I had the pleasure to interview Jack Lindquist by email about his upcoming book In Service to the Mouse.
Didier Ghez: When and how did you decide to write your memoirs?
Jack Lindquist: I had been urged by many people since my retirement in 1993. I started taping some thoughts in 2000 then had a stroke in 2001 and the project was put on hold. In 2005 the Dean of Creative Arts at Chapman University told me I should write a book about the experiences I was telling him about. I told Dr. Jim Doti, President of Chapman University about the meeting and he agreed that there was a book there. I went back to the same guy, and asked him if he knew anybody that could help me write the book. He said yes, and referred merto a young Chapman alum and creative writer who was also a teacher at the Orange County High School of the Performing Arts as well as at Chapman. Her name was Melinda (Mini) J.
Combs. We met, had lunch, talked about my wanting to write a book about my 38 years at Disneyland. I told her I had a title in mind, "In Service To The Mouse". She agreed to take on the project; and a mere 5 years later, the rest, as they say, is literary history.
DG: How did you work with co-author Melinda Combs on this project (Did you detail your life and career through a long series of taped interviews? Did you send Melinda written material about your life and career...?)
JL: The first year was 1 to 3 hours a week taping. The second year was still primarily taping, but we both started putting things on paper. The third year Mindi began organizing the material in book form. Chapters, etc. The fourth year we basically wrapped up the book. Mindi would ask me to expand or clarify certain things. The fifth year has been getting the book published. Agents,publishers, rejections, etc. Then fortunately, through Chapman, we met Mary Platt who put us in touch with Kris Elftmann of Noelle Marketing Group. This association led to Chapman University Press and Neverland Media, LLC publishing "In Service To The Mouse".
DG: What are some of the most suprising stories that readers will discover in the book?
JL: The meetings and events involving some very famous people such as Bobby Kennedy, the Shah & Shahbeneau of Iran, Imelda Marcos of the Phillipines, and Gene Autry. The formation of the Magic Kingdom Club, Grad Nights, and DateNites, among others. Advance Ticketing Concepts, GiftGiver Extrordinaire, Cornfield Mickey, Disney Dollars. Working 38 years with the top management at Disney including Walt, Roy Disney Sr., Card Walker, Donn Tatum,
Ron Miller, Ray Watson, Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, Roy Disney, Jr.
DG: Do you cover your whole career at Disney in this book or do you only focus on some specific parts of that career? (For example do you discuss your role on Disney projects that were not Disneyland, like EPCOT?)
JL: My whole Disney career. From pre-Opening of Disneyland, to Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center (World Showcase & Future World), Tokyo Disneyland, Paris Disneyland.
DG: Is the book illustrated or is it pure text?
JL: Pure text.
DG: Do you know any of your former colleagues that would also be working on writting their memoirs at the moment?
JL: I understand that Marty Sklar, retired Vice-Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, is planning a book on his 45 year involement with the Walt Disney Co. Melinda Combs and I are beginning work on our second publication, "Before the Mouse".