Sunday, July 31, 2011

1997 Snow White Bird Feeder Statue

A heavy piece, this Snow White lawn statue stands 16.5" tall and is made of dense resin. Painted in a weathered copper finish of greenish black. The figure functions as a bird feeder by placing seed in her skirt. Originally sold through the Disney Catalog in 1997. Retail price $125.

Images via gwen10z.

From page 6 of the early spring 1997 Disney Catalog...

The statue reappeared in a couple 1999 Disney Catalogs along with all Seven Dwarfs. See them in another Archive entry.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bob Baker's Marionettes...Witch and Queen at DL Paris

These handmade string puppets of the Witch and Evil Queen are located in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort in Paris. Having not yet had the opportunity myself of visiting this theme park, I first learned about these fantastic marionettes when I came upon this image by British photographer Disney Dan.

Witch and Queen photo shot February 2010. Courtesy of Disney Dan. Use with permission.

Bob Baker, the artistic mastermind behind these marionettes, was born in 1924, and at the age of only eight, he'd already learned the art of puppetry. By the time he was attending high school in Hollywood, his own fabricated marionettes were being sold to customers in both North America and Europe.

Bob at age 12. Image via Bob Baker Marionettes.

In 1937, he worked at Robinson Department Stores in Los Angeles creating window displays and helping to develop a puppet play for the holidays. That show turned out to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A big fan of Disney, Bob developed other puppets shows over the next few years including one with Dumbo that Walt Disney himself attended. Read the account by Jim Korkis at Mouse Planet.

By 1944, Bob had started his own garage puppet factory. In the 50s, he was putting on puppet shows for his own TV program called The Adventures of Bobo. He then went on to work with Walt Disney to create window displays for the opening of Disneyland.

The Los Angles based Bob Baker Marionette Theatre officially opened in 1962 and is still going to this day. It currently has an inventory of over 3,000 puppets. With shows almost daily, it is the longest running puppet theater in America.

Bob at his theater in LA, 2009.

Bob has a long list of credits where his puppet work has appeared in both television and film. He even created the Quinto puppet who sang (voiced by Mel Blanc) to Carol Heiss in Snow White and the Three Stooges (reviewed by Kurt Raymond in an earlier post). Since the early 1970s, Baker has been the only officially licensed creator of Disney marionettes. His limited edition of Pinocchio is patterned after the original puppet that was used in the creation of the film. After the movie was completed, Bob was given the head which he used as a guide to create this special edition for Master Replicas.

Quinto the puppet in Snow White and the Three Stooges, 1961 + Pinocchio Master Replicas Limited Edition.

This brings us back to the Witch and Queen marionettes on display at the Paris Disneyland Hotel. Created by Bob, each is a limited edition of only 500. The Queen wears a crown on her head and a medallion around her neck. In her left hand sits the ill-boding heart box. The Witch clutches the poison apple in her left hand and sports a broad yet sinister grin. Both measure approximately 28" in length, the Witch slightly shorter.

Evil Queen, February 2010. Image courtesy of Disney Dan. Use with permission.

Additional Queen and Witch images shot June 2011. Courtesy of Disney Showcase Key. Used with permission.

Both puppets have long since sold out, but if you're lucky enough to find one from a reseller, it's likely to retail for well over $1500 (USD). These two marionettes have been on display at the Disneyland Hotel since it opened in 1992.

Here's a few other Snow White marionettes to come out of Bob's puppet workshop...

Images via Bob Baker Marionettes.

Read an interesting 2009 interview at suite101 where Bob shares stories from his days with Walt Disney and the animators.

Special acknowledgment goes to H.P. for his assistance with this post, to Disney Dan for use of his Witch/Queen photos, and especially to Disney Showcase Key for not only taking additional photos but also for tracking down the information about Bob Baker.


2013 UPDATE: CaseAntiques put the Queen (#28) and Witch (#29) up for auction.The pair sold for $1,860.00.

Additional images via CaseAntiques.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

WDCC Dwarfs' Hearth Figurine, 2001

Item Number: 11K-46244-0 (Old)/12170604 (Current).

Introduced in October 2001, The Dwarfs' Hearth is a Walt Disney Classic Collection accessory item to be used with the 1995 open edition Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 'Musical Dance Scene'. It also would work well with the Signature Series Soups On! from 2000 (seen in the post below).

Stock images copyright Disney.

Sculpted by artist Patrick Romandy-Simmons, the fireplace measures 7" tall with a width and depth of 11" x 6". Retailed for $95 (USD). First year production mark was the butterfly from Bambi. Figure was retired in May 2004.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WDCC "Signature Series" Figurines, 2000/2009

In the summer of 2000, Snow White's Soups On! was the first piece released in the Walt Disney Classic Collection's distinctive Signature Series. This special limited edition catalogue of sculptures is noted for featuring multiple characters in memorable scenes from the Disney animated films.


Soups On!...

Snow White and all the Dwarfs surround the dinner table from animator Ward Kimball's deleted "Lost Soup Scene". Sculpted by artist Patrick Romandy-Simmons, the piece measures 9 1/4" tall with a length and with of 16" x 11 1/8". Goblets are made of bronze, spoons and forks from pewter. A clear resin in the bowls and spoons represents Snow's homemade soup.

Item Number: 11K-46028-0 (Old)/1210013 (Current)

Hidden within the wood grain in each of the Dwarfs' chairs are letters which spell out, in no particular order, "W - D - I - S - N - E -Y". According to an interview with Romandy-Simmons, "we wanted to do this not only as a challenging point of fun and interest for collectors, but also as a fond salute to the man responsible for creating this magical, classic film along with so many other masterpieces."

  • W - Dopey (chair back)
  • D - Happy (chair top)
  • I  - Bashful (chair back)
  • S - Grumpy (chair back)
  • N - Sleepy (seat back)
  • E - Doc (rear right chair leg)
  • Y - Sneezy (chair back)

Soups On! Stock images copyright Disney.

Soups On! is a numbered limited edition of 1,937 after the year of the film's premiere (or if you prefer, the year the scene was cut). Retailed for $1,975 (USD). Resellers today want big bucks for it.

Numbered Limited Addition. Note production year stamp from 2000 (Dumbo's feather).

The figurine came packaged in a special gold box rather than the standard green.

Signature Series Gold Box

Additional items included with the figurine:
   1. Video on Ward Kimball's deleted soup scene
   2. Booklet detailing the story behind the "lost scene"
   3. Artist signature card signed by sculptor Patrick Romandy-Simmons
   4. Certificate of Authenticity .
   5. Notification registration card for next sculpture in the Signature Series.

Case, Booklet, Video


Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It's Home from Work We Go!...

Released in 2009, Heigh Ho...Home from Work We Go! is the 9th release and the second Snow White-theme to be included in the Signature Series. The Seven Dwarfs march home across the log in another sculpt by artist Patrick Romandy-Simmons. The figurine measures 24" in length, 10" wide and approximately 12" tall. Eighteen pieces of pewter make up the tree roots and six for the pickaxes. The lamp handle is fashioned from brass. Tree tops are resin.

The piece is a numbered limited edition of only 750. Retailed for $999 (USD). Enesco.

Item Number: 4010347

Stock images copyright Disney.
Sculpture info courtesy of Duckman's WDCC Inside Report.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Charlie Chaplin Assists Disney Snow White Distribution

At the Disney Studio in the late 1930s, the Snow White project set such a new precedent of operations on so many fronts, that both Walt and Roy sometimes found themselves having to figure out just what their next step should be. When it came to feature-length motion pictures, they were very much like newcomers to the business of Hollywood filmmaking.

According to Neal Gabler's book, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, the Disney brothers did not know what to charge for a feature film, especially overseas. It was Charlie Chaplin that came to the rescue...
Chaplin offered to give the Disney's all his "records and experience," most importantly his ledgers from Modern Times, which permitted Roy to press RKO to "go out and ask Chaplin prices" and get the same terms in foreign markets as Chaplin had gotten. p. 271

Modern Times released 1936.
Thanking Chaplin after Snow White's release, Walt called it an "invaluable service" and wrote "Your records have been our Bible--without them we would have been as sheep in a den of wolves." p. 271