Disney Odyssey #32 – Life is a Circle, and Revenge Happens Naturally

The next installment of the Disney Odyssey is an animal-centric movie, which means only one thing: the return of famed big game hunter and animal rights activist…. Professor Gordon! For this momentous occasion, we also invited comedic genius Andy Huttel to join us – and thus the meeting of the bearded gingers was begun. 

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An actual photo of Professor Gordon (left) and Andy Huttel (right) in the wild.

Both Bill and Andy had a lot of personal connections with The Lion King so it seemed only right to have them both weigh in on this highly formative film from the mid-1990s.

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The Film: The Lion King (1994)

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Disney Odyssey #26 – Stand Back, Dawson, I’m Going To Try SCIENCE!!!

HERE WE ARE. London 1896. The fog permeates every corner of the omnipresent darkness. The cobblestones are slick from an earlier rain. The gaslamps flicker and cast long shadows on every brick building on the street. The greatest detective alive is on the prowl for clues to his latest case… and no – it isn’t Sherlock Holmes. It’s an adorable mouse-based fan fiction of Sherlock Holmes! To dive into one of my favorite Sherlockian tributes of all time, the Fella and I brought our pal JR over to the house to watch and talk shop about mysteries, mustaches, and mice.

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Admit it – you read this in Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice.

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The Film: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

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Leia on the Playground: Scenes and Memories of Star Wars

1.

“Have you seen Star Wars?”

The question is hazy in my mind now, but back then it came unbidden to my lips as a new friendship blossomed with a boy in my second grade class. He was a scrawny, rough and tumble kid with scraped knees and a really cool bike. I don’t remember why we had begun to talk more and play together at recess, but I remember the solemn commitment with which he nodded.

“Let’s play Star Wars,” I said firmly, at some point, and by the time recess was done that day we had reenacted every line we could remember, the movie relived – starring him as Han Solo and me as Leia (or Luke if the scene needed it). There was no Han/Leia kissing, of course, but I did yell “INTO THE GARBAGE CHUTE, FLYBOY!” and toss him down a tube slide on the playground. We climbed on things, hid in the thin treeline at the edge of the school property, aimed invisible blasters at invisible Storm Troopers, and ran for our lives down corridors in our minds that never ended.

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illustration by my younger brother – circa 1995

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Disney Odyssey #14 – The Second Star to the right…

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re sorry that Disney Odyssey kept you waiting so long for the next installment… This next film is very near and dear to both me and the Fella, and we wanted to give it proper time and due fanfare. We were also really busy getting married, so… more on that later! For now, though, we wanted to do something really special for this film…

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The Film: Peter Pan (1953)

The Facts:

  • The film is based on and inspired by J.M. Barrie’s 1904 stage play and 1911 novel Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up aka Peter and Wendy.
  • Walt intended for Peter Pan to be the second film following Snow White  but he had difficulty acquiring the rights. He finally reached an agreement with the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the charity which J.M. Barrie gifted the rights to Peter Pan in 1929.
  • The entrance of the United States into WWII pushed many of Disney’s works in progress back even further, including Peter Pan, Song of the South, Bongo, Mickey and the Beanstalk, and Alice in Wonderland. 
  • Walt and the writers went through several iterations of the script, several of which were much closer to the source material. Ultimately Walt wanted to start the film with Peter coming to retrieve his shadow, as he felt Peter’s origin story was a separate tale altogether. They also adjusted the script so that Wendy isn’t actually kidnapped, but rather she comes to Neverland willingly.
  • Likewise, Walt didn’t want Tinker Bell to completely betray Peter, so he had the pirates capture her rather than have her fly to Hook and reveal Peter’s location in a jealous rage.
  • Popular rumor states that Tinker Bell’s design was based on Marilyn Monroe. This is false – she was designed after her model, actress Margaret Kerry, who also voiced the redheaded mermaid in the film.
  • This is the final film in which all of Disney’s Nine Old Men were a part of the production team.
  • A sequel was released in theatres in 2002, called Return to Never Land. The sequel takes place during the London Blitz, and has grown up Wendy’s daughter Jane going to Never Land with Peter instead.
  • Three voice actors from Alice in Wonderland appear in Peter Pan as well: Bill Thompson (White Rabbit & Mr. Smee), Heather Angel (Alice’s Sister & Mrs. Darling) and Kathryn Beaumont (Alice & Wendy).

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DIS IS HAMMAWEENS! Costumes Required.

This morning I got off the train in the Loop and got in line at my regular Dunkin Donuts. Behind me was Wednesday Addams. Ahead of me was an 80’s pop star. When I arrived at the office, I found Wakko Warner, Dot Warner, a Shark, the Boat The Shark Ate Half Of, Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid, Clark Kent, and a guy dressed as a busted coffee machine (an in-joke because the big fancy one in the office is constantly breaking).

It should be noted that all of the aforementioned humans are Grown Ups. And all of them have a ‘real’ job at an office in downtown Chicago. And all of them wore costumes to work today.

Tomorrow is Halloween (duh) and although I won’t be trick or treating, I am pausing to reflect on how awesome it is that one of the ways we celebrate this holiday is by publicly playing dress up. As a cosplaying nerd AND a theatre person AND a historical reenactor, my daily desire to dress up in costume/period accurate clothing/etc is strong. Very strong. My “normal” brain, when faced with the news of a costume contest at work, said: “Wear something easy and comfortable. You have SO MANY costumes to choose from. My costumer brain said: “QUICK MAKE SOMETHING TOTALLY NEW FROM SCRATCH!” My cosplayer brain said: “Smaug hasn’t been out for a walk in a while. Maybe wear Smaug to work?”

It was a discussion my brain(s) had ongoing for, like, two whole weeks. Round and round about what to wear I went, and happy at the chance to dress up and impress my coworkers at the same time. I almost went with something comfy (my Eeyore onesie was calling to me, precioussss) but my cosplay brain won out and Smaug came out of storage. 

  
Granted, I could not wear Smaug on the train for my commute – rush hour on the Brown Line isn’t exactly spacious. But I arrived at work early and changed diligently into my dragon dress. It turned out to be pretty comfy – more than I remembered from when I first debuted it at C2E2 in 2014. The only thing was my skirts kept getting caught in my rolly chair, but overall I felt it was an acceptable handicap. 

I am proud to say I won Best Homemade Costume in the contest, though I’m told I was also nominated in the Most Creative category. My prize is – I kid you not – an Iron Man mini-fridge. 

  
I am a sucker for bizarre nerd merch. 

It was nice to be recognized for the hard work I put into my costume, and it was nice that a ton of people in my office whom I have never spoken to before felt comfortable approaching me to ask how I made it, how long it took, where I got the idea from, etc. But more even than that it was nice to dress up and wear this costume out, to be one of many costumed folk in the office, to enjoy the silliness and fun of costumes in general and celebrating Halloween a day early. It reminded me of being younger, painstakingly planning The Best Halloween Costume Ever each and every year, thrilling at the chance to wear whatever I wanted for a day AND be rewarded with candy for that creativity. 

I hope I never lose that delight.

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Coffee Machine Guy and Boat Guy get attacked by Jaws the Shark and Smaug.