Saturday, April 30, 2011

Snow White "Diamond Edition" Heading Back to Vault


Today is the day that Disney officially removes from US distribution the 2009 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition Blu-Ray/DVD. It's heading back to the "vault" where it typically sits for 7 or 8 years before the next technological media innovation entices it back out again.


Good bye for now...



Of course, if you haven't gotten your copy, there's no hurry. The Blu-Ray/DVDs will be available for years to come on reseller sites like amazon, ebay and others.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1950s "Scary Adventures" Nash Advertisement

"Make it a Nash vacation..." with this magazine advertisement for the Nash Ambassador Country Club automobile set in front of Disneyland's Snow White Adventures. A rare site for sure, it probably dates from 1956 when such a thing as a non-Disney promotion could still actually occur with scenes from inside the park.


Image scans courtesy of The Raymond Collection. Used with permission.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1975 "Snow White Character Mug" Give-Away

1975 Giveaway Mugs (4 1/4" tall x 2 5/8" wide).

As part of the promotional campaign for the 1975 North American re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Procter and Gamble corporation was offering a free character mug giveaway with the purchase of one of their cleaning products. The mugs, which included Snow White, Grumpy, Doc and Dopey were exhibited in a freestanding cardboard aisle display. This display was featured on the centerfold (pages 16-17) of the Snow White pressbook that was sent out to theater owners.


Page 16-17 from Pressbook. Image from personal collection.

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The display to the right consisted of a square base which held the mugs and a topper which promoted the giveaway campaign. Combined, it was close to 5 feet in height.

Another taller version (as seen in the pressbook above) had a back panel with shelves to hold the mugs.

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It's interesting to note that there were a couple different graphic designs for this display. One topper had a 3-dimensional paperboard mug. On another, the mug was simply a flat image. Also the adjective "classic" was changed to "current"...


Bottom image courtesy of Rick Payne.


On the first display (with the 3D topper), the face of the base emphasized the four free mugs. On the second, it focused on the promotion of the film at movie theaters...


Bottom panoramic image courtesy of Rick Payne.

I recently learned from collector Rick Payne that twice as many mugs were produced featuring Snow White and Dopey as compared to those for Doc and Grumpy. Presumably they felt the first two would be more popular.

Display images courtesy of Rick Payne via dadric's attic are as marked. All others courtesy of David Welch's Childhood Memorabilia via PezDudeWelch. Used with permission.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcasts of Snow White

Probably the best known radio broadcast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was that of the 1938 Lux Radio Theater (see earlier post) which featured an appearance by Walt Disney himself. Yet, the Screen Guild Theater performed at least five more radio adaptations of Disney's Snow White, each were half-hour shows that aired live from Hollywood. The first in 1944 was followed by one in 1946, two in 1948 and another (that was paired with Pinocchio) in 1950.

The Screen Guild Theater was a popular radio show from 1939 to 1952. It was broadcast on CBS for the majority of its run from 1939-1948 with NBC taking it over from 1948-1950, ABC from 1950-1951 and back again to CBS for one more season in 1952. It also went by different names depending upon who the sponsor was: The Gulf Screen Guild Theater, The Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater, The Camel Screen Guild Theater.

Big name Hollywood stars performed on the show to help raise money for the Motion Picture Relief Fund, a charitable organization which assisted retired actors and others in the movie industry who may have fallen on hard times. The salaries from the radio performances were usually donated to this fund.








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Original Airdate April 24, 1944...

Listen to the entire 29:09 minute 1944 CBS Snow White performance starring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Jane Powell and Billy Gilbert.

At the Internet Archive (file no.174)
Also at Free Classic Radio Shows: https://free-classic-radio-shows.com/Drama/Screen-Guild-Theater/1942-1944/1944-04-24-ep193-Snow-White/index.php


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Original Airdate December 23, 1946...

The entire 27:58 minute 1946 CBS Snow White performance starring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Mary Jane Smith and Charles Kemper.

At Free Classic Radio Shows: https://free-classic-radio-shows.com/Drama/Screen-Guild-Theater/1945-1946/1946-12-23-ep327-Snow-White/index.php


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Original Airdate June 7, 1948...

The entire 27:30 minute 1948 CBS Snow White performance starring Margaret O'Brien, Jimmy Durante, Mary Jane Smith and Mel Blanc.

At the Internet Archive (file no.326)
Also at Free Classic Radio Shows: https://free-classic-radio-shows.com/Drama/Screen-Guild-Theater/1947-1951/1948-06-07-ep391-Snow-White/index.php

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Original Airdate December 23, 1948...

1948 NBC Snow White performance. Starring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Mary Jane Smith and Charles Kemper. (Audio file not yet located.)

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Original Airdate December 28, 1950...

1950 ABC Snow White/Pinocchio performance. Starring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Fanny Brice and Hanley Stafford. (Audio file not yet located.)

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The first three Snow White Screen Guild Theater programs were broadcast on CBS and generally followed the same script, the first two sponsored by Lady Esther and the third by Camel. The fourth program (the second of 1948) was also sponsored by Camel but aired on NBC. The script was probably similar to the earlier ones (but I have not yet located the audio recording to confirm). The last Screen Guild performance of Snow White aired on ABC in 1950.

Both the '44 and '46 performances were narrated by the popular Edgar Bergen with his "side-kick" Charlie McCarthy. The 1948 CBS show featured eleven year old Margaret O'Brien telling the story to Jimmy Durante. Then later in 1948, the NBC program again starred Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy as did the ABC episode in 1950.

Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy 

Margaret O'Brien and Jimmy Durante 
Images via Ventriloquist Central, Wikimedia Commons and AllStarPics.

Fifteen year old (not 14 as stated in the program) Jane Powell played the singing voice of Snow White the first time around. Fourteen year old Mary Jane Smith replaced her two years later in '46 and again in both of the 1948 programs.

The 1944 broadcast saw Billy Gilbert return from the original film to reprise his role as Sneezy. This is probably why Sneezy ends up having the most lines of all the dwarfs in the script. Charles Kemper played the role in '46 while Mel Blanc took it over in the 1948 CBS version. There are moments in Blanc's performance that you can hear distinct shades of Yosemite Sam. Charles Kemper returned in 1948 for the NBC show.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Art of the Disney Princess - Margaret Leahy

Artist Margaret Leahy has been sculpting toys and maquettes for over 16 years. She's done extensive work for Mattel, Robert Tonner, and Disney Store to name just a few. Sculpting dolls, figures and horses are her absolute passion.


The Tonner Evil Queen (2009)...



The Disney Store LE 17" Snow White (2009)...



Her work is featured in the 2009 book, The Art of the Disney Princess, p. 104-105...

Clay Sculpture images copyright Disney Editions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Snow White Tonner Dolls

The fashion dolls designed by artist Robert Tonner and his small team of artisans are some of the most sought after collectible dolls on the market today. In 2009, the Tonner Doll Company released a line of Disney princesses including Snow White.















Two different Snow White models were produced, each in a limited edition run of just 1000 dolls. They are made of vinyl and hard plastic, stand about 15" tall, and feature rooted saran hair and hand-painted eyes. The limbs are capable of "multiple articulated movement for imaginative posing." In addition, Tonner also released a 16" Evil Queen in the fall of 2009. It too was a limited edition of 1000 dolls.

Doll 1
Model Number: T9DYDD0
Manufacturer's Price: $174.99 (USD)



Doll 2
Model Number: T9DYDD02
Manufacturer's Price: $149.99 (USD)



Evil Queen
Model Number: T9DYDD03
Manufacturer's Price: $199.99 (USD)

All images above via Tonner Doll Company. See next post on doll sculptor Margaret Leahy.

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Fan and Review Photos:



Images courtesy of leiameow. Used with permission.


Images courtesy of L.R Faery. Used with permission.

Image courtesy of esmereldes.

Image courtesy of dalLowenbein. Used with permission.

Image courtesy of L.R Faery. Used with permission.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Snow White and the Three Stooges

SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release date: 1961
Format: Cinemascope Widescreen

From guest contributor Kurt Raymond--the focus of this article is on how this particular film has added to the greater Snow White legacy, not how or why it failed as a Three Stooges vehicle.


1961 TITLE SCREEN CAPTURE

20TH CENTURY FOX 1961 RELEASE, 14 X 36 INSERT


The story? Princess Snow White escapes from the Wicked Queen and seeks refuge with none other than the Seven Dw---er....ahhh..........the Three Stooges.

HUH?

LARRY, CURLY JOE AND MOE ENCOUNTER QUEEN ON HER BROOMSTICK


The 1961 film, Snow White and the Three Stooges, has all the makings of a lavish, technicolor fairy tale musical. It features liberal doses of special effects, fire, smoke, Wicked Witches, hourglasses and fireballs. No, it's not The Wizard Of Oz, but there are many similarities, as the screenplay was written by none other than Noel Langley, who also penned the screenplay for that 'other fairy tale' featuring 'little people' in 1939. Langley was assisted by co-writer Ellwood Ullman, who himself was very familiar with the Stooges as he co-wrote many of their Columbia shorts. We will explore the comparisons of both fantasy films in more detail further down this essay. The famous trio, The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and newbie-to-the-group Joe DeRita as Curly Joe), only appear in about half the scenes of the film, and have they been toned down a notch! The film's emphasis is on the Snow White character, played by then popular Olympic skater Carol Heiss. SW3S was initially written as a straight-forward telling of the fairy tale.

CAROL HEISS AS SNOW WHITE

QUEEN LOOKS ON AS KING DIES, ANXIOUS TO TAKE OVER HIS COUNTRY

GUT ROLFE AS COUNT OGA, PATRICIA MEDINA AS WICKED QUEEN


But when the Three Stooges suddenly became popular again late in their careers, it was decided that this production would be the perfect vehicle for a brand new generation to experience their slapstick and would mark the first time they would appear in glorious color. Interestingly, in the final film cut, when the Stooges are given a chance for their branded form of comedy, it doesn't last long, and their elderly age by this time in their career slows them down to gran'pa types that don't have all that much to do, but they do their best. The Stooges are substitutes for the vacationing Seven Dwarfs, and are also responsible later in the film for violently killing the Wicked Queen (in her Witch guise), and finally uniting Snow White with her Prince Charming.

STOOGES IN FIRST OF TWO "SKATING" SCENES (LONG SHOTS WERE STUNT DOUBLES)


Hardcore 'Stooges' fans have long made their opinions known about this film (Not enough of 'the slapstick humor' and 'what made them famous', ie: the eye-gouging, pratfalls, etc). It was produced by (and shares additional co-writing credit with Langley and Ullman) future U.S. Information Agency head Charles Wick. However, to the many others fans and kids that grew up watching it every Thanksgiving on KTLA Channel 5's "Family Film Festival Night" in Los Angeles, it was a looked forward to and welcomed fairy-tale treat (until the following spring anyway when The Wizard of Oz would have it's annual CBS TV telecast). You don't have to be a Stooges fan to enjoy this film as it was clearly made with 'Oz'-loving kids in mind (in more ways than one as discussed below).

SW3S was assigned a budget of $3.5 million--an exorbitant amount for a fantasy film of that day. Walter Lang, (Academy Award nominated director for the classic musical The King And I) was chosen to direct, however this would prove to be his last film. 20th Century-Fox, (then in financial trouble), approved the huge budget after heavy studio deliberations as to who the film would cater to--skating fans, children or both. The movie was shot in 2.35 ratio widescreen and the final cut ran 107 minutes. The film contains lots of singing, lots of skating, lots of special effects, matte paintings, and sometimes additional story that should have been left on the cutting room floor. And a little Three Stooges thrown in from time to time.

As mentioned, the 'star' of the film was Heiss, but it was seasoned 1940's B-movie beauty (and longtime wife of actor Joseph Cotten) Patricia Medina as the Wicked Queen/Witch who actually stole the film away from her on-screen step-daughter. In fact, Medina had stated in recent interviews that Heiss even tried to have her fired from the production for supposed 'diva' behavior, as the two did not get along whatsoever. Though their screentime together was minimal (two scenes), it seemed as though movie and real life blurred during production. The normally blonde Heiss is very attractive as a brunette, and she's obviously an excellent skater, but for her first (and only) film, an actress she was not, which must have miffed veteran Medina during filming. On April 28, 2012, Patricia Medina Cotten passed away at age 92.

CAROL HEISS (WITH GOOD REASON) TRIES TO TURN DOWN THE APPLE

MEDINA AS QUEEN/WITCH


Edson Stroll was one of those handsome, run of the mill 'leading man' types, and he was perfect for the role of Prince Charming in those familiar tights. (A virtual unknown he was except for a brief turn on the TV series McHales's Navy and another Three Stooges film the following year, The Three Stooges In Orbit.) Stroll was also called upon, Errol Flynn style, to have a swashbuckling sword fight with Count Oga on the castle wall for the only true action sequence in the film. Stroll was also dubbed for his musical numbers by Bill Lee. Mr. Stroll recently passed away July 18, 2011.

HEISS AND STOLL AS SNOW WHITE AND PRINCE CHARMING. SEEN HERE WITH QUINTO THE PUPPET (IN HUMAN FORM) DURING SNOW'S SKATING DREAM SEQUENCE.


British actor Guy Rolfe was the evil Count Oga (looking like a medieval Captain Hook), aide to the Wicked Queen in all manners of 'Heir Assassination' and Witchcraft. His role as her 'assistant' who had signed a "Wizard's Oath" to champion the Queen's cause of keeping her on the throne is not needed. Though Oga's character adds nothing other than to lessen the evil of the Queen, he does add to the 'swashbuckling' castle siege later in the film as the aformentioned sword-wielding foil to the Prince. It is also he who is responsible for transforming the Queen into the Witch and providing her with the means necessary (broomstick, red fire for disguises, etc.) to destroy Snow White. In addition, early in the film there are brief allusions that Oga and the Queen know each other...better. His death via a cauldron of boiling oil is felt by some parents today as too violent for a kids film of this sort (as if there aren't worse things on the news!). Rolfe passed away October 19, 2003.

GUY ROLFE AS COUNT OGA SWASHBUCKLING WITH EDSON STROLL AS THE PRINCE


The supporting cast also included Blossom Rock (Grandmama in the 1960's TV show Addam's Family) in a brief appearance as the Prince's childhood nurse.

ROCK


Jason Wingreen (Harry in Archie Bunker's Place and the original voice of Boba Fett in 1980's Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back) played a palace guard helping to search the country for Snow White.

WINGREEN


Voice actor extroardinaire Mel Blanc (of Bugs Bunny fame) was the voice of Quinto the Jester, the Prince's puppet alter-ego.

QUINTO AND PRINCE SCREEN CAPTURE


None of the supporting actors (Medina, Stroll, or the Stooges) did their own skating. Professionals were brought in for the numerous skating sequences.

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COMPARISONS WITH 1939's THE WIZARD OF OZ:

The film stays close to the overall framework of the 'Snow White' story, but with many additions thrown into the mix. The similarities with The Wizard of Oz are easy to see and hard to miss, both visually and in the script. Noel Langley saw an opportunity and decided to put several set descriptions and scenes initially cut from his original "Oz" screenplay right back into this film.

The Owls staring down at Snow White during her forest escape are VERY reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz Haunted Forest Owls as shown below:

HAUNTED FOREST OWLS SNOW WHITE/OZ


The Queen transforms into a Witch that more than resembles Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West from Oz--right down to the caped and bodiced medieval witch dress and silk sash in the back of her hat. The character also rides a similar (and red-smoke-spewing) broomstick. And owns a large hourglass (with red sand) that, in one particular scene, symbolizes Snow White's impending doom (not unlike Dorothy's in Oz).

DETAIL OF POSTER ART: WICKED WITCH ON BROOM

HOURGLASS COMPARISON


The Queen also dies violently (for a children's film) in an idea discarded from the original Oz screenplay, where the Wicked Witch of the West falls to her death via her broomstick.

FIERY DEATH: FLYING WITCH PROP IN ACTION

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Stroll's 'Prince Charming' character and the Stooges are oddly introduced into the story. Through a twist of fate, the Prince (not knowing he is the rightful heir to the kingdom) has been raised by the Stooges since he was very young, and the surrogate fathers have a traveling medicine show (like Professor Marvel in Wizard of Oz) with which they support themselves. They happen to come across the Prince at age seven where they rescue him from an assassination attempt (ordered by the Queen herself) to keep him from taking over both her country and his when he comes of age. A fall later in the film brings back his memory, and he realizes he is the rightful heir to both thrones.

When Snow White makes her run from the Queen into the Dark Forest, she comes across the Dwarfs' cottage, now occupied temporarily by the Stooges. The cottage itself more than resembles Disney's version, and Snow's costume is also reminiscent of Disney's heroine, as are the evil trees grasping at her.

DWARFS' COTTAGE SIMILAR TO DISNEY'S VERSION


There were some interesting issues while filming the Witch's scenes. According to documents housed at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it shows that Walter Lang, after a week of seeing daily rushes of Patricia Medina in a ridiculous "Dunce Cap Princess' Witch's hat, realized that the makeup department had not properly aged her hands (at all), and angrily ordered all of her completed Witch scenes to be re-shot (much to Medina's chagrin). Several days later, with new costume/makeup tests and with a new Witch hat, new wig, and skintight aged gloves for her hands, production was on the move again. Proof of this is shown here below with two unpublished stills of Medina in the 'dunce cap' followed by her revised 'Margaret Hamilton-esque' appearance in the film.

UNPUBLISHED STILL OF MEDINA IN "PRINCESS HAT" AND ALTERNATE WIG/MAKEUP

ANOTHER SHOT OF PATRICIA MEDINA IN HER "PRINCESS HAT" AND SHORTER HAIR...NOTE HANDS ARE NOT AGED

MEDINA AS BOTH "WICKED QUEEN" + FINAL VERSION OF "WICKED WITCH" COSTUME/MAKEUP.

CLOSE-UP OF WITCH MAKEUP AND COSTUME

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PUBLICITY:

When SW3S was released June 21, 1961, Fox also unleashed a fair amount of publicity and promotion for a 'Kid's Fairy Tale' movie. TV ads (in black and white) were rampant the first week as well as several different magazine ads printed in various foreign languages. Also released was a comic book story supplement in various nationwide Sunday newspapers, and a soundtrack LP with songs from the film. However, an 8MM movie package featuring selected scene excerpts was released a few years later by the Americom Corp. A 'teaser trailer' was assembled with 'alternate scenes' from the film, with an 'on-set' appearance by the Stooges promoting their roles in it.

ORIGINAL SUNDAY NEWSPAPER COMIC SUPPLEMENT

ORIGINAL SW3S LP SOUNDTRACK


There was a fairly elaborate pressbook, a large selection of one, two and three sheet posters, and 2 different sets of color lobby cards (one for the US and a completely different set for the UK where it was re-named Snow White and the Three Clowns).

FROM US LOBBY CARD SET "THE WICKED WITCH TAKES FLIGHT"

"CLOWNS" UK HERALD

20TH CENTURY FOX SW3S 1961 PRESSBOOK CAMPAIGN MANUAL


PRESSBOOK POSTER PROMOTIONS

22 x 28 COLOR-TINTED POSTER

13 x 27 ITALIAN POSTER + AUSSIE DAYBILL


PRESSBOOK PUBLICITY


For a vehicle emphasizing the Stooges, it's interesting to note, that Snow White, the Prince and the Queen's (In her 'Witch' costume) likenesses outweigh the Stooges in pressbook ads, but as mentioned above, the TV commercials stressed the boys' appearance. Though the film was a financial failure, it was quickly put on local television stations all over the US for the holidays as an answer to CBS's "Oz" telecasts, which is where it has earned a small reputation as a 'fairy tale cult film', as can be attested by the many reviews of fans who have either seen it on TV or purchased the DVD on Amazon or any other film retailer.


ORIGINAL FLYING WITCH PROP:

This miniature prop from the film is a model of the witch character attired in black garb and sitting on a small broom. Made of composite, cloth and other materials, it measures 8" x 12". It's seen in the sequence when the Witch falls out of the sky to her death. A small device that created the smoke effect in this scene is still evident in the broom which is made of metal so it wouldn't catch fire.

FLYING WITCH PROP

The model was sold at Christie's Auction House at Rockefeller Center on December 20, 2002 for $1,793.00. Other props from the film have come up at auction recently as well and the original posters and production stills.


HOME VIDEO RELEASE:

SW3S was released on VHS videocasette in 1985, and sales were fairly brisk for the baby boomers that saw it on TV in the 60's and early 70's. In 2005, the film was finally released (with a spectacular color print) on DVD and included a choice of either widescreen or pan-and-scan features. Extras included the film's original color theatrical trailer and an insert w/stills and scene selections.

2005 DVD SLIP COVER

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Judging purely on the title, it is not as bad a film as someone who has never seen it would think. It is, in fact a very lavish and satisfying adaptation of the "Snow White" story. A wonderful kid's movie with great performances by Medina, the Stooges, Stroll and the supporting cast, and Heiss is beautiful enough to warrant the title 'Fairest Of Them All', even if she is not a professional actress. The Cinemascope production is shot beautifully with sets/special effects that convey the perfect fairy tale mood as well as showing money well spent. The music score was written by Lyn Murray, and although the songs were forgettable, SW3S is still best appreciated by fans of children's fairy tale films rather than of the "Stooges Three' (as they are called in the film).



Written by guest contributor Kurt Raymond. All image scans provided by The Raymond Collection unless otherwise noted. [Article updated in July 2012.]


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Movie trailer...

Video posted on Internet Archive.