Television, movies, living vicariously through others, Disney, rare and unique finds, whiskers on kittens and cheap and feeble attempts at humor by parodying Hollywood’s most beloved classic musicals: these are a few of my favorite things. So needless to say I was thrilled when I learned that Syfy would be introducing a new series titled ‘Hollywood Treasure’ in which we followed the path of Hollywood’s treasures from unearthing to ending up on the auction house block. And when Syfy reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing the first two episodes from the 12-episode season, I would have ordinarily jumped at the chance, but what could Syfy (owned by NBC Universal incidentally) possibly offer me, someone who focuses on The Walt Disney Company? Apparently everything (but more on that later).
The series centers on Joe Maddalena, the founder and owner of Profiles in History, a prominent auction house that focuses on Hollywood memorabilia. Profiles in History was the company recently responsible for the recent ‘LOST’ auction and exhibit as well as an upcoming auction to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Back to the Future at Universal Studios (which we’ll give some more information on at a later date). Essentially Joe and his staff act on leads and previously established relationships to find the owners of desirable props and get them to agree to consign the object to be sold at auction. Not everything always works out in Joe’s favor however and fortunately the show doesn’t bury the non-successes and instead offers us the opportunity to experience collectibles we might not have had the chance to see otherwise, or even know to exist.
It’s in the first episode in fact that a lead comes in the form of one of the magic carpet bags used by Julie Andrews in the Disney classic Mary Poppins. According to the bag’s history (which isn’t as detailed in the episode), current owner Erik Rosen’s grandfather received the carpet bag as the result of a company raffle held for the film’s ad agency. Stuffed with cash as a bonus, the original winner wasn’t interested in the bag as much as the cash and gladly passed the carpet bag off to Rosen’s grandfather who gifted it to his wife. Although it was well-loved by Erik and his siblings as children, it eventually ended up packed in a cardboard box in the cellar and there it sat for decades until the family moved out of the home and the grandchildren decided to see who could get the most money for it.
Initially Maddalena is impressed by the carpet bag when he examines it and tells Rosen that he believes the bag could fetch as much as $15,000 at auction if the bag could be confirmed as authentic screen-used, but when Profiles in History has trouble substantiating Rosen’s claims, it’s up to the Profiles in History crew to further investigate into the true origins of the bag and what they ultimately discover will definitely surprise you.
Even the second episode, whose star is one of the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat from MGM’s Wizard of Oz, has a touch of Disney in that it was filmed around the time of the LOST auction and features several of the props from the ABC series. Maddalena also pays a visit to the Sony Pictures Entertainment archive as well as offers appraisals to a private Batman memorabilia collector who not only collects items but built his own functional Batmobile replica solely from photographic references and a Heath Ledger as the Joker life-size figure that must be seen to be believed.
I have but one gripe about the series and it’s probably not all that surprising given the state of reality television nowadays and that is that some of the dialogue between the crew appears scripted and artificial for the sake of enhancing the viewing experience. Fortunately however it’s a rare scenario and the genuine content of the show is compelling enough to forgive it.
The first two episodes of ‘Hollywood Treasure’ premiere back-to-back tonight on Syfy at 10 pm and 10:30 pm.
Disney Theatrical has recently placed its Classroom Education Series on its Broadway hit Mary Poppins on its official YouTube channel. The spectacular ten-part series is hosted and narrated by Gavin Creel who held the role of Bert in the original West End production in London. From co-creators Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical, and legendary theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh, to Disney Legend Richard Sherman to the cast and crew of the staged productions, the series meshes behind-the-scenes footage with archived footage, photos and more to explore the many facets of the production starting with Walt Disney acquiring the film rights from Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers.
Over an hour of of material is presented in the series in total and it’s definitely worth investing some time for anyone who’s a fan of Disney or Mary Poppins or — better yet — both! Below we have embedded the full playlist of the series beginning with Part I.
Disney Theatrical and MyCokeRewards.com are teaming up to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for twenty winners to audition for a walk-on role during a performance of Disney Theatrical’s Mary Poppins on Broadway in New York City.
Sweepstake entrants may enter up to five times per day by redeeming 3 Coke reward points per entry or by mailing in an entry (see the contest rules for full details). Twenty entrants will be chosen at random and each receive a video camera from which they will be able to submit their entries to the Disney on Broadway contest where one entrant will win a grand prize consisting of: A three night-stay in New York City and round-trip airfare for the winner and up to three guests; three tickets to the show’s performance for the winner’s guests; hair, makeup and costume fitting for show; rehearsal with show’s creative team; and an on-stage appearance in the ‘Jolly Holiday’ number as well as the curtain call.
For more information and to enter, visit MyCokeRewards.com where you can also download a free MP3 of ‘Step in Time’ from the Broadway production.
janD23: The Official Community for Disney Fans today unveiled a host of special events that have been designed especially for its growing worldwide membership base.
Among the exciting offerings for 2010 are exclusive D23 one-year anniversary parties at the Disneyland® Resort and Walt Disney World® Resort, free “50 and Fabulous” film screenings at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, and a special 40th anniversary celebration event to honor the Walt Disney Archives.
“In our first year, D23 created some truly memorable event opportunities for our members, and this year we plan to outdo ourselves with a mix of all-new events and encores of fan favorites,” said Steven Clark, head of D23. “D23 Members are going to have more opportunities than ever to be part of the Disney magic through the events we have planned in 2010, and we hope they’ll be as excited as we are to experience them alongside their fellow members.”
D23 Members will receive notification of special events and reservation times via e-mail, and all events are offered on a space-available basis. More details on events, and on becoming a D23 Member, can be found at www.disney.com/D23.
On January 22, Disney Theatrical Productions invites D23 Members to attend a special performance of Mary Poppins at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Members will receive a 20% discount on select seats in various seating locations throughout the theatre as well as a voucher good for 20% off all merchandise at the show.
Members will also get an exclusive post-show experience with the Mary Poppins cast and a top-secret surprise guest. D23 won’t say who it is, but only that he appeared in the original film. Could it be Dick Van Dyke? Maybe, but our money is on the man with a wooden leg named Smith.
In order to attend the event, D23 Members must call the Ahmanson Donor Associates line at 213-972-0775 and use code word PARROT.
The special D23 ticket includes:
* Special “behind-the-scenes” experience following the show
* Coupon for 20% merchandise discount (for 1/22 performance only)
A D23 representative will be available in the lobby to provide guests with their merchandise vouchers and information for the post-show experience.
* Available only to D23 Members in good standing. D23 Members may purchase up to six (6) tickets per D23 Membership. There is a limited number of tickets available. Tickets may be picked up at Will Call at the theater on the night of performance only with a valid photo ID AND D23 MEMBERSHIP CARD. D23 Members who do not bring their membership card may not be admitted to the theater. All D23 Special Events are subject to change without notice. There are no cancelations or refunds, and tickets are not transferrable.
Be sure to read our report of a similar experience offered to D23 members at the Broadway edition of the show.
Update: 1/6/10 – Fixed phone number
LOS ANGELES — Four actors that are currently appearing in the West Coast premiere of “Mary Poppins” (which is being presented at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre) will perform songs from Broadway’s perfectly magical musical in a special free performance at The Grove in Los Angeles on Friday, December 4, 2009, at 3 p.m. Gail Bennett, playing the role of Mary Poppins, and Dominic Roberts, playing the role of Bert, will be joined by Katie Balen and Carter Thomas who play Jane and Michael Banks (respectively).
In addition to the performance the actors will answer questions from Mark Wallengren of KOST (103.5 FM). The performance will take place at 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles – in The Park.
“Mary Poppins,” a co-production of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, opened on Broadway on November 16, 2006. Based on P.L. Travers’ cherished stories and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, “Mary Poppins” the stage play features the Academy Award®-winning music and lyrics of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The stage production has been created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has written the book, and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have composed new songs and additional music and lyrics.
Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre leads the award-winning creative team, with co-direction and choreography by Tony® and Olivier Award winner Matthew Bourne. “Mary Poppins” features set and costume design by Tony® Award winner Bob Crowley, co-choreography by Olivier Award winner Stephen Mear, lighting design by Howard Harrison, orchestrations by William David Brohn, and music supervision by David Caddick. The tour’s creative team includes Tour Director Anthony Lyn, Associate Choreographer Geoffrey Garrett, and Music Director James Dodgson.
UPDATE: The event store will open at 8:00 AM, please do not queue up prior to 6:00 AM. The queue to purchase merchandise released in conjunction with this event will be located in the Downtown Disney® District between Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Island Charters. We recommend that you park in the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure. Normal parking fees apply. A link to pre-order online was also added to the article.
On Saturday, August 29, from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort, guests will have the opportunity to meet and purchase new releases from Academy Award® Winning Actress Julie Andrews and Disney artist Toby Bluth.
Ms. Andrews will be on hand to sign copies of her newest book, Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, which will be released in October 2009. As part of this product release and signing, Guests will have the opportunity to pre-purchase the book before it’s released to the public. Guests who are unable to attend the event in person will also have the opportunity to pre-order a signed copy online beginning August 12 for $24.95. Online purchase is limited to one per customer and will ship from Disneyland beginning November 4. To order online, click here.
Julie and her daughter, Emma, have hand-selected a wonderful mix of their most cherished poems, songs, and lullabies in this rich and diverse poetry collection. Brought to life with James McMullan’s stunning watercolor paintings, this volume features nearly 150 treasured works, including beloved classics and modern favorites from Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and more – twenty-one of which are theatrically and playfully read aloud by Julie and Emma on the accompanying CD.
Julie Andrews and Toby Bluth Product Releases & Signings, August 29 at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel
Academy Award® Winning Actress, Julie Andrews will be on hand for the debut of her newest book titled, Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, which will be released in October 2009. As part of this product release and signing, Guests will have the opportunity to pre-purchase the book before its released to the public.
In addition, Artist Toby Bluth will be on hand for the release of his latest work, titled Poppins and Penguins, which was created in celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the beloved Disney film, Mary Poppins.
More details to come.
Last night, Disney’s D23 simultaneously held events for members in New York and Chicago during a presentation of the Disney Theatrical version of Mary Poppins. For the price of a regular ticket, D23 members were offered preferred seating for the actual performance, offered merchandise discounts, complimentary merchandise (in New York, this was a copy of the DVD) and a backstage experience complete with a meet & greet.
This also happened to be my first time seeing the show. Since it opened, the show has received a lukewarm reception at best and I had heard it all – the house was a star, the show’s plot takes a sharp departure from the film and there are scenes that get downright creepy (although scary is usually the adjective I hear).
Overall, I can’t say I loved the show. When it was hot, it was hot. When it wasn’t, it wasn’t. That said, I never once had to look at my watch – the show maintained a decent pace and it certainly doesn’t hurt that it had the Sherman Brothers songs to constantly look forward to and, of course, Mary Poppins herself. Truth is, this show could have been the worst (and it’s absolutely not), but nobody would have been able to pull it off besides Disney.
I won’t review the show, but I do want to say three things: Jane Carr as Mrs. Brill is Mrs. Brilliant; some of the visuals were amazing, such as the Let’s Go Fly a Kite scene and Bert walking around the stage (quite literally) during the Step in Time performance (the whole performance itself really); and the creepy/scary scene is highly understated – a part of me died during that scene.
But I digress, on to the event itself.
After the show, we were led through a door off to the side which led us right to on stage where D23 took a couple of the obligatory group photos with the members plus Scarlett Strallen (Mary) and Adam Fiorentino (Bert) in costume, followed by a quick meet & greet in which the two primarily signed the showbills.
We were then briefly filled in on the historic New Amsterdam theatre, which the Walt Disney company had faithfully restored (see the show’s official site for the theatre history). The guide then pointed out the house which was positioned in its spot at the back of the stage and started going over some of its features as well as how a few things were done. He wouldn’t reveal how a few tricks were done in the show, most notably the one in which Mary continues to pull things out of her seemingly bottomless carpetbag, but the truth is, it’s one of stage magic’s most basic principles (in fact, Michael Banks even exposed it a bit as he went to move his hands under the table to show there was ‘nothing’ there). I don’t feel like spoiling how it or the dog on the cart is done, but if you have a real basic understanding of illusions, it’s as good as explained.
We were then led towards the exit, where a few other things were pointed out such as a wall where celebrity attendees could leave a message for the cast and some other odds and ends decorating the backstage area including some left overs from the theatre’s previous occupant, the Lion King.
I apologize for the lack of quality with the images, I might as well not post anything at all, but I was so sure that they wouldn’t allow photography that I didn’t bother lugging around my dSLR for the day. Invaluable lesson learned.
In fact, a public plea: If anyone from D23 or Disney Theatrical manages to come across this, I implore you to allow me to come back for the experience (minus the meet & greet if not possible) so I can better the photo library. Otherwise, please try to enjoy:
BURBANK, Calif. (June 9, 2009) — Bringing together the masterful storytelling of Disney with the renowned artistry of eFX Inc., an all-new line of limited-edition collectibles will be unveiled this September, inspired by some of Disney’s classic films and the comic antics of the Muppets.
These new collectibles extend the magic of Disney into pieces that recall the beauty and spectacle that is unique to Disney, beginning with a tribute to the “fairest of them all,” SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.
eFX plans to preview several pieces from its new Disney collection during San Diego Comic-Con in July, and at Disney’s first-ever D23 Expo, Sept. 10 to Sept. 13 at the Anaheim Convention Center.