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Disney Goodies On The Way

The headline news at D23 Expo 2015 was the announcement of upcoming Star Wars and Avatar-inspired attractions at the Disney theme parks. That information is all over the ‘net, but I want to tell fellow Disneyphiles and collectors about some of the upcoming products and merchandise I discovered while meandering around the exhibition floor.

© Disney. All rights reserved

© Disney. All rights reserved

One of the must-haves is an upcoming release of the music from all 75 of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony cartoons—on vinyl! That’s right: this 8-hour collection is being released in a handsome slipcase edition of 16 long-playing records by Walt Disney Records and Fairfax Classics. There is something wonderfully insane—or should I say insanely wonderful—about this concept that I find appealing. (And if you’re the kind of person who wants to keep your collectibles in pristine condition, your purchase will include a digital download.) You can learn more HERE.

Disney Editions Deluxe

Disney Editions Deluxe

Disney Editions has some juicy new books on tap this fall, including David A. Bossert’s long-awaited Dali and Disney: Destino, the complete story of the seemingly-unlikely friendship between these two cultural titans. The book features all of the surviving artwork from their aborted 1940s collaboration, which finally bore fruit as an Oscar-nominated short subject a half-century later. A special limited edition will include a small, super-thin video screen on the inside front cover that plays the Destino short in its entirety.

(Disney Editions Deluxe)

(Disney Editions Deluxe)

The brilliant artist and animator Eric Goldberg has rendered delightful pen-and-ink portraits of 200 Disney characters—the kind one might have found on the walls of The Brown Derby restaurant—for a collection called An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters. And in All Aboard: The Wonderful World of Disney Trains, Dana Amendola chronicles Walt Disney’s lifelong love of railroading and how the legacy has been taken up by John Lasseter (who not only provides a foreword but appears on the cover of the book, as engineer of the train that once belonged to legendary Disney animator Ollie Johnston).

Mickey-praxinscope-1a At the Hallmark booth my wife Alice spotted an item she knew we had to have: a miniature praxinoscope of Mickey Mouse as the conductor he portrayed in the classic short The Band Concert. By inserting batteries and sliding a lever, one can watch Mickey come to life in a revolving series of mirror images as the band plays excerpts from “The William Tell Overture” and “Turkey in the Straw.” This irresistible item was sold in Hallmark Stores in 2013, but for D23 a limited number (825, to be exact) were repainted in shades of black, white and gray. We even got to meet the talented fellow who created it, Ken Crow, an official Hallmark Keepsake Artist. He has other ingenious pieces in their new fall line including an animated ornament inspired by Mickey’s Fire Brigade.

Needless to say, there were hundreds—possibly thousands—of other pieces on display at D23, by individual dealers as well as other official Disney outlets. I wish I’d had more time and energy to browse, but as a collector who’s out of shelf space it’s probably just as well I didn’t encounter more temptation.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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