Sunday, December 30, 2007

The blog will be updated again starting on Wednesday 2nd.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis.

The caption reads: "Walt confering with his technical engineer on plans for the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
One of the great Xmas gifts I received this year was a series of scans that was sent by collectors Pat and Doug Wengel. Those scans came from the catalog of the English company Chad Valley, which produced the most beautiful European Disney games before WWII. I will be using those scans to write an article about those treasures for Tomart's Disneyana Update issue 70. I had wanted to cover this subject for a very long while.

By the way, another subject I would love to tackle are the Italian plush dolls produced by Lars. Could any of the Italian readers help me with this?
This just in from Ron DeFore:

[Didier – I enjoyed your Disneyland story – thought I’d share mine.]
Two great early photos of Walt found on ebay this weekend. The first "caption" says November 2, 1931; the second mentions July 28, 1933.
Do not miss today:

- Another Christmas Gift: Snow White Scrapbook by Stephen Worth
- "Snow White Christmas" 70 years ago... by David Lesjak
- Carthay Circle Snow White art exhibit by David Lesjak
- Merry Christmas from William B. Levy by David Lesjak

Friday, December 21, 2007

The blog will not be updated until Thursday next week.

I could not leave however, without offering you some content linked to Christmas. Ask for it and Jim Korkis will provide. Here is a beautiful story he sent me yesterday:

[A Christmas Eve Memory from Jack Lindquist, the first President of Disneyland: Disneyland Christmas Eve 1955

"I was walking down Main Street (near the end of the day). There was a couple with two kids, about 8 and 10, on their way out. They were neatly dressed but not well-off. They got down to Emporium (store) and were looking in the window. They didn't go in, but I heard the little girl say, 'This really was better than having Santa Claus.' That said it to me right there: We're going to make it."]
BearManor Media released just three months ago a new book about animation that definitely intrigued me: Escape by G. Michael Dobbs. I received my copy two days ago and needed to mention it on the blog. It does not contain enough about classical animation (read "Disney, Warner and Pixar") to make it on my top-10 list for this year, but it is definitely well written, by an author who knows his subject in-depth and wrote some of the best articles published in the magazines Animato! and Animation Planet.

In summary: not enough for Disney historians, quite a bit of fascinating and well-written material for readers who want to know a lot more about animation during the last 30 years.
Two days ago I received this book by Serbian author Zdravko Zupan which I consider fascinating, although it will probably interest just a handful of you. This history of Serbian comics contains a summary in English at the end.

More importantly it includes quite a few illustrations linked to pre-WWII Disney history in Serbia, including this cover of the Jumbo magazine which features our good friend Elmer the Elephant. I did not know about this magazine when I wrote my long series of articles about Serbian Disney publications for Tomart's Disneyana Update a while back. The whole series of articles was written with the help of Zdravko Zupan, by the way, which closes the circle.
Do not miss today:

- Oswald the Missing Link by Mark Mayerson
- Ed Hansen R.I.P.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis. The caption reads:

[Eugene Reynal, president of the Blue Ribbon Book Company shows Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse his latest product: "A Pop-up Book" containing 75 scenes, in color, from Mr. Disney's "Silly Symphonies" including Old King Cole, Babes in the Woods, Santa's Workshop, etc.]
One of the very first posts on this blog, back in August 2006 dealt with the upcoming comic book series Return of the Gremlins published by Dark Horse.

I am still trying to find these comics. Have they been released? If the answer is negative: do any of you know what is going on?

The cover of the book Stepping into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble has just been released on Amazon. Can't wait to get that one in February.

Do not miss today:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I will be in Portugal for the day tomorrow. The blog will be updated again on Thursday.

This just in from Jim Korkis:
[Here's something I never knew: puppeteer Bob Baker had the original Pinocchio puppet used as a model in the Disney film.

As part of their “Walt Disney Showcase Collection," Master Replicas presents a meticulous reproduction of Disney's Pinocchio.

When Master Replicas approached renowned Los Angeles master puppeteer Bob Baker with a proposal for him to recreate Pinocchio for the original Disney design sketches, they were stunned by his response. Baker did not have to recreate the original animators’ model, because he owned the original, given to him personally by Walt Disney himself. Disney had been an admirer of Baker’s work, and presented the original puppet head to Baker following completion of the film.

Measuring 35” tall, and produced in a limited edition of 1,940 pieces, the Pinocchio Marionette is fully articulated and functional, and comes with a display stand and individually numbered plaque.
Here is the link from which this information came from.]
In the post about Kimball's designs I mention below, Amid Amidi mentions both the artists Art Stevens and John Dunn. Here is an excerpt of the interview with Art Stevens by Pete Docter that will appear in Walt's People - Volume 7 and that features those two artists:

[PD: According to his son, [Hal] King was hired from an insurance company, worked in the mail room, and then worked his way up from inbetweener. Does that fit with your understanding?

AS: I didn’t know that. In fact I’m the world’s worst about knowing any extracurricular activity and who socialized with who. Most of us were too busy doing our jobs. So long as I was able to turn John Dunn’s storyboards into living animation, that’s what made me happy.

PD: John Dunn was the story artist to end all, in your book?

AS: Yeah. He was. But only someone like Kimball would see his potential and adapt him to storyboarding. John was an individual that was not like any other person I have ever known.

PD: How so?

AS: He was unique. He had a terrible temper. And he would tell the most off-color jokes, they were almost embarrassing they were so off-color, but if I told one to him, he would be genuinely offended.

PD: One of his own jokes?]

AS: No, any dirty joke. He wouldn’t find it at all amusing. And nowadays I wonder why any of us thought any of them were amusing, but you were young then.
Do not miss today:

- The Character Design of Ward Kimball by Amid Amidi
- Naval Supply Depot - Insignia by David Lesjak
- A few great new posts on Vintage Disney Collectibles
- Toon Tuesday : Home for the Holidays by Floyd Norman

Monday, December 17, 2007

I was browsing on the web last week when I stumbled upon this stunning Oswald poster which I had never seen in color before.
Another caricature of artist Rudy Zamora found on ebay recently.
Do not mis today:

- Death of an Immortal by Michael Sporn
- Disney in the Post by Joakim Gunnarsson

Friday, December 14, 2007

The cover of the upcoming book The Art of WALL.E has just been revealed.

I said "very unlikely" yesterday, not impossible. Since I found a bit of time, here is at least today's reading list:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The blog is very unlikely to be updated tomorrow. See you all on Monday.
"I Live with a Genius" by Mrs. Walt Disney as told to Isabella Taves published in McCall's in February 1953 has been quoted very often by Walt's biographers and I thought many of you would enjoy reading the full piece.

I would like to thank Michael Barrier for having sent it to me.

My apologies for the bad quality of those photocopies.

This calculation ruler from Latvia is currently being sold on ebay. I have it in my collection already, so I will not bid on it, but I thought some of you might enjoy seeing it.
Do not miss today:

- Goodbye Disney Gallery (pdf) by Kate Abbott
- ‘Roger Rabbit’ Sequel Still In The Offing? Stay Tooned, Says Producer

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This model sheet from Song of the South, attributed to Albert Hurter is currently being sold on ebay.

I mentionned the movie Hollywood Party a while back on this blog. Mark Sonntag has just emailed me to let me know that the script of that very movie is currently for sale on ebay.
Speaking of previous posts, the drawing about Mickey and Oswald that Jim Korkis sent me last week generated some speculation about its authors on this blog.

Gregory Ehrbar, co-author of the excellent book Mouse Tracks, has a launched his blog. Definitely worth a visit.
Do not miss today:
- The Fairest One of All by Tim Gallaher about the Snow White art exhibit at California Adventure
- A few new posts on the Vintage Disney Collectibles blog
- Farewell to the Disney Gallery by Wade Sampson
- The second part of Dale Baer's interview by Clay Kaytis

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pure joy! This is what I felt when I got this email from Pete Merolo yesterday evening. I could not wait to share it with you. I live to see this kind of unseen before artwork.
[You asked to see Concept artwork -- how about this piece created for the Fantasia Concert Feature, dated September 14, 1938, of the 'Bug Orchestra'.

It's ink and watercolor with boxed outlines for camera shots and 31'' long.

The watercolor shows no signs of fading and is as bright and beautiful as the day it was painted.]
You can learn more about the planned Insect Ballet sequence from Fantasia by checking Charles Solomon's book The Disney That Never Was.

Do not miss today:

- Perambulator by Michael Sporn
- Byron Haskin, Walt, and Treasure Island by Michael Barrier (posted on December 7, 2007)

We all know that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released in 1937 was the first hand-drawn animation feature.

There was at least one other animated full-length feature that preceeded it, however, the German movie The Adventures of Prince Ahmed by Lotte Reiniger.

Sébastien Durand has emailed me to let me know that this 1926 movie was just re-released in cinemas in France.

The movie does not feature hand-drawn animation but cut-out puppets. Sébastien mentions that it is a pure delight.

We might be expecting it in a few months on DVD.

Information in English on Prince Ahmed can be found here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

This just in from Pete Merolo:

[Here's a great production background that I recently purchased from a collector that has owned it from the early 1980s.

This is a very rare and beautiful artwork.

It's an 11'' x 50'' production background from 'Blue Bayou', create originally for 'Fantasia' , this is the full scene of the Bayou that the Storks land in.]

The "Blue Bayou" sequence was originally planned and animated for Fantasia on the music Clair de Lune by Debussy. It never made it into Fantasia. It was later reedited, set to the music Blue Bayou by Bobby Worth and Ray Gilbert and released as part of Make Mine Music in 1946.

This just in from Jim Korkis:

I love old magazine articles but you can't always trust the information that is in them. In the March 1941 edition of "Popular Science" Harry Welch claims he did the voices for Popeye, six of the Seven Dwarves, the Big Bad Wolf and Olive Oyl. This is, of course, as pointed out by Fleischer and animation historian G. Michael Dobbs completely wrong.
Welch didn’t do his Popeye work until Famous Studios moved back to New York in 1942 and even then he was just an occasional fill-in for Jack Mercer.
Jackson Beck was Bluto and Mae Questel was Olive Oyl but without screen credits I guess Welch felt he could claim he did those voices as well. Billy Bletcher and Pinto Colvig and a host of other Disney voice talent might be a little surprised by Welch's claims of all those Disney voices he did.]
Do not miss today:

- Quite a few great new posts on the Vintage Disneyana Collectibles blog this morning, but this one is particularly interesting as it gives more information about the artist Charles Cristadoro who would later work on the "Project Little Man".
- Disney Studios In the Wayback Machine by Steve Hulett

Friday, December 07, 2007

Excellent news coming our way this morning: David Lesjak, who already runs the fascinating blog Toons at War, has decided to launch a new blog dedicated to Vintage Disneyana. From the first few posts, that one will also be on my list of daily stops.

Speaking of vintage Disneyana, I had a dismal week ebay-wise and missed three exceptional items:
This matchbox from the Philippines (that would have been my first piece from that part of the world) and those two postcards from Finland that I did not know existed at the time I wrote an article about Finnish Disneyana for Tomart's Disneyana Update.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dad, Can I Borrow the Car? by Ward Kimball

I must admit that before reading Jim Fanning's recent post on the subject, I did not even know this featurette existed. Enjoy!

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[A note to Carl Laemmle, the then head of Universal Studios, written but obviously not drawn by Walt Disney and dated October 1, 1935.]
This exciting news just in from David Lesjak:

[Over the past several years I have accumulated a very
large "stack" of Hank Porter information. The info
has come predominently from three family members, one
of which worked for Hank as his assistant at Disney's
during the war.

I have finally completed and transcribed extensive
interviews I conducted with two of his children. I
also have an incredibly huge library of images of art
he created during his time at Disney's, copies of
early family photographs, various related newspaper
and magazine clippings, correspondence, and even a
copy of the resume he submitted to Disney's listing
previous employment and education.

I have decided to start writing a book, with the oh so
imaginative tenative title:

One Man Art Department - The Life and Times of Disney Artist Henry "Hank" Porter

During the war Walt Disney referred to Hank as "a one
man art department," hence the reference.

I will self-publish the book and hope to have it ready
by the end of May at the latest.

Just thought you'd like to know!]

Can't wait!!
Do not miss today:

- The Walt Disney Family Museum site has been updated
- Quite a few great new posts on Toons at War
- Ward Kimball’s Kooky Kar Kulture by Jim Fanning
- "How Does the Show Go On?" lifts the curtain on what goes on behind-the-scenes at a Broadway musical by Jim Hill
- Where's Walt, No. 2 posted by Michael Barrier on December 5, 2007
- Uncle Scrooge's Triple Anniversary by Wade Sampson
- Dec. 5th by Michael Sporn
- Baia Boards by Michael Sporn
- Time Magazine December 27, 1937 by Joe Campana
- Ken Southworth 1918-2007 by Ken Priebe [This last news saddens me tremendously as I had interviewed Ken Southworth over the phone for Walt's People only a few months ago and had not even had time to share the final result with him.]