Great Mouse Detective - March 21, 2014

We at the American Treasure Tour blog recognize that we have been all over the place with our themes of late, and we are okay with that.  In fact, we feel that it represents just how eclectic the entire tour is!  And we have decided to not only start our sentence with "and" - a very questionable thing for anyone to do grammatically! - but also to return to one of our favorite subjects:  the movie posters.  We especially like it when we get to talk about movies we enjoy. This is why we will discuss The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective, the 1986 Disney animated film with the voice of Vincent Price as Professor Ratigan (he sings!) and a sample of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, despite the fact that he died nineteen years earlier.  Basil, the mouse detective, emulates Sherlock Holmes in the film and solves crimes.

Great Mouse Detective.jpg

The film was released during a low point for Disney's animation department, but it did well enough to encourage them to keep their offices open.  We can be grateful for that, because it paved the way for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and the other films of the "Disney Renaissance."

QUESTION:

One of the primary reasons for the success of the Disney movies after The Great Mouse Detective was the return to making animated musicals.  Alan Mencken was a driving force behind the music in these movies. Which of the following was he NOT involved in:

a)  Beauty and the Beast

b)  The Hunchback of Notre Dame

c)  Enchanted

d)  Frozen

e)  Aladdin

Answer Below.

HISTORY TODAY:

We at the blog have to acknowledge the unfortunate truth that bad things have happened in history.  Today we will talk about one of those things.  Fire. When fires go out of control, it can only mean devastation.  Although it can still be extremely difficult to stop a raging fire today despite modern technology, it was virtually impossible to control fires back in the 18th century.  On this day in 1788, New Orleans was devastated by a fire that burned away 856 of the 1,100 buildings that stood in the city - more than three quarters of its original French-inspired architecture was just gone!  To make matters worse, it was Good Friday.  Because of that, priests refused to allow the church bells to be rung to make people aware of what was happening.  The city did not accept defeat, though, and replaced wooden structures with stone and plaster ones.  When another fire swept through six years later, only 212 more buildings were lost, effectively destroying the last of the French-inspired architecture.

Good news for bad guys!  On this day back in 1963, the high-security prison at Alcatraz, located in the beautiful San Francisco Bay, closed its doors to prisoners.  It had been active for only twenty-nine years in that capacity, serving as a military base before then. But successful escapes and deteriorating buildings convinced Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy that it was no longer an effective location for holding criminals.  The beauty of the site and the infamous inmates - including Al Capone, Robert "The Birdman of Alcatraz" Stroud, and MIckey Cohen - gave Alcatraz the fame it continues to celebrate today as a part of the National Park System.  But don't worry, the bad guys were simply moved to other prisons when it closed down.  They were not released when their penal home went away.

BIRTHDAYS:

Florenz Ziegfield, jr. was born today in 1867?  If you have never heard of him, you may be familiar with his creation: "Ziegfield's Follies."  Inspired by the Parisian Folies Bergere, he was the consummate entertainer and created an incredibly popular review.  He built his own theater and produced his own plays, his most famous being Show Boat.  He was the inspiration for the 1936 film The Great Ziegfield starring William Powell as the man known as "the glorifier of the American girl."

Two weeks ago, we missed the birthday celebration of James Broderick, an actor who hit his prime during the 1960s and 1970s.  We will honor him today, indirectly, by wishing his son a happy birthday.  Matthew Broderick was born in Manhattan, New York today in 1962.  He started acting both on Broadway and in film right around his twentieth birthday, starring in the popular computer-based suspense film War Games in 1983.  The likable young lead went on to even more success with the 1985 John Hughes film Ferris Bueller's Day Off and has continued his career in front of the camera, behind the camera, and onstage ever since.  Keep up the good work!

QUOTE:

How little the public realizes what a girl must go through before she finally appears before the spotlight that is thrown upon the stage.  - Florenz Ziegfield

Answer: d)  Frozen.  Christophe Beck is accredited with writing the music for Frozen (as well as that for the cult favorite "Once More with Feeling" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).