The National Fantasy Fan Club (NFFC) held it's annual Celebration Banquet on July 16th, 2009. The guests were Jodi Benson, Paige O'Hara, Sherri Stoner and Don Hahn as the host! You can find my interview with Benson, O'Hara and Hahn here!
A photo of the NFFC 25th anniversary cake:
And the anniversary dessert:
Producer Don Hahn:
Much of the evening was hearing the guests reminiscing about being part of the films The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel. She also voices Barbie in Pixar's Toy Story 2 (and the upcoming part 3). She told a funny story of how Barbie was orginally to be in the original Toy Story movie – Benson actually was the original voice of Barbie well before that, but Mattel said "absolutely not", they did not want Barbie to be part of the film. Of course, right after Toy Story came out, Mattel changed their minds and Barbie was a huge hit in the sequel (and is one of the reasons that Toy Story II is my favorite Pixar film).
Sherri Stoner was the body model for Ariel and Belle. She was approached while she was working with the improv group, The Groundlings about auditioning for Disney. There was an amusing moment when she talked about how she started "unconsciously doing all the movements" while watching the film for the first time. Everything had been choreographed, so Stoner knew when items would be picked up, and where Ariel was going. There was also a lot of applause when her stint as Slappy Squirrel in Animaniacs was mentioned, and she talked about how she started writing more after that (including writing My Favorite Martian for Disney in 1999):
Don Hahn and Paige O'Hara with Benson and Stoner:
Benson was often very emotional watching old footage that included her singing:
Paige O'Hara speaks to Don Hahn, then watches and reacts to video clips from 20 years ago. The video clips were of O'Hara singing, and she'd not seen them until now:
O'Hara and Benson react to the surprise that they were receiving NFFC Legends Awards. NFFC Legends Awards have been given in the past to Tony Baxter, Marc Davis, the Sherman brothers, and so many other wonderful Disney talents. The Legend Award is traditionally given at the Lunch with a Legend, and more were handed out later in the week at this lunch, including to Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy and Tony Anselmo, the voice of Donald.