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National Library of Norway
National Library of Norway

Missing Disney Christmas Short from 1927 Discovered in Norway

National Library of Norway
National Library of Norway

We've lost a number of classic films—even some Oscar-nominated ones. But occasionally, lost films will pop up in places where you least expect them. Such was the case with Walt Disney's first Christmas short, Empty Socks, which was rediscovered at The National Library of Norway in 2008. A restored version of the film was shown at the library earlier this week.

The silent film—which stars Mickey's predecessor, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit—was originally released in 1927. It was found by two employees while they were taking inventory at the library's nitrate film archive. “At the beginning, we didn’t know it was a lost cinematographic treasure,” Kvale Sørenssen, an archivist at the library, said. “The film was in two reels which weren’t clearly labelled.” In fact, they first thought the film might feature Felix the Cat. The reels had belonged to Norwegian collector Tor Eide. Eide gave them to the Norwegian Film Institute, which gave its collection of nitrate films to the National Library in 2007. The film was authenticated by former Disney archivist David Gerstein.

Martin Weiss / National Library

Empty Socks features Oswald dressing up and playing Santa to some mischievous orphans, who end up setting a chair—and eventually, the house—on fire. (Disney would reuse this general idea with Mickey Mouse in the 1931 short Mickey's Orphans.) Previously, only 25 seconds of the short was known to exist; that clip is held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The full short was 5.5 minutes long, and the reels found in the National Library's archives are nearly complete—around a minute of the middle section of the movie, where Oswald distributes gifts to the orphans and the chair catches on fire, is missing. 

Restoration experts at the library painstakingly restored Empty Socks and digitized it. Restoring silver nitrate movies is a dangerous process because the film is highly flammable. According to the History BlogA little warmth or pressure and [the nitrocellulose compound used to make the film] explodes with more force than gunpowder. It doesn’t even need oxygen to burn because it produces its own oxygen during combustion. It also burns under water.” To keep both people and the films safe, The National Library of Norway's silver nitrate films are stored in a secure climate- and moisture-controlled bunker in Mo i Rana, near the Arctic circle. The facility is partitioned into sections with fireproof walls to minimize damage and danger in the event of a fire.

A digital copy of Empty Socks has been sent to Disney, and the original will remain in the National Library's bunker.

[via The History Blog]

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Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort via Getty Images
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Big Questions
How Did the Super Bowl's 'I'm Going to Disney World' Slogan Originate?
Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort via Getty Images
Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

It’s a Super Bowl tradition as recognizable as catchy commercials, lengthy halftime shows, and mounds of leftover guacamole, but how did the famous "I'm going to Disney World" and "I'm going to Disneyland" slogans make their way to (almost) every big game since 1987?

The idea for the slogan itself can be credited to Jane Eisner, the wife of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. In 2015, he recounted the story behind the tagline to Sports Illustrated:

"In January 1987, we were launching Disneyland’s Star Tours, an attraction based on Star Wars. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, my wife, Jane, and I had dinner with George Lucas, as well as Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, who had just become the first people to fly around the world without stopping. It was late and the conversation hit a lull as we waited for our food. So I asked Dick and Jeana, 'Well, now that you’ve accomplished the pinnacle of your aspirations, what could you possibly do next?' Rutan responded, without hesitation, 'I’m going to Disneyland.' And of course I go, 'Wow, that’s cool! You made the right choice.' But my wife interjects: 'You know, that’s a good slogan.'"

Around this time, the NFL playoffs were well underway, with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos set to face each other at Super Bowl XXI. What better time to unveil this new marketing slogan than at the biggest TV event of the year? Once Eisner decided on a time and place to debut the phrase, the teams’ two quarterbacks, Phil Simms and John Elway, both received identical offers: $75,000 for the winner to say "I’m going to Disney World" and "I’m going to Disneyland" to a Disney camera as they ran off the field after the game. This would then be used in a commercial with Disney World or Disneyland being shown depending on where it aired. (This is then oftentimes followed by an actual trip to a Disney park within the next few days, where the spokesperson takes part in a parade in his team's honor). 

Simms was hesitant at first, but once he heard Elway agreed to it, he was on board. The NFL also signed off on Disney’s plan, so now it was up to the company to find a way to get their cameras on the field before all-out madness could erupt. Tom Elrod, Disney’s president of marketing and entertainment in 1987, told Sports Illustrated:

"We wanted it to be authentic, but that meant being the first camera on the field, in the most frenetic environment you could possibly imagine. We’d be competing with broadcast crews and journalists and hangers-on and teammates, just to have some guy look into a camera and say, 'I’m going to Disney World.' It’s wild if you think about it. That first year, I don’t think anyone thought that was achievable."

It’s a good thing the reluctant Simms changed his tune about Disney’s offer, because his Giants beat Elway’s Broncos 39-20. Not only was Simms awarded his first Super Bowl win and the game’s MVP award, he also got a cool $75,000 for uttering two simple sentences (though he had to say both sentences three times each, just to be sure). 

The tradition has carried on ever since, except in 2005 for Super Bowl XXXIX and in 2016 for Super Bowl 50, when no commercials aired (though Super Bowl 50's winning quarterback, Peyton Manning, went to Disneyland anyway).

The slogan now extends beyond football, having been uttered by everyone from NBA players to Olympians and American Idol contestants. And even if they don't wind up in a commercial, chances are a championship team will still be greeted by a Disney park parade, like the one thrown for the Chicago Cubs in 2016. 

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Disney/Pixar
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entertainment
Watch a Screenplay Go from Script to Screen in This Clip From Inside Out
Disney/Pixar
Disney/Pixar

If a movie were a person, its script would be the skeleton. The essentials—narrative, protagonists, dialogue, etc.—are all there, but they need to be fleshed out to fully come to life. Enter characters (either played by actors or animated), music, and special effects, and suddenly simple words on a page have transformed into a motion picture.

In the new Pixar-produced video below, which was first spotted by Gizmodo, you can compare the screenplay of 2015's Inside Out with the theatrical version released in theaters. The text scrolls down the screen's bottom half as a corresponding scene from the film progresses, allowing viewers to juxtapose what they're watching with what they're reading. This way, aspiring screenwriters and Pixar fans alike can see firsthand how a movie moves from a bare-bones script to a fully realized film.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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