31 December 2010

2010 Best in The WDW Record: I won the lottery

This week we looked at how the Main Street Gazette wished to educate, build community and communication, have some fun at Walt Disney World and, of course, the wheres and whats to eat around the Vacation Kingdom. Yet, if you know anything about your humble author here, you know that the history of Walt Disney World, alongside my own personal history with the resort, is a subject I could spend hours expanding upon.

I won the lottery took a look back at the working studio, a founding principle of Disney-MGM Studios, a great film prop, and the park’s current grip on Disney history.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse back through 2010 this week, and I hope you are just as excited for 2011 as I am! See you all next year!
In the late 1980s, if word had spread that Bette Midler was starring in a comedy being directed by Garry Marshall, the impending success of such a film would have been palatable. While most people can remember this dream connection working together on the Touchstone picture Beaches, few remember their smaller film, The Lottery.

The Lottery was a 2 minute and 40 second short film about a music teacher in New York City that realizes she has just won the lottery. Unfortunately for her, her ticket flies out the window and is carried away by a pigeon. Bette Midler, playing the teacher, climbs out onto building ledges, hangs from clotheslines, zooms down the sidewalk in a cart, flips into the subway, and is nearly run over by a train in the pursuit of the pigeon and her fluttering ticket. In the end, she believes her ticket had been destroyed by a passing subway train, only to have the pigeon return it to her, the pigeon is, in turn, rewarded with a giant pigeon statue by the music teacher. It should be noted, that Garry Marshall not only directed this film, but also had a small part as a man offering Bette Midler warnings from the subway platform.

The film was the first to be shot entirely at the Disney-MGM Studios. Soundstages sets were designed for interior and some special effects shots, while exteriors were shot along New York Street, what would one day become part of the Streets of America. The Lottery was in a very limited engagement, as the short and its sets could only be seen as part of the Backstage Studio Tour. In fact, the sole purpose of the production was to give guests a better understanding of the various elements that went into producing a film, if it did only last a little over two and a half minutes.

Today, The Lottery has long been retired to the Disney vault, its most recent showing during a presentation for Disney-MGM Studios/Disney’s Hollywood Studios 20th anniversary. While the film itself may be a thing of the past, much of New York Street still appears as it did in the film, and the subway train used in the film can be seen in the prop warehouse guests walk through before boarding their tram in the current incarnation of the Studio Backlot Tour.

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