Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Face used as a model for the Prince in the Disneyland castle

Q: A local children's show in the Philadelphia market featured a young artist by the name of Gene London. Gene was a Disney-trained artist, and it was said he was good friends with Walt. Local lore has it that Walt gave Gene a ring. As a kid in the late '60s and early '70s, I can remember many times when the show featured Walt (1960s) or Disneyland or a new Disney movie release and communication between the host and Disney artists, etc. It is also a local tale that when Walt Disney World was under construction, Gene London's face was used as a model for the Prince in the castle murals. Are our local tales true?
Joe, Edgewater Park, New Jersey

A [Dave Smith]: I cannot authenticate the local stories, but I do recall Gene London as being a big Disney fan. He visited the Disney Archives a few times in the 1970s, was appreciative of what we were doing to preserve Disney history and he would always give me a big hug.

Philly Local TVGene London Show
gene LondonWhen TVparty first started a page for memories of The Gene London Show, we weren't prepared for the enthusiastic response.
People from all over the country have contacted us by the hundreds with their fond memories of this local kid show. So settle back and read some of the best Email messages we've gotten about Gene London.

I fondly remember the general store. Gene London was incredibly gifted in bringing his characters to life through voice and drawing. I was one child who was deeply impressed in a positive way by his talents. I've always thought about him and what he might be doing now.
I remember these words to the song.....
Come right on in to the general store
We've got licorice, gum drops, sour balls,
Anything that you're hankering for
You'll find in Cartoon Corners General Store.

And of course, I remember - The Golden Fleece that was in a chest and the magical drawings that were brought to life by the voices that Gene London would give to them.
His show was one of my very favorites. 37 years later that remains the case. :)
- Rita Lopez

I remember Gene London so well - someone had the first verse to the song - I was such a fanatic I remember the 2nd verse - There's lots of stories and songs that you know Toys to build and a big pot belly stove Something else I've forgotten, let's see Of course, Gene London, that's me!
- a reader

I was a temporary resident for 4 year in Collingdale, Pa while my father attended medical school in Philadelphia. I was about 8 years old and enjoyed the culture of the Northeast since I was from Texas.

I will always remember my friends Kenny Wilde (USN) (RIP), Frank Doyle, Jimmy Lieberknight and the rest of the gang near Mc Dade Blvd. The Mumurs Parade, Pusey Elementary, Hoagies, The Spectrum, The Philadelphia Warriors, riding my bike to Darby, Big Wheels, The Dallas Cowboys beating the Miami Dolphins, being chased by red-headed Irish girls, Jackie Delaney and Christine Sullivan, and watching Gene London on Saturdays.

Those were the days... Yo!!

- Mark H Reyes, Texas

I just remember Gene London telling a story while he illustrated it and CRYING as he did this. It was pretty scary to a kid to watch this grown man blubbering as he told a story. Anybody remember the theme song? It was something about the "cartoon corners general store". I believe that was the fictional store where Gene worked. Gene seemed to have a Disney fixation, and I'm pretty sure that he probably is now in possession of the cryogenically frozen head of Walt.
- Bill Jacoby

About ten years ago, while a bike messenger in New York City, I made a delivery to Gene London's apartment around 6th Avenue and 20th Street. I mentioned that I recognized him, and when he commented that he thought I was too young to remember the show, I responded that I remember the later seasons. The seasons that contained a purple puppet of some kind as a sidekick. Gene said he didn't remember any puppet on the show, and then after a moment of reflection, gasped, and said, "Oh, the PUPPET! I forgot all about the puppet. Working with that thing was so horriiible, I must have completely blocked the memory out!" With his eyes wide, his hands over his mouth, he thanked me for the package and sent me on my way.
- a reader

Growing up in the Delaware Valley during the late '60's and '70's, Gene London and his show "Cartoon Corners" were a big part of my childhood. 
  Gene was blessed with tremendous artistic talent, great storytellling skills, and a personality that appealed to children. I loved his show, and looking back on it now, can really appreciate the creativity associated with it. I fondly remember Quigley Mansion, the Golden Fleece and those amazing "flying" sequences, the stories drawn in crayon by Gene, and the wonderful storylines including a take-off on "The Wizard of Oz" that I still think was a tremendous undertaking for a locally-produced show, and a storyline about Gene's girlfriend Debbie getting amnesia from a jar that falls on her head. All of the productions were rather well done. 
Gene's show taught us all about the importance of using our creative talents, and how we could share our creative gifts with others. Having been blessed with the same talent for drawing that Gene has, I could and can relate to his love for it. Gene London was part of the inspiration for me to use and share my talents. I would love to see tapes of those original shows to relive the magic. Thanks Gene...never forget the positive impact you've had on a generation of children.
- Frank T 

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