Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Old Disney Institute, before it became the Disney Vacation Club Saratoga Springs. That long white building with the orange roof in the middle of the picture was where the animation studios were where guests could learn cel painting, history of animation, traditional 2-D animation, computer animation and stop motion animation. Across the street to the left is another white building with a reddish orange roof and that was the Disney Institute Cinema where guests includding John Culhane, Leonard Maltin, John Canemaker, John Lasseter, Bill Justice, Ward Kimball and many more gave presentations.]
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Numerous reports today that Gemstone, the publishing arm of Diamond Distributors, is ending its Disney license, meaning that the core Disney characters once again have no American publisher.

According to a post on The Disney Comics Blog:

Gary Leach, who has been doing art and editorial work for US Disney comics for over two decades, reported on the DCML yesterday that “Gemstone is not renewing the Disney comics license, and won’t be putting out any more issues”. This sad news means the end of Disney comics in the United States, at least those with classic Disney characters like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Gary added that “Disney is looking for someone else to take the license” and he believes that they do have some candidates, although nothing is nailed down at this point.]

Monday, March 30, 2009


Disney Historians Michael Lyons and Jim Korkis were both among the hundreds let go from Walt Disney World last week. If any of you know of job possiblities for them, please let me know and I will forward the information.

Here is some more information at this link about Walt and DeMolay, this time through first day covers!
Roy and Edna's wedding

This just in through Vincent Poputo. There are 4 videos in total on Youtube from the same series.

Do not miss today:

Friday, March 27, 2009

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Just a little follow up on the newspaper articles about the day Walt Disney got a Medal and a Daughter.

Some days ago a photo taken on this occasion was for sale on ebay. The quality of the photo in the description was not so bad, see enclosure.The text on back of the photo reads:

WALT DISNEY PRESENTED WITH MEDAL HOLLYWOOD, CALIF: -- Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse and the Three Little Pigs is presented a medal for distinguished service to children, annual award of “The Parents’ Magazine”, of New York, a publication of National circulation. The presentation was made by Mrs. Marion Savage Sabin, of San Diego, representative of the publication. The award is made in appreciation of Disney’s contribution to the happiness of children. Photo shows left to right: Pinto Colvig, who plays the part of the 3rd pig, and also plays the part of Pluto who most everyone has heard in Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse; Dorothy Compton , who plays the part of the 2nd pig; Mary Moder, who plays the part of the first pig; and Walt Disney. Disney also beside writingboth Mickey Mouse and the Three Little Pigs, also plays the part in the screeen version of Mickey Mouse. 12/18/33]

[There is also another photo from this day on Corbis.com (below) and one on page 83 in "The Art of Walt Disney" by Finch.]

[Parents Magazine that gave him the medal, had a little piece about this in the January 1934 number.]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Pixar Treasures by Tim Hauser is now offered for pre-order on Amazon. I am assuming it is the same concept as Robert Tieman's great series.

[The Pixar Treasures is a scrapbook of instinct and inspiration, experiences readers can touch, and visions that exist only in the imagination. It begins with a group of animators who were inspired by Walt Disney films. In the late 1970s and early '80s, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, and Joe Ranft were hired into an apprenticeship program at Walt Disney Productions. The last of Disney's golden age artists, including animators Eric Larson, Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston mentored the young dreamers, and as Pixar later developed, their work would draw heavily from this direct connection with Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men." The tale continues with Pixar's foray into computer animation, and the resulting success of Toy Story. With chapters on A Bug's Life; Monsters, Inc.; Finding Nemo; The Incredibles; Cars; Ratatouille; and WALL*E, Hauser's narrative covers the struggles, growth, and successes of an incredible animation studio. And it gives readers a sneak peak at the newest Disney*Pixar film, Up. Filled with unique removable keepsakes, The Pixar Treasures is an essential collector's item for every Pixar fan.]

Jim Korkis also recently sent me the following email:

[Two new books have recently been released and are written by ex-Disney Institute facilitators who now are private consultants teaching how Disney does what it does. One is Lessons from the Mouse by Dennis Snow and the other is The Wonderful World of Disney Customer Service from Jeff Kober. I worked with both men when I taught at the Disney Institute. I haven't read either book yet but for those who are fans of the books The Disney Way and Be Our Guest about Disney customer service, these books will probably offer a lively perspective.]

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Back in the 60s, before the Magic Kingdom was built, there was a “Disney World Preview Center” on Hotel Plaza Boulevard. There were Disney hostesses who showed a scale model of the WDW property, a film of the project and more in order to get people excited and informed about Disney's latest entertainment venture. The building is still there and is now known as the “Amateur Athletic Union.]

Do not miss today:

- Mickey Plays Paderewski by Jeff Pepper
- Ray Aragon, 1926-2009 by Amid Amidi
- Lilo & Stitch: A Little More Conversation with directors Chris Sanders & Dean De Blois! by Jeremie Noyer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This just in from Jim Korkis (I read a preview version of the article mentioned below and it is spectacular. Not to be missed):

[The new issue of Hogan's Alley #16 with my article "Who's Afraid of the Song of the South?" has been released. (And a great website for information on Song of the South is www.songofthesouth.net)

www.howardlowery.com is hosting several online auctions including the collections of Bruce Gordon and Ollie Johnston.

A group of Disney fans have banded together to celebrate the closed Adventurers Club on Pleasure Island. The club closed September 2008 but it is not stopping a group called ConGaloosh (one of the traditional greetings in the club was "Kungaloosh") to have a convention inside the club on September 25-27. Further information on the event can be found at www.congaloosh.org.]

Do not miss today:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Only 19 days ago I had the pleasure to interview for the second time one of the greatest Disney artists from the '50s and '60s: Ray Aragon. Along with Vic Haboush, Walt Peregoy and a few others he was one of the key drivers of the Cartoon-Modern (to use the name of Amid Amidi's outstanding book on the subject) look at Disney.

I have just received an email informing me that Ray had passed away. My thoughts are with his absolutely charming wife, with whom I had the pleasure of speaking often while trying to arrange the phone interviews.

Ray Aragon's interview has been one of the most enjoyable I conducted in the last few years. After each installment I caught myself almost dancing of happiness thanks to the great stories he shared.

This is not a happy day.
They say, "don't judge a book by its cover." And in the case of the upcoming book The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way by Michael Lassell, boy are they right. I have tried to scan it above (without success as it glitters). Frankly the "kitschyness" of it is difficult to describe. Which is exactly why you should not judge this book by its cover.

Once you open it - and if you are even interested in The Little Mermaid musical - you will discover a very good book. The text is easily readable and tells the behind the scenes story of this beautiful Broadway production. But what makes the book particularly good as is always the case with Lassell's publications is the excellent selection of custume-design artwork. As ever I am fascinated by concept art, design, and all the elements that you do not actually see in a movie or on-stage and loved the fact that Lassell included so many of them in the book. What did not hurt either were the large scale reproductions of Kay Nielsen's Mermaid paintings, although I would have loved to see some that have not been reproduced so often before.

Overall I would not rate this book among my top-ten of the year, but it is definitely a good pick if one of your centers of interest is Disney musicals. No stunning surpises but one can't expect a new volume of The Disney Archives Series or a new Canemaker book every day, so one has to make do with an ugly cover and a good book.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The contents of the upcoming Tales from the Laughing Place magazine have been announced and I must admit that I am particularly looking forward to that issue in order to read its 20-page focus on the making of Tokyo Disneyland.

According to Lindsay Cave:

[The main focus of this issue is a twenty page feature on the building of Tokyo Disneyland – Imagineering have given us some great art (very rare if not all unseen) and the piece talks about construction and communication issues and the unique problems faced by the resort – it then goes into where the resort is heading.

We are looking to get this out early April, but I just wanted to give you a heads up as we are especially pleased to be able to tell the somewhat rare and untold story of TDL.]

This just in:

[The 1313 Club is Celebrating the 1959 Attractions 50th Anniversary.

Disneyland 1959 - The Bob Gurr Experience Event
Saturday, June 6th 2009
Anaheim Ca 6:30 pm

Celebration of the three 1959 Attractions:
The Monorails, Matterhorn, & Submarines

Disney Legend Bob Gurr
Disney Legend Ron Dominguez
more to come......

This will be night of memories and fun! Dinner, limited merchandise will be available, attraction vehicles will be on hand to view, rare photos, film from the opening of the 3 attractions, Disney VIP’s, door prizes, raffles, No host bar, music and so much more.....

Price of the Event Ticket Includes:
A Night of fun, Dinner, limited Poster, and one specially designed limited pin...

Cost: $65.00
Time 6:30pm
Place: Anaheim Ca
Date: June 6th Saturday
No Video Cameras Allowed!]

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jim Korkis has been in touch with W. Dale Dietzman, State Chapter Dad of Florida DeMolay to try and track down some of the DeMolay comic strips done by Walt Disney and Fred Spencer and received the following information and picture from Dietzman.


I don't have the cartoons except in much reduced form, and probably not all of them.

I am attaching something I assume you have, but perhaps not. This is a picture of the drawing of Mickey which Walt gave to Dad Frank Land, the Founder of DeMolay personally, and which is on his office wall (His office is preserved as it was when he passed away.)

Notice Mickey is wearing the DeMolay Pin of the 1920s which is the style Walt wore as a member of DeMolay.


Speaking of Tenggren, Gunnar Andreassen and Emmanuel Bourmalo noted that:

[there was another Tenggren piece that was sold on Heritage last week. Description: GUSTAF TENGGREN (American 1896 - 1970). Seven Dwarfs study, c. 1938. Mixed-media on board6 x 7.75 in. Not signed. This concept study from the animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs conveys all the long-lasting charm of the merry Dwarfs in a beautifully composed image. It was sold for $ 9.560]

And world-famous collector Pete Merolo wrote:

[I saw that you had the 'Snow White' Tenggren of the 'Queen' displayed -- I thought you'd enjoy seeing this Tenggren of 'Snow White' in rags with the 'Prince' at the well. Although created by Tenggren as inspirational for the film -- it was used in many different publications at that time and throughout the years -- exactly as the 'Queen' artwork. This piece has some irregular borders but is approx. 8'' x 12''.]

Do not miss today:

- Where Walt Was: October 23, 1941 by Michael Barrier
- Schubert by Emil Flohri by Michael Barrier
- Walt's Return to Marceline 1956 by Wade Sampson
Jack Lawrence, Writer of Hit Songs, Dies at 96

This just in through Alexander Rannie:

[Jack Lawrence's website.

His bio.

Jack Lawrence website page about the song "Never Smile At A Crocodile".

Jack Lawrence website page about the song "Peter Pan"

Jack Lawrence website page about the song "Once Upon A Dream"]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I will be in Milan for business until Tuesday evening. The blog will be updated again on Friday.

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:
[This concept artwork was sold by Heritage Auctions last week for $26.290.

Description: GUSTAF TENGGREN (American 1896 - 1970)

The Queen and the Magic Mirror, c. 1938

Mixed-media on paper.

8.5 x 6 in.

Not signed.

This stunning example was created as concept artwork for the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and as one of the most impressive images ever related to the animated feature, was also later featured prominently in the Snow White children's book, published by Grosset and Dunlap, 1938.

The image is breathtakingly detailed and the colors are vibrant and wonderfully preserved, representing the single greatest rendering of the villain from the movie that completely changed the trajectory of animation in America. As such, its importance cannot be overstated.]

Do not miss today:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Unfortunately Dorothea Redmond, retired Imagineer and Disney Legend, passed away on February 27, 2009.
Just One Dream - Walt Disney in his Early Years

Chris Doyle just found this video on YouTube. While I had seen all the clips in different places (The Man Behind the Myth, the Disney Family Foundation site,...) I had never seen them stitched together this way. I loved the result.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Here are a few photos of Walt found on ebay recently. According to the captions, the one above is taken in Hawaii in 1939.
This one shows Walt and Jack Warner (right) along with the manager of the Palace Theater in Canton Ohio to celebrate the Movie Exhibitor's Compo Award in 1953.

This one seems to be Walt Disney and Dr. Frank Baxter, who presented Walt with the Emmy Award for Our Friend the Atom.

Finally, this is a photo taken by Clarence Sinclair Bull who headed MGM's Portrait Department for over 40 years, showing Walt, Lillian, Lillian's sister Hazel Sewell, and her daughter Marjorie Sewell, along with the Disney family dog, on the steps of the Disney home.
I have just learned today that the following book project has been cancelled:

Author unknown: Disney's Neglected Prince: The Art of Disney's Knights in Shining Armor (and Loincloths) published by Disney Editions; 2009.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I need help from someone in LA.

I was doing research for future volumes of Walt's People and I believe I may have located a small treasure trove at UCLA. Since I am based in Spain, though, I would need help from a reader of this blog living in LA to go there and help me look at the material that they seem to possess. If you are ready to help, could you email me at dghez@hotmail.com ?

Thanks in advance.
This just in from Sébastien Durand:

[I recently found this Time article, dated July 30, 1973. I found it interesting as it covers this relatively uncharted territory between Walt's death and the 1984 battle that resulted in the arrival of Eisner/Wells to the Company. It deals with the "what woud Walt have done?" syndrome. Also it contains an essay by Richard Schickel with interesting thoughts on the changes that resulted from the transformation of Walt into Uncle Walt. I thought you might want to share it with your readers.]

This press release just in from Eleanora Duvivier (a good friend of this blog):

[Revelatory New Book Shares Disney’s Influence on Collective Identity
Eleonora Duvivier Chronicles Intersection of Technology, Psychology, Mysticism in New Nonfiction

“I hope we don’t lose sight of one thing- it was all started by a mouse.” - Walt Disney

MADISON, Wis. – In her highly insightful, inspirational new nonfiction, From Mars to Marceline: In Search of Disney (published by AuthorHouse), Eleonora Duvivier reveals what she believes to be the seed of our collective personal identity, founded upon the influence of Disney’s creativity and enterprise in regards to technological, psychological and mystical innovation.

Well-researched and grounded by personal experience and affection for her subject, From Mars to Marceline is at once a thesis, reflection and confession for Duvivier. From Mars to Marceline explores some of the fundamental ways in which Disney – as a man who gave birth to a revolutionary concept – affects our world today. Topics include aspects of technological life, which join fantasy and mechanical processes; the ever-growing dimension of fiction in everyday, trivial life and in our interactions; and the human mind’s capacity for mysticism, faith and metaphysical heroism. In her introduction, Duvivier, invites readers to stand in awe of what Disney created. She writes:

Disney animation prophetically inaugurated the relativity of the real in everyday life, that is, in immediate, sensory perception. Until then, the reaching of fantasy was mediated. Reading demanded a withdrawal into thought, and watching a play or a live action movie required an understanding of the story. The fantasy of their fictitious reality was all in the plot. It was intimated, not really seen. What was directly visible was either reality or a reproduction of it, like the shape and the movement of flesh and blood actors. With Disney animation, fantasy became immediate. … It was all fantasy and alive, more colored and second nature feeling than reality. In the directness of its convincing power, Disney animation became even more immediate than reality: body and soul inspiring.

Disney’s “illusion of life” was life regardless of, or above reality. Its believability, like that of all art, was its supremacy over the real world. The immediacy Disney gave fiction meant, in the end, the establishing of life over everything, like a consecration of it. That is why it felt like sheer reassurance. Today, with virtual reality, fantasy can be more sensory invasive than life itself.

Lastly, Duvivier argues that Disney’s efforts embody the American spirit, expressing the power of childhood, hope, love and the simultaneous control and liberation that is derived from artifice. From Mars to Marceline is a powerful tribute to the lasting affect of Disney’s legacy, revealing the ever-multiplying ways in which his ingenuity and authenticity continue to inspire us and compel us to realize his influence upon our collective personal identity.

Eleonora Duvivier was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and worked as an artist for many years before studying philosophy at Boston University, Kings College in London and Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. She currently lives in Madison, Wis., with her husband and children. She has previously published a book of short stories in Brazil.]

This just in from Chris Doyle:

[Dear Didier,

Hi, thanks for your blog. I am a huge classic Disney animation fan and am looking forward to reading it starting way back in 2006. I have been 'out of it' for the past few years as I produced and directed and wrote my own hand drawn animated film (24/7 job) in my own little attempt to keep hand drawn animation alive and well.

Since seeing how 3D is really taking over the animation market and because of the final loss of the Nine Old Men and because I really didn't find any other forums on the web with dedicated to them and their films I have recently started a forum dedicated to Disney animators and the 'classic' films of Disney.http://classicalhanddrawnanimation.freeforums.org

Admittedly there is not so much material as I am in the process of recruiting members before loading up with too much stuff but believe me I am totally determined to make it work.]

Do not miss today:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So the cat is finally out of the bag. I had heard for weeks that an ambitious project was underway at the Walt Disney Company aimed at Disney enthusiasts. It was revealed yesterday and does really sound like something exciting and that we would want to support. It's called D23 and you can read more about it through the links below:

- Disney D23 Magazine Review - Lotsa Details, Some Photos
- Disney announces D23 , " The Official Community for Disney Fans " by Alain Littaye
- Disney officials insist that D23 was created for the fans, not just for funds by Jim Hill

This just in thanks to Dave Mason:

[Just a heads-up… the new memoir by former Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer, Lonnie Burr, is now available at Amazon.com.]

Do not miss today:

Friday, March 06, 2009

Here is Walt with Maria Romero, the editor-in-chief of the Chilean movie magazine Ecran, during his 1941 trip.

Michael has posted some great photos of Walt here and here.

I will be away on a business trip on Monday and Tuesday. More next Wednesday.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I received yesterday the book Iwao Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters (Iwao Takamoto's autobiography) and started browsing through it. The 40 pages dedicated to Iwao's career at Disney in the '50s are pure gold. Not to be missed under any circunstances if you read this blog and enjoy Walt's People. As I say from time to time: this is a "must-have".
Mark Sonntag just sent me those scans of the programme created for the French movie theater Marignan for the release of Snow White. I had never seen it before and thought you might enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The new Hake's auction is online. A few interesting pieces, like this Donald from Leonardi.

Apologies for the lack of substancial updates today. Extremely busy week.

Do not miss today:

- The Disney Crew: A Remembrance by Wade Sampson
- Tytla’s Dwarf Fight by Michael Sporn
- Happy Birthday Ronald Searle
- The Hyperion Days by Floyd Norman
- The Disney Family Foundation site has been updated