Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This Week at Disneyland: Holiday Fantasy Annual Passholder Party

Last night Disneyland hosted a "Holiday Fantasy" party for Annual Passholders who are renewing their passes in the next few weeks.

The event was an "after hours" four-hour private party. The entire park was open to passholders, with entertainment including the Christmas Fantasy Parade, the Wintertime Enchantment snow at the castle, and a performance of Fantasmic!

One of the nice perks provided was free downloads of photos taken with Disney characters. Photo stations were set up around the park and were quite popular, with fairly long lines. We had our photos taken with Scrooge McDuck and later with Belle and the Beast, as well as in front of the wintry Sleeping Beauty Castle.

This is the most beautiful time of the year at the park, and this year is no exception! I highly recommend visiting at this time of year if at all possible.

We plan to head back to the park in a week's time for our annual Thanksgiving Eve visit.

Also this week: This Weekend at Disney California Adventure: Christmastime Arrives!

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Weekend at Disney California Adventure: Christmastime Arrives!

Yesterday afternoon we made a quick visit to Disney California Adventure to enjoy the Christmas decorations, as the holiday season officially began in Anaheim last Thursday.

Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land have become my very favorite places in the parks at Christmastime, with a fantastic retro vibe. Added to the decor is a wonderful music track which includes artists such as Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald, and it's simply perfection.

Click any photo to enlarge it for a closer look. Here's the Carthay Circle Theater:

Santa holds court at the Elias & Co. Department Store:

Hollywood Land, with decorations inspired by vintage Hollywood Boulevard decorations:

More Hollywood Land:

A terrific display next to the Hyperion Theatre:

At sunset the Christmas lights mixed with the usual neon lights come on in Cars Land while "Winter Wonderland" plays:

Carthay Circle after dark:

Shops on Buena Vista Street ready for holiday shoppers:

Can hardly wait to return and enjoy even more of the season in California Adventure. Meanwhile, Tuesday night we're looking forward to an after-hours holiday party for annual passholders in Disneyland!

Last year's Disney Christmas photo posts: Disney California Adventure: World of Color - Winter Dreams; Today at Disneyland: Holidays in Disneyland; Today at Disney California Adventure: Viva Navidad!; Today at Disneyland: Candy Canes and Caroling; Today at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure: Dia de Reyes.

From 2012: First Christmas on Buena Vista Street.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Possessed (1947) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

This seems to have been my day for watching movies about troubled souls! First up was Robert Blake as the incorrigible MOKEY (1942); that was followed tonight by Joan Crawford as a mentally ill woman in POSSESSED (1947).

POSSESSED was just released by the Warner Archive on a beautiful new Blu-ray. Crawford, a previous Oscar winner for MILDRED PIERCE (1945), received her second Best Actress nomination for her performance as Louise Howell, a nurse whose romantic troubles are magnified by her mental instability.

Whereas MOKEY was just sad, POSSESSED was such a top-of-the-line production in every way that it was completely absorbing, if a tad long at 108 minutes. POSSESSED is a polished, well-acted, and engrossing production which reels the viewer in for the duration.

The movie begins with Louise (Crawford) walking through the near-deserted streets of Downtown Los Angeles in the early morning hours. She looks haggard and is clearly disturbed, asking more than one man if he's "David."

She ends up in the psychiatric ward of County General Hospital, where kindly Dr. Willard (Stanley Ridges) gradually learns Louise's story. Louise loved David (Van Heflin), an engineer, but he wasn't interested in more than a casual fling and threw her over when she grew possessive.

Louise is devastated by David's rejection but eventually marries kindly Dean Graham (Raymond Massey), whose first wife had been her patient until committing suicide. As Louise's mental state crumbles she comes to think she helped the wife kill herself, until she's assured it was an impossibility.

When David returns to town and falls in love with Dean's young daughter Carol (Geraldine Brooks), Louise's condition worsens further; at one point she even imagines she has pushed Carol down a flight of stairs.

Louise also believes she shot David to death -- was that real or did she imagine it too?

Crawford is outstanding in this, giving an agonizing portrayal of a woman who is, put simply, falling apart. Crawford walks a careful line and never pushes the performance too far over the edge into absurdity; her bewildered pain is thus quite affecting, as she is beset with false memories and uncontrollable impulses.

Heflin, as the featurette on the disc points out, plays the role that in other films would be played by a woman -- a male version of the "femme fatale." He's not terribly wicked but he's not a good man, either; he's self-absorbed and careless of Louise's feelings, having clearly used her when it was convenient. When he falls for Carol, he freely admits her wealth doesn't hurt.

Geraldine Brooks, who was so good in EMBRACEABLE YOU (1948) the following year, is excellent as Carol. It's a non-cliched role as Carol starts out resenting Louise, being suspicious of her motives and her role in her father's life, yet Carol admits when she is wrong and eventually comes to like and accept her stepmother. Brooks also believably makes the transition from teenage schoolgirl to a young woman in love.

I'm not sure I've ever seen Raymond Massey in such an appealing and heartfelt role as Dean, the wealthy but lonely widower who grows to love Carol. He too is written in an unconventional fashion. When first seen he is critical of Louise's job performance, apparently the scary type of character Massey was so good at portraying. However, Dean quickly apologizes and over time reveals himself to be charming and immensely supportive of Louise, even in her darkest hours. Part of the reason I'll be wanting to watch this film again in the future is because Massey is so wonderful.

The screenplay by Silvia Richards and Ranald MacDougall provides a variety of richly written characters. It can be a tad hard to follow at times, between the flashbacks and Louise sometimes "remembering" things which didn't happen, but on the whole it's a very good job with a complex plot and subject matter.

I've often mentioned Hollywood's '40s fascination with psychology, especially from the years 1944 to 1947, and this film is a prime example. Someone really needs to write a book on the topic!

The large supporting cast includes Moroni Olsen and Don McGuire as doctors, Douglas Kennedy as the D.A., John Ridgely as a police investigator, Griff Barnett as the coroner, and Gerald Perreau as Dean's son.

The outstanding talents behind the camera included director Curtis Bernhardt, cinematographer Joseph Valentine, and composer Franz Waxman.

A couple of years ago Robby did a wonderful post on the film's Downtown Los Angeles locations at Dear Old Hollywood. Those who are interested in the movie will want to be sure to check it out.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray is a really beautiful print which adds to the pleasure of watching this film. There are substantive extras carried over from a prior DVD release, including the trailer, a featurette, and a commentary track by USC professor Drew Casper.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Tonight's Movie: Mokey (1942) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

The Warner Archive recently released three varied movies showcasing actor Robert Blake, including the '50s prison drama REVOLT IN THE BIG HOUSE (1958) and a '70s racing film, CORKY (1972).

The earliest of the three releases is MOKEY (1942), featuring 8-year-old "Bobby" Blake.

Blake had a long career as a child actor, including many appearances in the "Our Gang" series, where he was billed as Mickey Gubitosi. Blake's older siblings James Gubitosi and Joan Blake (also known as Giovanna Gubitosi) were also child actors, but their careers were much more limited.

Blake had been in the movies for three years at the time MOKEY (1942) was released in April 1942, and it was with this film that he was billed for the first time as Bobby Blake, a name he would use until switching to Robert in the '50s.

Ironically his title character of Mokey presages some of Blake's later real-life issues, as he plays a troubled young boy who has run-ins with the law.

Blake was teamed in MOKEY with two up-and-coming MGM actors, Donna Reed and Dan Dailey, then billed as Dan Dailey Jr. This was Reed's sixth feature film, while Dailey had already put in appearances in over a dozen MGM films between 1940 and 1942.

Widowed Herbert (Dailey) brings home a nice new wife, Anthea (Reed), but she is ill-equipped to deal with her holy terror of a new stepson, Mokey (Blake). Mokey can be sweet and desperately yearns for his stepmother's love, but he never makes a good choice when a bad one will do.

Herbert spends most of the time working on the road, leaving Anthea to struggle as a new single parent. Almost immediately Mokey gets in legal trouble and ends up on probation for the better part of a year. Mokey also runs away for some weeks, and when he returns and accidentally dumps his new baby sister out of her cradle, Anthea has had enough. Horrified by the danger to the baby, Anthea slaps Mokey and tells him not to call her Mother again, precipitating Mokey having another runaway episode as well as another run-in with the law.

I love Donna Reed and was glad to see the film for her sake; she was especially effective conveying embarrassment in a wordless scene leaving the courthouse. Dailey was hardly in the film long enough to make an impression, other than his character being fairly clueless about his son and his wife's struggles.

Although it's somewhat interesting for its place in the careers of the three lead actors, it must be said that this is simply a very sad film, and as such I didn't find it very enjoyable entertainment. Mokey's in desperate need of a therapist, and his new mother could use help trying to figure out how to cope with an unresponsive child who seems to have no inhibitions or common sense.

At the end of the film Mokey and Anthea have a touching rapprochement and pledge to try again, but given all that's happened before, it feels hollow. When I turned the movie off I couldn't help exclaiming "Well, that was a downer." All the more so as I was expecting something more typical of MGM's "B" family fare. Andy Hardy it's not!

Etta McDaniel plays the family housekeeper, and her brother Sam is also in the cast. Cliff Clark and Mary Field have nice roles as a farming couple who take in Mokey the second time he runs away. Blake's "Our Gang" costar, Buckwheat Thomas, plays Mokey's friend. The cast also includes George Lloyd, Frank Faylen, Addison Richards, Cordell Hickman, Marcella Moreland, and Matt Moore.

This 88-minute movie was directed by Wells Root, based on a screenplay by Root and Jan Fortune. Root only had two directing credits, but he had a long screenwriting career, including writing for numerous '50s Westerns such as MAVERICK.

The screenplay was based on a book by Jennie Harris Oliver which was loosely inspired by real people and events. A comment on IMDb by the real Mokey's son gives some additional background.

As is usually the case, the Warner Archive DVD is a fine-looking print. The DVD includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...Please visit my latest column posted at the ClassicFlix site, a short biographical sketch of the wonderful Dana Andrews.  Lots of Dana Andrews DVD recommendations, too!

...As a Preston Foster fan, I'm really looking forward to another of his films, THUNDERHOOF (1948), coming out on DVD next month. It was directed by Phil Karlson. Toby's got all the info over at 50 Westerns From the 50s.

...WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) will be screening nationwide in December in honor of its 60th anniversary. Details on the December 14th-15th screenings are here, and a list of theater locations is here. I had a really good experience seeing it on the big screen last year.

...And don't forget about seeing CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) and A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938) the previous week; I provided more details in last week's roundup.

...Lindsay has a terrific review of Jack Webb's PETE KELLY'S BLUES (1955), just released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive. I'll be reviewing it soon.

...Cliff has a thoughtful, detailed post at Immortal Ephemera on H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. (1941), starring Robert Young, Hedy Lamarr, and Ruth Hussey. The review includes a very interesting comparison to the novel by J.P. Marquand. This is a film I look forward to seeing at some point!

...THE CROWN, a planned original TV series for Netflix, will tell the life story of the current Queen, Elizabeth II.

...Kristina reviews a "vintage" 1967 film book, WHO IS THAT?, at Speakeasy. Recent posts by Kristina and Mike are inspiring me! As time permits I hope to join them in sharing some of the interesting old film books on my shelves.

...Last weekend Maureen O'Hara received a greatly deserved Honorary Oscar in a ceremony in Hollywood. O'Hara thanked Charles Laughton, John Ford, and John Wayne in her acceptance. Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (THE WIND RISES), who was also honored with an Oscar, said, "My greatest luck is that I got to meet Maureen O'Hara today." Harry Belafonte and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere also received Honorary Oscars.

...Will has the latest behind-the-scenes news on Turner Classic Movies at his site, Cinematically Insane.

...I'm quite interested in the new film THE IMITATION GAME (2014), about the cracking of the Nazi Enigma code during World War II. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, with a supporting cast including Mark Strong, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, and Allen Leech (DOWNTON ABBEY). It opens the day after Thanksgiving. The trailer is here.

...Are you a member of the Film Noir Foundation? Vince Keenan gives the rundown on the contents of the latest issue of Noir City Magazine, yours for a donation to the FNF.

...Speaking of film noir, Karen is celebrating "Noirvember" at Shadows and Satin. Every day there's a new post on a quite a variety of film noir topics. It's great fun so be sure to stop by for a visit.

...Coming November 25th: A new coffee table book, CRITERION DESIGNS, filled with the original artwork for Criterion DVD releases.

...Daniel Day-Lewis is now Sir Daniel Day-Lewis. The three-time Oscar winner was knighted last week by the Duke of Cambridge.

...Notable Passing: TV creator Glen Larson, the man behind MAGNUM, P.I. and the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, has died at 77. Here are obituaries from The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.

...For the latest on Disney books, movies, DVDs, music, theater, and more, please visit last week's Disney News link roundup.

Have a great week!

Five Underrated Thrillers

I'm delighted to have had the chance to share a list of Five Underrated Thrillers at the most enjoyable film blog Rupert Pupkin Speaks.

As many of my readers know, Brian regularly invites other bloggers to contribute "favorites" lists. Each new series results in new titles added to my viewing wish list!

Brian kicked off the Thrillers series in September with this post. Many folks in the classic film blogging community have contributed lists, including Jerry, Nora, KC, Aurora, Kristen, and Ivan. Be sure to check this series out!

Please note that more detailed reviews of each of the films mentioned in my guest post can be found by searching here at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings.

I'm looking forward to contributing a Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 post at the Rupert Pupkin site in a few weeks' time.

Previous guest posts at Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Five Underrated Comedies, Favorite Film Discoveries of 2013, Five Underrated Westerns, Five Underrated Mystery/Detective Films, and Five Underrated Action/Adventure Films.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Guns of Darkness (1962) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Revolutionary intrigue meets jungle adventure in GUNS OF DARKNESS (1962), a brand-new release from the Warner Archive.

It's New Year's Eve in the South American Republic of Tribulacion, and President Rivera (David Opatoshu) is overthrown in a bloody coup. The wounded Rivera manages to escape, and he turns up the next day at the home of British plantation manager Tom Jordan (David Niven) and his wife Claire (Leslie Caron).

Tom and Claire have a troubled marriage; among other things, the immature Tom is chronically rude at parties, unable to summon the tact necessary for career advancement or job security. The frustrated Claire, who has not told her husband she is finally pregnant with a longed-for child, has decided to leave him and return to France. Little does she know that she and Tom are about to embark on a hazardous journey together, attempting to get former President Rivera out of the country.

The film is a bit of an oddity, blending marital melodrama with a perilous jungle adventure -- complete with quicksand! -- not to mention a violent revolution. The movie is moderately entertaining, but it doesn't really live up to a promising storyline.

Part of the problem is that Tom is fairly unlikeable for a significant portion of the movie; he and Claire bicker even while fighting for survival, with the reawakening of romantic love for one another being a long time coming. It would have also helped if the movie had filled in more back story on their relationship.

The film seems to want to tell a story of Tom belatedly coming of age through their challenging journey; up to this point, his much younger wife is the one who seems to be the brains in the family, constantly trying to smooth things over with Tom's boss and putting up with Tom's asinine behavior. It's an interesting premise but the presentation should have been more compelling. That said, I'm a fan of both Niven and Caron and enjoyed watching them even if the material was a bit lacking.

James Robertson Justice (THE SWORD AND THE ROSE) costars as Tom's boss, who is all too willing to compromise with the revolutionary army. Ian Hunter (THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD) is also a welcome face, in one of his last screen roles.

GUNS OF DARKNESS runs 102 minutes. It was directed by Anthony Asquith and shot in widescreen black and white by Robert Krasker. The screenplay was by John Mortimer (creator of RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY), based on a novel by Francis Clifford.

The Warner Archive DVD is a fine-looking widescreen print. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tonight's Movie: King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)

This post on KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1953) is my contribution to the British Empire in Film Blogathon being hosted from November 14th through 17th at The Stalking Moon and Phantom Empires. Be sure to check out the many interesting links at the Day One Roundup and additional roundups throughout the next few days.

KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES is set at a British outpost in India in 1857, "the one hundredth year of British rule," as noted in an opening narrative card. A ball held in honor of Queen Victoria's birthday figures prominently in the plotline.

Captain Alan King (Tyrone Power) arrives to serve under Brigadier General Maitland (Michael Rennie), but soon finds himself ostracized by some of his fellow officers due to his half-caste status; King's father was a British officer who had also served in India, while his mother was a local Indian woman.

Maitland's young daughter Susan (Terry Moore) is untroubled by King's background and falls head over heels for the handsome captain. She enthusiastically pursues him and is rewarded when he returns her affection, to her father's dismay. Her father attempts to break up the romance by sending Susan back to England but she is determined that she will one day be with her captain.

King must ultimately lead a regiment of Indians, the Khyber Rifles, into battle against his foster brother Karram Khan (the enjoyably wicked Guy Rolfe), who has been fomenting unrest among the natives and killing British soldiers.

This is a pleasant if not particularly distinguished film. It's enjoyable entertainment yet it's somewhat tepid; both the action scenes and the love story, which should be thrilling on the one hand and swooningly romantic on the other, never quite catch fire. It's not boring, yet it's not particularly exciting, either.

The movie's chief attribute is Tyrone Power, who is terrific in just about anything, and he's backed by solid talents including the great cinematographer Leon Shamroy, who shot the film in CinemaScope, and composer Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann contributes a stirring opening credits theme which sounds very Herrmann-esque indeed. The director was Power's frequent collaborator, Henry King.

The issue of racial prejudice is handled well; the storyline focused on the "forbidden" love between Power and Moore's characters was fairly daring for the era.

Unfortunately Moore, making no attempt at a British accent, is miscast as a British commanding officer's daughter; she's charming in the right material (see SHACK OUT ON 101) but as one reviewer wrote at IMDb, she plays the role with "the sunny demeanor of a USC cheerleader."

As was the case with GUNGA DIN (1939) over a decade previously, the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine, California, stand in for India.

Power worked in Lone Pine on multiple occasions, including BRIGHAM YOUNG (1940) and RAWHIDE (1951), and is said to have been a popular visitor in the little Sierra town, where he mingled with the local citizens and was generally perceived as an all-around nice guy. The Tyrone Power website features a reprint of a publicity article with Power commenting on Lone Pine.

One of the film's problems is that it seems to have been very windy during much of the film's location shooting, resulting in the need to loop in dialogue later. The voices at times noticeably seem to be speaking from an echo chamber, which is a bit distracting, particularly when the dubbed lines are intermingled with "live" dialogue. It's rare for something like this to be such a noticeable issue.

This 100-minute film was written by Ben Goff and Ivan Roberts, inspired by a novel by Talbot Mundy and a story by Harry Kleiner.

KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES is not available on VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray. Perhaps at some point it will follow Power's PONY SOLDIER (1952) and be released on Blu-ray by Twilight Time. I was able to see it thanks to Fox Movie Channel, but I would enjoy seeing a better print one day. At this writing the movie is also available on YouTube.

Thanks to Jeff and Clayton for hosting this blogathon and inspiring me to finally catch up with another Tyrone Power movie!

In Disney News...

It's time for a roundup of the latest Disney news!

...More great Disney history books are on the way! The 75th anniversary of PINOCCHIO (1940) will be celebrated next year with PINOCCHIO: THE DISNEY EPIC by J.B. Kaufman, author of other Disney history books including SOUTH OF THE BORDER WITH DISNEY and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. PINOCCHIO: THE DISNEY EPIC will be released on February 17, 2015.

...Also due out in February 2015: A WISH YOUR HEART MAKES by Charles Solomon. This history of CINDERELLA is timed to coincide with the release of Disney's live-action version of the story, directed by Kenneth Branagh, in March 2015. Solomon's other Disney books include THE ART OF THE DISNEY GOLDEN BOOKS and ONCE UPON A DREAM, a history of SLEEPING BEAUTY.

...The Winter Issue of Disney Twenty-three magazine will soon be arriving in mailboxes of D23 members! The cover features INTO THE WOODS (2014), Disney's filming of Sondheim's ersatz "fairy tale" musical which opens on Christmas Day. Also featured in the issue: decorating Disneyland for Christmas and the notebooks of Disney technician Herman J. Schultheis.

...Christmas decorating has taken place at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, as chronicled in photos by Dateline Disneyland. It looks like the second year of the Jingle Cruise will be even more elaborate than last year! We're excited to check it out at an after-hours private holiday party for Annual Passholders next Tuesday evening.

...The holiday season at the parks officially started yesterday, November 13th, and runs through Epiphany on January 6, 2015. The festivities will include the return of the popular Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure, with a Three Kings Day celebration from January 4th through 6th.

...Speaking of the Jingle Cruise, I might have ordered this limited edition shirt this week!

...The famous handmade candy canes return to Disneyland's Candy Palace and Disney California Adventure's Trolley Treats beginning on November 28th. The schedule is at the Disney Parks blog. It's a challenge to snag one of these so I was happy to be able to purchase one last year. We all agreed it was worth the trouble!

...I don't understand why Disney has decided FastPasses are needed to see the Fantasmic! show after over two decades. That's going to complicate life for those of us who are used to simply showing up in the afternoon and staking out a spot while enjoying a picnic along the Rivers of America. Will we now need to obtain passes in the early morning hours if we don't want to be stuck standing while watching the show? Details are at MousePlanet.

...Disney's stage version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is currently playing at La Jolla Playhouse; here's a review from Variety which is generally positive, while noting some issues which might need to be worked out before it proceeds to Broadway, and here's a mixed take from the Los Angeles Times.

...Coming for Valentine's Day 2015: A Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD combination release of ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS (1961).

...Longtime Disney animator Andreas Deja, who I saw give a captivating presentation at Destination D in 2012, has a book coming out in 2015: THE NINE OLD MEN: LESSONS, TECHNIQUES, AND INSPIRATIONS FROM DISNEY'S GREAT ANIMATORS.

...The Maelstrom ride at the Norway Pavilion at Epcot will be replaced with a FROZEN attraction. This caused outrage in many quarters but frankly this one didn't disturb me too much, as I found Maelstrom creepy -- although I loved the section where the boat goes backwards!

...Coming from Disney next February, Kevin Costner starring in the inspirational sports film MCFARLAND, USA (2015):

...Future releases from Disney include a sequel to THE INCREDIBLES (2004); TOY STORY 4 (2017); and MOANA (2016) and ZOOTOPIA (2014). The latter features a character who looks an awful lot like Disney's animated ROBIN HOOD (1973).

...Also on the way in Spring 2015, a FROZEN (2013) short, FROZEN FEVER (2015).

...And here's a teaser trailer for Pixar's INSIDE OUT (2015), coming next June. And don't forget about TOMORROWLAND (2015), coming in May -- here's a trailer. Lots of Disney films ahead!

...Here's interesting info on the No-Fly Zones over Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

...I love this new FROZEN print by Dave Perillo, seen at the right.

...I'm emphatically not a fan of Disney recently testing "FastPass-only" rides. The concept is wrong, wrong, wrong.

...Beginning in 2016, Disney's princess dolls will be made by Hasbro, rather than Mattel.

...A couple months ago the New York Times featured an article on Disney and the Oregon Ducks mascot.

...Coming November 24th: A special 25th Anniversary double-disc CD of THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989) soundtrack.

...Our family team, Skippers in De Nile, had a great day playing in the Sugar Rush MouseAdventure game at Disney California Adventure on the last Sunday of October. We successfully completed nine out of ten puzzles! If we'd just had a few more minutes for the very last one... The next MouseAdventure game is expected to take place at Disneyland in late spring 2015.

...DISNEY DURING WORLD WAR II was just released, and I anticipate receiving it for Christmas. It's by John Baxter.

...Take a photo tour of the Pixar campus.

...Attention Southern Californians: A reminder that the next Throwback Thursday screening at the El Capitan Theatre on December 11, 2014, will be SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960). The discounted price includes popcorn and a soda. And don't forget the El Capitan now offers tours!

...Leonard Maltin gives a thumbs up to Disney's BIG HERO 6 (2014), now playing in theaters. It beat INTERSTELLAR (2014) at the box office last weekend. Hoping to see it soon!

For more Disney news of the last few months, please visit the roundups for July and August.