Walt Disney's Horror Movie Written by Stephen Schochet
In 1934, when Walt Disney called for a meeting among his artists, a rumor had spread that he was going to shut studio down and they would all be left unemployed during great depression. Instead he personally told them in his own spellbinding way story of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, which he intended to make into his first feature length film. It was a risk unlike any other he had taken before. The film would cost a million and a half dollars at a time Disney was spending anywhere from ten to thirty thousand on his short cartoons. Doubts came from his wife Lillian and his brother and business partner Roy, who were sure they would be in debt for most of rest of lives. Also nervous was Walt's backer Bank of America, who at one point interrupted production by cutting off his credit. Then there were heads of other studios like MGM, Universal and Warner Brothers. They would gather for their weekly poker games at Hillcrest Country Club and speculate that Walt, who they called "the Mickey Mouse Man", would never succeed, no one would sit still for an hour and a half to watch a cartoon. And press referred to Snow White as "Disney's Folly".
Despite doubters and his own health problems (he suffered from a thyroid condition), Walt
A Miraculous MovieWritten by Stephen Schochet
It was originally called The Big Heart. Daryl Zanuck shrewd head of Twentieth Century Fox couldn't buy image of Santa Claus in a court room. But like so many ventures Miracle On 34th Street (1947) came about because of passion, in this case that of Director George Seaton who had gone to New York on his own and made arrangements with real Mr. Macy and Mr. Gimbel to film inside their department stores. Impressed by Seaton's commitment Zanuck gave show a green light. Who would play little girl who didn't believe in Santa Claus? Seaton agonized over it, until assistant director remembered an amazing child prodigy from Santa Rosa, California who could cry on cue. Her name was Natasha Nikolaevna Gurdin renamed Natalie Wood after director Sam Wood . The same Natalie Wood who would later go out on a hotel room ledge and threaten to jump when her boyfriend Elvis Presley ignored her to play poker with Memphis Mafia. The same girl who would infuriate fellow cast members of West Side Story (1961) with her tardiness, her refusal to learn simple dance steps and her insistence on long lunch breaks to visit with her analyst. But seven-year-old Natalie had none of typical child star precocious behavior, she gained respect of her co-stars on Miracle set with her professional demeanor, earning nickname One-Take-Natalie.
Like all filmed on location movies there were logistical problems. The sequence where Santa was taken to Bellevue was done without permission. The famous hospital would not cooperate with Hollywood because they had been portrayed badly in earlier films, they were not swayed by sight of a sickly, freezing cold Santa Claus (Edmund Gwenn) bundled up under blankets in a car, waiting to shoot his scenes. The filmmakers were forced to shoot only car approaching building's entrance and edit rest later. Another difficulty was getting permission to shoot Macy's parade from apartment dwellers on 34th street which had to be done right first time, there could be no retakes. The film crew paid ladies of house to place cameras in their windows. Then their husbands came home, complained about inconvenience and demanded their own equal share. Most difficult to film was sickly but determined Edmund Gwenn who would win an Oscar for playing Kris Kringle. He suffered from a bladder control problem but couldn't stand thought of someone taking his place in parade. The children who stood on sidewalk waving at Santa never saw long tube under his cloak.