Much has been written about the prodigiously talented men who brought Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, and Dumbo to the screen. But if behind every good man stands a good woman, behind Walt Disney and his “boys”–the all-male assembly line–once stood 100. Walt was the impresario of a troop of young women, most under 25–a casting director’s dream of all-American acolytes–who made the screen light up, not with feathered swan dives or the perfect tip-tap of a patent-leather heel, but by making water shimmer or a tail wag just so. It was a job complicated by his unrelenting perfectionism–Jiminy Cricket required 27 different colors–but reducible to a simple imperative of the time: ever nimble but never showy, their job was to make what the men did look good.
I could not resist the opportunity to interview one other treasured behind-the-scenes woman, Marge Belcher Champion, famous as half of the dancing Champions of screen and stage, but known to Disney aficionados world wide as the real-live model for Snow White.
Champion was only 14 and still in school when she received $10 a day to act the part of Snow White for the Disney animators to use as their model. She later went on to partner with her husband Gower Champion in films like “Show Boat” and “Jupiter’s Darling.” But here she is helping the first Disney feature film come to life.
Another Valentine’s Day quiz about some of the all-time favorite television couples. How many do you recognize?
1. The very first issue of TV Guide featured the real-life baby of this sit-com pair whose on-screen race to the hospital to give birth was one of the most watched episodes of its era.
2. Perhaps inspired by the glamorous and elegant occupants of the White House, this sit-com couple, a writer and a former dancer, lived with their son in New Rochelle, New York.
3. She grew up on one of the top shows of the 70’s and then had a spin-off series of her own about her life with her cute boyfriend.
4. This loving couple broke some barriers by having the first inter-racial marriage on prime-time television.
5. Sparring detectives generated a lot of romantic chemistry in this glossy romantic mystery series.
6. The viewership for the wedding of this soap opera duo broke records and even ended up on a magazine covers.
7. This couple did things a bit out of order — they had a relationship, they were on a break, they got married, got divorced, had a baby, and then ended up together.
8. This couple on a popular new series just adopted a daughter from Vietnam.
9. One of the most loving marriages in television history was between this doctor and lawyer, parents of five children, who loved to dance with each other.
10. A journalist and an aspiring actress became engaged in the last season of this popular series.
Get in a romantic mood for Valentine’s Day with a quiz on some of the classic movie love stories. And then pick one to watch with your valentine!
1. A bookkeeper falls for a baker though she is engaged to his brother in this tempestuous love story.
2. She wants to kiss him but doesn’t know where the noses go.
3. Their characters’ first date is a baseball game in this movie whose stars became a real-life couple off screen.
4. The first English-language version of this story about a couple who does not know they are in love was in black and white. The second was a musical. What is the name of the third version, updated to the internet era? (Bonus points for naming the first two.)
5. Adam gets married to a woman he just met and discovers only later how much he loves her in what film?
6. A mysterious blonde in a white car mouths “I love you” to a teen-ager played by what future Oscar-winner in a classic film set in California?
7. A runaway princess and a reporter find live in what city named in the movie title?
8. An unhappy couple take extreme measures to try to forget each other in what trippy love story?
9. A pampered young woman has to learn how to manage a farm while the man she loves is away at war in what romantic film based on an acclaimed novel?
10. A devoted husband of many years visits his wife in a nursing home to read her a love story in what movie based on a popular book?
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