An Interview with the Director of Walt Disney Art Classics - Lee Zoppa
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LP: Can you tell me about some of the pieces coming up?
LZ: This is really exciting because we have some of the best pieces I think weve had in a long time. We think the best pieces in the collection should always be the Society pieces. Theyre for our loyal Society members. We have about 53,000 active Society members right now, and they should have the access to the very, very best pieces. So our gift membership piece is incredible. When you join for an annual fee of $50.00 in 2001, you get a free membership sculpture -- Tinker Bell in the dresser drawer. Its the scene where she has been locked in the drawer, by accident. The title is "Little Charmer," and she is basically tumbled in the drawer with her foot up propped up on a spool of thread and other items, while looking a little bit upset in her own special way. Most people remember and relate to that special moment.
"The Little Charmer"
Tinker Bell has a suggested retail value of $85.00, but you receive her for free when you sign up as a Walt Disney Collectors Society member in 2001. For your $50.00 fee, you also get a subscription to Sketches Magazine, which comes out quarterly, and there are also four NewsFlash newsletters a year that provide in-between updates. You also get a cloisonne pin, a special small lenticular motion card showing the scene of Tinker Bell tumbling in the dresser drawer, and then invitations to special events or things like the annual Walt Disney Art Classics Convention or the yearly Collectibles Shows. So, you can see we try to do special things for our collectors.
Atlantis' Princess Kida
From our newest animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, we have recently unveiled a numbered, limited edition sculpture of 2001 pieces from Walt Disney Classics Collection based on Princess Kida, along with a limited edition hand painted cel with a reproduction background, created in an initial edition of only 100 pieces. A hand painted cel set up with an original painted background from Feature Animation is being offered on Disney Auctions - it will be the only original art background and cel offered this year from the new film. Last year we offered more than 100 lots from Fantasia 2000 and Tarzan through Sothebys auctions.
Again, what Walt Disney Art Classics is best at doing is offering wonderful, quality, high-end product. As a result, there is a halo effect on everything else throughout the Company, and its almost inspirational and aspirational. People want to reach for this wonderful high end collectible or piece of artwork that they can own and have in their home. Our art and collectible product truly represents the crème de la crème in its category.
LP: Are there any other specific pieces?
LZ: Also in the Society, there are other members only pieces that may be redeemed or purchased through special redemption certificates. Collectors can take redemption certificates into their local WDCC dealer and purchase the piece, and it will be shipped to the dealer for them. In honor of the 60th Anniversary of Dumbo, we introduced Mrs. Jumbo in a piece called "Baby Mine;" its our Animators Choice sculpture honoring legendary Disney animator Vladimir ("Bill") Tytla. "Baby Mine" has a suggested retail of $195.00.
Cleo and Figaro
For the first time ever we are offering Cleo and Figaro from Pinocchio as a members only ornament. It has a suggested retail value of $59.00.
We also have a very special members only piece in honor of Walt Disneys 100th Birthday. The sculpture is based on a 1950s publicity shot and features Walt himself holding an antique Mickey Mouse doll. The sculpture is so detailed it even highlights his two wedding bands, and his Smoke Tree Ranch red tie that he liked to wear. Its a wonderful likeness sculpted by Kent Melton and has a suggested retail of $250.00.
Walt and Mickey
We have Nana, who completes the new Peter Pan bedroom scene. Last fall we introduced the nursery scene of Wendy with Michael and John battling it out on a "pirate ship" bed base. Nana is a members only piece - meaning, you can only complete your scene if you are a member of the Walt Disney Collectors Society. Her suggested retail price is less than $100.
Scar from The Lion King is 5th introduction in our Villains Series from the Walt Disney Collectors Society. Famed Disney animator Andreas Deja (lead animator of Scar on the film) did the actual concept drawing for us because Dave Pacheco, our art director, was on vacation. Its the scene where Scar catches a mouse "for lunch" and its titled, "Lifes not fair, is it?"