Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Once again a plea for help.

The amount of material I have received recently for future volumes of Walt's People is absolutely staggering (and I am also working on three parrallel projects which make matter worse). Some of you are already helping me with all the transcriptions that need to be handled. However, I need help with one other painstaking task: digitizing.

I have about 20 interviews that need to be digitized. This means scanning them using a scanner that has a good character recognition function and then cleaning up manually each page of the interview, to remove the typos introduced by the scanner. No need to be of English maternal language as for the transcriptions. Anyone with some free time can handle this. I used to do it all myself in the past, but have received way too much material to handle it all alone.

Anyone willing to help?
And here is the animator draft of Playful Pan.

Don't miss the new updates of the Walt Disney Family Museum site.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Disney Books Network was updated this weekend.

I just got an email from Ape Pen Publishing announcing the release of 3 DVDs about the Disneyland Railroad story. They look fascinating, although I have not ordered them or watched them yet.
[The Disneyland Railroad DVD for Sale
This Original Disneyland Railroad Story DVD shares the inside stories of many great people who tell about their love for the Disneyland Railroad!If your interested please contact us at apepenpublishing@aol.com: order information posted on the www.apepenpublishing.com

Interviews with: Roy Disney, Michael Broggie, Art Linkletter, Steve DeGaetano, Bob Gurr, Keith Murdock, Buzz Price, EP Ripley 3rd, Margaret Kerry, Tim Lagaley (refurbished the Lilly Belle), Craig Ludwick (wk at the DLand RR Roundhouse), Kenny Becker (refurbished the Lilly Belle), Brad Larose (shares the inside story of the old Retlaw Train Cars), Russ Becker (refurbished the Lilly Belle)]
Amazon also announced this weekend two upcoming books by Bruce Gordon (and Jeff Kurtti) that might be quite interesting:
A mysterious Disneyland hardcover by Bruce Gordon and Walt Disney World: Then, Now, and Forever by Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Do not miss the second parts of the scans from The Dispatch on ASIFA-Hollywood's blog.
Here is the animator draft of the Silly Symphony Winter.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pete Young by Vance Gerry.

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[If you have WAY TOO MUCH TIME on your hands, go to this site and click around. If you go to the Pirate's Arcade, you can have your fortune read and see the 24 fortune telling cards. Or hear Walt narrate the opening of visiting early Disneyland. Or the spiels at the railroad stations.]

Also, I would recommend not missing the following posts today:

- Two Princes and Robin Hood Confidential by Will Finn.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The early animator drafts seem to have had a more basic structure than the later ones (see yesterday's post). Here is the draft of the Silly Symphony Midnight in a Toy Shop.

Once again, this comes from the astounding collection of Mark Kausler. I would recommend visiting Marks' blog daily. It contains some fascinating insights into quite a few different fields.

This very sad news just in from Jim Korkis:

[John Parish passed away unexpectedly but quietly Monday night July 23. Many Disney fans will know him from his attendance at a variety of special events over the years at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In Disney history, he will be remembered as the Catholic priest who gave the eulogy at Imagineer John Hench's funeral. Hench's conversations with John about the connections between spirituality and Disney concepts was acknowledged by Hench in his book, Designing Disney. John Parish's legacy of love for Disney will be kept alive by his frequent traveling companion and friend, Kim Eggink, who was also acknowledged in Hench's book. Services for John Parish will take place in North Carolina on Friday July 27.]

- Review of Walt's People - Volume 5 by Jim Hill.
- Drafting Robin Hood by Michael Sporn.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mark Kausler has just sent me a huge series of rare Disney documents. I have decided to start sharing those with you beginning today. Here is the animator draft for Pioneer Days.

Do not miss today:

- Hilberman, Disney, and HUAC by Michael Barrier (posted on July 23, 2007),
- Bizarro by Piraro posted by Jerry Beck on Cartoon Brew.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Do not miss Hans Bacher's new blog (that just made it to the permanent links)!
Alain Littaye from Disney and More, just discovered on Youtube this two part movie about the House of the Future at Disneyland, definitely worth watching.

This morning do not miss:
- Two new great posts on Toons At War,
- Walt's Desert Hideaway (posted on July 18) by Michael Barrier,
- The special promotion happening on the Alice in Cartoonland and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit DVDs on Cartoons on Film.

Friday, July 20, 2007

1941 Strike Footage

Amid Amidi has just posted this footage of the 1941 Disney strike on Youtube. He believes this comes from the collection of Ted Bosustow, son of UPA co-founder Steve Bosustow. Thanks Amid!

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Donald Duck Orange Juice Goes to War

Donald Duck Orange Juice is the longest surviving Disney licensee starting in 1941. The orange juice is still produced in Lake Wales, Florida not far from Walt Disney World. Although I still don't know what a duck has to do with citrus products (other than the fact that Donald Duck was a hugely popular character during the Forties), I just discovered the following information about Donald Duck Orange Juice during World War II:

"Sixty boxcars of fresh citrus fruit a day are being processed by Florida Citrus Canners Cooperative at Lake Wales. About 40 of those boxcars of fruit are converted into 8,000 gallons of orange concentrate destined exclusively for the United States armed forces and their allies. Total volume of concentrate was expected to reach 800,000 gallons. When reconstituted on the basis of 7 gallons of water to a gallon of concentrate, it will produce 6.4 million gallons of juice with vitamins added. All will be shipped under the coop's Donald Duck brand. Concentrate production has been boosted by the need to reduce shipping space. Concentrate requires only about one-eighth of what fresh fruit requires. "]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two interesting series of storyboard drawings from Robin Hood currently on sale on ebay. I am not familiar with the seller, so I am not certain if those are originals.

If they are, any idea who might be the artist(s) who did them?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This just in thanks to Jom Korkis.

This morning do not miss:

- Disney's Lost Chords review by Jim Hill. To add to what Jim is saying: this is by far the best Disney art-book published this year and an absolute must-have for Disney historians. I can not recommend it strongly enough.

- A Salute to Club 55 by Wade Sampson.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis to celebrate Disneyland's birthday today:

[This artwork was done for a local Los Angeles newspaper for the 5th birthday of Disneyland. Done by "Fisher".]

Do not miss this morming:

- The 4th part of the Burny Mattinson interview by Clay Kaytis on the Animation Podcast
- All of the interviews posted on this great new site

Monday, July 16, 2007

This just in from Mark Sonntag:

[Hi Didier,

I've had this one for a long time, I wonder if anyone out there knows what project it was in reference to? Probably a government film.


Do not miss those two posts on Hans Perk's site:

- Getting in at the ground floor
- Snow White in REAL danger...

Friday, July 13, 2007

It's becoming more and more difficult to find books about animation that tap into primary sources (i.e. interviews with the artists) for their research and this for obvious reasons (most of the "old-timers" have passed away), so The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films by Christopher P. Lehman is definitely a book I will pick up, since its author will quote from his interviews with Berny Wolf, Bill Littlejohn, and Jack Zander.
This just in from Jim Korkis, as Walt and Lillian got married on July 13th.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archives has posted today full scans of the extremely rare 1943 Dispatch newsletter.
I was checking a old bibliography of Disney articles that I just received yesterday and discovered one piece that seems to have been written in 1939 by the head of the Disney Studio's library. I was wondering if anyone of you might find a way to access it in a library in the US and send me a scan or photocopy:

Librarian to Disney by Janet Martin in Wilson Library Bulletin (December 1939).

By the way, I am still trying to locate a copy of John Canemaker's article Disney Backgrounds from the magazine Print.

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Ken Anderson shared this story with me in 1985 and will appear as part of the interview I did with him in a future volume of Walt’s People:

Here’s a story I love. Roy Williams was a legend. Roy was a 320 pound former All American high school football player. He was a little baby. He was a child. He was a naïve child in this great body who could throw people around. An enormous gag man. He just churned out these cartoons like you wouldn’t believe. Walt decided that Roy should be a little more dignified so we helped Walt out.

When Roy was made a gag captain we made it an important thing. He had to wear a suit, tie, and a vest….and socks. Everything. Then he came over to this new building. They were really just a couple of apartments we had gutted and made into rooms for the storymen.

We had Roy all dressed up. I got Ethel, who was his wife, to make sure Roy wore the suit and everything. It didn’t really fit. Nothing buttoned. Nothing really worked. As gag captain, one of his jobs was to go around and “pass” on the gags that everyone had done. He came into the room.

We took this little guy, Joe Sable, who was a new guy who was maybe five foot two and weighed all of eighty pounds. We took T. Hee’s pants. T. Hee was a big man in those days. He lost over three hundred pounds. We took his pants and wrapped them around and around Sable and tied it up with a belt.

So Joe is saying, “Mr. Williams, is this gag acceptable?”

And Roy is going crazy. “Are those your pants? For crying out loud, are those your pants? Have you been on a diet?”

Joe says, “Yes, sir but what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another.”

Roy is getting desperate. “Never mind that. What have you been on?”

Joe says, “I hate to tell you but it was sauerkraut juice. You should probably check with your doctor. Now about this gag…”

Roy bolts away and calls his doctor. At least he had that much sense. He got the nurse and asked her if sauerkraut juice is good for diets and she says “yes, but…” and Roy hangs up before she finishes and runs across the street and got a gallon of sauerkraut juice and drank this whole can.

The meeting with Walt on gags is due to come up in less than ten minutes. This whole business began to work on poor Roy’s insides and there was a lot of Roy to work on.

Have you ever heard elephants trumpet? That was the sound coming out of him. Roy would come in to the boards and these sounds are starting. Boom. Boom. He runs down the hall to where we had a lavatory and we hear “Bang! Bang! Bang!” We had the doors all locked.

Then we had the next building fixed the same way. Wherever he went there was no chance for him to get any relief.

Walt comes in and sits down on a camp chair and he is already drumming his fingers and saying, “All right. All right. What have you boys got here?”

Roy tries to start telling Walt the gags and he just can’t take it any more. Roy bolts out of the door and knocks over everyone in his way and makes it across the street to the main building finally.]

This morning do not miss:

- Horsing Around With Walt and Polo by Wade Sampson.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Kimball sketch from 1989.]
A few things to check out this morning:

- Realityland by Jim Hill
- No Zip? by Joakim Gunnarsson
- First appearence of Disney's Mowgli? by Joakim Gunnarsson

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Unfortunately, CartoonBrew reports the death of David Hilberman, one of the most famous Disney strikers and co-founder of UPA.

Alexandar Zograf, whose works I was discussing on this blog yesterday, just forwarded this great piece of information:
[Mickey Mouse in Gurs - humour, irony and criticism in works of art produced in the Gurs internment camp
Author: Pnina Rosenberg
Abstract: Gurs, near the Pyrenees, was the largest camp in the occupied zone of France. In spite of the deplorable conditions in the camp, cultural activities flourished, as in other French internment camps in both zones. In addition to conferences, concerts and plays, this extensive artistic creativity included the works of several artists, who produced drawings and watercolours and mounted exhibitions. The artists, who were political and/or racial refugees, used their works of art, through irony and satire, as a means of protest against the French authorities, who, contrary to hopes and expectations, had turned out to be a collaborator of the Nazi regime. Among the many works of art produced in Gurs those of Horst Rosenthal (Breslau 1915 - Auschwitz 1942?) deserve special attention.
He left behind two graphic novels - Mickey au Camp de Gurs - Publiée sans l'authorisation de Walt Disney (Mickey Mouse in the Gurs Internment Camp - Published without Walt Disney's Permission) and Le Journée d'un hébergé: Camp de Gurs 1942 (A Day in the Life of a Resident: Gurs Internment Camp, 1942) (Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Paris). Each of these booklets vividly depicts daily life in Gurs. The former is narrated from the point of view of Mickey Mouse, while the latter is written in fairy tale style as a 'book of hours', with an omnipresent author who records and illustrates a day in the life of the young 'resident'. The humorous cartoon-like images, together with the naive, amusing and 'childish' texts, stand in sharp contrast to the harsh reality of the camp, thus enhancing the criticism which lies behind them.
In an ironical twist of history, Rosenthal's Mickey Mouse can be seen as the forerunner of Art Spiegelman's Maus, but, tragically, Rosenthal did not survive to witness his artistic legacy.]
And here is another link about the same subject.
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[I was reading an interview in a British magazine with Costume Designer Penny Rose, who created the pirate outfits for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When she did the second and third films, one of the first things she did was to talk with actor Johnny Depp about any changes he would like in his Captain Jack Sparrow outfit. His response? "My darling, Jack Sparrow is Mickey Mouse; he doesn't change his clothes." However, the character did end up with a few more belts and bling anyway. ]
Tomart's Disneyana Update number 66 has just been released and contained the last part of Kaya's history of Turkish Disney comics before 1945.

Monday, July 09, 2007

If I have been able to collect so much material related to Disney in ex-Yugoslavia in the '30s and to publish a detailed history of this little known side of Disney history (see my articles in past issues of the Tomart's Disneyana Update) is it in great part thanks to the help of Serbian underground comic book artist Aleksandar Zograf.

That being said, I had never read Aleksandar's comics. There were two reasons for this: they were not yet available in English and the French version published by L'Association (publisher of Persepolis amound other "classics") was out-of-print. The second reason was that I had seen some of the panels of his stories and was put off by his underground style (see, I have always been attracted to more classical styles like Tintin, Asterix of even the more realistic style of Blacksad).

That being said, when Aleksandar's works were published a few months ago in the US, as Regards from Serbia, I knew I had to get that book. Aleksandar is a delightful penpal (or "keyboard pal" to be more precise) and I thought reading his works might be a way to know him better. You know where this is leading, of course.

I got the book last week and started devouring it this weekend.

I - suprisingly - adore Aleksandar's graphical style and the way he is telling his stories of what life was like in Serbia during the Bosnian war and then below the NATO bombings. The book is both funny, subtle, moving (at times), very strong (always), and fascinating in the way Aleksandar (real name Sasa) captures all of the day-to-day absurdities.

I have finished Chapter 1 (comics srips) and have just started reading the emails that are collected in Chapter 2, about the bombings. After having read this already, I felt surprised that Aleksandar's works didn't win awards in prominent festivals (or have they and am I just badly informed?). Regards from Serbia definitely has the strenght, from a narative and stylistic point of view of a Persepolis (from example).

Ever since I lived in Argentina right in the middle of the financial crisis, the riots,... I have been interested in the "small" and "big" absurdities that situations like the one Sasa lived can create in the life of normal people and that not many people in Europe or the US can even start to imagine. What Sasa lived in Serbia is of course way more dramatic and lasted way longer, but there is that same sense that the reality as perceived from abroad is so much more simplified that lived on the ground. Something that we all know intuitively but that we only understand with more clarity through works like Aleksandar's.

Since the book contains at least one page mentioning Disney comics, I do not feel totally off-topic by plugging it shamefully here :-) I just truly feel it's worth discovering and couldn't help but try and share my delight with a few of you.

And here is another call for help from one of our readers:

[Is Chuck Williams (the assistant animator who'd been at Disney's from the 'fifties - not to be confused with the later Chuck Williams) still around? I barely got to know him at Disney's in the late '80s . I was just starting out and he was getting ready to retire. He did some great key cleanup on King Triton in The Little Mermaid. I can't remember if he retired after Mermaid or if he stayed on for The Rescuer's Down Under?]

I am actually very interested in interviewing Chuck if he is still alive and would really appreciate any info you might send.
I have just received the following email from one of the readers of the blog and was wondering if anyone of you might have access to this document:

[I wonder whether you could assist me in finding an early document from the planning stage of Disneyland? Even though the conceptual drawings for the little "kiddie park" projected by Walt for the sixteen-acre site across Riverside Drive are widely published, I have not been able to find the text of the "Burbank prospectus" presented to the Burbank Board of Parks and Recreation in March 1952.

To my knowledge, the only author who has seen this document is Karl Ann Marling, who mentions its presence in the Imagineering library (Architecture of Reassurance, pp. 52-54, 215). I am only familiar with the article, "Walt Disney Make-Believe Land Project Planned Here" in the Burbank Daily Review, partially reproduced in Gordon and Mumford, Disneyland Nickel Tour, p. 14). Marling mentions that excerpts from the prospectus are reprinted in a different publication, The Burbank Leader, but her documentation is imprecise.]

Any ideas?

This morning, do not miss Walt and Stravinsky posted on MichaelBarrier.com on July 6, 2007.

Friday, July 06, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[When I came home, I was too tired to go out and see the July 4th fireworks, so I spent the time watching the DISNEYLAND '59 special on the YOUR HOST, WALT DISNEY Disney Treasures DVD.

It was amazing to see actors Clint Eastwood and Dennis Hopper in a Disneyland parade. It was interesting to see how gracious and friendly Vice President Richard Nixon was to Walt Disney, quite a different persona than the embattled Watergate villain of decades later. Also, it made me smile to hear host Art Linkletter say that Walt was "the happiest kid in the park". But what was really amazing to me is that I had heard that Walt was embarrassed because he would move his lips when he read something. I had seen that happen on a clip of Walt doing the voice of Mickey Mouse for "Mr.. Mouse Takes a Trip" with Billy Bletcher as Pete when Walt was mouthing Billy's lines while Billy was saying them. However, in this special, when the Admiral is reading the dedication of the Submarine Voyage ride he must have been reading off of cue cards because you can see Walt standing next to him mouthing the exact same words! It seems to go on forever and Walt seems to be totally unaware that he is doing it!]
As promised, here is a last document related to the 4th of July.

As my friend mentioned: [I don't think Ward Kimball thought of the Cheshire Cat as a red, white and blue character. This is for a Disney cast member event on July 4th.]

Thursday, July 05, 2007

One more "4th of July" related material (sort of) sent by a friend with the following note:
[July 4th is the perfect excuse to remind readers to visit toonsatwar.com to see Walt Disney at his patriotic best. Here is an image I don't remember seeing at the site yet.
This image comes from Readers Digest issue Sept 1941]

This comment by Pete Emslie is too good to get lost in the comment section. His idea sounds brillant to me, if Disney Toons can come up with story artists at least half as good as those who worked on the featurettes. No easy, of course, as Ben and Me's story artist was none other than Bill Peet. But certainly doable.
["Ben and Me" is not only a fine topic for a July 4th post, but also ties in very nicely with the release this past weekend of "Ratatouille". Both films share the theme of a human acting as a front for a rodent with exceptional abilities. I have always loved "Ben and Me" since first seeing it on the Disney Sunday TV show back in the 60's. Actually, I would hold up "Ben and Me" as a shining example of the type of cartoon that Disney Toons should now set out to create, now that John Lasseter has wisely decreed that there will be no more sequels to the animated classics forthcoming. There must be tons of great little stories out there that are just perfect for adapting as 20 to 40 minute featurettes. Is Disney Toons up to the challenge?]