Monday, December 3, 2012

Disney's 'Snow White' turns 75 in celebration with Diane Disney Miller

                       Architect Frank Gehry (left), Disney Family Museum co-founder Diane Disney Miller and "Beach Blanket Babylon" cast member Shawna Ferris.

                      Walt Miller and Disney Family Museum CEO Gabriella Calicchio at the opening of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic."

There wasn't a bad apple in the bunch at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio, where family and friends saluted the opening of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic" on Nov. 13.

Curated by Lella Smith, creative director of the Walt Disney Co.'s Animation Research Library, this homage to the beloved film's 75th anniversary is also the museum's first major exhibition.

"It's really hard to imagine a time when color animated films weren't widely available," Smith said. "This was Walt's first full-length film; it turned out to be the most successful for his fledgling studio. And during its first three months, in the depths of the Depression, 20 million people lined up to see 'Snow White.' "

The exhibition includes more than 200 works of art, including story sketches, animation drawings, as well as our personal fave: Disney's "Snow White" Oscar - a full-size, golden statuette adorned by seven miniatures.

Joining Walt Miller, Jenny Miller, Joanna Miller and their mom, Diane Disney Miller, daughter of the late animation wizard and museum co-founder, were architect Frank Gehry; Nancy Lasseter and her husband, Pixar pooh-bah John Lasseter; Bryan Hemming; Presidio Trust Executive Director Craig Middleton; Stern Grove Festival Executive Director Steven Haines; S.F. Arts Commission Director Tom DeCaigny; S.F. Film Society Director Ted Hope; and board member Melanie Blum.

Even "Snow" made the scene as "Beach Blanket Babylon" cast member Shawna Ferris alighted for a swell serenade.

Miller, a longtime Napa Valley denizen and vintner, still recalls the first time she saw her dad's film.

"I was about 3 1/2 when my mom and I saw a screening on a studio soundstage," she said. "As the queen turns into the witch, I was so scared someone took me outside into bright sunlight."

Her uncle, Roy Disney, later created a game called Old Witch, where he'd chase his niece around the house to try to change her fear into fun. "And that," she reminisced, with a laugh, "allowed me to enjoy the thrill of being scared."

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