Friday, September 02, 2011

The elusive Charles "Cap" Palmer

I received earlier this week the following email from a friend at Disney. Can anyone help?

[I am trying to get hold of a photo of Charles "Cap" Palmer, a writer who worked for Disney for about five years in the forties/fifties and had a key role in developing the story of Lady and the Tramp. Do you perhaps have a photo of this gentleman, or do you know how I might find one? The Academy library has a photo but getting hold of it is complicated since it belongs to the deMille Collection. The WGAw has nothing.

Palmer was a New England businessman (he possibly went to Dartmouth, since he's mentioned in one of their alumni mags, and claimed to have played trombone in a jazz band to work his way through school) who moved to L.A. (where his wife was from) in the '30s from Boston and started writing instructional books ("How to Sing for Money" was one of them) as well as short fiction for magazines (Colliers etc.), and started writing radio scripts around 1940. Walt's wife apparently read one of his pieces in Cosmopolitan and recommended him to Walt. He and Walt became friendly and drove to work together every day, as gas was rationed at that time (they lived a few blocks apart, Disney in the well-to-do section, and Palmer in the "trying hard" section, according to his account). He worked for Disney for five years, helping to develop Alice in Wonderland and Lady and the Tramp, then went on to become a screenwriter and has five credits on IMDB. He founded Parthenon Pictures around 1954, I believe, which became a major producer of business and documentary films. He was born in 1901 per IMDB and died in 2005, according to the WGA.]

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