Tuesday, August 31, 2010
[The ad for the premiere of "The Three Little Pigs" in Norway on February 19, 1934, and the Norwegian booklet published in 1934. (Same cover as the American original.)]
Sunday, August 29, 2010
[I just found out that my next book, Working with Disney: Interviews with Animators, Producers, and Artists, will be released in March 2011 by the University Press in Mississippi. It will include interviews with X Atencio, Sharon Baird, Joyce Belanger (early Disneyland cast member), Bobby Burgess, John Catone (early Disneyland cast member), Marc Davis, Lou Debney, Van France, Dave Hand, Ollie Johnston, Bill Justice, Walter Lantz, Lance Nolley, Frank Thomas, and Frenchy de Tremaudan.]
Steve Kirk: I was in my office, we’d all been taken off of every other project except Epcot, so everyone had been reassigned from Disneyland, from Disney World, you know – Magic Kingdom and so forth – on to Epcot, and everybody was part of a pavilion. Tony was in with the Kodak folks as being potential sponsors for some kind of pavilion, and I don’t think he quite knew yet what their tie-in would be. And he ran into my office in the middle of this meeting and said “Can I borrow little Figment and Dreamfinder” – or Figment and . . . yeah, Dreamfinder at the time. And he grabbed it and took it in to them to show it to them, and he said this is the kind of character development we can do as being a host for a pavilion; maybe on Imagination. And they said “that’s great, do we get the dragon, too?” And Tony said, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” he kind of threw the dragon in as a . . . this is how I remember him telling me the story . . . The only issue was that, at the time, the dragon was painted green; Figment was green. And Kodak thought that represented a little too much of a Fuji connection, so he turned purple as a result of that.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I enjoyed the news tremendously and will try and find out more soon about this subject. (Thanks to Todd James Pierce for the heads up)
[Floyd Norman has redesigned his blog and has started posting stories again.
The Disney Family Museum site has an interesting blog.
john canemaker has posted photos at JohnCanemaker.com of his book tour of Two Guys Named Joe with pictures from the Disney Studio, Disney Family Museum, Glendale and more....including a funny sketch by Floyd Norman.]
[In actor Charles Nelson Reilly's one man show, "Save It for the Stage" where he does a monolog about his long career in theater, he shares an anecdote I had never heard before concerning Walt Disney. In the Thirties, Reilly's father, Charles Joseph Reilly, was in New York as a painter who painted movies posters for Paramount before photos became the norm. Supposedly, before Walt moved into color, he visited Reilly's studio and complimented him on his use of color and offered him a job in Hollywood. Reilly turned it down because his wife did not want to relocate since all her family was on the East Coast. Anyway, that's the way Charles Nelson Reilly told the story.]
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
While this book contains interviews with Art Babbitt, Woolie Reitherman and a short one with Ward Kimball, it is a beautifully illustrated "text book" first and foremost, aimed at students of animation, not in any way at Disney historians.
Keeping this in mind, one can appreciate the tremendous quality of what Nancy achieved in this volume: using sources that range from the golden age of animation to today's new animated classics she covers more than 20 different subjects related to bringing characters to life, with extreme clarity and focus. I have the feeling that if I had any artistic talent this book would become my bible.
Since I am no artist, though, I will enjoy interviews and the illustrations and hope that many talented artists will pick up this volume in the next few weeks and take advantage of its teachings to bring about a third golden age of traditional animation.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This series of extremely rare unauthorized books about Mickey was apparently created in the '30s by the Roman editor Alfredo Mondini, but it seems they were still sold after WWII in Italy.
Each book is 32 pages long. The texts were written by Mario Scotto and most of the drawings were created by the artist "Aulis".
The series includes 11 books, whose titles are listed below:
-Topolino re dei cuochi
-Topolino e le sue scuse
-Topolino gran poliziotto
-Topolino nella Luna
-Pinocchio avvocato e Topolino imputato
-Pinocchio in duello con il pesce spada ( In it appears Mickey)
-Topolino si dà al commercio
-Topolino celebre dottore
-Topolino a scuola
In Topolino e le sue scuse, one is surpised to discover for the first time Mickey's mother (below).
To read (in Italian) about other intriguing Disney comics from Italy, I recommend a visit to the Disney's Vintage.
Do not miss today:
- Uncle Ray & Uncle Walt by Brian Sibley
- Basil of Baker Street, Part 1 by Mike Peraza
- Basil of Baker Street, Part 2 by Mike Peraza
- Basil of Baker Street, Part 3 by Mike Peraza
- Basil of Baker Street, Part 4 by Mike Peraza
- Remembering Don Griffith by Mike Peraza
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I mentioned two books by Jack Couffer earlier this week: The recently released The Lion and the Giraffe and Song of the Wild Laughter.
What I discovered today is that on top of those two books by Jack Couffer, a book about Jack Couffer and his career, The Still Hunt, had been written in 1965 by Valerie Beardwood.
I have just picked up a copy through Amazon and will review it when I get it. It is likely to contain a lot of information about Jack's Disney-related career.
[I found another ad from Politika daily, it is again an advertisment for Politikin Zabavnik magazine, and it says - "In every issue of Politikin Zabavnik read about Mickey, Minnie, and other Mickey's friends"... It was published in the issue dated September 13th 1940...]
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Let's admit it: rarely have I seen so many excellent books about Disney history released or about to be released at the same time. The fourth book I got from Disney Editions last week is clearly the outstanding one in the lot. Charles Solomon's Tales As Old As Time (The Art of Beauty and the Beast) is clearly a "must have" if you care about the "New Golden Age" of Disney animation, and even if you already have the 1991 version of Bob Thomas' Disney's Art of Animation.
Charles has conducted various new interviews for this book, and, as ever, his text is beautifully written. In fact, as in his best book (The Disney that Never Was) Charles let's the artists themselves tell their stories which makes reading the book even more compelling.
What makes the book truly outstanding, though, is the quality of the artwork selected. The first 50 pages are of particular interest as they cover the genesis of the project and therefore the abandoned version of the movie, when it was supposed to be directed by the Dick and Jill Purdum.
Here is how Tom Sito remembered things in Walt's People - Volume 9:
"We were going to use a British director because, you know, Dick Purdum was very close to Richard Williams. When Dick Purdum worked for Dick he was one of the strongest artists of the Richard Williams crew. Dick’s wife Jill Thomas was an excellent production executive who came from an old British cinema family. Her brother Kevin Thomas produced all the Richard Attenborough epics like Gandhi. The Purdum Animation Company was a very prosperous commercial studio creating TV adverts for the European market."
And not only do we discover beautiful artwork by Hans Bacher and others for this abandoned version of the movie, we also have the pleasure of discovering no less than 7 concept paintings by Mel Shaw created for the project around the same time.
If this were not enough, since Charles mentions briefly the projects that preceeded Beauty and the Beast, he also offers us no less than 6 never-seen-before paintings by Mel Shaw created for The Black Cauldron.
If you have seen those, you already know that they were the best thing that even came out of that project and you can appreciate how much of a treat Charles is giving us.
In summary: A book that I am proud to own and that I will check often with tremendous pleasure.
Ah, and if only Charles could write The Disney That Never Was Number 2 (message to Charles: "hint, hint" :-)
[I wish someone could explain to me why when I am researching something on Disney history, I can never quite seem to find the information I am looking for but often stumble across something terrific about another Disney history topic. I had always heard that there were complaints from audiences about the coarseness of humor from using cow udders in Disney and Warner cartoons and so they were eliminated or minimized but I never saw any documentation other than "well, everybody knows this" kind of statement. Well, here are two paragraphs from TIME magazine (February 16, 1931) from the "Cinema" section and a short article entitled "Regulated Rodent":
Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America last week announced that, because of complaints of many censor boards, the famed udder of the cow in the Mickey Mouse cartoons was now banned. Cows in Mickey Mouse or other cartoon pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed other of Mickey Mouse's patrons. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting when the cow stood still; it also stretched, when seized, in an exaggerated way.
Already censors have dealt sternly with Mickey Mouse. He and his associates do not drink, smoke or caper suggestively. Once a Mickey Mouse cartoon was barred in Ohio because the cow read Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks. German censors ruled out another picture because "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose an army of mice is offensive to national dignity" (TIME, July 21). Canadian censors ruled against another brand of sound cartoon because a leering fish in it writhed up to a mermaid and slapped her on the thigh. But censorship is only a form of public testimony that Mickey Mouse and other animated cartoons are an important and permanent element of international amusement. Sergei Eisenstein, famed Russian director, has said: "They are America's most original contribution to culture. . . ."]
[Harrison “Buzz” Price, the research economist who recommended Anaheim to Walt Disney as the location for Disneyland, passed away Sunday, August 15, at the age of 89. He had been in declining health during the last year, his family said, due to a chronic anemic condition.
“Despite his failing health, he continued to demonstrate his trademark humor, cutting edge wit and enduring love for family and friends,” his son David Price said on behalf of his mother, Anne Shaw Price, and the Price family. “His legacy of laughter, wit, love, passion and commitment leaves its mark on each of us – family, friends and colleagues in the leisure and recreation industry he loved.”
Funeral arrangements will be conducted privately by the family.
“Buzz” Price was recognized as the pioneer in the field of theme parks, resort and leisure-recreation project feasibility almost from the day in 1953 that Walt and Roy
O. Disney chose him “to determine the economic feasibility of the best location for a new project – Disneyland.” Price, an engineering graduate of California Institute of Technology, had joined Stanford Research Institute after receiving his Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University.
“I asked Walt if he had a bias about the location for his Magic Kingdom,” Price recalled years later. “’Absolutely not!’ he said. ‘You tell me where the best location is.’” Price analyzed the potential sites in the Southern California area, ultimately focusing on Orange County after considering population trends, accessibility and climate factors.
They selected 160 acres of orange groves in Anaheim, just off the Santa Ana Freeway at
“We hit it right on the nose,” Price later recalled, “dead center. That was the perfect place for it.”
Encouraged by Walt Disney, Price formed Economics Research Associates (ERA) in 1958. Ultimately, he conducted 150 studies for the Walt Disney Company (including site and feasibility analysis for Walt Disney World in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland) and “over 3,000 projects” for other clients.
“Buzz was the father of our industry of economic consulting,” notes Ray Braun,
Entertainment Practice Leader for AECOM Economics (formerly ERA). “He invented the science. He was mentor to me and many of us in this practice. He set the course and paved the way for us.”
After selling ERA in 1969, most of Price’s projects were under the aegis of his own Harrison Price Company, including studies for eight World’s Fairs, Sea World,
Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, the Six Flags parks, museums, zoos and many feasibility analyses for international projects.
But it was Walt Disney who set Price’s success in motion. “From the time of his first involvement with Dad in selecting the site for Disneyland, Buzz was involved in nearly everything our family did,” recalled Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller.
“Dad’s unexpected death left two major projects incomplete … barely begun, actually,”
Diane said. “But they were projects especially dear to Walt’s heart. Uncle Roy
(Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother and Chairman of the Walt Disney Company) led the family in continuing support of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and in the Walt Disney World project in Florida. Buzz was involved in both, but CalArts in particular.
“Before he entered the hospital,” Diane reminisced, “Dad had placed a stack of notebooks in Buzz’s hands, saying, ‘Here, take care of my school for me!’ Dad knew the hands to place his dream in, that Buzz would see it through … and he did.”
Today, according to its President, Steven Lavine, CalArts has an enrollment of more than 1400 students in all the arts – music, dance, theatre, art, film and animation and critical studies/writing. “For almost the entire life of CalArts, Buzz has been our
‘go to’ person where there was a difficult issue to be addressed,” Lavine stated. “He wrote the original feasibility study for this school, and at one time served as chair of virtually every committee, including Chairman of the Board.”
Since opening its doors in Valencia, California, in 1969, CalArts has launched the careers of a “Who’s Who” of creative alumni in animation, film, theatre, dance and music, including John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Tim Burton, Bob Rogers, Ed
Harris, Andrew Stanton, Katey Segal, Bill Irwin, David Salle, Mike Kelly and Don Cheadle, among many others.
Recognizing over 40 years of leadership, CalArts in 2005 presented Buzz
Price an honorary Doctor of Arts degree. His many leisure-recreation industry honors included the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Themed Entertainment
Association (TEA), induction into the Hall of Fame for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and recognition as a Disney Legend.
Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company when
Buzz was named a Disney Legend in 2003, recognized his role in establishing the Disney parks and resorts. “Buzz Price was as much responsible for the success of the Walt
Disney Company as anybody except Walt Disney himself, in that he worked with Walt not only on finding the sites of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but on many other new initiatives, like the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the 1960 Winter
Olympics in the Lake Tahoe area,” Eisner recalled. “But more than being a pioneer and visionary, he was one of the nicest and most professional and gentle friends of the company.”
Buzz Price’s concepts in economic analysis are clearly spelled out in his seminal book, “Walt’s Revolution – By the Numbers”, published in 2003 by Ripley Entertainment. Buzz’s advice to all: “Guessing is dysfunctional. Ignoring prior experience is denial. Using valid numbers to project performance is rational.”
(His friend Terry Van Gorder, former President of Knott’s, called it “roller coaster math.”)
Born May 17, 1921 in Oregon City, Oregon, Buzz Price grew up in
Southern California, graduating from San Bernardino High School before receiving his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Tech, and his MBA at Stanford. While attending
Cal Tech, he met his future wife, Anne Shaw, who was attending Pomona College. They were married in 1944.
At the time of his death, after retiring in 2005, Buzz and Anne Price made their home at Mt. San Antonio Gardens in Pomona. Buzz is survived by an artistic family: His wife, Anne Shaw Price, a former vocalist; daughter Holly Shaw Ristuccia, who performs with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and her husband Al Ristuccia of Claremont, Ca.; daughter and artist Dana Price and her husband Ken Powell of Sausalito, Ca.; son and sculptor Bret Price and his wife Rae Lynn of Orange, Ca.; son and architect David A.
Price and his wife Alicia of Irvine, Ca; nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren and his sister, Patricia Scott Mannarino of Oakland, Ca.
To honor Harrison “Buzz” Price’s contributions to Southern California’s culture and community, the Price family suggests contributions to any of “three projects
Buzz loved”: the Music Scholarship program at CalArts, where he was a Director
Emeritus; the Los Angeles Master Chorale, where Buzz was a founding board member and former President; and Ryman Arts, a program for talented high school artists, where
Buzz and Anne Price were founders and board members of the foundation named in honor of their friend, artist Herbert Ryman, who drew the first overall depiction of Disneyland for Walt Disney.
“Few people have created the opportunities for learning and training young talent in the arts as Buzz Price did,” stated Marty Sklar, President of Ryman Arts and retired Vice-Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering. “Whether we are film, theatre or theme park fans, we should all thank our lucky stars that Walt Disney had a ‘numbers man’ who loved music, art and poetry.”
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Since I am preparing an interview with Couffer I will also soon read the autobiography of his colleague William R. Koehler, The Wonderful World of Disney Animals, as well as Couffer's other book about his work for Disney, Song of Wild Laughter.
I never realized that the world of Disney's nature productions could be so compelling.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I have just received a huge quantity of fascinating and never transcribed before interviews by Bob Thomas (pictured above) and Dave Smith for future volumes of Walt's People. I was already overwhelmed by the large number of interviews by John Culhane that I was trying to get transcribed (not mentioning a few long ones by Joe Adamson). I am now faced with about 80 interviews that need to be transcribed.
The usual network of transcribers that are already working pro-bono for Walt's People is no longer enough. Could anyone else help?
Like all of the previous volumes in the series it is an excellent book that should have been much, much bigger. It features very interesting behind the scenes information, but is even more valuable for the large quantity of renderings it contains. Unfortunately those renderings are too small to enjoy properly. I admit that I am in awe of Bryan Jowers', Frank Armitage's, Nina Rae Vaughn's and Collin Campbell's paintings and that I would have liked to see them as full A4 illustrations not in a stamp-like format. Oh well.
The book is still worth picking up, for those great illustrations and for never-seen-before abandoned projects like the Keystone Kops attraction on page 43.
In summary: With a few reservations, a "must have" for Disney park enthusiasts.
- The Strange and Tragic Life of Hal Adelquist by Amid Amidi
- Lost Fred Moore Animation Discovered on eBay by Amid Amidi
- Disney interview in TV Guide (1961) by Jerry Beck
- The Ryman Centennial: Safari So Good by Michael Crawford
- "Pixar: 25 Years of Animation" reveals the art at the heart of all those hits by Jim Hill
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
One of them (The Answer Is Yes: The Making and Art of Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice) does not have its place on this blog, not because it is not a good book (if you liked the movie you will probably enjoy the book very much) but simply because, according to my definitions, it is not linked to "Disney history". The other three books are definitely worth reviewing and I will do so starting today and over the upcoming days.
It took me a few minutes to understand Jeff Kurrti's new book, Disneyland - From Once Upon a Time to Happily Ever After. When I first browsed through it I thought: "Photos that I have already seen many times. Souvenir book available only in the Park. Not worth much attention."
I then took another more careful look at this short softcover book and realized I was wrong (although it is a Park-exclusive). The book is definitely a "nice-to-have" based on its excellent concept. Each spread shows one photo of Disneyland in the '50s or '60s and another photo of the same area of the park today. The comparisions are definitely fun and Jeff's short text contains enough information that the book makes a good addition to park enthusiasts' libraries.
In summary: A book that really deserves more than one glance. Not an absolutely necessary addition to anyone's library, but a really nice-to-have.
Once again Jeff did it, creating a strong introduction to Disneyland history for the general audience.
Alexander Rannie says:
[Jim Korkis's always terrific research covers the bases for the /Snow White/ show and I thought I'd offer the following as a small supplement for anyone interested in further information about "Lux Presents."
While working on a CD-ROM encyclopedia of Disney characters in 1993 (never released), I had to track down performer information for the Lux /Snow White/ show and, at that time, the Disney Archives did not have a cast list for the show. Research led me to Connie Billips, one of the authors of a soon-to-be-released book about Lux Radio Theatre (more info below), and she kindly provided me with the information I was looking for (which I subsequently passed along to the Disney Archives).
Though Ms. Billips's book is out-of-print, copies can still be found through online sources such as Amazon.com and BookFinder.com. And local libraries can usually arrange an inter-library loan (if they don't already have a copy) using WorldCat.org as a good starting point.
Here is the book citation:
Billips, Connie J. and Arthur Pierce, Lux Presents Hollywood: A Show-By-Show History of the Lux Radio Theatre and the Lux Video Theatre, 1934-1957 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 1995). ISBN-10: 089950938X]
- TRACED PINOCCHIO COMICS IN TURKISH CHILDREN'S MAGAZINE FROM 1945-46 by Kaya Özkaracalar
- Who was Pleasure Island's Raoul Manzanera? by Wade Sampson
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
[I am currently doing research for a post on the December 26, 1938 Lux Radio Theater presentation of Snow White.
In particular, I am trying to confirm the actual voice actors who reprised their roles from the film. While I'm able to identify a number of them from the audio recording, others are just different enough that it's difficult to be sure.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find much info. Most of the material I've found so far states that "many" of the actors returned, but just who is not specified.
Would you have info on this performance that Walt Disney appeared in? And specifically, do you know if the main characters were played by the original actors?]
[What a great question!
Here is the information I have in my files. I don't know if I would say "many" of the original voice actors returned. I would probably say "some". I can't guarantee it is a hundred percent correct but I haven't seen any other refutation of this information:
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (12-26-38). Starring Thelma Hubbard (Snow White), James Eagles (Prince), Roy Atwell (Doc), Billy Gilbert (Sneezy), Rolfe Sedan (Happy), Jack Smart (Bashful), Lou Merrill (Sleepy), Moroni Olsen (Mirror), Stuart Buchanan (Grumpy/Huntsman), Paula Winslowe (Queen) and Gloria Gordon (Witch). Of course, there is no voice for Dopey.
Folks like Lou Merrill who did Sleepy were "utility performers" filling in a variety of odd little side voices for a show. He did a lot of this work for LUX RADIO THEATER in the early years.
Thelma Hubbard (1909-1978) later married and became Thelma Boardman which is why on the voices credits for the Disney animated film BAMBI you can find both Thelma Hubbard and Thelma Boardman listed as supplying the voice for the character of Mrs. Quail (as well as two or three other small incidental characters).
I wish I knew more about Thelma who I would call "The Forgotten Snow White". Why was she brought in to do Snow White's voice rather than Adrianna Caselotti who did it in the movie? I assume it is because Thelma had more experience on radio and more experience doing Snow White's voice. For one thing, she did the Spanish dub of Snow White's voice for the original theatrical release. For another, on the MICKEY MOUSE THEATER OF THE AIR radio show earlier in 1938, she not only supplied the voice of Minnie Mouse (and would do the voice for a handful of theatrical shorts in the early Forties) but also did Snow White (in English) for two of the shows.]
Can anyone else help?
Sunday, August 08, 2010
[Some might enjoy Disney related vintage French TV coverages!One comment about the caveman of the NY World Fair is quite hilarious: the narrator, not knowing what he sees, claims "the joy of scraching" while actually the primitive man rubs his ... fanny being warmed up by a fire! LOL!
Thursday, August 05, 2010
- Photo Flashback: Disney in the late-1930s by Amid Amidi
- The Ryman Centennial: A Community Of Tomorrow by Michael Crawford
- The Ryman Centennial: The 21st Century Begins by MIchael Crawford
- "Two Guys Named Joe" celebrates the creative legacy of two Disney Legends by Jim Hill
- Chuck Jones at the MacDowell Colony by John Canemaker
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
[Dick Huemer's assistant was Frank Oreb, older brother of Tom Oreb. He died very young of cancer (at the age of 35 in 1941).]
This just in from Jim Korkis:
[One of the things that still amazes me about the internet is just like the dusty, crowded used book stores I used to spend hours rummaging around in hopes of finding some forgotten treasure, that sometimes by accident it is possible to stumble across some gem that would not have been found with a more dedicated search. Just recently, while searching for something else, I stumbled across this wonderful, never before shared, memory of a son about his parents involvement in the Disneyland televsion show and the Disneyland park. Just another never known piece of the Disney History jigsaw puzzle.]
Also not to be missed today:
- So Dear to My Heart: The Secrets Behind the Film by Wade Sampson
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
This just in from Sasa Rakezik:
[Here is an ad from Belgrade's Politika daily. It was published on August 30th 1940, and it advertises Politikin zabavnik, or more precisely the Donald Duck strips which were published in that magazine. The ad says: "Out every Tuesday and Friday... Politikin Zabavnik in each issue brings new adventures by Donal Duck... A single issue costs 1 dinar".]
Do not miss today:
- BRITISH ALICE COMICS IN TURKISH CHILDREN'S MAGAZINE FROM 1952 by Kaya Özkaracalar
- 56th Signal Battalion - insignia by David Lesjak