Empire State Building: Movie Star

Wikimedia Commons

Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to Empire Rising by Thomas Kelly, a novel set in 1930 just as construction on the Empire State Building is beginning. Although the narrative centers on a love triangle in New York, the real star of the story is the landmark.

This might be the Empire State Building’s biggest role yet, but the building is no stranger to the big screen. The skyscraper has been used as a backdrop in more than 100 films, usually to establish that the story is, in fact, taking place in New York. Here are some highlights from the Empire State Building’s film career:

%Slideshow-73530%

Member Of Secret Disneyland Club Tells All


A member of Disneyland’s most exclusive club has been opening up to inquiring minds on Reddit, a social news website. The anonymous user has been defending the club’s $35,000 per year price tag, and also dished about dining with celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks.

The user introduced himself by saying he has been member of Club 33, a secret feature of Disneyland located in the heart of the New Orleans Square, for more than 10 years – and that the membership has been with his family for more than 30 years. The private club was opened in the 1960s, and the waiting list for membership is rumored to be 14 years.

Describing the scene, the member noted that celebrities can often be spotted at the club. “I’ve spoken to Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks one on one while in the club,” he noted, adding that he tends to try and give celebrities their space.

He said a membership covers up to four family members. Besides access to the club, benefits include valet parking on a private lot, automatic upgrades at Disney properties, reserved seating at shows, a private car on the Disneyland Railroad, behind the scenes tours, immediate fast passes, invitations to special events and the ability to make reservations for friends and family members.

A former Disney Imagineer who was unable to access Club 33 asked if there were any of Walt Disney’s trademark gags inside. The member explained that there is an animatronic vulture in the Trophy Room, one of two dining rooms inside the club. He also noted Disney put an elevator that comes up from an underground garage so VIPs could be ushered in and out of New Orleans Square quickly and easily.

According to Wikipedia, the elevator is an exact replica of one Disney saw during a vacation in Paris. The owner of the original refused to sell, so Disney sent a team of engineers to the Parisian hotel to take measurements and a sample of the original finish for an exact replica.

Most of the people leaving comments on Reddit questioned whether or not the membership to the club was worth it. The member seemed undecided on the matter, pointing out that he mainly keeps his membership because it is a family tradition.

“While I make good money, I consciously pay the dues each year from some inheritance that was left to me by my parents,” he said. He also explained that dinner at the club comes at a cost of around $150 (without alcohol), and he only took advantage of his membership four times last year.

“If you’re a big Disney fan and want to enjoy 33 once, the price is worth the experience and memory,” he said, but he also pointed out that the best experiences he’s had because of the membership took place outside of the club.

The member also explained that Disneyland as a whole seems a little less magical than it was in years past.

“The attention to detail is fading quickly in the park,” he wrote, adding that maintenance and repair is also slipping. “[Twenty] years ago, something would be repaired the next day if the part was handy. Now things go for weeks before [they’re] replaced. If you ever meet an original Disney employee, ask them how often they saw a light bulb out.”

The member also offered a surprising tool for those looking to get into Club 33: Craigslist.

“Some members, especially the corporate ones, have been known to charge a hefty price tag to take guests,” he explained. “Alternatively, if you know any executives in the big well known brands in the [United States], ask them. Fewer and fewer corporate accounts are joining, but I’d have to assume it’s still the majority of the reservations.”

[Photo Credit: Creative Commons]

Photo of the day: Playing Chopsticks

Photo of the day
If you can think of a movie scene set in a toy store, odds are it’s the Chopsticks scene at New York City‘s FAO Schwarz from Big. Though the movie is now over 20 years old (!), few can resist sliding across the big keyboard and recreating Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia’s duet medley of “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks.” Today’s Photo of the Day by Flickr user snowjumpr shows how fun it can be to play in a toy store, no matter how, er, big you are.

Have you recreated any movie moments on your travels? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool to be chosen as a future Photo of the Day.

Remember the movie The Terminal? Robert Wladyslaw Parzelski lived it.

robert wladyslaw parzelski File this one under “news of the weird.” Robert Wladyslaw Parzelski was sent back to London 18 days after arriving in São Paulo on a one-way ticket … and never leaving the airport.

The story is still unfolding, but Slate reports that Parzelski, a Polish man, traveled on a British Airways flight from London on June 17 on a one-way ticket purchased by a friend in Poland. He was to return with “two telephone sets.” How, when, or why has yet to be determined.

Parleski, who spoke no Portuguese and arrived without any cash, was supposedly meeting a friend in São Paulo, but the friend never arrived, and Parzelski, like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, simply lived in the airport, subsisting on water, yogurt and cigarettes given to him by airport custodians.

When asked what he was doing, he simply replied “I’m Poland.”

This story caught the attention of the Folha de São Paulo paper, where reporters began an attempt to figure out Parzelski’s story.

Newspaper reporters (not authorities) finally found a doctor in São Paulo who spoke the language and was able to speak to Parleski — sort of — and determine that he was, in fact, “lost” inside the airport. The doctor revealed to the media that Parzelski was a father of five from Krakaw, Poland, who moved to London to work as a builder. After he was laid off, he traveled to Brazil at the behest of a Polish friend in London with the mission to return with two telephone sets. Why the telephones? Nobody is sure.

“Before embarking … [we] spotted Parzelski enjoying a dark ale at a bar inside the departure lounge,” the Folha de São Paulo wrote Wednesday.

Parzelski’s story has ended, though. He left São Paulo on a Swiss Airways flight on Tuesday, bound for Zurich and then London.

[Flickr via MarkHillary of Sao Paulo airport]