Friday, July 31, 2015

John Culhane (1934 - 2015)

I am sad beyond words. Author, journalist, Disney historian and friend John Culhane passed away yesterday afternoon surrounded by his loved ones.

John's love of life and bubbling enthusiasm were infectious. He had met the most famous artists, scientists and politicians. He had traveled everywhere and had millions of stories to tell. And he had a heart if gold.

He was Mr. Snoops in The Rescuers and Flying John in Fantasia 2000.

He was the author of the books Walt Disney's Fantasia, Disney's Aladdin, the Making of an Animated Film, Fantasia 2000 - A Vision of Hope, and a few others.

But for my wife Rita and I, he was most of all a friend, whom we met for the first time in Madrid a few years ago, then again in Dobbs Ferry, New York some years later. Rita was luckier than I was since she also had the opportunity to spend some time with John and his wife Hind in Rio de Janeiro, a city that John had always dreamed of visiting ever since his earlier encounter with Jose Carioca.

Our thoughts are with John's wife Hind and with their sons Michael and TH.

John: we are all eagerly awaiting your interview with Walt. If St. Peter allows it: please do not forget to record it this time around.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In Progress

Since 50 Years in the Mouse House and Walt's People - Volume 16 are now released and since the official release date of They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age is just a few weeks away, I thought I should find a few minutes to give you a quick update on the other projects I am currently working on.

1. They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's "Musical Years"

I am working with Chronicle Books on the final edits and will soon start writing the captions. Scheduled release: September 2016.

2. Walt's People - Volume 17

I will send the manuscript this week to the contributors to get their comments and corrections. Expected release date: December 2015.

3. Walt's People - Volume 18

I have started editing some chapters for this exciting volume.

4. "Correspondence with Jaxon" (working title)

I am helping Ross Care edit his extensive correspondence with director Wilfred Jackson which will be released in book form next year, complete with Wilfred Jackson's newly discovered diary and some of the letters Wilfred wrote to his wife in 1945 while on the set of Song of the South in Texas.

5. Walt Disney's Jack-of-all-trades - Conversations with Ken Anderson (working title)

I am also helping historian Paul F. Anderson and Bob McLain from Theme Park Press transcribe and edit all of Paul F. Anderson's oral history with Disney Legend Ken Anderson for a release in book form later this year.

6.  Animator on Horseback by Mel Shaw

Finally, I am helping Mel Shaw's family edit and release Mel's autobiography

This is fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bob McLain attracted my attention on two books he just released:

The Imagineers' Secrets of Disneyland by Mike Fox: more than the usual collection of stories, this book incorporates some original research and rare photos (such as an account of George Lloyd)

Everything I Know I Learned from Disney Animated Feature Films by Jim Korkis: a succinct little volume - possibly the first in a series - with summaries of 54 Disney animated films, "fun facts" about said films, and some inspirational quotes from the animated characters (hence the subtitle, "Advice for Living Happily Ever After")

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jim Korkis writes:  [One of the few things not covered in Pinto Colvig's amazing book are samples from Colvig's comic panel for United Features Syndicate that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1922, Life on the Radio Wave. It ran for three to four times per week from March 26 to August 26.   While we think of radio as a form of entertainment, in these early days, people were building homemade radios to be used as a cheap telephone substitute as well.   Maybe Todd's book will increase interest in Colvig and some clever person will gather all those now public domain comic panels for a book. They should also look for the cartooning Pinto did earlier for the San Francisco Bulletin.]

Monday, July 27, 2015

I have no idea what this book is worth but I figured that some of you would want to know that it exists. (Thanks to Michael Golberg and to Jim Korkis for the heads up.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Help Needed

Theme Park Press is currently working on a collection of never-released-before interviews with artists who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We need volunteers to help Theme Park Press' owner, Bob McLain, transcribe as quickly and reliably as possible the hundreds of hours of interviews. Could some of you help? If so, could you please email me at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The unstoppable Bob McLain, owner of Theme Park Press, is working on a re-release of Jack Kinney's fascinating autobiography. More soon. That publisher deserves a medal!