Archive for Walt Disney

“Cinderella” Dies at 81

Posted in Cinema & Filmmaking, Fame & Celebrity, Movies & Movie Stars, Mythos, Romance, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by alphabetfiend

OK, don’t freak out — Cinderella didn’t die because Cinderella shall live forever in Technicolor.

Ilene Woods died at 81. Ilene Woods was the voice — speaking & singing — of Cinderella in the Disney classic.

Woods was just 18 when Walt cast her as Cinderella, beating out 400 hopefuls for the coveted part. The fellas who wrote the lyrics for the feature film were friends of Ilene Woods — songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston — and so Woods sang in the demos that were submitted to Disney. Walt liked what he heard and gave Woods the part. How exciting that must’ve been!

I wanna be a cartoon!

I wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.

When I got my boobs & hips overnight, taking on a pronounced hour-glass shape of near fetishistic proportions, I was immediately hailed as “Betty Boop” by all the boys (much to my dad’s dismay.) The Boop thing continues to this day but before that, I was called “Cinderelli” by my father. If I felt the least bit put upon or taken for granted (as the oldest of six, I often had cause to feel grumbly) Dad would mercilessly tease me in sing-song, “Wash the dishes, Cinderelli! Fold the linens, Cinderelli! Sweep the hearth, Cinderelli! Serve us stew, Cinderelli!”

Only I had no mice or birds to make me gowns of cast away gewgaws. O woe! I want mice and birds! I want a perfectly drawn up-do. I want a pumpkin carriage.

I want GLASS SLIPPERS, the most dreamy and absurd accessory of all. As silly as the diamond-soled shoes that Paul Simon sang of, “People say she’s crazy, she got diamonds on the soles of her shoes, well that’s one way to lose these walking blues. Diamonds on the soles of her shoes!”

Yes, I wanna be the itty-bitty specimen of footly perfection that slips, effortlessly, into that magical high-heel.

It looks like Woods had a real-life pair of glass slippers! (She’s posing with the heels in the above photo.) Lucky lucky cartoon lady.

Ilene Woods said that the best part about playing Cinderella in the timeless classic was that her children (and her children’s children and so on) would be able to connect with her long after she parted.

I wonder if they’ve watched the film since her death on July 1st.

Maybe their hearts are still too raw for that.

Like Janet Jackson was, after Michael Jackson died, when the film “This Is It” was in theatres. Janet refused to see the film, citing her grief and a lack of readyness. Someday, she said, Not yet. Not now.

After my Dad died we continued to pay his cell bill, for months, because we couldn’t give up the comfort of that phone number. We’d call the number just to hear his voice on the message. It was kind of like pushing a big purple bruise, flinching, ouch, and then you push it again. When I finally decided to disconnect the phone, I checked his voicemail one last time and was astounded to find that calls had been pouring in, at all hours of the day and night, from family, friends, kids, cousins, nephews, even his dry-cleaner/tailor who had once turned the flag my dad stole from the post-office into a subversively patriotic shirt. It took me forever to listen to all the messages, as people spoke to him with desperate yearning.

How could you do this to me, Paul? asked one friend, You sonofabitch asshole cocksucker. Why’d you leave me here alone?

Losing a loved one is never easy. I can only imagine how hard it would be if your mother was CINDERELLA. Maybe it is too soon for Ilene’s family to cuddle on the couch and watch as Cinderella enchants Prince Charming. But someday they will and Woods is right, that film will be a gift that keeps on giving.

Bon Voyage, Cinder-Ilene! I hope you are traveling by coach. I hope the journey is magical and Technicolor and glorious. I hope you are wearing your glass slippers.

 

**For more info, see Animation Magazine.  **“I wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard”  is from “You Can Call me Al,” yet another song by Paul Simon.

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