Tuesday, 1 July 2014


Who is your favourite Disney character? Which is your favourite film?

Everyone has their favourites. I have a strong emotional reaction to Dumbo, thinking about him swinging on his mothers trunk as she's imprisoned makes me cry without even trying. Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood where go too movies when I was little, unwell and the floor was covered in Lego, and The Little Mermaid, I will never stop loving that film.

And the man behind Ariel, and her voluminous locks of bright red hair, Glen Keane, has just released Duet. A beautiful short taking you on the traditional (and enviable) route of most Disney films, from first meeting to romantic conclusion.

Let's face it, Disney not only gave all us girls unrealistic expectations about our hair, but about relationships...

...I'm nearly 30, I'm only mostly jaded and preparing for a life of spinsterhood, seeing most of my peers are married. But Disney and the imagination of people like Glen Keane, still keep that little bit of hope burning inside.

Hope for that passing meeting, love at first site and a happy ending.

Link | This Disney Animator [...] by Brian Troug from Buzzfeed
Listening: Love in a Minor Key - Ed Harcourt


David said...

The Little Mermaid is definitely the one that means the most to me from childhood.

Emily Boyd said...

I think for our generation (you, me, Louise i.e. children of the mid to late Eighties), the Little Mermaid was probably the first new Disney film which was big. All the others I remember pre-Little Mermaid were from the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's.

Pinocchio (1940)
Fantasia (1940)
Dumbo (1941)*
Bambi (1942)*
Cinderella (1950)
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Peter Pan (1953)
Lady and the Tramp (1955)*
Sleeping Beauty (1959)*
101 Dalmations (1961)
The Sword in the Stone (1963)*
The Jungle Book (1967)
Aristocats (1970)
Robin Hood (1973)*
The Rescuers (1977)*
Basil, the Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Oliver & Company (1988)
The Little Mermaid (1989)

See, even though Basil and Oliver came just a couple of years after any of us were born, The Little Mermaid is probably the first that we were properly aware of watching. And it was certainly the first which looked new and exciting and we weren't watching retrospectively (the ones I've marked with an * are the ones we watched time and again at home whilst building Lego towns).

After that it's not until 1991 that we get Beauty and the Beast, then swiftly Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1995).

By the time those were release I was in Primary school. The Little Mermaid is Disney for me. That's where it started properly and I became aware of what Disney was.


David said...

That was a lovely trip through childhood, remembering all those great films. Thanks Em. The memories we hold onto when we're jaded 20 something year olds :)

I enjoyed seeing which ones you watched a lot. I have to say that Peter Pan was another big one for me. My mum was a childminder when I was growing up, and I must have watched some of these films a million times with the kids she was looking after :)

I liked Lego too! I think we would have been quite happy visiting each other's houses when we were growing up :)

It's funny how we don't really choose the films from our childhood. We kinda get what we're given. But I'm glad we were both given The Little Mermaid. There are definitely worse things than being a child of the mid to late Eighties :)

Emily Boyd said...

It was the nice thing about having a little sister, it extended the amount of time we were able to watch our favourite Disney for a few more years...that said, I'm 29 and would still happily watch them :D

Having a little sister was also detrimental to Lego town construction. Louise was known in our house at the Lego Bomb. We'd build a town and then like Godzilla, my itty bitty sister would stomp through and destroy it all.

Annoying, but I liked the building part. And the colours, who wouldn't want a multicoloured house?

I think with Disney and Lego around we'd probably still have a good time in each others company! :)

On the choosing of films...Disney is such a huge part of peoples lives, everybody has some exposure to it. And it's reliably re-watchable. But then you have things which are individual to your particular family. for example for mine, it was The Herbs. No one I knew, knew The Herbs, in fact the only person I've ever known who knew it was my driving instructor and he was more surprised than I was!

I also quite like the fact that that was just ours, like a secret language only my sisters and I knew. It's ours and no one elses.

David said...

Me too! I'd love to watch some of those old Disney films again :)

They could be quite disturbing, especially some of the earlier ones. They had a very sinister undertone. Something very Grimm-like about them. It's hard to believe they were made so long ago.

When I was small, Lego used to be the thing I wanted every birthday and Christmas. Although, I was never very good at making my own things. Not surprised at all that you were :)

One day we'll have a Lego and Disney weekend. And your little sister can still trample through it all :)

I'm so disappointed now that I didn't watch The Herbs when I was small :) Although I have a vague recollection of Parsley the Lion. Or maybe it's just because I want to :) Tom & Jerry, the Pink Panther (I always sympathised with the little man with the big nose who seemed to have a very hard time in most of the episodes) and things like that were our main staples, I guess. I'd still watch those too :)

I bet your family enjoyed a lot of cool things that most people had never heard of when you were growing up.

Ps. What a fantastic birthday present from your dad! I hope you enjoy learning to play it.

Emily Boyd said...

Given how truly sinister Grimm fairy tales were, Disney's still toned down. It was Fantasia that scared me. Not all of it, but when it got dark.

I bought The Herbs on DVD and they're as good as when I was little and I can still sing all of the characters songs :D Even the obscure ones :D

And do you remember Banana Man, or Super Ted? Apparently they've decided to revive the latter, but since they're CGIing everything these days it will probably lose the charm of the cartoon. Like Paddington. I loved Paddington, the stop motion and the illustrated cutouts, the line drawn backgrounds...the way his nose wiggled when he ate his marmalade sandwiches.


It was charming and gorgeous. The new one's kind of creepy.

Actually I really love stop motion cartoons, and actually ones like The Herbs, Bagpuss, Clangers, Trap Door and Paddington being a little jerky makes me love them more.

(Oh dear, I've just checked Amazon, you can get the complete Paddington...I may have to buy it now.)

I know stop motion's a very expensive way to make, but there's something wonderful about them. It's something a computer can't recreate or replace properly.

I love Pixar by the way, I would never ever ever knock computer animation because they're amazing at it, but when something's been stop motion, transferring it to CGI just doesn't work. And I swear if they ever touch the Herbs or my saggy old cloth cat, I riot!


PS: yes, excellent present! And I've been learning how to play Tonight You Belong to Me over the weekend. Can't get my brain around playing one rhythm on the thing and trying to sing another yet, but never mind. Just need practice.

David said...

It's nice to watch shows from childhood, especially when they turn out to be as good as you remember them :) That's so much fun that you can still sing all the Herbs' songs. I'll have to look them up sometime :)

I do remember Banana Man and Super Ted! This is going to sound so silly, but there's an episode of the latter that has been imprinted on my mind since forever where space pirates (I think) kidnapped children to use as galley slaves and shaved their heads!

Hehe, the marmalade song. And that nose wiggle :) It'd be nice to re-visit some of these old show. I love being told about what you watched when you were growing up. It's like you said above - that everyone seems to have these secret shows that no one else seemed to watch :) Actually, I went on Amazon at lunch time today after reading your post because I wanted to see if some of the things I liked were available - I went straight for Pinky & The Brain. The Brain was something of a hero to me :)

I like the 'jerkiness' of stop-motion cartoons too :) I wish I'd gone to the cinema here when they were showing a documentary on Ray Harryhausen, the guy who did the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts. I doubt that CGI could improve on their creepiness. Or on Bagpuss' Bagpussness :)

I do kinda wish we'd been aware of Ghibli when were were growing up, although they're just as amazing to watch now. It funny to think that things like Castle In The Sky, My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service were around when we were very small. Like Disney, they really are pretty timeless :)

It's so cool that you're learning to play an instrument. There's a lot of workshops and concerts going on here at the moment for Fiddle players and I'm slightly envious of how musical some people are :) I love music, but I'm not musical at all.

Emily Boyd said...

I really hope stop-motion doesn't become a defunct art. Because it is art. The only people I can think of who are still doing it are Nick Park and occasionally Tim Burton and neither of them do it that often...though I admit, I loved the stop motion episode of Community. It did seem like there was a tonne of it in the 80/90s.

You're never too old for Studio Ghibli! You could just convince yourself they're arthouse movies...Or that might be my love for Totoro and Soot Sprites talking.

That's one of the reasons (as she has probably told you) Louise wants a black kitten. So she could have her own soot sprite.

I'm envious of it too. Sisters big and little were good at the Piano, I could never get my left hand to work with my right hand. And I had a hard enough time learning English let alone music. I've got a total blind spot and very very little rhythm. Tabs I can mimic the patterns, so it's easier.

It's like in Friends, where Phoebe teaches Joey how to play guitar with hand shapes like "old lady" instead of notes.

Maybe you should try an instrument :)

David said...

I remember that episode of Friends. I just know you'll do much better job of learning to play :)

Actually, I took piano lessons for a good long time in primary school and high school. But I wasn't very good. And I didn't enjoy it at all. Managed to scrape by a handful of exams before I stopped. I don't even play anymore despite the fact that I have a piano in my bedroom. I use it mainly to pile up clothes, dvds, cds etc. :) I do feel quite guilty though.

The piano exams were terrible. They made you do all these little exercises. I think I knew it wasn't for me when I couldn't clap in time to a piece of music :)

I'm going to have to watch Community, aren't I? And Firefly. Otherwise I can't join your gang :) Time to go back and review your 12 Days methinks. I really did enjoy reading about the shows you watch. Lists are cools :)

I loved Wallace & Gromit when I was growing up. Especially The Wrong Trousers. The evil penguin. And the train chase. Fantastic :)

Studio Ghibli really is fantastic, isn't it? :) Particularly Hayao Miyazaki. I haven't seen 'The Wind Rises' yet, but I'm sure I'll get around to it. Silly little fact, but I always watch the Japanese language version of Kiki's Delivery Service because I get my happy song :)


Your sister did tell me about wanting a black kitten. 2 black kittens - Grendel and Renfield :) She also said that a couple of cats had visited the house. Hope they came when you were at home so you got to play with them :)

Emily Boyd said...

Clear off the piano and play! Find something beautiful or fun or stupid to play and go for it! You're obviously good at it to have gotten any exams at all, scraped or not.

I took piano lessons when I was in primary school and I was awful and hated it because I never seemed to get better at it...I'd never have been put forward for exams! Ditto for violin.

Fact is, if you have the piano there, forget the exercises and drills and scales and terrible stuff they force you to do and try it as something fun. :)

And yes, you are going to have to watch Community, all five series and Firefly, then you can be in our little gang. And you can blame High Fidelity (book and film) for my love of lists. Plus there's nothing quite as satisfying as ticking things off a list.

Mmm, Louise choice of names is, well, interesting. There are two cats which keep popping in to visit the house, but to be honest, I don't particularly like it. They're very sweet, scenting us and purring, but they're not ours. They're someone elses and I don't like the idea of our cats doing that, so I'd rather not encourage it.

Plus if my parents ever did get more cats, I don't like the idea of the house smelling of someone elses and it being territorial.

David said...

Thanks Em. Maybe I'll clear all the junk off the piano one day. It'd probably need to be tuned though :)

Well, I've never had much to do with cats ever since one scratched me after being so affectionate :) Also, I don't like anything visiting the house - friends, neighbours, close family members etc :) But your sister knows that I'd happily let her invade my space with as many cats as she wanted :)

I think you got our rain. It was pouring down here yesterday. I heard there were landslides along some of the country roads. But it's lovely today. These are my favourite days. The sunny days after a bout of heavy rain :)

Emily Boyd said...

Ours - as long as I've been on the planet - hasn't been tuned. Which I'm sure is sacrilege, but it doesn't stop the playing being fun. Just slightly less tuneful.

See I'm a cat person - I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up an old spinster with a flat full of cats, piles of hoarded craft supplies and no friends. I miss our four and I hated going to visit those kittens a few months ago, because I got instantly got attached, even though I knew we would never end up with them.

And I don't like people in the house either, I think I'd feel different in my own space.

More rain today, and it's not going to stop as far as I can see. I suppose it's pathetic fallacy with the way I'm feeling.

David said...

The usual weather here. Nice one minute, crap the next :) I always hate walking in this weather. I get paranoid that I'm being pursued by rain clouds :)

I'm always very careful about forming emotional attachments. I don't think I'd ever cope with losing a pet. I know from Louise how much you guys miss your cats. I hope it isn't too long before you get another one.

I was looking out some of my old piano books after our conversation yesterday. I loved the first one I ever got. It had a bunch of old nursery rhymes and some mischievious looking cartoon monsters to help you along :)

Ps. The White Album was my favourite Beatles album!

Emily Boyd said...

Pursued by rain clouds...I'd be more worried of the horizontal rain.

I doubt we'll get any more cats. But if I ever break out on my own, I will for company. It's horrible losing a pet, the first two were hardest for me I think, because I wasn't home. I was in London participating in an exhibition. I came home and they were gone. The next, was horrid of course but by the time the last went, I went with mum to the vets. I figured if I ever wanted to own animals, I needed to go through every horrid bit. And The loss is bad. Loss always is, but, getting new pets, it's giving someone a home and a family to love them. Not replacing the ones we miss.

That said, those cats that keep visiting, one of the reasons I don't like it, is because it feels like cheating.


I'm glad you got your old piano books out. My favourite was always playing Heart and Soul, because I could play one part and mum or one of the girls could do the other. :)

PS: Abbey Road is my favourite, I love the medley of unfinished songs on side two. The White album and Sgt. Pepper come very close behind. All three were car fodder when I was little, so they're firmly secured in my favourites list. I love the Beatles full stop :)

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