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The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana • Page 22

The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana • Page 22

Kokomo, Indiana
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G6 KOKOMO TRIBUNE FRIDAY, OCT. 1,1999 ENTERTAINMENT The century's most durable star Mickey Mouse is the longest-lasting Hollywood star. By BOB THOMAS Associated Press Writer BURBANK, CALIF. As with all veteran movie stars, his career has experienced spectacular highs and serious lows. He's had facelifts and makeovers, and survived the advent of both sound and television.

He's had co-stars upstage him and handlers neglect him for other projects. Yet, after 71 years, he remains the longest-lasting Hollywood star of all. His movies still attract an audience, he has a merchandising deal to die for and is still married to the same gal. Who is this star of yesterday, today and tomorrow? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-0-U-S-E Although his Oscar-winning heyday came with a series of classic shorts in the 1930s and '40s, Mickey Mouse has always been with us. His grinning face has appeared on billions of T-shirts, ties, toys, watches, notebooks and countless other pieces of merchandise.

Tail and all, he remains the corporate icon for the multibillion-dollar Walt Disney empire. He serves as the silent host at the Disney theme parks from Paris to Tokyo. The humans inside the Mickey suits are not allowed to talk to their guests. It's the studio's way of preserving the integrity of that cheery falsetto voice first provided by Walt himself in 1929 on the scratchy soundtrack of "Steamboat Willie." Right up there with John Travolta as a comeback kid, Mickey now reigns on Saturday morning television with "Disney's Mickey MouseWorks," to the delight of a fourth generation of young fans Walt to Mickey, died in December 1997. Mickey's beginnings are clouded in legend; Walt, the great storyteller, liked to improve on the tale with each recital.

But the basic facts are these: Walt and Lilly were returning to California from New York City, where his distributor had stolen the Disney series, "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" and hired away most of the studio's animators. Walt decided on a mouse character, since mice had never starred in movie cartoons. Walt and his animation whiz, Ub Iwerks, devised the appearance of Mickey, who was not much different from Oswald except for round instead of floppy ears. Working at fever pitch, Iwerks animated three silent shorts starring the mouse "Plane Crazy," "Steamboat Willie" and "Gallopin 1 Gaucho." Suddenly the sound revolution swept Hollywood. Walt decided to put a few sound effects and lines of dialogue and a musical score to "Steamboat Willie." Film distributors displayed little interest, but an engagement at New York's Colony Theater on Nov.

18,1928, aroused a sensation. Mickey Mouse soon was known around the world. Animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston were not present at Mickey's creation, but they brought the mouse to life during his heyday in the 1930s. Now both 86, they have been best friends for most of their lives. California-born, they met as undergraduate students at Stanford University, and studied at Los Angeles' Chouinard Art Institute, which had a close relationship with Disney.

In 1934, Thomas AP photo OLDIE BUT GOODIE: This is a 1938 original sketch of a Walt Disney Mickey Mouse cartoon done by Walt Disney artists Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Ct There's a theory that closed circles give people a feeling of comfort Ollie Johnston Disney animator Disney once acknowledged the difficulty of analyzing the appeaLof his arte at Me studio as an in- Wcey Js so'" (filling irP simple and uncomplicated so between the animators'key draw' ings). Johnston followed in 1935. They went on to become two of the famed "Nine Old Men" who created the Disney animated classics, and later the subject of the documentary feature, "Frank and Ollie." They and their wives remain neighbors in a leafy suburb about 15 mjnutes Disney cartoon" factory in Burbank. The pair recently talked about the popular rodent and his heady career.

"What they generally say is, 'Ub did the drawings and Walt put in the Johnston said. "Walt was enough of an animator himself that he knew what had to be in the voice. His delivery had real personality and emotion; he knew what the character was thinking." Thomas recalled one occasion when Disney agreed to be photographed while recording Mickey's lines. "We copied Walt's movements when we animated because he was so much into the character," said Thomas. Indeed, after Disney's death in 1966, his widow said she cried every time she saw Mickey Mouse, "because there's so much of Walt in him." Like Johnston and Thomas, Disney worked on Mickey around the studio's animated feature projects including the legendary "Snow White" and "Pinocchio" and the distractions started to take their toll on the little mouse.

"When Walt became involved in easy to understand, that you can't help liking him." Leonard Maltin, author of 'The Disney Films" and historian- reviewer for "Entertainment Tonight," agrees: "He exudes such cheerfulness, he is indomitable, he is the unsink- ably happy characterwe all wish we could be. There is just something irresistibly likable about him, likable to the degree that kids who haven't even seen his films find his image appealing." No one remains who was present at the birth of Mickey Mouse in 1928. The last survivor, Walt's widow Lillian, who is said to have changed the name from Mortimer rr put enough of himself into Mick' ''lt 'goftb 1 1 the point that you'd listen to a story and say, That's But it lost something in animation. "That's where Walt used to be so strong: sweat-boxing everything (critiquing rough animation in a hot projection room), picking out little gestures and nuances that made the story come to life." "Mickey began to lose the personality that made him popular," Johnston added. "It was hard to work with this guy, who used his brain when he was in trouble.

He wouldn't give up until he found something to do, just as he did with the giant in 'Brave Little Tailor!" By the late 1930s, the Mickey Mouse craze cooled. The earnest little star with the big ears was being upstaged by his more comical second bananas Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy. His name even entered the vernacular as another word for makeshift Yet Disney's affection for his first star never waned; he often remarked to his workers: "Never forget this studio was built by a mouse." (Even today, insiders fondly or not so fondly refer to the Walt Disney Co. as 'The Mouse Factory! 1 Disney provided a comeback role for Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in "Fantasia." That sequence and the Nutcracker Suite will be included along with six new ones in "Fantasia 2000," opening in theaters early next year. A featurette, "Mickey and the Beanstalk," appeared as part of "Fun and Fancy Free" in 1947, but thereafter Mickey was mostly relegated roltf yWMbW comedians until television.

While much of Hollywood shuddered at the new medium, Disney embraced it with an afternoon program called 'The Mickey Mouse Club." Before long, the fallen star was back on top and mouse ears were sprouting on the heads of baby boomers across America. A generation later, the formula was repeated with "The New Mickey Mouse Club" on the Disney Channel. In the beginning, animators Scooby Poo has a new voice, video and love interest By SHEILA EDMUHDSON Scripps. Howard Foundation Wire When Scott Innes told his elementary school teachers that one day he would be the voice of Scooby-Doo, he wasn't kidding. 'They thought I was totally crazy," Innes said.

But for the last two years, InneS now a 33-year-old disc jockey at radio station WYNK in Baton Rouge, La. has howled the voice of the well-known cartoon pooch on television, in movies and in talking Scooby toys. He does the voices of both Scooby-Doo and his sidekick, Shaggy, in a new Scooby-Doo movie this fall. Oh, and his six-room house is a virtual shrine to Scooby. "My life," said Innes, "revolves around this character." So why is this grown man obsessed with a cartoon hero who has charmed children for four decades? Partly, says Innes, it's the result of a childhood fascination with cartoon voices.

Partly, it's the thrill of solving mysteries, as Scooby and his gang do. And partly, adds Innes, it's a love of Scooby's greatest fans, the children themselves. Innes' interest in Scooby-Doo began in the early 1970s as he was growing up in Poplar Bluff, Mo. On Saturday mornings, like so many other youngsters, he would sit in front of the television' with a big bowl of; cereal'watch- ing his cartoon, he recalled, Lying in at night, 1 Innes would practice the voices fronithat day's show. He was-captured, said Innes, by ScopbyV all-tOQ-famillar vulnerability a reluctant hero who overcame own fears.

"Scooby," said Innes, "represents the coward in all of us." The show captivates fans both young and old "with a certain timelessness," said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University. Scooby-Doo, he says, features well-told stories and a memorable theme song. has become the national anthem of their childhood." For Innes, his fascination with Scooby eventually led him into a friendship with Don Messick, who gave voice to Scooby-Doo for 28 years. In a fluke of timing in 1997 Innes was trying to pitch to cartoon- makers Hanna-Barbera a parody of a popular country song based on Scooby. Messick, he discovered, was retiring.

Hanna-Barbera needed someone to fill his shoes. Innes tried out and got the job. His debut as Scooby's voice was a major success in a feature- length Scooby-Doo film, "Scooby- Doo on Zombie Island." The movie became the No. 1 children's video in the country. His second feature-length Scooby- Doo movie, "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost," is scheduled for release on video Tuesday.

The video, by Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment, marks the show's 30th anniversary. This movje is "classic Scooby with a 1990s theme," said Innes. He and Warner were reluctant to reveal the plot But Dan Capone, a marketing vice president for Warner, gave this hint; "Velma gets a love Interest" 1 has already played a key role i fanes' love life, He and hjs wife Jodie wore Scooby-Doo T-shirts when they exchanged marriage vows. The Innes home also is jammed with what he describes as the world's largest collection of Scoo- by-Doo memorabilia: Original lunch pail boxes from the 1970s; Scooby Doo board games; drinking glasses with scenes from the show; Scooby-Doo Happy Meal toys; talking cardboard cutouts of Scooby-Doo characters; Scooby- Doo and Shaggy Beanie Babies; posters and pictures.

TAYLOR MIDDLE SCHOOL and HIGH SCHOOL DEDICATION OPEN HOUSE October 3rd, 1999 Dedication at 2:00 P.M. Open House to follow 'till 5:00 p.m. 883.52 Located 9 miles west of Kokomo on S.R. 22. GREEN ACRES GOLF CLUB 18 HOLES WITH CART Monday-Friday Anytime I rents PER PERSON I nun I III 7327 E.

500 Kokomo, IN 46901 765-628-3814 RUBBER STAMP SALE out otf Saturday, October 2, 1999 lOsOO am pm OFF Tuesday. Friday 5:30 pm pm; Saturday 10:00 am 4:00 pm considered Mickey easy to draw because he consisted of circles: the head, the ears, the round body. John Hench, long a Disney studio philosopher, theorizes that circles appeal to primordial human instincts, and he cites the round shapes of prehistoric talismans. "There's a theory that closed circles give people a feeling of comfort," the animator Johnston said. And his colleague Thomas recalls Disney once remarking: "Put a half-dozen toys including Mickey in front of a baby who can't even talk yet, and he will always reach for Mickey." As the Disney animation grew more sophisticated, so did Mickey.

In the 1940s, the brilliant animator Fred Moore modernized Mickey with a fedora, fancy duds and a more expressive face. But Walt Disney vetoed one of the sketches that showed Mickey without a tail. "Don't forget: He's still a mouse," Disney chided. Ward Kimball is another of the Nine Old Men, named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt's derision of the New Deal-busting Supreme Court. "He was easy to draw," Kimball says of Mickey, "but something's wrong with the big ears.

Real mouse ears flop forward. No matter how Mickey turned, these two round balls moved back and forth on his head. Andreas Deja, who represents the new crop of Mickey animators, also faced the problem of Mickey's ears. Deja is responsible for Mickey's cameo appearance in 1988's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," and he animated Mickey in the featurette "The Prince and the Pauper" (1990), and "Runaway Brain" (1995) the first new Mickey Mouse short in 42 years. "Mickey seems easy to animate," says Deja, "but once you study him, all of a sudden a whole world of subtlety comes through.

For instance, the ears don't work in perspective; they're always flat, they slide from left to right and back again. Somehow that works. Why, I don't have a clue." Now Mickey Mouse has returned jb.eginningsiuth&u Saturday matinee. Mickey MouseWorks" to Saturday television, with healthy ratings. It began its second season Sept 11.

Mickey Mwse By The Associated Pmss v-. V' Theatrical 1928 Willie." 1928-53 Cartoon shorts. "Fantasia" Sorcerer's Apprentice" section). "Fun arid Fancy Free" and the Beanstalk" section). 1983 featurette, "Mickey's Christmas Carol." 1990 featurette, 'The Prince and the Pauper." 1995 cartoon short, "Runaway Brain." 2000 feature, "Fantasia 2000" ('The Sorcerer's Apprentice" section).

Television 1955-59 'The Mickey Mouse Club." I I950s-1960s numerous appearances on "The Wonderful World of 1970s 'The New Mickey Mouse Club." 1999 "Disney's Mickey MouseWorks." Academy Awards 1931-32 Honorary award to Walt Disney for the creation of Mickey Mouse. "Lend a Paw," best cartoon short. 'This is the first Mickey TV series using original material; the whole show is new," said Roberts Gannaway, who is co-executive producer with Tony Craig. "It is a variety show including Donald Duck, Goofy and other Disney characters, so they have a sort of neighborhood inspired by Toon Town (in 'Roger Craig added: "Content-wise we were trying to give Mickey back a little bit of his scamp or mischievous Having become an icon sort of diluted his character. We wanted to put some of that back." Mickey is doing better than any human star.

He has a network deal, a new movie heading, to theaters jvorldwide masco't -that Will probabty iim's worth of corp'braifftaferggrsi And so the little mouse with no- flop ears marches into another century of stardom tail intact Indian Corn, Bittersweet, Corn Shocks, Pumpkins Gourds, Antique Collectible Treasures, and Neat Fall Stuff! I Come Out Browse Our Charming Country Market Filled To The Rafters With Autumn Delights! Co, Rd. 500 Onward, IN 219-626-3369 Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm Closed On Sunday.

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