Thankful for the Sherman Brothers

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes it’s the people you’ve never met that influence you the most.

As many long time readers know from previous posts, The Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert) come up rather frequently in my blog. This is with good reason: next to perhaps Walt himself, those two have more influence on me than anyone else has in the history of the Walt Disney Company. As I’ve stated before, their interviews on the Mary Poppins soundtrack opened me to a world of the musical process of writing, helping me appreciate song and score in movies even more. The lyrics and tone of “A Man Has Dreams/ A Spoonful Of Sugar” from Mary Poppins (combined with the superb delivery of David Tomlinson and Dick Van Dyke) leave me with a lump in my throat every time. The fun mix of melodrama and a rousing good time on “Let’s Have a Drink On It” from The Happiest Millionaire make it one of my all-time favorite Disney songs.

But their ability to entertain and stir emotion reaches beyond just the Disney realm. “You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful, and You’re Mine)” is so infectious, it’ll stick in one’s head for days almost as much as “It’s a Small World.” For many, the songs from “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” remain classics as well (perhaps the songs of the brothers, along with Dick Van Dyke, are the reason many people think this one IS a Disney film!). Although I didn’t realize it until I watched “The Boys – The Sherman Brothers Story,” the two were responsible for one of the saddest songs of my childhood. The haunting music and lyrics in context with the happenings of “Snoopy Come Home,” are so powerful I can’t listen to this song without feeling extreme sadness. That, my friends, is the power of great music and lyric writing.

The two brothers have surpassed being “just writing Disney music” as many would think of them. They’ve become timeless. In the words of publicist and Disney historian Tim O’Day, ” They are the ‘Gershwin Brothers’ of Disney (and beyond). They and their work need to be elevated above the category of ‘children’s music.’ ” I couldn’t agree more, Tim. And in this season I am thankful for the two brothers that made me believe that flying a kite was excellent therapy. That Annette was indeed a pineapple princess. That it really IS a small world, after all.

Richard (left) and Robert – Two very different brothers who left an amazing mark on the musical world.

Thankful For You!

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

This may not be the most Disney-centered thankful post, but nonetheless, I’m thankful and this needs to be said.

Today marks post number 100 on Confessions of a DisNerd. A year and a half ago I started this journey as an exercise in not just writing, not just writing about Disney, but writing about Disney in a positive manner. Today, I look back at the blog, feeling proud of what I’ve been able to do so far. Yes, there were times I stumbled through a bit of writer’s block. But I also had enough of a love and appreciation of Disney that I knew inspiration would strike again. As I continue this “Thankful For Disney” series, I  realize there’s so much more I’ve yet to talk about – this gives me inspiration to keep going!

But what gives me even more inspiration to keep going is you, the readers. While I’m not doing Confessions for popularity or notoriety, it still warms my heart to see your “likes,” your shares, your page views and your comments. Seeing readers react and comment with their own stories and thoughts gives one an awesome feeling of community. Knowing there are people out there that are getting something out of the words I write truly means a lot to this blogger.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading. I hope you’re all still around for post number 200, and beyond. I love sharing these thoughts with all of you – thanks for coming along on the ride!

Thankful For Donald Duck

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes we need to be able to cheer for the underdog. Sometimes, we need to laugh at the underduck.

donald splash

Donald Fauntleroy Duck… What is it that makes me have a soft spot in my heart for you? I know it’s not right to laugh at the pain of others. Often, I feel sorry for you – especially when your nephews are pulling their shenanigans and all you want is a nice relaxing day, or perhaps to step out with Daisy. Yet, your overreactions serve as a cautionary tale for what happens when we lose our tempers or seek revenge. In those moments of defeat, we laugh at your anthropomorphic plight, thankful it’s you and not us.

Maybe it’s your inability to communicate clearly to others? Trying to figure out what you’re trying to say, while frustrating at times, is half the fun. Of course, when even your fellow waterfowl can’t understand you….

Maybe it’s just the boldness of your character. I mean, you never wear pants and it doesn’t bother you a bit!

Unless you lose your shirt…

donald no pants

And let’s not even talk about when you go into the water…

Really? NOW you need swim trunks?

Really? NOW you need swim trunks?

Regardless of clothing choice, speech impediments or anger issues, Donald. I’m thankful for you. You bring laughter into my life and you’re one of my favorite characters. Life just wouldn’t be as fun without you there to quack me up.

Thankful For “When You Wish Upon a Star”

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes a song can take you away to another place, or help you believe that dreams come true. I know I’m thankful for songs like these.

There are memorable songs from movies – you know, the songs that you find yourself humming long after the film ended – and then there are songs that transcend movies. Leigh Harline and Ned Washington’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” goes far beyond the film it was written for. This is not in anyway a knock on Pinocchio. No, the movie is among my favorite Disney animated movies – quite possibly my favorite, depending on the day! It’s just that the song itself is so much more. It’s become not only a theme song for the Walt Disney Company in general, but one to dreamers everywhere as well.

Like a bolt out of the blue...

Like a bolt out of the blue…

The notion of wishing upon a star may seem silly, but the idea of dreams coming true? Well, this is something we all long for. Now, in the “real world” we realize we can’t sit back and wait for things to come to us. If Walt had simply wished upon a star without actively pursuing that dream…. well, I don’t think that would have turned out very well. However, the notion of dreams coming true if we have the courage to pursue them (hmmm… now THAT sounds catchy!) is a noble one. Throw in a wish on the evening star as well? Believe in your dreams, and you never know.

Every time my family goes to Disneyland, we always pause underneath Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to here Jiminy Cricket sing his anthem to passers by. Combined with the magical feeling that the park brings, that song means even more there. And I’m certainly thankful for the feeling it brings.

I feel it only fitting to close out this thankful post with the song itself – perhaps my favorite cover of “When You Wish…” Take it away, Pops….

Thankful for Disney Friends

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

We all have those special friends who “get” us, and in the Disney community, we’re thankful for that.

Say “Mickey Mouse” or “Disneyland” to people, and generally, you’ll get a positive reaction. However, say you’re going on your fourth trip to Disneyland in a year, and you may get, “Again? Don’t you ever get tired of that place?” from many. However, there are the friends who go, “Awesome! I Can’t wait for my next trip!” Those are the Disney friends. The ones who just get it. They’re the people I talk about when I post articles like “DisNerds, and Proud Of It.”

There are certain people in my life, consisting of friends and family that I can sit and talk to Disney for a long period of time to. Now, we’re not just discussing how much we love the mouse. Instead, we’re going in depth about new projects in film, stage, or theme park. We’re discussing the latest book, the newest Disney Legend inductees, what Disney Imagineering got right on the latest in park attraction, what needs work, what we’d like to see next. Others may look at us and shake their heads. We’re not exclusionary, just kindred spirits. Throughout my life, I’ve met quite a few who I feel I can talk to and share this Disneyfied feeling with. Some true friendships have developed from this that go beyond Disney as well. I feel blessed to be married to a kindred spirit in this sense (and many others), and seem to be raising one as well!

disney again

Of course, we should be thankful for all of our friends, even if we don’t understand why they don’t appreciate Disney the way we do.

As I’ve hit on in other posts, while I write on Disney, I believe we all have passions or fandoms that we embrace. When we find others we can share that with, we have reason to be thankful indeed.

Thankful For Winnie the Pooh

Note: During the months of November and December, I will be posting something I am thankful for within the spectrum of Disney. With so much negativity in the world, I encourage everyone to be thankful and count their blessings.

Sometimes, it’s nice to remember the simpler things in life; to be grateful for a little bit of fluff ‘n stuff.

Oh, Bother. On July 15th, 2011, theatergoers rushed to the theaters to see a literary character and beloved favorite brought to life one more time for the big screen. They packed theaters, waiting in lines for hours to see….Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. However, for parents of the younger set, as well as fans of hand drawn animation, there was another opening that weekend: Winnie the Pooh. Silly Old Bear never stood a chance at the box office. Yet, for those of us who did make the trek to see the bear of very little brain and his Hundred Acre friends, we were treated to one of the best animated movies of recent years.

I’m still sad this didn’t get nominated for an Oscar.

Winnie the Pooh was a movie that was made to “transcend generations,”  according to John Lasseter. And, in my opinion, it did just that. Parents and kids, grandparents and grandchildren, we were all laughing and smiling at the antics of Pooh Bear and his friends as they searched for Christopher Robin. Were they too late to save him from the Backson? What was a Backson? Whatever a Backson was, they would hopefully have Christopher back soo…er, wait a minute….

There really is something timeless and ageless about the Winnie the Pooh stories. The childlike innocence of the animals as well as their somewhat extreme temperaments of the characters – it makes for such an enjoyable experience. In addition, to be able to sit in the theater with a three and a half year old and laugh at the same jokes that send her into fits of giggles is something rare in movie theaters nowadays.

I still giggle at this!

So thank you, Disney, for releasing this gem into theaters a few years back. This dad and kid at heart is very thankful for such a wonderful return to innocence. Although you were up against a powerful wizzard that opening weekend, many of us know where the true magic was found.

Thankful For Disney

Greetings, dear readers and fellow DisNerds!

Last year, I took up a “15 Day Disneyland Challenge.” To this day, it remains one of the most read categories on Confessions. I’ve been wanting to do a new challenge for a while now, and found one to do, revolving around the wonderful world of Disney movies. However, upon a couple extra days of reflection and planning, I’ve decided to delay that challenge to the beginning of next year in exchange for a different kind of challenge – one that I don’t find all that challenging, but am extremely excited to share.

One thing that I’ve always tried to pride myself on is keeping Confessions of a DisNerd positive and original. There are so many Disney bloggers out there with a negative slant – not that I have any arguments with criticism (it’s necessary to help improve and inform), but one can only read so much “watchdog” material before either joining in or getting in a fighting mood themselves. Confessions is about the positive side of Disney, and there is plenty to be positive and thankful for!

Donald may just be thankful he's not a turkey!

Donald may just be thankful he’s not a turkey!

This got me to thinking about the month of November and the holiday of Thanksgiving. During the month, many friends post daily on Facebook what they are thankful for: friends, family, circumstances and opportunities… whatever may strike them as a reason to be thankful. And there really are so many reasons to be thankful in life, aren’t there? If you’re online and reading this blog post, you’re doing better than many. I realize by being able to share this with all of my readers how blessed I am as well. So much to be thankful for!

But I digress.

Likewise, as stated above, there is so much within the Disney universe to be thankful for. Therefore, over the month of November, I will take up the task of posting each day one thing I am grateful for within the world of Disney. Be it movies, theme parks, people who have worked for the company or the man itself, I will share not only what I’m thankful for, but why. I’ve asked Confessions contributor Hayden to share a post or two as well along the way and can’t wait to see what he shares as well! I hope you’ll check back with me on this journey that starts November 1st. I’m looking forward to sharing my thankfulness with all of you, as well as finding out what you all are thankful for. I also hope this encourages you to count your blessings and remember what you are thankful for, Disney-wise and beyond!