Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am off to Italy for 4 days of vacations and then to Barcelona for a short business trip. The blog will be updated again on Wednesday.
The auction house Bloomsbury of London has offered for sale some original art from the English Mickey Mouse Annual last month. This is the first time that I see original art created by the great English artist Wilfred Haughton being sold anywhere and I was quite excited to learn about it, even though it was after the auction had closed.

David Gerstein is working on an in-depth three-part article about Houghton and the Mickey Mouse Annual for the magazine Tomart's Disneyana Update. I can't wait to read it.
Do not miss today:

- When Rudy Met Walt by Michael Barrier (posted on March 26, 2008) - This the kind of great piece of collaborative research that gives me goosebumps. I just love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mark Sonntag was kind enough to point me in the direction of those two great photos of Walt and Lillian currently sold on ebay.

The one above, according to the caption, shows Walt and Lilly upon their arrival at Paddington Station in London in June 1935. The one below was taken, again according to the caption, at the hotel where they were staying.
Would any reader have any info about this upcoming book and whether it has a chance to be good or not?

More about the Mormons

This just in from Jeff Peterson:

[I read your quotes from Frank Armitage regarding the film "Man's Search for Happiness" at the 1964 New York World's Fair. I had never heard of this film, but it made me curious about the background of Judge Whitaker, so I checked his biography on the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB), as well as that of his brother, Scott Whitaker, who also worked at the Walt Disney Studio in the mid 1930s. I don't know who Brian Greenhalgh is, but he wrote both of the Whitaker biographies for IMDB that I've copied below. Perhaps the most interesting Disney-Mormon connection is mentioned at the start of Scott Whitaker's biography where it describes a tour of the Disney Studio by three senior Mormon leaders" in 1946 (or possibly 1947). This visit was evidently the beginning of Judge Whitaker's filmmaking for the Mormon Church (22 films from 1960 to 1974). The first film, "Church Welfare in Action," was actually directed by Eric Larson, who is described as a "collapsed Mormon." After the two biographies, I've added information on this 1948 film, copied from the Mormon Literature Database that you referenced.

Anyway, perhaps you've read this information before, but this is all new to me and I just thought I'd pass it along.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Judge Whitaker was an animator that went on to become a pioneering producer & director of educational and religious films at Brigham Young University, where he is credited with establishing a motion picture studio. In many ways his life would parallel that of Walt Disney, who would become his long-term employer.

Judge moved with his family to Brigham City, Utah just before his fifth birthday and then to Denver, Colorado about the time of his tenth birthday. At South Denver High he would be student body president, one of the staff artists for the yearbook, and captain of the football team. Upon finishing high school Judge followed his family to Huntington Park, California and obtained a job utilizing his artistic talents in the display department at Western Auto Supply. A few months later he landed a position in the promotion department of Montgomery Wards retail stores in Chicago doing silk screen work and enrolled in an art class at the American Academy of Art. He returned to California after only a year and bought into a cleaning and pressing business hoping to earn enough money to marry his girlfriend Doris.

The cleaning business barely broke even each month so he returned to the promotion department of Montgomery Wards where he spent most of his time cartooning and enrolled in night classes at The Chicago Art Institute. Although enjoying his work, he thought his $27.50 income was insufficient to contemplate marriage, so he accepted an offer with The St. Louis Times at $40.00 a week. He would later say his title of Art Director was "extravagant." In July, 1932 the paper was absorbed by the rival St. Louis Star and the Times staff were all released. In the midst of the Great Depression, Judge could only find freelance art work that did not quite pay all the bills. After reading an article about Walt Disney in Liberty magazine, Judge was inspired to want to work for him. After sending samples of his work he received a letter saying that the studio was not hiring at the moment, but they would be pleased to see him if he were ever in Los Angeles. With little to lose, Judge and Doris returned to Huntington Park, California and when Judge was given an interview by Ben Sharpsteen he was offered $16.00 a week as a trainee. After only a few weeks Judge and all the other new employees received pink slips. At first he took a job in Huntington Park helping to clean up after the earthquake of March, 1933. Then two weeks later hearing of a couple of jobs at the Charles Mintz Studio, he and his brother Scott Whitaker applied and were accepted.

The Disney Studio would later call and offer $25.00 a week, but when Judge went to give notice, Charles Mintz offered him $27.50 to stay. Scott went to Disney, but Judge remained with Mintz for over a year until negotiating a $35.00 a week offer from Disney in 1936 as an assistant animator assigned to working on a new character named Donald Duck. Some of the more promising new animators were given a test project. Judge's was judged the best, and he was promoted to be a full-fledged animator with a nice raise in salary.

Judge would mainly work as a character animator on Donald Duck shorts in his career with Disney, but he also worked upon several animated features beginning with The Three Caballeros (1944) working on the sequence with Pablo, a cold-blooded penguin and ending up with Peter Pan (1953) for which Judge helped animate The Lost Boys.

In 1946 Judge suggested that Mormons in the film industry might be willing to donate their time to make a promotional church film. Two years of spare time work resulted in two completed films about the LDS welfare program, "Welfare in Action" and "The Lord's Way." Eric Larson directed the first, Judge the second, and Judge and Scott created the animation sequences.

Judge took a year's leave of absence from Disney in early 1952 to join with his brothers, Berlin, Ferrin, and Scott to develop The Homestead Resort at the site of some natural hot springs in the Heber Valley near Park City, Utah. After Judge described the plans to build up the resort Walt replied, "All my life I have wanted to do something like that, and here I am stuck with this," waving to indicate the studio. "Take your year, then come back and your job will be waiting." Interestingly enough Walt Disney would form WED in December, 1952 to explore the design for Disneyland and Judge's plan may have had more than a passing interest to Walt.

While working on the Homestead project, Judge was given the offer to head a newly created Department of Motion Picture production at Brigham Young University beginning in January, 1953. Judge sent a letter of resignation to Walt Disney and began to establish the film studio from scratch, buying some basic equipment in California and also visiting some studios and UCLA's Department of Cinematography to get some helpful advice. BYU reportedly joined UCLA that year as the second of only two university film production facilities that existed at the time.

Although rough in the beginning, productions became more ambitious and polished through the years with Man's Search for Happiness (1964) shot in 35mm and released with 4-track stereophonic sound and "In The Holy Place" (1968) shot in 65mm. Both films were intended for special exhibition in Mormon visitor's centers (the first showing at the New York World's Fair).

More than 150 films were produced during his 22 years as director and producer at the studio. Some were produced for the various auxiliaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with other educational films produced for the university and commercially released for use in schools or industry. He is probably best known for Windows of Heaven (1963) and Johnny Lingo (1969). Wetzel received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from BYU in 1971, and retired in 1974. Like Walt Disney he started his career drawing and animating and ended it as a producer at a studio he had founded and nurtured.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Scott Whitaker's contributions to filmmaking were mainly as a story man and script writer, but he also directed some short films in a 22 year tenure with the film studio at Brigham Young University that he helped to establish. His education included English classes at George Washington University and cinema writing courses at the University of Southern California. In the early part of his career he worked as a special effects animator at RKO and as a story artist and writer at Walt Disney Studios.

In 1946 three senior Mormon leaders (Harold B. Lee, Mark E. Peterson, and Mathew Cowley) were taken on a tour of The Walt Disney Studio by Scott's brother, Judge Whitaker, a Disney animator and fellow employee. Viewing morale-building training films made at the studio during the war sparked a discussion about producing church films in a similar fashion. Judge proposed that he and other Mormons in the film industry make a film in their spare time. Two years later this resulted in two films about the LDS welfare program, "Welfare in Action" and "The Lord's Way." Eric Larson directed the first, Judge the second, Scott did some live action direction in The Lord's Way, with Judge and Scott creating the animation sequences. The success of these films would ultimately alter the lives and careers of both brothers.

As children Scott and Judge visited the Schneitter Hot Pots (natural hot springs in the Heber Valley, Utah). Finding it for sale in 1951, four Whitaker brothers acquired the property as a family business and started to create "The Homestead" as a year-round resort. Judge asked for a leave of absence from Disney to help remodel the property. Now relatively close to BYU, Judge became involved with establishing a studio at the university, officially heading the new Department of Motion Picture Production starting in January, 1953. The following year Scott joined as well, splitting his time for a few years by working winters for the studio and summers at the family resort before devoting his time completely at BYU.

Casting was difficult for an early film about a man gone astray until faithful Mormons help lead him back into church activity, and Judge finally asked Scott to play the lead. With the strict ban against smoking among members of the LDS Church, Scott had to overcome his wife's concern that his smoking in the picture would raise eyebrows, especially since he had been a member of a Mormon bishopric. Ultimately Scott's performance in "Come Back, My Son" elicited tears when the film was shown in The Tabernacle in Salt Lake City during the General Conference of October, 1954.

Scott did considerable background research for the historical film Windows of Heaven (1963), finding enough material for a full length feature in the course of writing a shooting script. Ultimately the budget limited it to 50 mins. In 1963 Scott developed a story concerning the negative effects of alcohol within communities of the Navajo people by living briefly among them on the reservation in New Mexico and sleeping in a Hogan. He went on to direct his Bitter Wind (1963) script on location in New Mexico and Arizona. As a director Scott would often look for opportunities to improve upon his scripts. He suggested that he and Robert W. Stum "take our sleeping bags and sleep with the sheep" to get the best possible shot of a flock far away from their hotel, which would only be possible at sunrise.

As Supervising Story Editor for the BYU studio he had the opportunity to mentor young writers such as Carol Lynn Pearson and Claire Whitaker (Judge and Scott's niece), both would have long and successful writing careers following their contributions to BYU short films.

Enjoying location work also made Scott a world traveler, and he directed two film projects he had long advocated in widely separated parts of the globe. He climbed over many archeological sites in Central & South America to film Ancient America Speaks (1974) and arranged to film Where Jesus Walked (1978) in Israel during March to maximize the presence of green grass and flowers. Due to the timing of the production, Scott was able to accept the invitation to give the key Easter sermon upon the Mount of Olives to the local Mormon community in Jerusalem. In the address he expressed gratitude for his family and co-workers, perhaps knowing that his work was almost through. Having been plagued by a persistent backache during the entire trip, and with the film almost complete, he returned to Utah where he was diagnosed with bone cancer that had spread to his liver. He quietly died six weeks later, and this, his final film, carried a formal dedication to him. He was buried in the Midway City Cemetery.

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Church Welfare in Action
Produced by Wetzel Whitaker
Directed by Eric Larson
Production Company: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Premiere Date: October 3, 1948
Length: 1 reel (30 min.)

Summary: This is a documentary on what LDS Church welfare is and how it functions.

This film was created at the suggestion of "Judge" Wetzel Whitaker when three apostles--Elders Harold B. Lee, Matthew Cowley, and Mark E. Petersen--visited him at the Walt Disney Studio in 1947. Judge recalled that it was a "somewhat rash" offer, but it changed the course of his life and LDS films forever.

The offer to make one film on Church welfare soon divided into two, and while Whitaker directed the other film, The Lord's Way, this title was headed up by Eric Larson, a self-described "collapsed Mormon" who nevertheless always lended support whenever the Church needed assistance with filmmaking in Los Angeles. (Unlike Whitaker, who was a mid-level "in-betweener" animator, Larson was already one of Disney's top animators and would soon become known as one of his Nine Old Men, who dominated Disney animation for decades to come.)

Church Welfare in Action was completed before The Lord's Way, but when both were done Church President George Albert Smith personally paid for the filmmakers and their wives to come to Salt Lake City to screen them. The General Authorities were impressed--David O. McKay told Whitaker they were "the best films ever to come out of Hollywood"--and the films circulated throughout the wards for years. More importantly, they induced Church leaders such as McKay to consider the use a permanent film studio would be. Thus, the BYU Motion Picture Department was established as the Church's filmmaking arm in January 1953, shortly after McKay became Church President; Judge Whitaker left Disney to become its first director general.]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I am reading these days a fascinating manuscript in Portuguese by Celbi Pegoraro about Disney and Brazil. The first chapter describes in great details a meeting between Walt and movie exhibitor Dr. Marcondes Alves de Souza Jr. in 1934. Dr. Marcondes is delivering to Walt an homage to Mickey sculpted by Alfredo Herculano.

I had this mysterious photo in my archives but only understood it thanks to Celbi's upcoming book. I will talk a lot more about that book when the time comes.

I was interviewing retired Imagineer Frank Armitage a few weeks ago and he mentioned the following:

[I worked on a bunch of things. I mentioned the Upjohn and the Mormon film for the World Fair. They asked me to create the "Hereafter", for which I had to get a Vision from the Elders before I illustrated it.]

His wife then added:

[Frank says he does not remember how Disney got involved in the Mormon film. He just said that Disney also did work for Upjohn Pharmeceuticals. He said he remembers that job distinctly because he was asked to illustrate an erection which he did... ( he worked with Ken O'Connor on it) When Walt saw it - he said "no way"... so they panned up the shaft with the voice over info and stopped before they got to the end!!!]

The film at the fair’s pavilion, Man's Search for Happiness, is described here.

The Disney Archives have no record of the Disney Studio being involved in this project.

That movie and the documentary about the Mormon pavilion were directed by Judge Whitaker, a former Disney artist. Aside from Frank Armitage and Ken O'Connor, another Disney artist who was actually working at the Disney Studio at the time, Eric Larson (who was a Mormon) also animated on the project. In addition, former Disney composer Leigh Harline, who, unlike Frank, Ken and Eric, was no longer working at Disney, provided the music.

So was the Studio involved in this or not? I see no reason why they would have been, but I would love to know why so many Disney artists were part of its cast.
Cheerios Kid 1957

Thanks to Jerry Beck from CartoonBrew for having spotted this Disney-produced commercial.

Do not mis today:

- Caught in "The Parent Trap" -- Part II by Floyd Norman
- Spotlight on Dalmatian trivia... by Hans Perk

Monday, March 24, 2008

Van Eaton Galleries always offer some beautiful pieces, but I thought I would share this one, as it is attributed to Hank Porter and I know we have a few Porter fans (myself included) reading this blog.
More about The E-Ticket

Thanks to Steve Doherty for having forwarded us the following:

[The “E” Ticket is in negotiations for sale. I am not at liberty to say who the buyer is. They do not intend to continue publishing, but back issues will be available on some level.

We are working on issue 46 at this time, and this will be our last. We are, admittedly, way behind schedule, but the issue should be a good one. We are still selling back issues. With the mailing of 46, we will outline to subscribers options for their remaining subscription money. A mail-back signature card will be included. Refunds will be one option. A second option, and one I hope folks take advantage of, is to accept the new “Back Issue CD-3” against subscription money. This CD, covering issues 17 through 25, is now in development and will be completed about the time issue 46 comes out. Normally, our back issue CDs are $39. As a special to subscribers, the cost will be $29 (coincidentally what a subscription costs). If we owe the reader $29, it will be an even exchange. If we owe 3 issues of the 4 issue subscription, the subscriber can send a check for $7.25 to receive the CD. This math can be projected for other scenarios.

Thanks for your kind words about the magazine and for your long time support for our efforts. Feel free to share this information where you deem it appropriate. Our web site is hopelessly out of date and the person who used to maintain it is no longer on board.

Jack Janzen]
This just in from Germund von Wowern:

[Hi Didier!

Now I've compiled a list of all the Buck O'Rue artwork Richard Huemer and I are missing to complete the book. I'm making a last attempt to locate it through a few blogs, so if you could help us by posting a search plea we'd be exceptionally grateful. Practically the entire run Jan 15, 1951 to late 1952 is ready and scanned from black/white proofs and I have already spent much of last year cleaning up the artwork.

The year 1951 is 100% complete, so all the missing art is from 1952. We're only missing one single Sunday entirely (January 20, 1952), but would like to obtain the full 12-panel versions of the following:
Feb 3
May 4
June 8,15,22,29
July 6
August 10,17,24
December 14 and later, but these were probably never even produced.

The dailies are complete Jan 15, 1951 to July 19, 1952, except the week of July 7-12, 1952. These late dailies were probably never even published in newspapers at the time, but were most likely drawn.]
Happy Easter. Do not miss today:

- More Disney in January 1930 (March 21, 2008) and A Day in the Life: Disney, January 1930 by MichaelBarrier.
- Death of an American President by David Lesjak
- Japanese returning a trove of lost Disney art by Charles Solomon
- Going Home in the New York Times

Friday, March 21, 2008

This is another book I will have to pick up at the end of this year. If you have never read a Don Rosa story, you are missing the best Disney comics since Carl Barks and this should be your opportunity to bridge that cultural gap.
We all know that John Lasseter's influence is being felt in the realm of Disney animation and theme parks. He seems to be also actively at work in the area of Disney publishing, stimulating an outstanding number of great projects. The number of books that will be published this year featuring never-seen-before artwork from the ARL is just staggering.

I have just received confirmation that Disney's Dogs by Tamara Khalaf and Tinker Bell - An Evolution by Melinda Johnson will both be art-books. The mysterious Disney's Neglected Prince: The Art of Disney's Knights in Shining Armor (and Loincloths) will be too. If one adds to this list Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation by Mindy Aloff, the mysterious The Art of Disney, Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Mary Blair, and Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Story, it is very clear that something significant is indeed happening.

And that does not even include the three books that will feature never-seen-before artwork from the WDI Archives: Walt Disney's Legends of Imagineering and the Genesis of the Disney Theme Parks by Jeff Kurtti, Illustrating Disney: Imagineering and the Fine Art of Disney Illustration, and The Art of Walt Disney World.

Yes we will get bankrupt, but for a very good cause this time.
And there are even more great Disney history books to come this year according to the latest email I received from David Lesjak:

[New book being published by the University of Texas onDisney's trip to South America. Written by Antonio Pedro Tota. Don't know the name of the book yet but I will be emailing him today for details. Manuscript has been finished and it's apparently a great read. Antonio is a university professor and he works for National Geographic magazine. Will send more details as soon as I find out more.]

I just hope that JB's long-awaited book on the same subject will be released soon.
Disney and the Sears Towers

Here is a question I received from Eleonora from Brazil and that I found interesting:

[Do you have any idea Walt Disney's name is not on the Sears Towers, along with the important people they put there that were born in Chicago?]

Any idea?
Do not miss today:

- Caught in "The Parent Trap" by Floyd Norman
- Interview with Andreas Deja, legendary Disney animator and expert by Aaron Wallace
- In His Own Words: Walt Remembers Marceline by Wade Sampson
- Disneyland's Main Street, USA, and Its Sources in Hollywood, USA by Robert Neuman (pdf)

Monday, March 17, 2008

I could not solve the problem that Michael Barrier raises this morning about the man that appears in the photo with Walt and the singer Yma Súmac, but I did find another fun photo of Walt and her, which I thought you might enjoy.
I will in London until Thursday. The blog will be updated again on Friday.
Some news about Jim Korkis

On Tuesday, March 11, Jim Korkis went into work at Epcot and was not feeling well. He went to Health Services who immediately phoned the paramedics and Jim was taken to the Emergency Room of a local Florida hospital. An MRI revealed that he had suffered three minor strokes. Jim had been under some excessive stress at work recently and this is how his body responded.

He was in the hospital for five days and was released home to recuperate for the next two weeks at least and have follow-up visits with his doctors. He has new medication, a strict diet and some exercises.

He is not paralyzed, did not have a heart attack and so far the only major area that seems to be effected is his balance and equilibrium that the doctors hope will return in time. Jim describes his current condition as "frustrating... my head seems cloudy and I don't seem to have much endurance."

He will not be able to retrieve messages from his work e-mail but his home e-mail is and his home address is 10647 Bellflower Court, Orlando, Florida 32821.

I have spoken to Jim over the phone yesterday evening. He knows I am sharing this information and has approved this message before it got posted.
Are you as excited as I am about Ted Thomas' next movie / documentary "Walt & El Grupo" which focuses on Walt's visit to Latin merica in 1941? Then you should check the newly launched site that will give you more information about the progress made on this soon to be released project.

Ted Thomas, by the way, is the director of Frank & Ollie and Frank Thomas' son.

Now if someone knew when J.B. Kaufman's long-awaited and equally exciting book on the same subject will be published...
Here is the second and last part of the Paul Smith article.

Do not miss today:

- All of Michael Barrier's posts from March 14 and 15, 2008.
- A huge series of new posts by David Lesjak on Toons at War
- Two new posts on Vintage Disney Memorabilia by David Lesjak
- The WestCOT project - Artwork and a special presentation by Tony Baxter by Alain Littaye
- At The Walt Disney Studio Ink and Paint Department 1940

Friday, March 14, 2008

This magazine being sold on ebay at the moment contains an article by Walt that I had never seen before. If you pick it up, could you please, please send me a good scan of it?
I was working on an interview with the Disney composer Paul J. Smith for a future issue of Walt's People and thought you would enjoy reading in the meantime this article by him that appeared The Etude Music Magazine from July 1940. I will post part 2 on Monday.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This just in through Laughingplace's Forum:

[I have some bad news :o( "The "E" Ticket" will no longer be published.

I talked to Jack Janzen in January and he sold the name "The "E" Ticket" and will no longer be publishing the magazine.

I am sorry to be the bearer of this. I will miss the magazine.]

A reader later clarified that there will be only one more issue released (issue 46). Sad news.
In an article this morning on Cartoon Brew, Amid Amidi mentions: [I am currently working on a book for Pixar.]
Dr. Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Some of you will probably have seen this already. For those of you who didn't, be prepared for a video which is both tremendously uplifting and very tough emotionally. It is not totally off-topic as Randy Pausch was an Imagineer.

Among the interesting items I added to my collection this week is this stunning magazine called AGR that I discovered thanks to a colleague. Printed on amazingly high quality paper, this Spanish magazine is aimed at movie collectors and usually features in-depth articles about Golden Age movies. It seems to be always beautifully illustrated with extremely rare items. Frankly it must cost so much to produce and the audience for this kind of publication in Spain is so limited that I am certain that it operates at a loss.

The June 2000 issue was obviously of particular interest to me as it contains a long article about Disney by Roy E. Disney. What makes it really worthwhile though are the illustrations: I discovered that quite a few promotional slides, like the Snow White one pictured below, were created in Spain from the '30s to the '70s to serve as "trailers" for upcoming movies. I am yet to see one of those in a fair or auction, but I will be on the lookout from now on.
This photo from 1951 is current being sold on ebay. According to the caption person on the left is Cuban cartoonist Conrado Massaguer who had just won the Julio Gaunaurd award a few moments before the photo was taken.
This just in from my good Serbian friend Sasa:

[I recently returned from Budapest, where we stmbled accross the little known museum of Trade and Tourism. It was really a nice collection of regular products for everyday use, mostly from the early 20th Century (when it was fun). I was excited to see a selection of completelly preserved samples of sox! One of them has a label with a motif of Three Little Pigs, obviously from the '30s. I was sure that it would interest you.]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

And here is the last part of the article with the last column much easier to read that what I released yesterday.
Do not miss today:

- Who's the Man With the Cigarette? by Michael Barrier (posted on March 12, 2008)
- Mount Disney: The Legacy of Walt at Sugar Bowl by Jeff Pepper
- The Magic of Darby O'Gill by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And here is the second part of the article I started posting yesterday thanks to Tim Susanin. More tomorrow.
I found this bit of news released on Friday quite interesting:

[With DVD shelf space at retailers becoming increasingly crowded, Disney (NYSE: DIS - News) CEO Bob Iger hopes to move some of its TV shows from the past 50 years to its website, Bloomberg reported. Iger's remarks were made during the Q&A portion of Disney's annual shareholder meeting Thursday in Albuquerque. His thoughts were conceptual in nature and didn't appear to reflect a clear plan for how Disney would distribute its TV programs. So while Iger presented no time-frame on when a vintage TV web initiative would be launched, or what shows would be selected, the choice of revenue model is fairly clear-cut: "In the near future, you'll see more of that product available on, either for free or through some sort of subscription."]

Monday, March 10, 2008

Joe Hale

An anonymous reader of the blog posted the following comment this weekend about Joe Hale:

[If it's any help, there was in fact a WWII Vet at our school today, named Joe Hale, speaking about his experiences, including working for Disney on over 120 films, So I'd have to say he's still alive.]

Could this reader or anyone who knows how to contact Joe Hale contact me? I would love to interview him.
Thanks to Tim Susanin, here is the first page of an article published in Ladies Home Journal from March 1941. I will post pages 2 and 3 within the nexy few days.

Do not miss Michael Sporn's essay titled Just my Opinion. I fully agree with all of Michael's points, including his political conclusion.

Also worth checking out today:

Friday, March 07, 2008

Those three model sheets from Preston Blair just in thanks to Göran Broling who mentions:

[I thought you may be interested to see three Fantasia model sheets that Preston Blair sent me back in 1980. He did not send me Disney Studios "original stats", but ordinary photostats. original stats used by the the Studio were copied on a thicker paper and with a different technique, I have been told. However, he did sign them for me, and if you look close you can see that Preston drew a line over "Suggested", and wrote "Final", since his design of the hippos was approved by Joe Grant.

I think there are many lovely poses here, and according to Preston in 1980, only one have ever been published before! Model sheet_1 was published in Field's "The Art of Walt Disney". Since you recently have published several funny photos online with Hattie Noel, I came to think that these may be nice to publish too.]

Update about Walt's People - Volume 6

I should not have cried "Victory" a few weeks ago: the production of Volume 6 is desperatly late due to delays by the publisher, Xlibris, and mistakes in the corrections I requested on the galleys were implemented. Anyway, nothing dramatic, but I am expecting a release date around the second or third week of April now, instead of end of March.

The good news, however, is that volumes 7 and 8 are well underway.
This press release just in:

[Art Deco Society of LA Kicks-off New Lecture SeriesWith Fascinating Look at “Art Deco in Animation”

Join the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, and American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, March 22, for the first of a new series of lectures highlighting the Art Deco movement’s influence in the creative and design arts. David Pacheco, Walt Disney Art Classics creative art director, will offer details the history of Art Deco design in the art of film animation using original production art and film clips from the Archives of the Walt Disney Studios, Fleischer Studios and others. A special focus of the presentation will be on the deco stylization of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” (1940), along with examples of animation from various Max Fleischer short cartoons including “Betty Boop” and “Superman”.

Mr. Pacheco, a Disney artist/animator and former art director for Disney Publishing, is currently the Walt Disney Art Classics creative art director, where his extensive knowledge of Disney animation has helped translate beloved Disney characters from two-dimensional drawings into gallery-quality artwork and three-dimensional porcelain sculptures. In addition, Mr. Pacheco is renowned for his knowledge of the history of animation, as well as the catalog of famous characters created during the industry’s early golden age. This lecture, first presented at the 2006 Queen Mary Art Deco Festival to great acclaim, has been revised and expanded with additional rare footage for this series.

Tickets are $5 for members of ADSLA and American Cinematheque. Regular American Cinematheque prices apply for the general public and students/seniors and may be pre-purchased at, or purchased on the day of the event at the door. Please bring your ADSLA membership card with you to the box office.

The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, in Hollywood. Additional information on the theater and American Cinematheque can be found at this link.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to the awareness and preservation of Art Deco as a major design influence of the 20th Century. Visit our website for information on preservation projects, upcoming events and membership:]
Do not miss today:

- Anatomy of a mid-1940s Walt Disney photograph by David Lesjak
- Liberty magazine patriotic cover - original art by David Lesjak
- Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy by Jerry Beck
- Dalmatians 101: “Spotting” fun facts with Andreas Deja by Jeremie Noyer

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I am extremely busy today and will only be able to post the daily "Reading List". Quite a few great stuff to read and check out in there. More tomorrow.

- A Day in the Life: Disney, February 1927 by Michael Barrier (hurray for this new series)
- Where's Walt, No. 6 posted by Michael Barrier on March 6, 2008
- Plane Crazy About Mickey Mouse by Wade Sampson
- Dalmatians 101: Lisa Davis’ “puppy love” for a dog-gone Disney classic by Jeremie Noyer
- Dalmatians 101: Marc’s wife Alice Davis talks about her Legendary husband by Jeremie Noyer

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can't wait, can't wait to put my hands on this book (even more so since I already read an advance copy).
Amid Amidi from Cartoon Brew stumbled upon the book Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way yesterday. Since Amid says that the book "includes coverage of all our Golden Book favorites including Mary Blair, Gustaf Tenggren, Aurelius Battaglia, JP Miller, Alice and Martin Provensen, Mel Crawford and Tibor Gergely, among others," and since Kevin Kidney in the comments mentions that this is a "must-have", I have a feeling that I will order it today.

One of the readers of this blog asked to see a photo of artist Lance Nolley. Here it is, courtesy of Don Peri.
One more photo of Hattie Noel, this time with choreographer George Balanchine.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A book that we will definitely all want to pick up next month is Working with Walt: Interviews with Disney Artists by Don Peri. While the book will not contain any illustrations, Don was kind enough to share with us a drawing that Dick Huemer created for him.

Don mentions:

[Once I asked Dick Huemer to do a sketch for me of Mickey Mouse shaking hands with Koko the Clown since Dick had been a prominent figure at both studios (Fleischer and Disney), and the finished drawing—so typical of Dick’s wry wit—has the two figures shaking hands, with Koko, behind his back, holding a balloon featuring Dick’s caricature and Mickey, behind his back, holding a long sharp pin.]

I have also received yesterday the official press release:

[Those working close to Walt Disney reveal puzzlepieces of his character and drive

The cultural significance of Walt Disney (1901–1966) cannot be overstated. He created or supervised the creation of live-action films, television specials, documentaries, toys, merchandise, comic books, and theme parks. His vision, however, is revealed in his animated shorts and feature-length cartoons, which are loved by millions around the world.

Working with Walt: Interviews with Disney Artists (University Press of Mississippi) collects revealing conversations with animators, voice actors, and designers who worked alongside Disney during the heyday of his animation studio. The book includes fifteen interviews with artists who directed segments of such classic animated features as Dumbo and Fantasia. Some interviewed were part of Disney’s famed team dubbed, “The Nine Old Men of Animation”; and some worked closely with Disney on Steamboat Willie, his first cartoon with sound.

These directors, designers, artists, and technicians discuss the studio’s working environment, the heyday of animation during Hollywood’s Golden Age, and Walt Disney’s mixture of childlike charm and hard-nosed business drive. Through these voices, Don Peri creates a compelling oral history of an overlooked aspect of Hollywood during the studio-system era.

Collected together, these interviews begin to resemble a puzzle. And each conversation, as Herb Ryman states in his interview, “is a little part of the puzzle, the jigsaw puzzle, that goes into the portrait of Walt Disney.”

Through these voices, Peri preserves views of the Disney magic from those who worked closely with him. Working with Walt provides absorbing, informed accounts of Walt Disney, as told by people who knew and worked with him closely.

Don Peri of Davis, California, first gained the confidence of Disney insiders through his work with animator, director, and producer Ben Sharpsteen. He has written and published extensively on Walt Disney’s productions.]
We need help. Author John Kenworthy is trying to find more information about artist Daniel Tattenham. Here is the email he sent me and the info he already gathered:

[I'm trying to track down good old Daniel Tattenham lately. I have found some stuff, but of course amalways after more. I keep hoping that somebody can place him more firmly at Disney in 1931 when we have a few Tat references.

Daniel Francis Tattenham born in Galveston, Texas 1872 (Father)

Daniel Francis Tattenham born in Galveston, Texas 1896 (Son, our guy)

1906, they move to San Francisco where dad is a barber - and very active in the union achieving some high levels - (I have a whole stack of correspondence from him to the union that is interesting by itself) and he is also a Deputy Sheriff. Both of which he will do his entire life. (I have tons of references to him in the papers around this era - nothing too earthshaking) His pro-worker stance is interesting in light of the Longshoreman's Strike of 1934 which erupted in violence, and that could be a story of its own (if Upton Sinclair were still alive to muckrake it right).

1909 - one of the two is a student in the SF Institute of Art. Makes sense for the son, but he would've been a prodigy at only 13 years old. (The senior Tattenham is mentioned as an artist in a book on California artists, but the author told me he can't recall how he found that information and doesn't know if it was father or son truly and he could be wrong.)

1917 - Daniel signs his draft card. (Herein, we are talking son)

1917 (imdb claims 1923) - The Long Trail - western with Pete Morrison and Daniel as producer. Paramount? imdb is notoriously bad, but where and how did they concoct Tat's name for this entry! The Film Daily listing does not mention Tattenham or Morrison only the director.

1919 - Daniel is in Chicago and copyrights SOMETHING in May. Still tracking it down.

1920s - Producer{?} presence on Brunswick Records catalog along with a song called Eustace and Juniper.

1928 - Daniel copyrights four non-published cartoons featuring color studies (I have all four names with dates). This coincides with info Russ Merritt gave me that he patented a Tattenham Color Process in the 20s. I can't find documentation of that, but it does make sense. Early 2-color?

1930 - Member of the Chicago Section of the SMPE (pre-SMPTE). Member of the Progress Committee

1931 - LA Times article heralding a party at his home - mentions he is newly moved from Chicago.

1931 - Tat shows up on The Beach Party at Disney. While [the Disney Archives do not appear] to have records of Tattenham working at Disney, Merritt has same reference on several Silly Symphonies usually in conjunction with David Hand which indicates to me he was probably a learning animator not yet ready for his own scenes.

1933ish - Publishes Tat's Tales comic strip (still seeking copies of that) Makes sense for it to be in LA, (Morrie thought it was Chicago)

1934 - Classified ads appear in the LA Times for Artists at Tat's Tales. GLadstone telephone number. I have another Tat's Tales reference that has an HI telephone number from that same timeframe. GLadstone is the 5515 address number listed eventually in the FIlm Dailys.

1934 - the year most folks assume the famous photo was taken at 5515 Melrose with Frank Tashlin, Izzy Ellis, Carl Urbano, Dick Hall, Bill Mason, Ray Patin, Bob Angier...... (Morrie Zukor date) The problem is that Consolidated Film Corp owned that building and it burned badly in 1929. It wasn't reconstructed until 1935 when NBC radio moved in. Interestingly, the Tat's Tales business address remains in the Film Daily Yearbook through 1938 at that address. Did he share space with NBC? Were they working on early TV cartoons?? What gives! It's obviously a big enough building, but was the Tat's Tales signage only temporary placed there for the photo - because it's not there when the NBC sign was running up the wall.

1936 - listed in Block Booking legislation as a supporter.

1937 - an unverified source says he was in NY (Does that mean Fleischer? Terry? As what?)

1939 - same source puts him back in LA

1939ish - Tat name reportedly appears on a Color Rhapsody - can't verify yet.

1966 - dies. No obituary found in the place of death - Placerville.]
Kevin Kidney has launched his blog. This one is defintely worth a daily visit and a permanent list here.
Do not miss today:

- The Walt Disney Family Museum site has been updated
- James Baxter interview - Part 2 by Clay Kaytis
- USS Mercy AH-8 - insignia by David Lesjak
- Last of Susie by Michael Sporn
- Noble Origins by Harry McCracken
- Dalmatians 101: “Spot”-light on songwriter Mel Leven by Jeremie Noyer
- Return of the Gremlins by Jerry Beck

Monday, March 03, 2008

This just in thanks to Celbi Pegoraro:


Take a look at this fantastic footage of Walt Disney and a backstage look of "Son of Flubber". It´s really fun!]

I was doing some research last week about Walt's longest serving secretary, Dolores Voght, when I stumbled on this ad for a General Electric Clock that features her. The ad mentions: "Meet Dolores Voght, Secretary to Walt Disney. She is the official checker-upper on Mr. Disney's time."

You can buy the ad by following this link (if you do, please try and send us a scan).

Thanks to three readers of the blog, I was able to locate this weekend the article by Ed Plumb I was looking for last week. It can be access through this link.

The same site also contains the following articles about Fantasound:

- FANTASOUND by Bill Garity and J.N.A. Hawkins
Do not miss today either:
- Where Walt Was: November 1942 posted by Michael Barrier on February 29, 2008
- More on Walt in Hawaii by Michael Barrier