This just in from C. McNair Wilson through Jim Korkis:
[Briefly, I came into possession of two guitars that once belonged to Jimmie Dodd (host of the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950's. ) I have had them for several years (late 1980's.) It is now time to allow another Disney collector to love them as I have. (I'm just a guy who helped design theme parks: while at Imagineering 1982-91)
They were donated by Jimmie Dodd's widow to World Opportunities, a relief organization headquartered in Hollywood, CA. My mother and fathered worked at "World Op" in the late 80’s and early 90’s. My mother was in charge of all incoming donated items and food—mostly from big corporations. She called me immediately (when I was still at Disney Imagineering.) I made a large donation to the organization in exchange for these guitars which they had planned to put in there thrift shop. They are both in excellent condition.
• Martin 18-T (Tenor guitar), 1958, four string. (Martin serial number, 160750) At 35" in length, it is bit smaller than a full size 6-string guitar. It is excellent condition, especially given that it is FIFTY years old. It has new strings, can be tuned and sounds "Terrific!" and "Amazing" according to guitar-player friends who have played it.
* I also own a 78-rpm record (photo attached) showing Jimmie Dodd playing a Martin Tenor guitar. I have no way of knowing if this is the guitar I own but it is just a great resource that I would include with the sale of the set.
• National Tri-cone Resonator (1928) The model I have is the rare "pear-shaped tri-cone." Mostly the National Guitar Co. made resonator is traditional guitar shapes. These "pear-shaped" models were introduced to attract banjo players as they were more compact but with the same "big" acoustic sound.
The tri-cone has three "speaker-like" round resonators inside, behind the strings that amplify the sound. When you first strum it, it's quite amazing, even startling.
I also have the original case (case is not in great condition, but latches work and it protects the instrument.)
The case contains:
- writing tablet with the lyrics to an song Jimmie Dodd was apparently working on about Florida
- letter address to (postmarked October 1936):
c/o a Radio sta. WKRC, Alamo Hotel
The letter begins: "Dear Jimmie and Happy..."
- Sheet music
- old guitar strings in paper packets
- copy of Christian Science Sentinel, Feb. 10, 1934
All-in-all a most curious collection of items—rare and valuable. I hope to find a new home with a Disneyanna collector for the pair and their accessories.
I showed them (in person) to a couple guitar buyers here in the San Francisco Bay area to get an estimate of value for insurance purposes. (This was in 2005.)
Their estimates were (and I told them, at the time I was not ready to sell them):
- 1958 Martin 18-T $800-1,400
- National Pear-Shape Tri-cone Resonator $1400-2,200
Both experts said they could not place a value other than for the guitar models, age, and condition. They both felt their value would only increase if sold to a collector.
I was able (in 2005) to find a couple National Guitar Pear-shaped Tri-cones on line for sale at $1850 and $2,600.
Again, I’d like to sell them as a set as their primary value is their association to Disney, Jimmie Dodd, and the Mickey Mouse Club—though both guitars are in excellent condition for playing.
I will supply the buyer with a hard copy letter, over my signature, to verify that they had indeed belonged to Jimmie Dod an that my family obtained them directly from his widow in the late 1980's.
I am sending this letter to anyone who inquires about these guitars and National Fantasy Fan Club, and a few other collector/dealers I am aware of through my 18 year work as a Disney Imagineer and then consultant to the Disney Company and Studios.
(Photos below) More pictures available upon request.
Onward & upward,
McNair C. McNair Wilson
Professional Third Grader
2601-C Blanding Ave./No.144
Alameda CA 94501
studio & home (510) 533-IDEA (4332)
78-rpm record showing Jimmie Dodd playing a MArtin 18-T tenor guitar. (Included with purchase of guitars)
1928 National Guitar Co. pear-shaped Tri-cone resonator, previously owned by Jimmie Dodd