with the notion that major American motion picture companies ITTL have game systems attached to them... well, I think Walt and Roy might be more than willing to lend Hiroshi Yamauchi a hand with that. I wonder if Eisner will still try to sue them over Donkey Kong? If not, it might butterfly away the declaration that King Kong is public domain, strangely enough.

    I did notice in the tags that Marvel is up there but they haven't been mentioned yet. So far, Disney's ownership of things is pretty convergent with what they have OTL (getting Star Wars and Indiana Jones right from the get go... potentially Pixar if it's not butterflied and maybe even the Muppets; I think Walt would get a kick out of Jim Henson's company at any rate) but it's worth noting that Universal Television aired The Incredible Hulk series on CBS with Lou Ferrigno as the lead not that long ago. A much more aggressive Disney might cause them to try and pull a Warner Bros. with DC... or maybe Disney ends up with the Man of Steel somehow down the line if misfortune befalls Warner? It'd certainly be pretty nuts to have the most recognizable cartoon character and superhero under the same roof.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 8:25 PM
    HeX, Andrew Boyd, Nivek and 2 others like this.
  2. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    What's next?
     
  3. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Thanks for sticking around! For future reference, Laughin' Place is not in any way trying to be a utopia (though it may have some of my personal utopian Disney aspects poke through from time to time), and goes for, as you said, more of a "glass half-full" approach. As for the writing approach to the TL, thanks again. I'd like to get some more "information" posts instead of just "story" posts out there, but both will be integral parts to this timeline.

    EuroDisney undoubtedly will do better than IOTL. There are a variety of issues with the OTL park that I won't get into right now, but just know that it's pretty close to impossible for things to flop like Euro Disneyland, even with a failed bombing (most of which boils down to EuroDisney being in Italy, not France). And Disney won't win all the time, the 1970s are their era of uncontested dominance, but the 1980s will be a fight for their lives against the beast that is a Michael Eisner-run Universal.

    As for gaming, I have many, many twists and turns planned for the future that I hope people are excited for. Some of them people have predicted, but most will come out of left field (with solid explanations backing them up). I won't get into detail on this part either, but just know that Disney will be brushing elbows in the market with giants of OTL. One thing I can confirm, however, is that Gulf+Western/Paramount will still be giving Sega independence ITTL, for reasons I'll explain later.

    Marvel will begin to play a larger role in this timeline in the early-to-mid-1980s. And while The Incredible Hulk with Lou Ferrigno did indeed premier on Universal TV's dime, Marvel was also (like IOTL) given the comic rights to Star Wars by Disney, so they have a strong relationship with both.
     
    GTStinger, Nevermore and Nivek like this.
  4. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    The next post will cover the first broadcast of the Disney Channel, as well as brief synopses of the shows run on the channel in the first year. When I have extra time, I'll throw in a bonus post giving an in-depth rundown on the first few seasons of Star Wars: The Animated Series.
     
    Nivek and Andrew Boyd like this.
  5. TheFaultsofAlts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    And when, for Walt and Roy's sakes, would that be released?
     
  6. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    The first episode of Star Wars: The Animated Series will be broadcast as part of the channel's inaugural episode Walt Disney's Wonderful World on March 23, 1979.

    Unless you meant the actual post itself, which should be out tomorrow or Saturday.
     
    Nivek likes this.
  7. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Well, the animated series will be better than the Star Wars Christmas Special, at least...
     
    Osakadave and HeX like this.
  8. ghilonif Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2017
    Yes, indeed Italy is a better position, for climate and for a more receptive public, despite this unfortunate bombing attempt, which turned into a very positive butterfly for Bologna. One thing Eurodisney should kickoff is the upgrade of the dual carriageway to Aprilia into a full fledged Autostrada (discussed, but not done OTL), and a revised train timetable with a direct link from Fiumicino to Aprilia (possible, but not implemented OTL). And that's all the infrastructure needed. Of course low-cost airlines will help.
    I am not sure about creating other animation studios like Eisner did, but even that wouldn't be difficult, there were plenty of artists in the making during the eighties.
     
    Nevermore, Nivek and HeX like this.
  9. TheFaultsofAlts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    Thanks. I needed that.
     
  10. GTStinger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    I would call ASB if a timeline called for a worse SW Holiday Special.
     
  11. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Santa Marta,Magdalena,West Venezuela
    Why not, is just an harmless holiday special, why the hate?
     
  12. GTStinger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    No hate. Just acknowledging that it was abysmally bad in just about every way a TV special can be bad. Writing, acting, props, costumes..... :)
     
    HeX likes this.
  13. Threadmarks: The Disney Channel

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    On March 23, 1979, at 5:00 PM EST, the television landscape changed forever. The Disney Channel was the first successful attempt at overthrowing the TV triumvirate of ABC, CBS, and NBC, and opened the door for new channels like the Paramount Television Service to enter the market and led to the diversification of televised content.

    The first broadcast on the Disney Channel was a two-and-a-half-hour special for The Wonderful World of Disney. It's opening mixed the classic Sherman Brothers theme to The Wonderful World of Color with songs from Disney movies and theme park attractions as the music was played over scenes of Disneyland, the EPCOT Center, and Disneytropolis.

    Walt then came onscreen, and welcomed the viewers to the brand-new Disney Channel. During this introduction, he interacted with a variety of his animated characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Jimminy Cricket. Wasting no time, after some playful banter between Walt and his creations, the man himself introduced the first segment of the show: the premier episode of Star Wars: The Animated Series.

    After the 25-minute long episode (two minutes longer than a standard episode of the show), the focus came back to Walt, now joined by a guest, George Lucas. The pair talked for a while about Star Wars, before dropping an unforseen bomb in the form of a new movie trailer for May's Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    After that, a new segment began, highlighting the work Disney was doing in their theme parks. They hyped up EuroDisney extensively, though Cascade Peak at Disneytropolis and New Horizons coming to Disneyland (and the moving of the Carousel of Progress to the EPCOT Center) were also mentioned, for audiences unable to make it to Europe.

    The scene shifted again, and Walt was back in his office, this time with Rolly Crump. Crump shouldered this segment well, and walked Walt and the audience through the basics of the emerging art of game design, using Breakdown as an example. They also teased a possible Star Wars video game for later on in the year, to follow the summer's surefire hit, Black Hole.

    The final portion of the show brought Walt to the animation building at the studio. There, he and Don Bluth took a look at a variety of sketches and character designs for past movies and new shows that would premier on the network over the course of 1979. To close out this part, a rapid-fire montage teaser played, showing action-packed scenes from upcoming shows.

    After the trailer, Walt returned to his office, and joked around with his characters for a little while longer, before bidding the audience farewell, and the promise that starting next week, The Wonderful World of Disney would return to its regular Sunday night timeslot, this time exclusively on the Disney Channel.

    --------------------------------
    In the first year of the network (March 1979 to March 1980), six original shows appeared on the Disney Channel, alongside the weekly anthology series The Wonderful World of Disney. In order of debut, these were: Star Wars: The Animated Series, Colorful, The Discovery Bay Chronicles, Hercules: Hero of Legend, It's a Small World, and Welcome to the Hundred Acre Wood. They were all popular, but Star Wars and Discovery Bay became runaway hits and ran well into the 1980s (till 1987 and 1985, respectively).

    The Original Six Shows
    Star Wars: The Animated Series (1979-1987)
    This was the Disney Channel's longest-running show of all time, stretching across eight years and nine seasons as one of the longest-running animated TV shows of all time. There were many factors in its long lasting nature, including the extremely high-quality animation, the addictive and epic Queen-written and performed musical score, and the usage of the movies' actors in the voice acting for the entire run. But those were all drops in the bucket compared to the Star Wars fever that overtook the entire decade. A general episode would focus on one of the main trio of characters from the films: Luke, Han, or Leia. Luke would often attempt to hone his fledgling Force powers, Han and Chewbacca would run covert operations for the Rebel Alliance, and Leia would be accompanied by C-3P0 and R2-D2 on diplomatic missions to planets thinking of joining the Rebels (which almost always ended in a shootout, and showed off Leia's badassery much better than the movies ever did). Usually, Darth Vader, the Emperor, or Jabba the Hutt would be controlling whatever conflict the heroes faced in a given episode from the shadows, and would always be foiled in the end.

    The show, while having more than enough standalone aspects, definitely relied upon the viewer having seen all of the original trilogy of Star Wars films. The first four seasons (1979-1982) all took place in between Episode IV and Episode V, the fifth (1983) took place between Episode V and Episode VI, and the final four (1984-1987) took place in the aftermath of Episode VI.

    The show's finale--a made-for-TV two hour movie--has since embedded itself in Star Wars lore with its final scene. Luke, Han, and Leia stand at the large window of a spaceship, gazing out over the planet Tatooine, where it all started. In a meaningful gesture, the usually distant Han puts his arms around both of his friends. Leia asks, "What's next?" Han laughs. And Luke, as the shot pulls back, says, "I don't know. But whatever it is... we just need to remember, the Force will be with us."

    Colorful (1979-1983)
    Colorful was Mary Blair's final contribution to the Disney legacy, as she passed away in 1978 due to a cerebral hemorrhage. The show (running for three-and-a-half seasons) put the spotlight on famous artists from throughout history, with the animation mimicking the art style of the artist. While this visual style was very unique and well-recieved, it was time consuming, and usually required Disney's top-tier animators to work on the drawings. That proved to be troublesome with the increasing demands of Disney's films of the 1980s, which eventually killed the show.

    But during the show's run, it educated children and adults alike (there was no one demographic it targeted) in the works of great artists, from Da Vinci to Van Gogh and everyone in between. The episode "Starry Night" won many awards when it debuted in 1981, perfectly capturing its namesake's style. Colorful also inspired World of Color, an attraction that opened with the rest of the Imagination Pavilion at the EPCOT Center in 1982.

    The Discovery Bay Chronicles (1979-1985)
    Born from the mind of Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, The Discovery Bay Chronicles was a live-action show (the Disney Channel's first) following the legends of Jason Chandler, member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The stories tied into the plot of 1974's The Island at the Top of the World, taking place in Discovery Bay, a steampunk metropolis hidden away on the far side of the San Francisco Bay, sometime in the late-1800s. Frequently, the show would cross over with other steampunk figures and stories, like Captain Nemo and the Nautilus or Captain Brieux and the Hyperion, but it also introduced new characters, such as his levelheaded cowgirl love interest straight out of Rainbow Ridge, Melanie Ravenswood.

    The show's production value, compared to other live-action shows on the network, was off the charts, using elaborate miniatures to show airships soaring and submarines diving and movie-quality costume design and set dressing. The consequence of this was that episodes came out only once every month or so, in forty-five minute blocks. The Discovery Bay Chronicles also later inspired the very first cinematic universe, which would begin with 1990's The Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The show was more popular with teens and young adults than anyone else, as it was a bit too mature for a parent to let their younger children watch.

    Hercules: Hero of Legend (1979-1984)
    Hercules: Hero of Legend took the Greek hero, added a twist of modernity, and shook well, producing an engaging animated series the whole family could enjoy. Unlike the other two animated shows, Hercules was handed to Tokyo Movie Shinsha, a cheap-but-effective Japanese animation company that would grow close to the Walt Disney Company over the years, regularly taking on television projects for them.

    This show was also more formulaic than the others. It centered around a Hercules fresh from being trained by Chiron and attempting to make a name for himself by completing impossible tasks. The only problem was, other heroes, more well-established than he, were attempting to do the same thing. Nearly every episode began with Hermes coming down from Olympus to deliver a letter to Herc. The letter would direct the hero to go take down the monster of the week. Occasionally, other Greek gods and heroes would show up, most often Atalanta or Jason, and either save Herc or be saved by Herc from a tight situation the monster had gotten them into. There was also a "B" plot, where Hercules would try (and fail) to ask out Megara, his love interest. Loose ends to all the plotlines were tied up on 1985, with the made-for-TV movie Hercules Faces Titanomachy.

    It's a Small World (1979-1983)
    It's a Small World may share its name with the beloved Disneyland attraction, but this one isn't about singing dolls. Each episode of this show (geared towards children) was shot on-location in a different nation and city, to teach the audience about the regional culture there. But each episode was unique in how it pulled that goal off. For instance, there may be an episode focusing entirely on Moroccan cuisine, or Argentinian football, or Japanese technology. One controversial episode looked into the lives of the Vietnamese boat people, those who left the country to escape Communism and the war. Despite relatively high ratings, Disney ended the show in 1983 after coming to the conclusion there were no other places to travel to, having almost visited every free nation on the globe.

    Welcome to the Hundred Acre Wood (1979-1983)
    The final new show of 1979, coming in the fall, was by far the worst of the Original Six. By no means bad, it just couldn't hold a candle to the others and was swathed in mediocrity. The show was aimed at small children, and featured Winnie the Pooh and his friends as puppets. Rather than using a traditional set, the entire background was bluescreen, which had a tendency to cast a blue light on the puppets during filming. To begin each episode, the narrator would welcome guests to the Hundred Acre Wood and relate to them an event that happened with Pooh or a pal, launching into a story.

    Middle-of-the-road from the getgo, Welcome to the Hundred Acre Wood was cancelled in 1983 to make room for other, more popular ideas.

    While new shows were continually added to the Disney Channel, reruns of classic films and cartoons made up a large portion of the network's broadcasting library until the late-1980s, when it shifted in favor of original content.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 11:17 AM
  14. Traincakes Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Man, that is a beaut.
     
    Nerdman3000, Nivek and HeX like this.
  15. TimeEnough Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
     
  16. eldandythedoubter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    So if the 1997 hercules film doesn't get butterflies, will it be considered a reboot to the tv series or its own thing?
     
    Nivek likes this.
  17. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Santa Marta,Magdalena,West Venezuela
    Amazing and very strong debut of the channel, seems two well done flagship show and a few Nice very cultural one .
     
    HeX likes this.
  18. TheFaultsofAlts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    The night's post was so good of a read that it makes me wonder if you should make the entire timeline a published novel at some point, which I would approve of immensely.
     
  19. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    I'm sorry, that's a typo, my phone autocorrected VI to VII and I forgot to fix it.

    I feel like Disney would try to actually sue me if I did that. They do own the name and image of Walt Disney.
     
    Nerdman3000 and Nivek like this.
  20. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Location:
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    The Hercules movie is butterflied, and this is TTL's replacement. Remember, Walt doesn't do sequels or reboots.
     
    Nivek likes this.
Loading...