To Three Friars JM Adds Another

In 1937 Walt considered doing an animated version of Reynard the Fox based on English and French folk tales. This seed of an idea remained in the story department until seven years after his death in 1966 it germinated and became the 1973 cartoon Robin Hood. Along with its many shortcomings and faults it shares the essential Friar Tuck mistake of Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

And the mistake, historical in nature, is this: Each of the two storylines accepts Robin Hood as the Saxon outlaw fighting for Richard the Lionheart’s return to the throne of England. That occurred in 1189. There were no friars in England at that time. Most of the mendicant orders originated in the next century. Continue reading

Henry Miller Once Said,

“Work on one thing at a time until finished.” And I sorta-kinda follow that advice. It depends on the definition of “thing” which most people would take to mean a writing project like a novel, short story, screen play, or any written work of fiction or non-fiction.

Yeah, sure, but when does a writer’s idea for a writing project actually achieve a state of thingness? It is a well-known fact that muses inspire writers with a blockbuster idea every week of the year. These ideas excite the mind to various degrees and some begin to grow into an embryotic story and some eventually become written to some degree – meaning that a lot of story ideas never get realized, never even get their own desktop file. But let’s say that a writing project achieves thingness when the main characters, the setting, and a situation are chosen, and at least an introductory scene is composed. If that’s the measure of thingness then I have to admit I’m Mr. Miller’s prime rule breaker. Continue reading

Magnum Opus Nullus

After JM returned from his Swiss trip he put in extra effort and time to finish Storybook Land’s sixth story (The Tarzana Treehouse). His intent was to finish that story, take a recess from writing children’s stories and create his magnum opus. It was to be a three-act play based on real people and real events in his eventful life. Well, the recess bell never sounded, or the playground had turned barren. In any case and after pounding the recess metaphor lifeless, he found himself without a hint of how to write it. Continue reading

Disney, Religion, and my Stories – part 3

Some people describe the message in Disney films as secular humanism. Maybe it is. It’s debatable and so is the value of secular humanism relative to morality derived from God’s love. Whether the films philosophize secular humanism or not, all the classic Disney films are based on stories that didn’t have religious overtones to begin with: Snow White (though in one scene she prays to God); Dumbo; Pinocchio; 101 Dalmatians; Bambi; The Lady and the Tramp; or any of the classic animated films made while Walt was alive. Continue reading

Disney, Religion, and my Stories – part 2

Other writers have already expressed good insights into Walt Disney’s religiosity. Mark I. Pinsky’s The Gospel According to Disney does a thorough job of examining the subject.  After having read the book and some other sources I can say: Walt definitely believed in God, believed in Christianity, and believed in an American mainstream moral system. He just didn’t believe it necessary for him to go to church on Sundays. He especially didn’t want religion or any theology in his art or entertainment. And even though his Main Street lacked the realistic touch of a Christian church, his Disneyland, his cartoons, and his movies promoted good morals and values. Continue reading

Disney, Religion, and my Stories – part 1

The novelette Tragic Kingdom of Authorial Ghosts – now part of Heaven Bound in Anaheim – marked the beginning of the mix of my Catholic Christian beliefs, my love of a handful of 19th century Children’s classics, and my love of Disneyland. Religion came first. I’d begun two stories with Christian themes, but in the summer of 2017 the idea of a Disneyland story attracted me greatly.

There are quite a few Disneyland stories out there, the most popular in sales being the Kingdom Keepers series (Amazon sales rank of the first book is in the top twenty of three different categories), published by Disney Hyperion. There is also the Tales of the Haunted Mansion series (Amazon sales rank of the first book is in the top two hundred of two categories), published by Disney Press. A newer series is Tales of Adventureland, published by Disney Hyperion, released in the summer of 2017 with sales rankings only in the mid thousands, but it’s new. Continue reading

Nitpicking: Fantasy vs Sci-Fi

Nitpicking the Star Trek transporter

original art by Ed Roxburgh

Little guys dream big. Illustration by Ed Roxburgh

The Star Trek’s transporter depends on doing something so astronomically improbable, you might as well say it is impossible. It only came about because Roddenberry wanted to cut production costs; namely the cost of building a docking bay set for small transport craft, like the ones in the Star Wars movies. That wasn’t known by the fourteen year old me and I probably wouldn’t have cared if I had known the real reason for Scotty beaming people here and there. Nowadays… it bugs me, man.

Actually, I still enjoy watching the Star Trek series’ and movies. In spite of knowing the transporter is much closer to fantasy than to futuristic reality, my enjoyment would diminish if I heard Spock say, “To the Tinkerbell room. Continue reading

Tomorrowland Au Naturel, the play, and my other plays

When I started writing Part Three of Heaven Bound in Anaheim, I relied so much on dialogue to tell the story that it only seemed natural to turn it into a play after finishing the story. After accomplishing the hassle of formatting it into a play script, I entered it in a play contest. From a list of about fifty contests, there was only one that seemed to fit the bill and so, now I wait for the winner to be picked sometime in the fall of this year.

However, shortly after emailing the script to the contest, I realized Continue reading

The White Knight and the Dodo

Attn. Facebook: I took this photo so it’s okay for me to use wherever I like.

I’m in the process of writing another story situated in Storybook Land. Again, Marley is divinely drawn into a fairytale. And again, she learns a moral lesson.

When first constructed the Matterhorn and its bobsleds were regarded as being in Tomorrowland. In 1968 or 1969 the border between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland was redrawn, and the Matterhorn became part of the realm of Fantasyland. Continue reading

Tomorrowland is difficult

In a previous post JM wrote a paragraph touching upon the difficulties Walt Disney and the imagineers had with reinventing Tomorrowland. In Tomorrowland Au Naturel he alludes to Disney’s problem: How to set a predicted future in brick and mortar. His main characters don’t solve the Disney difficulties – they have their own issues to contend with. They resolve the TL question into one of deciding which of two futures is desired. One future involves lots of hi-tech hardware, gadgets, and artificial environments; and the other future favors a more natural final destination. Continue reading