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A Look Back and a Look Ahead - Part I
It's hard to believe we're already in the third week of 2002. Perhaps it's a little late to be doing a column looking back on 2001. But I'm going to do one anyway.
In my next column I'll look back at my most memorable Disney moments of 2001 and tell you what I'm looking forward to this year. But in this column I'm going to be a little self-indulgent. It's kind of an unwritten rule around here that we don't do much talking about ourselves - after all, it's not about us, it's about Disney. Well I'm going to break that rule today and tell you about some of the great experiences I had this year because I work for LaughingPlace.com.
Being able to meet the people that make the magic is always special. Sometimes things stand out in my mind beyond what appears on the page. Below are some memories and stories about some of 2001's interviews.
Steven Davison: The Disney's California Adventure media event was four days long. It was huge! Every day there were grand openings, attraction previews and interviews. The first interview we had was with Steven Davison - then known for creating It's a Small World Holiday and the "Believe..." firework shows. I really admired Steven and had only met him once or twice before as a blubbering fan. I was a little nervous as I headed down Hollywood Blvd. towards the interview location in the Sun Court. Along the way there was Steve sitting in Hollywood. I went over and said hello and he suggested we do the interview right there. Steven was on the interview list to talk about Eureka!, the parade he created, but he told me right away that we could talk about anything and he lots more time than the allotted 15 minutes. We ended up talking around 45 minutes and the interview had to be put up in two parts. Interviewing Steven is like interviewing no one else. He's so excited, so animated - an experience I won't soon forget. Steven has since created LuminAria and Haunted Mansion Holiday. I've been able to interview him one or two more times since, but every time I just run into him at the park I'm still just a blubbering fan.
The Creators of DCA: Throughout the DCA media event I did somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 interviews. One thing everyone had in common was excitement. They were all, without exception, very excited for the park and resort they had just created. That excitement sticks with me everytime I walk through the park, Downtown Disney and the Grand Californian Hotel.
Paul Pressler: A year prior to the Paul Pressler interview LaughingPlace.com had the opportunity to be the first website to interview Disneyland Resort President Cynthia Harriss. I thought I was nervous then! That couldn't compare to driving up to the Studios, entering the gate and walking into the building where the big guys work. As I walked into Paul's office and his assistant introduced me he sat across the room with his back to me working on his computer and just kind of said "hi" without looking. Uh oh! Then I realized he was reading LaughingPlace.com - in fact he was reading an article about him. He turned around, made a joke and very quickly made me feel comfortable with some jokes and off-the-record remarks. Has there ever been a more controversial Disney executive than Paul Pressler? Probably not. But those who know him say he's a genuinely nice person, and after spending an hour with him in July, I would have to agree.
Leonard Maltin: We've interviewed some pretty big names in the Disney community. but Leonard Maltin was the first interview we did with a traditional celebrity: someone who has a good chance of being recognized walking down the street. I'd wanted to interview him for quite a while given his Disney connection and with the help of new LaughingPlace.com contributor Tim O'Day I finally got the chance. Needless to say Leonard was a pleasure to talk to.
Alice Davis: Though this interview has yet to be published (some of it was published in our Thoughts On Walt series), it was conducted late last year. Tim O'Day actually did the interview, Rebekah and I just went along for the ride. Alice had us all over to her home which is full of amazing Marc Davis artwork. She gave us the tour and told some wonderful stories. Very, very memorable!
There are two more people I want to mention here, but because the interview has yet to go up I'd rather not give it away. Suffice it to say meeting this two is something never to be forgotten.
Other 2001 Memories
2001 was a good year for LaughingPlace.com. Here are some things that stand out in my mind:
LP is on the air: It started with an interview with Mike Cook, host of Hooked on Trivia, a trivia radio show based in San Diego. Being a big Disney fan Mike asked us if we'd like to come on his show to do some Disney trivia. So on July 7th we did just that. We were supposed to be there for a half hour. We ended up staying for three. A few LaughingPlace.com readers called in as well. I was so much fun! And the best news - we talked to Mike recently and he'd like to have us back on again in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned!