5 Things You Didn’t Know About Winnie the Pooh (1977)

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Winnie the Pooh (1977)

5 Things You May Not Know About Disney’s ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’!

The original Winnie the Pooh film’s 40th anniversary is this year, and we thought we might celebrate in our own nerdy way! Here’s our list of 5 Things You May Not Know About ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’!

The El Capitan Theater’s advertisement for a throwback showing of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

#1: It is Actually 3 Separate Films

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh might feel like several separate adventures stitched together instead of one cohesive film. The reason for this feeling is because this was indeed the case! Most kids who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s already know this, but The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is an amalgamation of three separate short films edited together; with new sequences added to weave the segments together naturally. The three short films were originally released in theatres in double-bills with live-action Disney features; Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (released with The Ugly Dachshund in 1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (released with The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit in 1968), and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (released with The Island at the Top of the World in 1974). Therefore, even though the final product wasn’t released until 11 years after Walt Disney’s death in 1966, he personally worked on two out of three in this collection.

#2: It was Responsible for Disney’s Last Oscar

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) is responsible for the last of Walt Disney’s Acedemy Awards. The award, given posthumously to Walt in 1969 and accepted on his behalf by animator/director Wolfgang ‘Woolie’ Reitherman, was for ‘Best Short Subject’. It was a shame that Walt Disney had passed away before the film was finally released theatrically, but the honor was deeply felt for him; especially since it officially capped off Walt Disney’s record of Academy Awards won at a whopping 26! Walt Disney still holds the world record for most academy awards won by a single individual; as well as the world record for most academy awards nominations at 59 total nominations!

Winnie the Pooh’s innocence was something that Walt Disney was especially fond of and he said so several times while making the film.

#3: It Made Winnie the Pooh an American Icon

A.A. Milne’s classic books had been quite popular in England for a long time before Disney purchased the rights to make their films. However, Pooh was comparatively unknown in the U.S. It may be hard to think of a time when kids didn’t know who Pooh was, but his obscurity was very real in the new-era sixties of the United States. Walt Disney was worried that the obscurity would be enough to majorly hinder a full-length feature film. He felt like he needed to start off Pooh in a series of short films, to introduce him to the average American audience and establish his character, then it might have been possible to move on to a full-length film. Sadly, Walt did not live to see his vision of a feature film realized, but he did succeed in making Winnie the Pooh a Very recognizable character in the U.S.

When making their Disney themed paintings, the Thomas Kinkade Estate could not ignore the vastly popular Winnie the Pooh stories. Go buy the paintings on the Thomas Kinkade website if you can; they’re fantastic!

#4: It Was the Last Chapter for Several People

As mentioned above, Walt Disney passed away during the production of these iconic shorts and was not able to see all his dreams about it to come true. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was the last film project to be released which Walt ever worked on. However, Winnie the Pooh didn’t just mark the last chapter for Walt. It also sadly marked the very last screen performance of the well-respected thespian Sebastian Cabot (the Narrator) as the actor passed away five months later. Interestingly, Winnie the Pooh also marked veteran actor Sterling Holloway’s final theatrical performance to be released before his retirement in film. Sterling was the voice of Pooh, the Cheshire Cat, Kaa, and many other iconic Disney characters.

Sterling Holloway holding, arguably, his most famous character.
Sterling Holloway had a long and illustrious Disney career as a voice artist before retiring.

#5: It Spawned one of Disney’s Greatest Franchises

When Walt set out to adapt A.A. Milne’s classic tales into a dream-fulfilling feature film, he had no idea what it would one day become. It spawned dozens of direct-to-video sequels, tv-films, several television shows, thousands of items of merchandise, theme-park attractions, and many more appearances which we do not have room to list here. Pooh’s influence is even acknowledged by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also, if you want to relive the nostalgia of the Hundred-acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh is one of only 3 Disney films to have a canonical full-budget theatrical sequel. Winnie the Pooh (2011) is a critically acclaimed film which does justice to the original tale. If you haven’t seen it, we would highly recommend it!

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction at Disneyland takes its namesake directly from the original film and follows the same events. There is a variation on this ride at many Disney Parks; including the extremely popular version at Tokyo Disneyland!

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Sleeping Beauty!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Sleeping Beauty!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sleeping Beauty

Revered as one of Disney’s Greatest films, Sleeping Beauty has stood the test of time. Almost 60 years later, it has become a major pop-culture icon. To honor this masterpiece, here is our list of 5 Things You May Not Know about Sleeping Beauty!

#1: Sleeping Beauty Was a Technological Triumph

Walt Disney insisted that Sleeping Beauty must be the most beautiful film the studio had ever made. He famously said that the film should look like ‘a moving illustration’. He did not care how long it took, or how much money it would cost to get it there. Walt wound up spending twice as much on Sleeping Beauty than any other Disney animated feature before. Over an arduous 8 years of production, Walt made sure the film was refined to a level of quality which stunned critics of the day. The animation was specifically altered from Disney’s typical style to make it feel more Gothic and intricate. The format which it was intended to be released in (Super Technirama 70) was specifically chosen because of its depth of sound and widescreen picture; making it one of only two animated films in history at the time to be produced in anamorphic widescreen (the first was Lady and the Tramp).

The climactic scene between Prince Phillip and Maleficent is a fantastic example of the entire film’s epic artistry and technical innovations.

#2: The Score Was Not a Disney Original

Walt Disney had always worked hard to produce the best original scores that he could muster; making his animated films famous as lavish musicals. However, Disney took a very rare approach to the scoring of Sleeping Beauty. To produce the sophisticated feeling he was looking for, Walt insisted that the score be adapted directly from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous Sleeping Beauty Ballet; the lyrics of Once Upon a Dream are the only new addition to the score. The score was adapted and revised by George Bruns and the adapted score was nominated for an Academy Award, but it was turned down in favor of a completely original score.vnlLPbCazLIl

#3: Maleficent’s Voice Should Sound Very Familiar

Although Maleficent is arguably the most popular of the Disney villains, and was Eleanor Audley’s most well-known performance, it was not the first Disney villain the radio veteran portrayed…nor the last of her dark Disney roles. Nine years prior, in 1950, Eleanor had made her Disney debut by portraying Lady Tremaine, the cruel stepmother in Cinderella. Disney Parks veterans will also recognize her as the voice of Madame Leota at The Haunted Mansion! If you already knew that, then you may still be surprised to learn that Eleanor was one of the few actors in sleeping beauty who also portrayed her character for live-action reference footage. this live-action performance was studied by Angelina Jolie for her role as the same character in Maleficent (2014).

Eleanor Audley erupts in rage at her goons in this still from the live-action reference used by animators as inspiration.

#4: It Is One of the most Revered Animated Films of All Time

Today, many film critics and historians agree that Sleeping Beauty is one of the best animated films of all time. With a Rotten Tomatoes Score of 92%, and numerous praise from filmmakers and critics allike, it stands the test of time. Sleeping Beauty is also notable as the “33rd highest Grossing Film in History” with a total value of $642,456,300 in today’s currency when adjusted for inflation. The film is also the “5th Highest Grossing animated film of all time” when adjusted for inflation. In addition, The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is now the spiritual icon of the entire Walt Disney Studios; replacing the previous generic castle as the company’s logo (despite popular belief, it is not Walt Disney World’s Cinderella castle).

Although much more elaborate than the version at Disneyland, this logo is confirmed by the company to be an updated Sleeping Beauty castle. It was commissioned by the Walt Disney Studios from special effects house ‘WETA DIGITAL’ (known for The Lord of the Rings).

#5: It Was the Last of Its Kind

After 16 animated features, Walt Disney’s films were getting better and better, but they were also getting more and more expensive as a result. The price it was costing to improve upon their films, and make them at such a high quality, was quickly outweighing the profits the studio made. Sleeping Beauty was the last-ditch effort by the Walt Disney Studios to keep animation improving, and it is considered by many as the pinnacle of animation as a result. However, even though it was a huge hit, the film had cost so much money to make that it ended up with only a small profit; that’s how expensive it was to produce! With a sad heart Sleeping Beauty became the last film Walt Disney Produced at such a caliber. The Golden Age was over, and although Disney’s next film (101 Dalmatians-1961) was a success, the art of the animation was greatly reduced….until a certain mermaid!prince-philip-slleping-beauty-annie-leibovitz-s-disney-dream-portrait-series-disney-1361380-2000-1300Enjoy these facts? Interested in more? Like, share, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter by following the links on our menu page in order to receive updates and let us know in the comments what films you want us to cover next!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Snow White!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Snow White!

This year, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs celebrates its 80th anniversary! To honor this classic, we have put together a list of 5 things you may not have known about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

#1: The First Film of Its kind

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was unlike anything that the world had ever seen before. It was the first ever full-length animated feature film and it started an entirely new genre called the Animated Film for which Disney has become synonymous. Cartoons were no longer just shorts to tack onto big-ticket movies; they had become the main event themselves. Many critics called Snow White “Disney’s folly”. They all thought it was a foolish idea and that no audience would want to sit through a cartoon of that length. Boy, did Uncle Walt show them! Not only did Walt get an audience to sit through almost an-hour-and-a-half of cartoon joy, but he got them to love it. It is now a pop-culture icon which has lasted for 80 years. Many film historians consider Snow White to be the most important animated film in history; and even one of the most important films in general!wMiOUsW

#2 It Put Walt Disney on the Map

It was true that Walt Disney had already become famous for his creation of Mickey Mouse and the extremely refined quality of his animated shorts, but it wasn’t until the humongous success of Snow White that he became a true icon. Considering that Walt Disney had to mortgage his own house to keep the film financed, all while enduring the mocking of most critics, I would say that the fame the studio gained from it was well earned! Every dime of money earned at the Box office for Snow White was poured back into the studio’s future. With the profits from Snow White, the old Hyperion studios from which the film was born got traded out for the brand-new Walt Disney Studios in Burbank CA; the very same studio that the company still inhabits today. Without Snow White, Disney would not be the entertainment empire it is today.

Even with its updates, the Walt Disney Studios still occupies the same land bought with the profits of Snow white. The film’s significance to the studio’s history is displayed by the dwarf statues on the outside.

#3 There Used to Be A LOT More Dwarfs

One of the many things that Walt emphasized was the transition of the original nameless dwarfs from the fairy tale into fully-fleshed characters with individual personalities. However, this caused a great deal of trouble for Walt’s team because they couldn’t figure out what names to use! In fact, the studio considered over 60 Dwarf names before finally narrowing it down to seven. These names include, but are not limited to, Silly, Sappy, Scrappy, Snappy, Snoopy, Goopy, Gloomy, Gaspy, Gatsby, Gabby, Blabby, Flabby, Crabby, Cranky, Lazy, Dizzy, Dumpy, Snurfles, Dirty, Daffy, Doleful, Woeful, Wistful, Soulful, Helpful, Awful, Graceful, Tearful, Tubby, Weepy, Wheezy, Sneezy-Wheezy, Sniffy, Puffy, Stuffy, Shorty, Shifty, Thrifty, Nifty, Neurtsy, Hotsy, Hungry, Hoppy, Jaunty, Jazzy, Busy, Burpy, Baldy, Biggy-Wiggy, and Biggy-Ego! Whew…That is a lot!!!!!

preliminary dwarf concept art

#4 It Received an Extremely Unique Oscar

Snow White’s greatest achievement in critical circles was won at the 11th Academy Awards in 1939. Walt Disney was gifted with the Academy’s most prestigious award; the ‘Honorary Award’. This award is one of the highest honors at the Academy Awards and signifies extreme respect by one’s peers; given only to those who have made a significant contribution to the film industry. It was presented to Walt by child star Shirley Temple as one normal sized Oscar along with seven miniature Oscars. The honor was addressed; “For Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, recognized as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field”.1939_disneytemple


#5 It’s One of the Greatest Box Office Juggernauts in History

We talk a lot about the Avatar, Star Wars VII, and Avengers regarding their power at the Box Office. These films have grossed millions in the theaters upon their release in today’s money. But let’s face it, a dollar is not worth what it once was. Adjusted for inflation, Snow White’s true value dwarfs most modern ‘Box-office hits’ at a whopping theatrical gross of $963,560,000!!!  Adjusted for inflation, Snow White ranks as the ‘10th Highest Grossing Film of All Time’. Avatar comes in at 15, which is still extremely high, but Snow White beats it by over a hundred million dollars!snow-white-sister-movie-disney-red-rose