Disney Steamboat Illustrations
Disneyland's "Mark Twain" steamboat represented in FUTURAMA's episode "CALCULON 2.0"
"CALCULON 2.0" was the 7th episode of the 10th broadcast season of the animated series FUTURAMA which was created by Matt Groening
This episode was first aired on July 24th, 2013, on Comedy Central It was written by Lewis Morton and directed by Stephen Sandoval
In one sequence of "CALCULON 2.0" the ALL MY CIRCUITS soap opera robot-actor-star "Calculon" performs a one man show at the "Shubot Theater" (a take-off on the name of the Shubert Theatre in New York City) as HAL 9000, portraying the robot character HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 - A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968).
The premise of Calculon's performance was intended in part to be a parody of Hal Holbrook's one man show "Mark Twain Tonight."
The attached screen capture was derived from the scene in which Calculon sat alone on stage in a white suit, holding a tumbler full of bourbon and ice cubes while a steamboat (based on Disneyland's steamer MARK TWAIN) was projected above him inside an oval vignette. Calculon's dialogue that accompanied this was spoken by actor Maurice La Marche:
"What's that, old friend? My life story? Well, heck, why not? Pull up a monolith and make yourself cozy. I first came online in Urbana, Illinois, in the year 1997."
(Urbana, Illinois is a landlocked community, far from any navigable river but does possess a narrow stream called "Boneyard Creek":
"Boneyard Creek is a 3.3-mile-long waterway that drains much of the cities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois. It is a tributary of the Saline Branch of the Salt Fork Vermilion River, which is a tributary of the south-flowing Vermilion River and the Wabash River. The creek flows through the northern sections of the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The newsletter of the university's Associated Colleges of the Midwest chapter is Banks of the Boneyard, named after the creek."
The one man show HAL 9000 is performed at the Shubot in the next century (3013) in an effort to resurrect Calculon's fading acting career, and was attended by FUTURAMA series regulars (and devoted Calculon fans) Fry, Leela, Bender, Professor Farnsworth, Hermes, Zoidberg, and Amy among others.
After the show, Fry, Leela, Bender, and Calculon are dining at "The Tragic Pan," (a take-off on the name of the Magic Pan restaurant chain) when newspapers are delivered to their table which contain notices like:
"Worst play in history." - "Theatre to be demolished to remove stink of new show." - "12 audience members hospitalized for boredom, 9 of them are going to be okay."
The online sites AVclub/TVclub and The Infosphere provided invaluable reference which enabled the editor to compose the preceding summary. Additional background on the character CALCULON can also be found at the two sites:
Came across this beautiful illustration of Disneyland's MARK TWAIN in obituary notices for the artist Eric Herschong from last year. The artist included smoke coming from the stacks which was never actually seen at the theme parks although escaping white steam would be visible.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Artist Eric Heschong Passed Away At 62
by Alain Littaye
"Highly talented artist Eric Heschong, who did gorgeous artworks for Walt Disney Imagineering of Disney theme park attractions passed away at 62 years old last Tuesday of lung cancer.
Among other paintings that Eric did for Walt Disney Imagineering there is this beautiful painting of the Mark Twain Riverboat. Actually, this one was not an order from Imagineering, Eric did this painting for himself!"
Artwork Copyright by Landmark "Eric Heschong & Disney Enterprises"
Additional info on Herschong provided by Rick Wright at this link: micechat.com
"Eric started his amazing career painting scenery for CBS and animation backgrounds at Hanna Barbera Studios."
On Jan 21, 2011, at 3:12 PM, David Thomson wrote:
This Disney "kid's nursery" steamboat print must date from around 1936 since the character design on the animated characters goes back to the early "Silly Symphony" cartoon shorts. Elmer Elephant, Clarabelle Cow, one of the Three Little Pigs, one of Mickey's nephews, two of the Big Bad Wolf's kids and the Tortoise and the Hare and others supporting players on the main deck. In the pilot house Mickey Mouse at the wheel with sweetheart Minnie and an early version of Goofy before the Disney artists began making him look less gnarly. At the bow, faithful dog Pluto watches a hazard to navigation, a floating log that Donald Duck is yelling up a warning about to Mickey.
This may have been inspired in part by Mickey's first sound cartoon STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928) and it anticipated the building of the MARK TWAIN steam sternwheeler for Disneyland (1955).
Walt was from Marceline, Missouri and he obviously had a fondness for Mark Twain and riverboats.
Too much pink and purple in the color scheme which was applied over pen and ink with watercolor and opaque paint used on moon and smoke from smokestacks. Print is 9 1/2 X 13 inches.
This actually looks better in black and white, will send a version of that separately.
The Disney piece makes an interesting companion for the Jay Ward / Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon boat.
Attached composite of scans of Parker Brothers' 1960 Disneyland Riverboat board game. Board when open measures 14.60 inches square. In the cover illustration the boat has no name but it must have been based on the MARK TWAIN although the drawing is far from being an exact depiction of the boat. In the lower left corner is a sign "MARK TWAIN DOCK" on the roof of a building next to the wharf.
This version of the "Rivers of America" has an island in it but it differs from TOM SAWYER ISLAND. Vignette graphics depict things that are on the island such as Fort Wilderness and "Harper's Mill." Wild critters from both Frontierland and Adventureland have wandered into the territory along the river including a buffalo, rhino, deer, zebra, big horn sheep, bear, moose and an elephant. The Indian village and what looks like The Haunted Mansion (which didn't open to the public until 1969) are included along with the railroad whose tracks surrounded Disneyland.
A Gambia Islands collector's stamp from Disney, for International Youth Year, 1985: Mark Twain's "Packet Landing at St. Louis from LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in the foreground and yet another recycling of Cornwell's ROB'T E. LEE from the racing painting with the NATCHEZ.
This was done in a faithfully cartoony in style and the influence of Dean is evident from the low angle perspective and details of the boat's stacks and 'scape pipes etc. "The Gambia" is the smallest country in Africa and is located on the Atlantic coast in the northwest area of the continent.
This presentation is 4 x 5 inches with a perforated rectangle around Mickey and the paddlebox of the "Bayou Belle" that could be extracted and used as legitimate postage. Other Mark Twain novels were also given this treatment. I was made aware of the project when the artists in Disney's "Character Merchandising" department were developing the project.
I was given some photocopies of the original black and white drawings which were eventually all painted in the same style as this one.
The stamps commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Mark Twain's birth and, International Youth Year, 1985:
Three scenes paying tribute to Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1883):
Mickey Mouse "In the Pilot house of the "Calamity Jane"
Donald Duck and Goofy "taking soundings" at Natchez, Mississippi
"Packet Landing at St. Louis" from LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in the foreground and the steamboat "Bayou Belle" influenced by Dean Cornwell's ROB'T E. LEE from the racing painting with the NATCHEZ. "The Gambia" is the smallest country in Africa and located on the Atlantic coast in the northwest region of the continent. This large presentation measures 4 x 5 inches with a perforated rectangle around Mickey and the paddlebox of the "Bayou Belle" that could be extracted and used as legitimate postage. Other Mark Twain novels were also given this treatment for the 150th anniversary.
I was made aware of the project when the artists in Disney's "Character Merchandising" department were developing the project. One of them gave me some xeroxes of the original black and white drawings which were eventually all painted in the same style as these.
A recent project that's been previewed in some venues this year is a revamped version of Disney's first sound cartoon STEAMBOAT WILLIE (circa 1927 - '28)
They call this new version STEAMBOAT WILLIE REDUX
I gather that some or all of the art work, music, dialogue and sound effects have been enhanced in this new version but so far it's unavailable to look at online.
Here's a link to a good quality video of the original cartoon on YouTube: Youtube.com.
Attached is a scan of the graphic off a promotional T-shirt that I bought on eBay which I've reduced small enough that you won't have to reduce it any more to add it to the museum when the time comes.
Charming stylized Showboat pushed by a Towboat: original painted Disney animation background 9 1/2 X 13 1/2 inches. We believe this was made for a Chip 'n Dale cartoon "shorts" program.
Attached steamboat calendar art painted by motion picture art director Harper Goff (1911-1993) for Shaw-Barton publishers circa the '50's. Harper designed the Victorian submarine NAUTILUS for Disney's 1954 film version of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
I'm not sure why Harper chose to name this big sidewheel packet boat the Delta Queen but it may have been a tribute to the DQ after Harper had taken a cruise aboard her which is likely but I'm not certain if and when he did so.
My late friend Tom Scherman (1940-1995) was an expert on the subject of Goff's NAUTILUS submarine and Tom made many scale models of it and was the interior designer of the NAUTILUS submarine attraction for Euro Disneyland (Paris, France).
I met Harper several times and had dinner with him, his wife and Tom Scherman at DuPar's one evening in Studio City years ago.
Harper also played banjo in Disney artist Ward Kimball's "Firehouse 5 plus 2" jazz band.
Harper was given a number of entertaining cameo acting roles in some of the movies that he did art direction for including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Detective Story, The Vikings and Pete Kelly's Blues.
Disney Imagineering put on a retrospective exhibit at their Glendale facility of Harper's career in movies, commercial art, fine art and theme parks in the '80's.
A great many original pieces of Harper's art work were on display at the show which included drawings, paintings and designs for special props and set pieces.
I spoke to Harper at that exhibit about his art directing and his cameo appearance as a banjo player in the 1955 film, Pete Kelly's Blues (in which the steamer General John Newton appeared during the opening sequence filmed on a Louisiana bayou) which Jack Webb directed and starred in.
Hardie Gramatky was the author and illustrator of a number of children's books, including the award-winning Little Toot series.
Attached the cover and a sample illustration from the book Little Toot on the Mississippi (1973) was the fourth title in the series published by Putnam. littletoot.org
Hardie's daughter Linda Gramatky Smith's commented:
"My parents . . . loved the bayous of the Mississippi, so when it begins to flood, Little Toot sets out on a daring rescue! Everyone loves the personification of the old steamboats and paddle wheelers who floated down the river."
The other 5 titles in the the Little Toot series were:
Little Toot (1939)
This classic story of a New York City tugboat (actually a Moran tugboat that Gramatky saw out of his studio window) has received the Library of Congress award, been a float in the Rose Bowl parade, and made into an animated movie (the seventh episode in Disney's 1948 musical "Melody Time") with Little Toot's story sung by the three Andrews Sisters. Over 6 million copies of the Little Toot books have been sold,
Little Toot on the Thames (1964)
One of his daughter Linda's favorite illustrations is the page 27 with Little Toot in front of the Tower of London.
Little Toot on the Grand Canal (1968)
Linda's favorite illustration in this book is page 19, where Little Toot thought that the huge striped "candy sticks" in the Venice canals looked delicious.
Little Toot Through the Golden Gate (1975)
Linda said that her Dad really captured the "painted ladies", the wonderful Victorian houses on page 23 that overlook San Francisco Bay.
Little Toot and the Loch Ness Monster (1989)
Shortly before Linda's father died in 1979, one of the last things he did creatively was to ask her to take down his dictation of the final version of the Loch Ness book that he had been lying there thinking about.
"After he died and we showed the manuscript sketches to Putnam editor and president of Young Reader Books, Margaret Frith, who said that "Hardie's sketches are more finished than some illustrators' final art" and we decided to one day try to finish the book. My mother added a couple of illustrations (she was a published artist herself) and I edited all the manuscripts into a final book. Shelley Duvall turned the book into an animated feature of her Bedtime Stories show on Showtime. The show even got an Emmy nomination, so we felt that Dad would have been happy with the results."
In what I think is Walt Disney's most beautiful animated feature PINOCCHIO (1940) there are two sidewheel steamboats, both with stacks side by side in the manner of our favorite Inland Waterways boats.
The boat on the left transported gullible, foolish boys who are lured to "enjoy" for one night the perverse excesses of an amusement park on "Pleasure Island" off the coast of Tuscany where they are encouraged to misbehave as much as they like by vandalizing property, smoking and fighting.
As a result of their night of debauchery the boys are transformed into donkeys who are then rounded up by sinister dark figures who nail the donkey/boys in crates; put them aboard the boat on the right and transported from Pleasure Island back to the mainland where they are sold to salt mines and circuses by the ringleader of the operation, "The Coachman." The latter characters appears to have been based on Charles Laughton's character, Sir Humphrey Pengallan who led a gang that lured ships at night onto the rocky shores of Cornwall in order to salvage their cargoes in Hitchcock's 1939 motion picture JAMAICA INN.
The marionette without strings called Pinocchio longs to become a "real boy" and after engaging in excesses on Pleasure Island he begins to transform into a donkey (beginning with long ears and a tail) but is rescued from the island before the he can transform further by his loyal "Conscience" Jiminy Cricket.
The blu-ray edition of PINOCCHIO is spectacular - the Technicolor is enhanced and the images refined and sharpened brilliantly - it's a feast for the eyes.
The protagonist characters are endearing and charming and the villains humorous but menacing, the voice actors perfect including Cliff Edwards (a native of Hannibal, Missouri) as the key character Jiminy Cricket, who is the narrator and sings what became Disney's signature song "When You Wish Upon a Star."
I remember the Toot episode of the Disney animated feature "Melody Time" very well, even as a little kid I could appreciate the great visuals, animation and music. The two animated sequences about Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill are my other favorites from "Melody Time."
Attached from your Dad's company Capitol is the sleeve for the first children's record of Little Toot which came out in 1947, the year before the movie was released.
From Disney's Melody Time (1948)- 07 "Little Toot"
DIRECTED BY CLYDE GERONIMI.
Sung by The Andrews Sisters (Laverne, Maxene and Patty).
Cartoon Music Collection
Published on Jul 5, 2015
Little Toot was just a tug
Just a happy harbor tug
And he came from a line of tugboats fine
But it seems that Little Toot
Simply didn't give a hoot
Though he tried to be good he never could
Chugga chugga chug he'd call my lad
I'm a big toot just like my dad
Pull big boats with the old heave ho
And away we go!
He made the ocean liners wait
While he made a figure eight
With the greatest of ease
He'd cut through the seas
But he went too far one day
When he slid in Big Toot's way
And it wasn't a joke
For it nearly broke Big Toot's pride
Won't you ever grow up Little
Won't you ever grow up Little Toot?
When there's work to be done
All you think of is fun
Won't you ever grow up Little
Oh Little Toot had quite a scare
He decided then and there
That he'd try to be good as good as he
So when his dad came puffin' slow
With a mighty ship in tow
Little Toot went to help to take him out to
Chugga chugga chug he pulled my lad
I'm a big toot just like my dad
Push big boats with the old heave ho
And away we go!
Won't you ever grow up Little
Won't you ever grow up Little
When you get into trouble
You get into it double
Won't you ever grow up Little Toot
What a shame
What a shame
You've disgraced your father's name
Won't you ever grow up Little Toot?
He was threshing all around
When a storm came crashing down
In the billowing sea he tossed and tossed
And his heart was filled with fear
For he knew the rocks were near
With the waves in pursuit
Little Toot knew all was lost
Then he saw a rocket's flare
Come a-bursting in the air
And he suddenly knew that he must do or die
For a ship was in distress
And as he puffed an S.O.S.
He raced to the rescue of the ship nearby
Well it seems you've grown up Little Toot,
You're a brave brave Little Toot
Can't you hear that cheering crowd?
You have made your daddy proud
You are now a Big Toot, Little Toot!
Yes you're now a great Big Toot, Little
"Hi yo Silver . . . Away!"
Cover of THE LONE RANGER #28 March 1977. GOLD KEY COMICS. "The Smugglers." Faithful horse Silver is swimming gamely in the distance far right as the Ranger gamely climbs aboard the fantail of the MISSISSIPPI BELLE. In the comic this particular stunt doesn't appear in the story line.
Also included is a publicity photo of Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger in the pilot house of the MARK TWAIN at Disneyland.
Disneyland opened in 1955 when Moore was in the 2nd year of his second and last RANGER TV series (1954-57). It's possible this photo was taken with these five children (the first youngster is barely visible on the far left) on opening day July 17, 1955.
In May of 1942 The Lone Ranger radio program featured an episode set on a steamboat which can be heard or downloaded at this link:
The Lone Ranger 1942-05-27 (1458)
Steamboat on the River.mp3 File Size : 6.49Mb
THE LONE RANGER
Air Date: May 27, 1942
Program #1458/671. Syndicated.
"Colonel Parkman"/"Steamboat On The River".
"The Triangle" gang is trying to sabotage the transcontinental railroad by attempting to blow up a steamboat that is bringing badly needed blasting powder to the construction site.
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