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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 343
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 343

Los Angeles, California
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TV TIMES Donald Duck. They know Mickey Mouse, but I wonder how many of the other characters are forgotten." That was one reason, he said, for the attempt to develop a Saturday morning kids show for NBC to be produced from the Disneyland amusement park and to incorporate a lot of the old cartoons out of the vast Disney library. NBC jumped the gun and announced the project prematurely, Miller said. Negotiations subsequently broke off were too far apart and the project was abandoned--at least for next season. Miller still feels a valid kids show can be developed, possibly using some of the ideas of the old Mickey Mouse Club. As a setting, the Disneyland amuse- shows cartoons any more because the company no longer makes new ones in the Mickey Mouse-Donald Duck-Silly Symphony tradition for theaters. A couple of weeks ago, the short theatrical feature, "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," was offered as an NBC special, and another A. A. Milne adventure, "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" will be a spe- cial next fall. Miller said talks are in progress with NBC to do a series of 1 specials and that two are in preparation, one to be made in Ceylon, the other in Africa. For the Disney World series, the studio delivers 25 new shows and 23 repeats each year. In the Disney tradition, no differentiation is made on films for television or films for theaters the same producers, directors and crews work on each. Some films developed for television, like "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes," are released instead in theaters; others like the compelling drama "Smoke" had such impact on television that it is being released in theaters abroad. With tens of millions of tourists jamming Disneyland and with that vast new resort project at Orlando, under construction, film seems almost a bv-product at Disney's. It isn't. "These days," said Miller, "so few movies are made that give us competition ones people can take their kids to that we even get credit for the movies we don't make. You should see the letters we have thanking us for Disney Studios: it's hardly a Mickey Mouse operation Ron Miller, a former Rams linebacker, is production chief at Walt Disney Studios. What with film studios all over town hammering at death's door, it seems almost obscene for the studio Wait Disney founded to he literally bursting with robust health. "It's almost embarrassing," said production chief Ron Miller, "when everybody else is slashing to the bone, to be starting the most expensive movie ever made." The movie is "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," it stars Angela Lansbury and is budgeted at million, which is $1.2 million more than "Mary Pop-pins" cost. It is spread over every square inch of the Disney lot to such an extent that a two-part film for NBC's Disney World, "Deadman's Bayou," is being shot in Shreveport because there wasn't room for it here. For a while after the death of Walt Disney, the creative control of the studio was by committee, but Miller, Walt's strapping son-in-law, has lately taken charge. He's a former Rams linebacker whose wife is Diane Disney and they seem determined to provide a huge audience for Disney products with seven children thus far. "I look at my kids," said Ron the other day, "and I wonder if they remember Goofy. Or Pluto. Or even ON THE COVER: Julie Sommars is the personable J.J. who gives assistance to her governor father (Dan Dailey) in The Governor and J. Tuesday nights at 9:30 on CBS. Julie's background includes much of the usual: summer stock, dramatic training in various workshops, plus stage parts. A milestone was her role in the film, "The Pad." Currently her big interest is studying Cheyenne and Sioux Indian history. She is collecting Indian lore and books on the subject. Vital statistics: she is 5 foot 6, U8 pounds, hazel eyes and blond. ment park has figured in innumerable Disney TV programs, including a variety show tonight, "Disneyland Showtime," featuring the Osmond E. J. Peaker and Kurt Russell, which was made at the park and which incorporates much of the backstage wizardry of the newest attraction there, the Haunted House. (See color photo of Miss Peaker on opposite page.) The Wonderful World of Disney series is now completing its 16th season and, as Miller said, it rarely

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