Saturday, November 28, 2009

Roy E. Disney interview

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[While it is always fascinating to read the interviews in Walt's People, it is amazing to actually hear the person tell the story of their life. Here is a link to a multi-part interview with Roy E. Disney where he covers everything from his youth with his dad and Uncle Walt all the way up to the acquistion of Pixar. This is not a short overview. The first part of the interview lasts a half hour!]

Do not miss today:

For those of you who read my Friday post about an upcoming book, please forget it. I have received some very worrying reports about it from two separate sources and decided to remove the post altogether for the moment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Here's an interesting link, especially for folks interested in Disney in World War II. Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Felix the Cat and other cartoon heroes in a 1944 propaganda cartoon.]

Note: This anti-American cartoon created under the Vichy regime in France is also featured on the excellent DVD, The Golden Age of Cartoons: Cartoons for Victory!.

This just in from Are Myklebust:

[You are off course familiar with the "The Hot Choc-late Soldiers" sequence in Technicolor from the M-G-M film "Hollywood Party" from 1934 made by Walt Disney, and with music and words by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. The sequence is a very like a "Silly Symphony" film, however with a very unlikely ending.

Before this sequence there is a meeting between Mickey Mouse and the actor Jimmy Durante (a combination of live action and animation).

The sequence has been cut in later releases of the film. However you can find a (bad) copy of this sequence on YouTube.

The films original trailer from 1934 can be found here.

See also the attachment (the original poster).

Do not miss today:

- Getting off my Keister for Ditier by Ed Gombert (who probably means "Didier" not "Ditier")

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Courtesy of Charlene Sundblad, here is a photo of Helen Hennesy at work in the Disney library at Hyperion and some of the drawings she had mentioned in the interview. Apologies for the low resolution of the images.

Do not miss today:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I received yesterday a copy of Pierre Lambert's new art book about The Jungle Book. If you already own Pierre Lambert's astounding books about Mickey, Snow White and Pinocchio, you know what to expect. Otherwise you are in for a shock.

His books are the most lavish art books ever produced about Disney movies. They are huge and full of extremely high quality reproductions of pre-production artwork, backgrounds and key set-ups.

The texts are usually very short but well-written (in French) and well-researched, but you do not miss much if you do not speak French. You are paying for the art which fills 99% of each book.

Particular highlights of this new book: the section about the vultures, which contains dozens of beautiful documents I had never seens anywhere else; a great background from the "monkey's kingdom" that includes several fuzzy areas to give the feeling of speed; a stunning concept painting by Walt Peregoy of the man village. This is just the very top of the iceberg, obviously.

Clearly this book will be part of my top-5 of the 2009 releases. Definitely a "must-have".
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[When is a Don Rosa Duck comic book story not a Disney Duck comic book story? Here is a special two page story that will never be reprinted in any Rosa Disney Duck collection and yet should be.]
Do not miss today:

- NEWSPAPER EXPLOITATION-Pinocchio by Paul Anderson
- TUESDAY-WALT'S PEOPLE Clarence "Ducky" Nash by Paul Anderson
- DISNEY AND THE MAGAZINE-Snow White in Hollywood by Paul Anderson
- Injun Trouble: The Neverland Tribe by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I have a feeling you will be fascinated by this blog by Kaya Özkaracalar from Turkey. I was.
Do not miss today:

- Disney Legends recall Walt Disney and the 'Yes, if....' way of management by Robert Niles (thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)
- MONDAY-WALT QUOTE DAY "The Unknown Walt: Grandpa Disney" by Paul Anderson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[I refer to your very interesting article on the Disney History Institute blog about the cover drawing of Mickey and Greta Garbo, created by Joe Grant. I have a little piece of information that might be of interest to you when it comes to this:

This drawing seemed somewhat familiar to me, even though I can’t recall having seen that cover before.

Suddenly it dawned on me where I had seen something like it.

Last year I bought a photo of Walt at his desk in his Hyperion Office, probably taken in 1937. I sent it to you, and you posted it on your blog with a list of details that I had made. On the desk was an object that was difficult to figure out what was.

I wrote:

9. Item with Mickey (and Minnie ?) and another character. Could it be a cigar cutter?

Now I know what it was: A metal item of Garbo and Mickey. It seems that Walt put a cigarette on top of Mickey.

The question remains: Who could have made this ?

Walt took this "Garbo & Mickey"item over to his formal office in Burbank - see bottom left where we can better see the little table with the photo. He probably kept it there for some years, as I believe I have seen more recent photos with it still there.]
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Bill Justice is getting ready to celebrate his 96th Birthday February 9th, but he’s been in a rehabilitation home for the last few years and visitation has been tightly restricted. A good friend of mine who is a talented Disney artist recently visited him and said Bill had difficulty remembering recent events but if the artist mentioned a name from the "Golden Age" of Disney, Bill perked up and his memories were clear as a bell.

Bill hasn't been in the best of spirits so it has been requested that it would be nice for him to get some holidays cards and of course, some birthday cards, to let him know that he hasn't been forgotten.

My interview with Bill appears in Walt's People Vol. 3.

For those unfamiliar with Bill's many accomplishments, he is probably best known for his animation on the characters Chip'n'Dale and for his early work programming audio-animatronics on such attractions as "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Haunted Mansion". He was the one who designed the recently closed attraction, the "Mickey Mouse Revue" and painted the huge mural of characters in Exposition Hall at Walt Disney World. Basically, his accomplishments were enough to fill a book...and they did in the limited edition "Justice for Disney" book he authored and that was released by Tomarts Publications.

Bill has been a long time friend of the Disney fan community and has attended many conventions, cruise ship excursions, and other events often drawing Disney characters on paper plates and then tossing them like frisbees into the crowd.

It is being requested that Disney fans show their love by sending him a card or letter (remember that he won't be able to respond or fill a request for artwork) and perhaps include a photo that may have been taken with him. Something to remind him of his impact and how he is still very much loved and appreciated.

Bill is one of the few remaining connections to people who actually worked with Walt and Bill's contributions include not just animation but work at the Disney theme parks.

The address is:
Bill Justice
Arbor View Wellness & Rehabilitation Center
1338 20th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404]
Sebastien Durand just stumbled onto this new book of short stories in French. Common theme: all the stories take place at Disneyland. Weird.

- Disney’s “Dreams Come True” art exhibit in New Orleans (Thanks to François Monferran for the link)
- This nice little interview with Dick Van Dyke. Not much in there but I believe quite a few of you will enjoy it. (Thanks to Eric Kratzer for the link).

Friday, November 20, 2009

As mentioned a few days ago I had a chance of corresponding recently with the granddaughter of Helen Hennesy, first Disney librarian and wife of legendary layout artist Hugh Hennesy. I will post more illustrations linked to this interview next week.

Didier Ghez: When and where was Helen born?

Charlene Sundblad: Helen Josephine DeForce was born 23 December, 1900 in Spokane, Washington. Her father was a railroad man eventually becoming the Superintendent of the Northern Pacific railroad for the Eastern Division of Washington.
Education was important and she attended private schools including Ramona Convent in Alhambra California and colleges such as: Wells College in Aurora New York; Stanford in California; University of Washington, Seattle, Washington and finally the University of Southern California, Pasadena, California where she earned her BA degree.

DG: What did she do before joining Disney?

CS: Her first marriage was to Ernest Ludwig, in Seattle Washington on Nov 16th 1925. It ended after the birth of their daughter, Helen Ludwig (my mother) in 1927. During those divorced years, Helen Josephine and her baby daughter lived with her parents who had retired in Pasadena, California. Her mother watched the baby so Helen Josephine could attend Library School. Helen Josephine graduated in 1929 from the Los Angeles Public Libraries accredited Library School and found work as a Children's librarian. Her first position was as assistant Children’s librarian - Salary $115.00.

DG: When and how did she join Disney?

CS: In July 1, 1935, Helen Josephine hired on at Disney Studio. She was the first librarian and her ID card said "Dept-Story." She was 34 years old and very excited as she wrote on her calendar: "Start work at Walt Disney Studio at 8:00".
The loss of her father later that year left her as the 'head of the family.' Her responsibility included her young daughter, and widowed mother. The three of them would continue to live together even after her marriage to Hugh Hennesy.

DG: Was she hired as a Librarian right from the start?

CS: Yes. She was given complete authority to organize and establish the Walt Disney Library. When the Studio moved from Hyperion Street to the Burbank building, she was allowed to choose the draperies and colors for the new library which she physically set up.
Helen Josephine Ludwig was listed in the California Library Association - 1937- Walt Disney Studio, Hollywood.

DG: Did she ever tell you about her life and work at the Studio?

CS: Helen was very proud to have worked for Walt. She took her librarian work seriously and would send off many "notes" to those who did not either check the books out properly or return them in a timely manner. She would chase down all missing books no matter who had them.

One note came from Walt himself:

(dated 1936)

Interoffice note from Helen to Roy Williams asking him to return a book. He then sketched a caricature of himself on the note in reply.

Cartoon of Helen in a car inviting some school children to eat a sandwich. There is a sign that says, "Don't Eat Lunch Here" and in parenthesis someone had written "Beware of 'Jekyll-Hyde' Librarians."

DG: Did she ever tell you about meetings with Walt?

CS: Hugh died in 1954. Walt Disney attended Hugh’s funeral where he caught a bad cold and vowed never again to attend a studio mans funeral.

(Sympathy note from Walt)

March 16, 1954

"Dear Helen,

We were shocked and saddened this morning to learn of Hugh's passing, and all of us want to extend to you our heartfelt sympathy.The loss of Hugh will be keenly felt by the studio as well as the many loyal friends that he made during his long association with us. And while I know your personal adjustment will be difficult, you do have the sincere and good wishes of your many friends here."


Walt Disney (signed)

DG: Any funny or striking stories she might have shared with you about her work at the Studio?

CS: In 1938, Helen Josephine and Hugh attended the premier of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at The Carthay Circle Theatre on Tuesday, December 21, 1937.
She told me that the face in the mirror was actually a distorted portrait of Hugh,
that he had 'posed' for it.

After leaving Disney Studio she was responsible for organizing a post card mailer (March 1941) in support of: vote YES on Amendment #1 for the Los Angeles Public Library.

It pictured Donald Duck in an authorized manner telling Mickey Mouse


DG: Do you know who were her friends at the Studio?

CS: I think her work only put her in contact with:

Ward Kimball
Charlie Philipp
Art Riley

other familiar names were:

Joe Grant
Herb Ryman
Ted Sears
Norm Ferguson
and the mention of Tom Codrick because he married Hugh's ex wife, Betty.

DG: When and how did she meet your step-grandfather?

CS: Hugh had previously been married to Betty Price in 1924 and divorced in 1934. My guess is since both were single and the library was a place that Hugh frequented. He would tease her and send her funny little notes of caricatures of depicting a tall, skinny, bobbed hair librarian. She called him "Hoo" and they 'ran off ' to Yuma, Arizona on 2 Jan 1937 to get married.
They lived at 4545 Arcola, North Hollywood, California. This house was located in the Toluca Lake area. A few streets over was Bob Hopes house. She was 36 years old with one daughter, and Hugh was almost 47 years old with one son, Dale.

DG: When and why did she leave the Studio?

CS: I was always told that Disney had a 'policy' that married employees could not (should not?)
work together at the studio. Hence, she left in 1938 and returned to LA City Library.

DG: Any background you may also have on Hugh?

CS: Hugh Hennesy was born 12 January 1891 in New Lexington, Ohio and died suddenly Sunday March 14, 1954, while on a vacation in Death Valley National Park, California.
Hugh had one brother, Gerald Hennesy who was an electrical inventor and worked at General Electric at one time. Gerald died in 1941.

As a young man, Hugh served in WW1. He was a newspaper man from Washington DC., working at the Washington Times from 1926- 1931. and head of the art department of the Times Herald in Washington DC.
His drawings/sketches were used through out the newspaper; travel section, advertisements, and a column called “Do You Know”.
He joined Disney in 1932; hence he worked for Walt for about 22 years.

An article in the Disney company newspaper called The Bulletin from March 7, 1939:

Close- Ups
"Hugh Hennesy was born in New Lexington, Ohio in 1891. He spent his early years drawing on the backs of books and on the wall paper.
After high school, two years at Corcoran Art school, twenty years of newspaper art departments in Washington D.C., and one year in aviation
life began at forty one- with the advent on the screen of one "Steamboat Willie"
The enthusiasm for the future of animated cartoons brought him to the wild and wooly west, and now after seven years of layouts, is still boosting the unusual weather in Room 205. (Hugh said to print this only if the sun is shining.)
Two years ago Hugh married our Librarian, Helen Ludwig, who is now busy cataloguing all thirty-seven books at the Hennesy ranch in Hidden Valley."

Note: Helen never remarried, continued her life occupation as a librarian until forced retirement at the age of 75. She died in 1995. She was 95 years old, and both she and Hugh are buried Church of Our Savior, San Gabriel Cemetery, Pasadena, California.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I will be in Barcelona tomorrow and in meetings all day on Thursday. The blog will be updated again on Friday.

This photo was sent to me recently by the granddaughter of Helen Hennesy. Not certain when it was taken.

[1st row Floyd Gottfredson, Les Clark, Johnny Cannon

2nd row Burt Gillett, Jack King, Ted Sears, Roy Disney, Walt Disney

3rd row Gerry Geronimi, Bert Lewis, Frank Churchill, Ben Sharpsteen, Al Hurter

4th row Wilfred Jackson, Tom Palmer, Webb Smith, Gilles "Frenchy" de Tremaudan5th row Hugh Hennesy, Dave Hand, Charles Phillippi]

[UPDATE FROM DON PERI: From my Ben Sharpsteen interviews:

"This large group of men [is] grouped around a Mickey Mouse celebrating or commemorating the first Oscar that was won by the studio. This group was selected as perhaps being key contributors in the creative production of the studio."

Rest of second row to the right of Walt, Norman Ferguson, Dick Lundy, and Emil Flohri. ]


This was posted a few days ago on the Disney History Institute. I hope that someone could help us:

[J.B. Kaufman sent me an email regarding yesterday’s Institute essay on Walt and DeMolay. The July 6, 1936 clipping from the Kansas City Star was intriguing in that the headline below the photographs stated “Creator Grooms Mickey Mouse for Full-Length Features on Screen”. Of course, J.B. "Mickey Mouse" Kaufman, being the go-to historian on Mickey Mouse, was immediately intrigued and asked if I had the rest of the article. Sadly, I do not, but while we are in the Help Wanted mode, does anyone have a complete run of the Star from 1936? Okay, a bit far fetched, but perhaps some of our Kansas City readers can let us know if the Star has a morgue and what is needed for access. ]
Waking Sleeping Beauty

This just in from Don Hahn:

[We are holding a screening of Don Hahn's animation documentary, WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY, on Monday, November 23 at 7:00pm at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.

We have the capacity at the theater to open up the screening a bit wider to include animation friends and former colleagues. We hope that you can help us spread the word by posting the attached invite on your blog. Anyone who sees it can RSVP directly to 818-560-5550 or

There are a limited number of seats available on a first come, first served basis.]

Do not miss this great interview with JB Kaufman.

I have just received my copy of a book that I mentioned earlier on the blog called Walt's Words of Wisdom. That book is definitely not worth buying and frankly does not even deserve a review as it is virtualy empty and is not linked to Disney at all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A site that I had not visited in a while is Carsten Laqua's. I was astounded when I did so on Friday by the number of first rate items from the '30s that he is selling. If you are a serious collector, the site is definitely worth the visit, especially the pre-WWII Disneyana section.

Take for example the above poster. Here is its description:

[German film poster from 1934.

This is the only known copy of this version. It's a lithograph printed on two sheets, Measuring 198 x 125 cm it is the largest known German pre-war-poster known to exist. It is also one of only three known German pre-war-poster using the official Disney Characters. All others were drawn by Geman artists (showing some odd interpretations of Mickey Mouse).

It is in perfect condition.]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Here is a link to a site reprinting a lot of the Disney Golden Books including "Once Upon a Wintertime" by Tom Oreb!]

The Disney Books Network has now been udpated (apologies for the delay. An issue with internet access at home during one full month prevented me from updating it earlier).

Do not miss today:

- Mickey Mouse and the North Pole by David Lesjak
- DizBits by Michael Barrier
- Mickey Mouse and Demolay by Paul Anderson
- Kansas Cityan Decorates Protege by Paul Anderson
- "Macaroni Mickey Mousse" by Jim Korkis

Friday, November 13, 2009

I have been in contact for the last few days with the granddaughter of Helen Hennesy who used to work as a Librarian at the Studio in the '30s and later on married the legendary Disney layout artist Hugh Hennesy. Charlene, Helen's granddaughter, was kind enough to send me a few photographs of her step-grandfather, Hugh, that you will see above (apologies for the very low-res. I am hoping to get a better versions of all of them at some point in the future).

I will post one more next week.

Do not miss today:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Vance Gerry Memorial Blog run by Ed Gombert is always a fascinating place to visit. It is becoming even more exciting these days as Ed is posting concept art from the abandoned project The Abandoned. Pure delight.
Jim Korkis spotted a new book about Disneyland yesterday. Written by Jim Fanning, it looks like a great little introductions to the mysteries of the park.

I like those books as they are likely to excite kids about the delights of Disney history.
This box from Australia is being sold at the moment on ebay. It is the first time I see it. Vintage Disneyana from Australia is a topic that has yet to be explored. I wish I could gather enough material for at least one in-depth article.

Do you, like me, love the fact that Disney history is a never-ending subject?

Do not miss today:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Believe me, there are few posts that could make me happier than this one. I am finally able to write a sentence that I have waited anxiously 4 years to be able to type: "Paul F. Anderson is back and he is blogging."

As most of you know, the two most important influences on what I have been trying to start in the last few years - through Walt's People, this blog and several other projects - have been Funnyworld by Michael Barrier and Persistence of Vision by Paul F. Anderson.

Paul has been a mentor and a friend for years, which made it all the more difficult when he fell off the map for serious health reasons. But thankfully he is back and what is equally exciting: he has decided to open the vaults and share his invaluable knowledge and truly unbelievable collection.

I have a feeling that starting today you will add the Disney History Institute to your short list of daily stops.

As a side note: Paul is still getting back up to speed, so if you are awaiting an email from him give him a few more weeks. He will answer you.

Let me say it again: Welcome back my friend!
Do not miss today:

- Walt Disney Was NOT Born in Spain by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jim Korkis just discovered this new book by Michael Broggie that seems to have been released recently. I will review it as soon as I get it.
Do not miss today:

- Ed Benedict - Animafilm Intvw by Michael Sporn
- Disney historian Didier Ghez on the Walt Disney Family Museum: a flame more alive than ever by Jeremie Noyer

Friday, November 06, 2009

No time to update the blog today and Monday is a holiday in Spain. See you all on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

This photo just in from Pablo Sebastián Fernández.

It shows Walt with the Argentine artist Burone Bruche. We know that part of El Grupo met with the vary prominent Argentine "animation master" Quirino Cristiani, but this is the first time I hear about this other meeting.

Pablo is also trying to find out if El Grupo ever met with the other Argentine artist Juan Oliva. No news about this yet.

Do not miss today:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A while back I wrote an article for the magazine Tomart's Disneyana Update about pre-1945 Disney books in Argentina.

My favorite Argentine book series has always been the one released by Editorial Tor. In the article I was able to show all the books from that series save two. Two years ago I located one of the "missing" two that I featured on the blog. Yesterday I managed to buy the other one, which you can see here.
Do not miss today:

- Mickey, Donald, Pluto and the Boy Scouts by David Lesjak

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

This just in from Are Myklebust:

[You are probably familar with the fact that Madame Tussaud in London, UK had a wax figure of Mickey Mouse in the early 1930's! But how did it look like? Well, here is the answer.]

[7th November 1930: An employee at Madame Tussaud's waxworks museum on Marylebone Road, London, putting the finishing touches to a waxwork of Mickey Mouse at the keyboard. ]
Do not miss today:

- Zorro: How Disney Legend Floyd Norman was put in jail by Sergeant Garcia! by Jeremie Noyer

The new Animated Views / News web site looks great by the way.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

There are days I wish I were rich and there are days I REALLY wished I were very rich. Today is one of those days as Christie's will auction in London on November 24 two exceptional documents from the collection of my friend Philippe Videcoq.

The first one is an original 3-page outline of Alice the Beach Nut, one of the lost Alice Comedies (see the first page above).

The second one is an astonishing 191-page long "book" prepared by Bob Carr in the early October 1940 to summarize for Walt possible ideas for future Fantasia sequences. You will find below part of the table of contents.

Here is the description on the site of Christie's:

[A black folder titled in red Future Fantasias, Sequels and or Replacements, Bob Carr, containing 191p. mimeograph typescript, opening page on Walt Disney Productions, Inter-Office Communication headed stationairy to Mr WALT, From Mr. Bob Carr dated October 23, 1940 the memo opens Please don't let the index tabs discourage you. This is not another ponderous research report. Instead, it is a menagerie of live production ideas -- very many of them your own ideas -- which i have carefully written down as fast as you told them to me, and often developed them along the lines you wanted...Between these two covers, the essential musical information from the whole studio's files has been condensed, and clarified for quck easy arm you with a useful Field manual for your trip East... Here you will find all sorts and species of possible answers to the question: "After Fantasia -- What?", signed in green coloured pencil Bob; two indicies Index By Composers and Index By Titles featuring selected musical compositions, serveys, research, development and production notes for future projects; Deems Taylor dialoge scripts with recording dates; a nine page typscript of minutes of a Story Meeting, Future Concert Feature dated Tuesday, May 14, 1940 Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, Bob Carr and Joe Grant listed attendies.]

And the new issue of Tales from the Laughing Place (number 15) is also ready.
Apparently the new issue of the magazine Twenty-Three has been released. You will find more information about its content at this link.

Do not miss today:
- On the Barricades with Art Babbitt by Michael Barrier
- Rare Walt Disney Letter Up for Auction (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)