Kathy's Corner

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The Haunted Mansion

While deep in the Halloween season, we decided to sit down with Kids Corner engineer, and Disney expert, Eric Schuman - to explore the stories found inside Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion.

aunted Mansion features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called "Doom Buggies", and a walk-through show is displayed to riders waiting in the line queue. The attraction utilizes a range of technology, from centuries-old theatrical effects to modern special effects featuring spectral Audio-Animatronics.

The first Haunted Mansion was opened in Disney Land in 1969 and has entertained generations of fans for years. Listen as Kathy and Eric talk about both the development and the elements found inside The Haunted Mansion!

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Grownups love talking about things that existed when they were a kid that either don’t exist anymore or aren’t as good as the olden days.  Unfamiliar words like “Automat” and “telephone booth” and “drive-in movie” get thrown around. Summertime always reminds me of a magical memory of growing up on Long Island…a drive-in movie. Some of my greatest movie memories…and my worst act of misbehavior…happened at the drive-in movie theatre.

Showing movies outside for groups of people in their cars goes back to the Theatre de Guadalupe in 1915 in New Mexico. The first official patented drive-in opened in June, 1933 in Camden, NJ. With the invention of speakers that attached to each car, drive-in movies sprouted up all over America. There are even still a couple within the Kids Corner listening area, so new generations can discover this family activity.

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I am not shy about my love for musical theater. I’ve enjoyed shows like Annie, Aladdin Jr., Bye Bye Birdie and Into the Woods at school and camp thanks to my niece. I often throw a show tune into the musical mix on Kids Corner. I’m delighted that people know the name Fiorello H. LaGuardia because of my affection for the musical Fiorello! based on his life. I am firmly convinced that many of the world’s challenges can be addressed through show tunes.

Spring is the most wonderful time of the year for a musical theater fan!  It’s time for the Freddy Awards, broadcast live on WFMZ-TV from the Lehigh Valley on May 25. The State Theater in Easton, PA will be filled with high school musical theater students competing for the Freddy Award for Excellence in categories honoring sets, costumes, orchestras and individual and collective performances. There are musical performances throughout the broadcast, including a production number from each of the schools nominated for Best Overall Production. The competing high schools represent the Lehigh Valley area, including Northampton County and Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, and Warren County in New Jersey. The Freddy Awards’ Scholarship Program has helped many high school students attend college and pursue theater studies, both on stage and in production.

You may live near one of the high schools competing in this year’s Freddy Awards! Perhaps you have a family member involved with one of the shows in the competition. Like a great sports team, a great theatrical production depends on the contributions of all the people involved. It’s a real community effort, as we hear every year on the Freddy Awards when the winners for Best Costumes thank “the costume Moms and Dads.” I have been enjoying the Freddy Awards for several years, and have great memories about performances from The Producers, Ragtime, Guys and Dolls and The Heights. I believe some of the young performers I’ve enjoyed on the Freddy Awards will be among Broadway’s best someday. I also believe that young performers watching on TV at home can be inspired by The Freddy Awards.

The fun, competition and performances of The Freddy Awards has been captured in a documentary called Most Valuable Players. This movie gives a nice look behind the scenes at the Awards. What I especially like in this film is the genuine enthusiasm the staff at the State Theater has for the Freddy Awards and for the students participating in it.

Information about Most Valuable Players:


There is nothing like live musical theater, and the Freddy Awards live telecast captures that spontaneous energetic feeling beautifully. This year I’m thrilled to attend the dress rehearsal of the Freddy Awards the night before the broadcast. I wonder if the show will change before the live broadcast! One thing I know for sure: there is incredible sportsmanship on display at every Freddy Awards, as the audience full of performers cheer loudly for each other. For an evening chock full of joy, I recommend that you track down this year’s Freddy Awards Broadcast. And on with the show!

Information about The Freddy Awards Broadcast May 25, 2017:




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