Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Rescuers at Disneyland 1977

Over the years there have been many different costumed characters roaming Disneyland. In support of the studio's twenty third film, The Rescuers, characters from the film showed up in the park. I believe the costumes are now in a permanently retired area. The first two shots show the mouse hero Bernard in meet and greets. The first shot includes one of the little pigs and a salivating Big Bad Wolf thinking of a pig sandwich with a mouse chaser.

The second shot shows Bernard meeting a young child. I like the kid in the white pants as he is wearing an Incredible Hulk shirt.

Finally a shot of Oroville the Albatross signing autographs in the Plaza with Tomorrowland in the background.

To be honest with you, I think I have only watched this film once and never saw the sequel. The story and characters are not that appealing and during this time period when I was growing up, I was not that excited by Disney animation. Maybe I should revisit the film? I do like Orville as he appears as a fairly interesting and fun character and fondly remember Disneyland at this time.


Jon Kowing said...

Give the Rescuers another shot. No, it's not one of Disney's very best -- but as I recall, it was way better than than the ones that followed it (prior to The Little Mermaid). Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor made for a nice duo, and the villainess Medusa was great fun. It's kind of refreshing seeing something that was all hand-drawn, probably one of the last ones without any computer involvement.

Major Pepperidge said...

I actually like "The Rescuers"'s better than a lot of post-Walt features. The sequel was not as involving as I'd like, but certainly watchable, with some very nice animation.

Great pics of some rare characters! Why is he with one of the three little pigs??

FoxxFur said...

CGI was used in Rescuers Down Under for several of the vehicles and landscapes. Truthfully I think Rescuers is one of Disney's least watchable - it's tedious, cloying, and Medusa is a pathetic replacement for Cruella deVil. Even the patently sedate Robin Hood is, to me, more charming. On the other hand I love Rescuers Down Under - the character business is much improved, Cody is a much better child in peril than the irritatingly sad Penny, the music is brilliant and it moves like a bullet train. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Jeff Pepper said...

I too am pretty lukewarm on the original Rescuers, but find Down Under to be pretty remarkable. The animation is extremely well-realized and visually dynamic. Glen Keane's animation of Marahute the eagle is nothing short of amazing.

Sadly, the film never seems to have emerged out of the shadows of the two films that bookended it--Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

Tinker Bell said...

The Rescuers... it's okay. I, however, do love some of the acting that Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas brought out in their characters more than the actual story. Doing that is not easy!
Does anyone remember if they brought these characters back in the park when "Rescuers Down Under" was released?

Miehana said...

Oh wow, those are cool! I ADORE The "original" Rescuers, though I can see the flaws (Mr. Snoops?). I was in 5th grade the year it came out, which are the "wonder years" for any kid. I made my parents take me to Pizza Hut every week to get the new "take home glass with purchase of Pepsi", and my mom made me an "Evinrude" birthday cake when I was 11. I had the record album that opened up into a "12-page book of full-color illustrations", the Action Viewer and film cartridge of Orville jumping off the skyscraper-- and I still have them! The Emporium windows at DL, I recall, had charming little scenes on display, and I tried to build copies of them myself at home. This film more than any other, convinced me that I wanted to work for Disney when I grew up. By the way, it was released the same summer as "Star Wars" and while other kids my age were playing with their droids and stuff, I was running around the backyard yelling "Fahster, Evinrude, fahster" in an Eve Gabor accent. Um... okay, now I think maybe I've said enough....!

jmv42osity said...

In 1977, The Rescuers was a considerable hit and received good to very favorable reviews. It was a high point for the post Walt animated films before The Little Mermaid. It has great songs (one nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song) and one of the best Disney villains ever, Medusa, voiced by the great Geraldine Page. The atmosphere of the swamp is terrific and Evinrude is a very funny character. There is a lot to recommend in this movie. Some of the animation needs help, but once Bianca and Bernard get started, everything works very well, I think.

The sequel, while not as satisfactory, does have one of the most magical sequences in a Disney film. This is the flight of the giant eagle. Also some terrific early computer assisted animation.

Hans Perk said...

I remember the characters in the park, my first time there in August 1978. I always liked the original film. I went to see the very first Dutch public screening, with my dad. There were only two others in the cinema in Amsterdam, that morning at 10 am. The cinema was sold out for weeks after that... I remember how little I liked the over-used Dutch voices. "Dat arme kleine meisje..." I am glad that not much of the Dutch dialog stuck - and that I could enjoy the original voices so much more. I always loved Frank and Ollie's animation in this film...

qtpd said...

R-E-S,C-U-E Rescue Aid Society - Hearts held high, touch the sky, you mean everything to me.

'nuff said.

Mason's grandmother said...

My childrn were in their preteens when the original Rescures entered their world. Trips to the theatre, trips all over Phoenix from one Pizza Hut to the next looking for the give-away promotional drinking glasses. And for years the collection of glassses was incomplete. We were missing THE BIANCA glass. One eveing while having dinner at a friends house, the hostess opened a cupboard door and there set the holy grail of Rescurer glasses. BIANCA. Some major bargaining took place and we went home with the glass. The collection was complete. Soon the child grew up, went off to college, set out to make a living in the world and the complete collection was relegated to the attic.

I remember that when Orville took the heart throbbing dive from the skyscraper roof, the whole theatre let out a mutual scream of fear. That scene still is thrilling today. I'm now a grandmother with a giant screen home theatre, and while showing the movie to my grandchildren, they ,too, gripped their theatre seats and screamed in fear. They experience the same joy and excitment the my chidren experienced a generation ago. I can still identify with Evenrude sputtering along trying desperately to give it his all.

Ten Foot Mouse said...

The Rescuers has a sweet delicacy to much of it that I found
lacking in the more slam-bang action of its 1990 sequel (though I agree
that the soaring eagle sequence in the second film is magnificent!).

I first saw the 1977 original in the Walt Disney Studio Theatre part of
a special advance screening that my cousin's best friend's father (!)
had gotten us tickets for. While seeing the film literally across the
small studio street from the fabled Animation Building in which it had
been created was thrilling enough, the moment the main titles came on, I
felt I was in for something special. Mel Shaw's beautiful, moody, and
intriging oil pastels under the titles set up the film's introspective
tone of "the lonely child in need" perfectly, and made you feel all the
more for Penny. (I remember being very disappointed that the complete
orchestral overture, following the progress of the message in the
bottle, was not included on the soundtrack storyteller record--in fact,
the publshed sheet music for the entire sequence, "The Journey," was my
first big piano recital piece!)

Orville the Albatross is adorable, and in later years, as I learned more
about classic radio and Jim Jordan, Orville's voice, I realized what a
cleverly cast personality he was, given Jordan's memorable broadcast
history as Fibber McGee--a performance more than fondly recalled and
paid tribute to by the Disney animators. Ollie Johnston's animation of
cuddly-crusty Rufus the orphanage cat is priceless...and more than once
have I envied Miss Bianca not only her fabulous accent (to animation
from the surreal world of "Green Acres" was not such a leap for the
voice of Eva Gabor!) but also her stylishly worn pillbox hat. (A good
special agent, like Mr. Connery's Bond or Dame Diana's Mrs. Peel, must
always think of their appearance!)

Mr. Snoops... yes, there he is. But Geraldine Page does a marvellous,
multi-faceted Medusa, a fittingly juicy voice to match Milt Kahl's
bravura drawing (false eyelashes will never be dealt with the same way

The human delegates to the U.N. and Penny's adoptive parents
notwithstanding, there is much to love in The Rescuers,
particularly an enormous amount of beautiful work from artists of voice
and pencil--many in the last glow of their glory years.

DeeBaughman said...

I was about six when The Rescuers came out, and it's the first Disney movie I can really remember going to see at the theater. I also later had the little storybook with the record that went along with it. "When Tinkerbell rings her chime, turn to the next page..." *brrrrring*

Taron said...

"The Rescuers" is without a doubt one of the most charming Disney masterpieces of all time. It tells an original, lovely story wonderfully adapted (though different) from the stories of Margery Sharp and features a great cast of characters and voice actors. The movie is beautifully produced with superb animation and beautiful songs sung by Shelby Flint. I agree with whoever mentioned the beautiful opening credits by Melvin Shaw, they're indeed a powerful opening that told the viewers that Disney meant strong business once again. Also, I disagree about Madame Medusa being a "replacement" for Cruella DeVil, since the two films have nothing in common, there's no need for one character to be a replacement for another and the only similarities the characters have are that they both recklessly drive a red car, nothing else. Maleficent is much more like the Evil Queen than Madame Medusa is like Cruella DeVil. The scene in the pirate cave always thrilled me as a kid, and many of its most touching scenes still butter me up today. A wonderful Disney film.