Exclusive Interview With The Voices of Bambi and Thumper Plus Paul Felix, Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios #BambiBluray

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Disclosure- I was invited by Disney to attend this all expense paid press trip but all opinions are 100% my own.

BambiThe beloved classic movie, Bambi, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. In honor of this special anniversary it joined Walt Disney’s Signature Collection today on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere. It will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and On-Demand on June 6th. The collection release will include a variety of bonus features and I will be reviewing it in an upcoming post. There is also a special deal going on right now. Disney Movie Rewards is offering a beautiful tank top featuring Paul Felix art inspired by BAMBI, for only $9.99 with every digital purchase/redemption of BAMBI.   Learn more about the tank top promotion here.
bambi tank top

Did you ever wonder what it was like to work with Walt Disney? Or what it was like to be a part of a classic Disney movie? During our trip to Los Angeles last week we had the unique opportunity last week to interview with 2 of the original voices from the movie. Disney Archivist Becky Cline moderated as interviewed  Donald “Donnie” Dunagan (young voice of “Bambi”) and Peter Behn (young voice of “Thumper”). We also interviewed  Paul Felix, Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios who was inspired by Tyrus Wong (animator on Bambi).
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Here are the top things we learned:

~Hand-drawn Artwork and Attention to Detail

Talent_WEB_017Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Bambi was released in 1942 during World War II. It took over 5 years to make due to its exquisite hand-drawn artwork and attention to detail. Paul Felix told us how the studio went on strike and moved during the time Bambi was being made which also delayed the project. It was supposed to come out after Snow White but ended up coming after Pinocchio and Fantasia. They had to cut some of the movie out and only do what they could afford at the time. Paul also told us that one important thing that Disney animators of the time had to learn to do was learn how to create animals with faces that could emote dialog. A good example of this is comparing how lifelike and realistic the deer in Bambi are compared to the deer in Snow White that are stiff and don’t have much life to them.

~The Zen of Bambi

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Paul Felix shared with us how he feels Bambi is special because the themes are so broad. It deals with the reality of the world and has a zen-like simplicity that is profound. He also went on to talk about how the movie is so powerful even today because it shows how the connection between mother and child is so primal and relatable.

~There Were No Auditions For Thumper

 

BAMBI Disney archive image

Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Peter Behn’s father was a screenwriter in the 1920’s. He knew Walt Disney and brought Peter in to audition for the voice of Bambi but Donnie beat him out. They didn’t think his voice was right for Bambi but they thought his voice was right for “the rabbit” character. They never held auditions for Thumper, as they knew Peter was right for the part. He was only 4 years old at the time and the tender age of 5 when he voiced his character.

~Donnie Dunagan Knew What He Wanted As a Boy

donnie dunagan mickeyPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Donnie Dunagan grew up dirt poor and his family entered him in a talent contest when he was 4 years old. In the contest he danced with a paper bag hat and a stick from a tree to the song, A Tisket A Tasket. He won and caught the eye of a talent scout! He went on to be a child actor at the age of 5 years old. He did lots of films as a child, 7 before the age of 5 1/2 years old, but when is agent told him not to take the role of Bambi he fired his agent. Talk about a boy who knew what he wanted!

~Peter Behn Only Saw Bambi Once In His Youth

Talent_WEB_023Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
Peter Behn saw Bambi at the premiere and then didn’t see it again for a long time. I hadn’t thought about it before but back in those days they didn’t have DVDs, VHS tapes, or Netflix so movies were just seen in theaters when they came out.

~Commanding Officer Bambi

Talent_WEB_025Photo credit- BAMBI Disney archive image

Donnie went on to become a commanding officer in the Marine Corp but he didn’t tell anyone about his role in Bambi. He was afraid they would tease him- “My commanding officer is Bambi!” He didn’t even tell his wife about his role in Bambi when they were first married. It took her finding an old box of memorabilia and fan letters for Donnie to tell his wife all about his Disney past.

~A True Leader

When asked about what it was like to work with Walt Disney Donnie said that Walt was very helpful, a true leader. He was not a feared boss but instead a very hands on leader who was approachable and helped everyone.

~Recording The Voices

The voices were recorded first and then the artwork was created based on the recordings. The audio was transcribed with a needle on a plastic device because they didn’t have the digital technology like they do today.

~”Your Mother Is In Trouble”

bambi momPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
To get Peter to say his lines the director would read the lines and Peter would mimic him with inflection because he was too young to read the lines well. When Donnie was recording the scene where Bambi’s mother dies the director thought that Donnie sounded too happy and not sad enough. He told Donnie to pretend “Your mother is in trouble. Call your mother!”

~Bambi’s Legacy Lives On Today

flowerPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
Peter shared with us how Walt Disney was ahead of his time in protecting the environment as shown in Bambi. This speaks to his forward thinking and awareness of environmental issues. The legacy of Bambi still lives on today.

~Bambi is Forever

fansPhoto credit- BAMBI Disney archive image
The most touching part of our interview was when Donnie shared with us, with a quivering voice and tears in his eyes, that Bambi is forever. He showed us the letters he still receives from children from all over the world.

~Advice For Aspiring Animators

While Paul Felix is known for designing settings over characters he said anyone interested in becoming an animator should draw from life, draw both buildings and people. Try painting with watercolors and create a mood with colors. Don’t limit yourself. Learn art history to ground yourself in art and design.

donnie and peter group

Photo credit- Louise Bishop Momstart.com

Make sure to check out the 75th anniversary Walt Disney Signature Collection Bambi on Digital HD May 23rd and Blu-ray June 6th!

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Yo Ho Ho, It’s A Pirates of the Caribbean Life For Me #PiratesLifeEvent May 17th-20th

This post may contain affiliate links.
Thank you for visiting Cori's Cozy Corner! Please make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our E-mails!

Disclosure- I was invited by Disney to attend this all expense paid press trip but all opinions are 100% my own.
Yo, Ho, Ho! It’s a Pirates Life For Me! I am so excited to announce that I’m going back to Los Angeles for an exciting Disney press trip with 24 other bloggers for the #PiratesLifeEvent. Our trip will begin with a dinner at Dave and Busters in support of the new game “Disney Crossy Road: Pirates of the Caribbean”. I love Dave and Busters and have been to one in FL and NY so I’m excited to be checking one out in L.A., too. Follow along at #DaveAndBusters.
BambiDid you know that it is the 75th Anniversary of the beloved classic Disney movie, Bambi?  The Walt Disney Signature collection is releasing Bambi on Digital HD May 23rd and Blu-ray June 6th. 

During the event to help celebrate this Disney Classic’s 75th anniversary we will get to sit down with two members of the original voice cast, Donnie Dunagan (“Bambi”) and Peter Behn (“Thumper”)! I bet they’ll have some great stories to tell. While at Disney Animation Studios we will also get a tour of Walt Disney’s office by Disney Archivist Keven Kern. I can’t wait! Make sure to follow along with #BambiBluray.

interview collageWhile in Los Angeles we will be interviewing Javier Bardem (“Captain Salazar”), Geoffrey Rush (“Barbossa”), Brenton Thwaites (“Henry”), Kaya Scodelario (“Carina Smyth”).  We will also be interviewing Directors Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg and (OMG!!!) Producer Jerry Bruckheimer!! Have you seen the list of movies and shows that he’s worked on? Have any questions you want me to ask any of them? Let me know!
dolbyOne of the highlights of our trip will be walking the red carpet at The Dolby Theatre for the Pirates of the Caribbean premiere and then of course getting to see the movie. This is my first red carpet event since I lost 80 pounds so I am excited to show off my new body in a beautiful new dress. If you didn’t know The Dolby Theatre is where the Oscars take place. I’ve been on the steps of The Dolby Theatre before but this is my first time actually inside. We’ll be rubbing elbows with stars. I wonder who we’ll see. Johnny Depp perhaps? SWOON!!! I recently found out that Paul McCartney has a part in the movie, too. I would probably faint if I met him. Make sure to follow #PiratesLifeEvent for all the up to the minute details and pictures. I’ll be sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” also stars Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs,  Golshifteh Farahani as the sea-witch Shansa, David Wenham as Scarfield, Stephen Graham as Scrum, and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa.

No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a trip to DISNEYLAND!!! Growing up in Florida I have been to Walt Disney World many times but I have only been to Disneyland one other time, 2 years ago on another Disney press trip. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well that day so I really didn’t get to enjoy the park and I didn’t even make it over to California Adventure at all. So I am really looking forward to going back. We’ll be riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride of course.

Pirates of the Caribbean is considered by many to be one of the most spectacular attractions ever created for a theme park. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the adventures continue in Southern California! The attraction was originally conceived as a wax museum and a walk-through exhibit. But following the success of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers decided that Audio-Animatronics—Walt’s latest animation technology—was the most imaginative way to tell a rousing pirate story. On March 18, 1967, Pirates of the Caribbean opened at Disneyland Park. Thanks to the many highly detailed scenes, lavish special effects and memorable characters, the attraction earned rave reviews and has remained a beloved classic, even spawning its own blockbuster film series!

We’ll also be checking out PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES sneak peek. This is a 14-minute, 4D preview of the film with costumes and props on display located in the Sunset Showcase Theatre in Hollywood Land in Disney’s California Adventure park. And I never miss my favorite ride, The Haunted Mansion. We’ll finish our magical day watching World of Color nighttime water spectacular. I can’t wait! So what other rides and attractions do you suggest?

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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters everywhere May 26th!

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