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February 21, 2011 D23/Walt Disney Studios Platinum Edition Bambi Screening

The MCA Theater
Jeffrey Epstein, Donnie Dunagan and Andreas Deja...
What: D23 event, Walt Disney Studios' Exclusive Bambi Screening and Platinum Edition Release Celebration in Chicago.
Date: February 21, 2011
Where: MCA Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Who: PiC and I

On February 2nd, D23 announced a Chicago Mixer on the 20th, and a screening of Bambi for the release of Disney's Blu-Ray Platinum Edition of the movie on the 21st. (I passed on the mixer.)

Highlights of the event was not only the movie Bambi on the big screen, but also in attendance would be Disney Geek Jeffery Epstein, and a Q&A and autograph session with Disney animator Andreas Deja, and the voice of young Bambi, Donnie Dunagan.

More than that, the event was free, and the parking garage PiC uses for work was three blocks from the event, so even parking would be "free". (Try parking anywhere in the Near North area of the Loop, and see how much it costs you...)

Tickets became available on February 10th at noon (local time). By 2pm that day, I had admission for two.

The morning of February 21 brought a Winter Weather Advisory, with the promise of up to four inches of snow. We decided to play that evening by ear. By 5:30pm, the snow hadn't appeared, so it was off to see Bambi, Thumper and Flower.

We had dinner at a local sports bar, but the food I had was so bad, I won't give the name of the place. From there, it was a coooold 4 block walk from the bar to the Museum of Contemporary Art, with the wind blowing in our faces. Ice build-up in front of the museum was pretty bad, but we found the entrance we were supposed to use without any problem. That it was on the other side of the museum, on this cold, windy and snowy day didn't surprise me.

We arrived at about 6:30pm, when registration started. They checked my name, and I received a baby Bambi plush, and a pack of Bambi Platinum Edition California Giant Zinnia seeds for each of us. Who thinks these things up?

Swag and the Geek
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Took at picture with the Geek, and made our way into the theater. It's a very nice, small venue that holds 300 seats. I'd say the theater was half-full when the event started. Probably a lot of no-shows due to the weather. The theater was also larger than D23 expected. (On Feb 14, I got e-mail from D23 saying I could RSVP with up to three guests instead of one...)

The screening was supposed to start by 7pm, but started 15 minutes late, and of course the obligatory introductions and trivia contests for prizes. Since I don't listen to the Geek's show, I didn't win anything... (How am I supposed to know the godparents of the three Disney Cruise ships? :-))

MCA Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art
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I have to say the movie looked fantastic! No dirt, no scratches, no pops in the audio... Better than I was a kid, no doubt. I did remark to PiC that I hadn't seen Bambi on the large screen in 30, no, 40, no, 45 years. How old I feel.

(I asked later if it was a film or digital projection source, and found out that we saw a Blu-Ray projection. Quite impressive to blow the picture up to that size and still see no artifacts or problems. I will also add that I remember why I don't go to movies at the theater anymore. While the picture looked great, there were people texting on cell phones, coughing sick people and kids that parents refuse to control...)

After the film, we were introduced to Donnie Dunagan and Andreas Deja. Very cool. Donnie, it turns out, was 6 1/2 years old when he did the voice for young Bambi, and was originally hired for facial expression. He retired from film after Bambi. He evidently never told anyone his involvement in the film until Disney found he was still alive in 2005. He's now having the time of his life touring with Disney as the voice of that fabled deer. His other claim to fame? Son of Frankenstein. I'm gonna have to rent it now.

His film career can be found on IMDB.

Andreas Deja was there due to his involvement with Bambi 2, which I suppose for all his other work in Disney Animation, can be forgiven... :-) He is, after all, a legend. It was a privilege to meet him.

Post movie Q&A with Donnie Dunagan, Andreas Deja and Jeffery Epstein
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After the Q&A session, both were in the lobby for autographs. It was great meeting them, and while Bambi always held a place in my heart, it has a higher meaning now. I mean, how many people do you know that actually met Bambi? HAHAhahahaha...

Autograph session
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Other notes:
Not only did the Blu-Ray look fantastic on the large screen, but some of the bonus features on the disc looked amazing. There's going to be an app on the Blu-Ray that will synchronize with the movie (via a coded block on the TV screen) and show pencil tests, backgrounds, character art and other movie facts on a second machine without the movie ever stopping on the TV. They had an iPad there to demonstrate it, and it'd be the only reason I'd ever buy an iPad. But I wouldn't hold your breath... :-)

Second, I talked with Jeffrey Epstein while waiting to meet Dunagan and Deja, and did point out to him that there are waaaaay too many West Coast centric D23 events. I also talked to him about the Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, and he was able to tell me there are going to be 1300 seats available. When I told him they should have made the event closer to the opening of Star Tours II, he gave me a funny look and said there might be some surprises.

Hmmmmm...

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  • 08/25/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2