Friday, January 15, 2016

We Do Logos

Our studio, the Kevin & Jody Show, designs logos!  
We can create a logo for you, too.

Client: Anaheim Brewery
Assorted logos for different companies and organizations
"Andy Anaheim" logos and graphics for Anaheim, Calif.
Client: Disney Consumer Products

Monday, January 04, 2016

Toyland Gates

"Once you pass its borders, you may never return again."

Last week was Christmas, and we were busily making gifts, including this miniature wooden ornament for a close friend who loves the 1961 Disney film "Babes in Toyland". It's a replica of the gates to Mother Goose Village—only five inches tall.  Our friend was thrilled.

Back and sides
It was a lot of fun to paint! The "snow" is white sand.

Film frame
Walt Disney's "Babes in Toyland" (1961) is all filmed on interior soundstage sets. The movie has really fun scenic design, resembling the illustrations in a mid-century children's book.

Hmmm, which building should we make next year??

Monday, December 28, 2015

Small Wonder: Disneyland's 1977 Christmas Parade

All lined up: float models for Disneyland's Very Merry Christmas Parade 1977.
In the late 1980s, I was a designer at the off-site Disney art facility on Olive Street in Anaheim. In our building there was a warehouse aisle of stacked crates containing some of the most beautiful miniature models you've ever seen, some harkening back to the early 1960s and the time of Walt Disney himself.  There were parade floats, tiny stage sets, photo locations, miniature puppets and architectural details spanning the entire history of Disneyland's in-Park live entertainment…

...including the original hand-made models for 1977's Very Merry Christmas Parade! At the time, these 3/4 inch-scale works of art were still in marvelous shape, and I photographed them all for reference.
This turned out to be a rather smart thing to do, just a few years later Disneyland discarded their entire archive of entertainment models to create room in the warehouse for other things. I believe these photographs are the only way we can view this body of work today.

The iconic Gingerbread house popping out of an open-book would become the symbol of the parade, its image appeared in advertising and on tickets.

In the final parade, Chip and Dale made sweets at the kitchen table,  
surrounded by happy, dancing gingerbread cookie people.

At the North Pole Post Office, letters are pouring in 
from children around the world for Old Saint Nick.

Meanwhile on the toy factory float, toys of all kinds are being manufactured.
Even the factory itself is made of toys!

These drum units were rolling stages for various characters and dancers, 
and were also packed with speakers for the parade's musical soundtrack.

Some of these environments seem empty without the performers.  Here is an implied cottage for the Seven Dwarfs.  Grumpy played the pipe organ, while Dopey pumped the giant air bellows. 

Incidentally, this was the spot in the parade where the characters from
Disney's newest animated film The Rescuers made their appearance.

Disney characters of all kinds, including Pooh, Tigger, the Three Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, appeared with this unit, carrying prop gifts and decorating the Christmas Tree.  Snowmen and Snowladies bopped along behind.

And finally, Santa!  Led by his team of silly reindeer, and surrounded by the famous Disneyland Glockenspiel Girls,  Santa wished everyone "a very merry Christmas" from his sleigh above a landscape of snowy rooftops! 

To all of you who've follow this blog throughout the years, thanks!  I hope it's been as enjoyable for you, as it's been for me putting it together.  Here's wishing you a very merry 2016! And more merriment to come!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


"I've made quite a name for myself doing this act...
And I don't like it."
-Wally Boag

(Paint doodle by Jody Daily)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Disneyland's Unknown Muppet Parade

"Here Come The Muppets" Parade models, 1990.
With the Muppets' recent comeback for a new generation, I was reminded of my brief brush with Muppetdom in early 1990. "Here Come The Muppets" was the title for a proposed Disneyland parade that would have featured giant inflatable characters rolling down Main Street on floats, similar to the balloons in the Pardi Gras parade (also 1990). Disney had just purchased the Muppets from Jim Henson for an estimated 150 million dollars, and the company was speedily making big (and wild) plans for Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. 

Disneyland President Jack Lindquist had an idea of sending Mickey and the other Disney characters  on a year-long "vacation" away from the Park while the Muppets took over for the duration. Some of the concept sketches we saw at the time included draping the Disneyland marquee on Harbor Blvd with a big banner reading "Muppetland", painting the Matterhorn green, and replacing the Mickey flower bed in front of the Train Station with Kermit's face.  You think I'm joking?

Thankfully, none of this came to pass, but the Disneyland Art Department certainly enjoyed working on several Muppet parade models. In the photo above, Kermit, Sweetums, Dr. Teeth, and Animal were all sculpted by Rich Collins. I did Fozzie and Beaker. Miss Piggy was done by Scott Sinclair, and Jackie Perreault sculpted Swedish Chef. One other model I'd started but never completed: Gonzo in his super-hero cape and red tennis shoes.

Beaker and Fozzie sculptures in Plasticine. In the final ver-
sion, Fozzie sat on a steamer trunk full of vaudeville props.
On May 16th, 1990, Jim Henson died unexpectedly of pneumonia. I heard the news on KCRW while driving to work that morning. It was a terrible shock, made even more surreal because of the project we had been immersed in for months. With Henson gone, Disneyland's Muppet deal immediately floundered, and we were told to stop working on the parade. Any artwork that we had done featuring Muppets was packed onto a truck and taken away (possibly to the Henson company?) Maybe there's a warehouse somewhere with all our models packed away in crates. At any rate, I'm glad we snapped a few photos while we had the chance!

TV's "Magical World of Disney" welcomed the Muppets to the family. (1990)

Monday, May 04, 2015

The Ghastly Hatter

"The room they were in was an unfinished attic, and as they turned to run out the door, another ghostly manifestation appeared and blocked their way. He was a cloaked figure with an evil, grinning face. A hat box hung from his hand…"

In 2009, Jody and I fabricated a reincarnation of the original Disneyland 1969 Hatbox Ghost for the first D23 Expo in Anaheim.  The figure turned out pretty swell (if we do say so ourselves) and a short time later we were emailed by a well-known film director who at the time was writing a screenplay for an upcoming movie that, we believe, will make even the grimmest ghost grin.  In the blink of an eerie eye we were commissioned to build a second Hatbox Ghost, but this one slightly different from our first—more detailed and much more spooky.

We were inspired by the  famous publicity shot of Disney Imagineer Yale Gracey with the early mock-up of the ghost for the Disneyland attraction:

Gracey's early version had more facial "decay", frazzled hair, and irises in his eyes, unlike the final ghost that appeared briefly in the attraction.  We started with the head and went from there.

Working late at night in our studio became increasingly unsettling as this new visitor took shape.

We sculpted his stick body over a steel armature and stitched together his daft disguise entirely by hand.

Lastly, a custom brass name plate for his base…

…and the finishing touch.

What's next for old Hattie? We've heard rumors that his restless bones may soon re-etherialize in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, just as the moon climbs high for the Park's 60th Anniversary.  Although Jody and I had nothing to do with his long-awaited comeback, we are very anxious to see what may soon materialize in that dark attic corner.  Aren't you?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Perilous Illustrations by Mort Künstler

Eeee-YOW! This pair of hair-raising paintings by Mort Kunstler really pack a wallop. These two guys—or perhaps the same unlucky guy—are about to become fish food for some monstrous creatures in these fantastic illustrations for a 1950s pulp magazine.

As a young freelance artist, Kunstler created "way out" scenarios for men's adventure magazines, paperbacks, model kit packaging, and even Mad magazine. Spectacular stuff!

Mort Künstler's official website
Mort Künstler at American Art Archives