Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I have to admit that I probably would not have thought of picking up this book. But I had the pleasure of receiving of a review copy and I feel lucky to now own it. As you probably noticed, I have become fascinated by the True-Life Adventures over the past few months and African Cats seems to be a worthy successor to that classic series (I have not yet seen the movie but I am now looking forward to it thanks to this beautiful book). In addition, our trip to South Africa a few years ago exposed us for the first time to the beauty of that continent and of its fauna. A sense of wonder which never left me.

Which is probably why I started reading this bookthe moment I got it and loved every bit of it. The text is well-written. It is beautifully illustrated. It feels like a very long issue of National Geographic. My only reservation is the fact that it does not feature any image about the making of the movie. In other words no photos of men and women actually shooting it. And no words about pre-production work.

In summary: A beautiful book, which you will love if you are interested in African wildlife or in contemporary True-Life Adventures.
Do not miss today:

- World War One Walt by Jim Korkis
- Fighting the War with Ink and Paint: Recap with Paul F. Anderson

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This just in from Philippe Videcoq:

[I will auction off on Saturday June 11 an exceptional item, the very rare 1929 Mickey Mouse model sheet, probably drawn by Les Clark and coming from the Burt Gillett estate. It appears on page 46 of Pierre Lambert's book about Mickey and was featured in the "Once Upon a Time Walt Disney" exhibition that took place in 2007-2008 at the Grand Palais in Paris, then in Montréal, Munich and Helsinki.

Here is the link to the auction.]

Friday, May 27, 2011

There is really "treasure everywhere," as mentioned a few days ago on this blog.

Jim Korkis had heard that a few years ago, Disney Legend Ron Logan had written his memoirs. Finding that manuscript became a small obsession with me (as is always the case when I hear of the autobiography of a key Disney artist or executive).

A few weeks ago I managed to track it down. It turns out that the "book," written by Logan in 2001, has been released as support material for a course that Professor Logan teaches at University of Central Florida. Titled Walt Disney Entertainment, A Retrospective Look (1955 - 2000) it offers a very interesting history of Disney's live entertainment in the parks, through Logan's and some of his colleagues' recollections.

If you decide to order it, it will reach you as 144 not-bound pages (As mentioned it really is seen by Logan as support material for his course, not as a book - although that's what it really is after you bind it).

Thanks to my partner in crime Jim Korkis and to Ron Logan's assistant Bill Zanetti I was able to find out how to order it. Just follow this link.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I jumped the gun two weeks ago and removed the post a few hours after it went up. But it's now official, Jake Friedman is working on a biography of Art Babbitt. To say that Jake has done his homework is an understatment. I believe that book will be probably be THE definitive book on Babbitt.

If you have unusual documents related to Art, please email me and I will put you in touch with Jake.

This just in from Phil Rushton:

[You might be intrigued by some pages that I recently came across in the first three issues of IPC's obscure 1972 educational magazine Walt Disney's Now I Know. While most of this publication was taken up with relatively uninteresting facts and puzzles it also included a handful of fascinating historical features in which cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were incorporated into realistic scenes that seem to have been specially painted by top British comic artists (almost like a reversal of the live-action/cartoon sequences used in films such as Mary Poppins). For example I'm not sure how much involvement they had with the principal cartoon characters seen but it's clear to me that the examples below were mostly drawn by Patrick Nicolle and the great Ron Embleton (of Wulf the Briton and Trigan Empire fame).

Here is also the cover of issue no.1 in which the Pat Nicolle page appeared (I'm not sure of the artist in this case), and the second half of the Ron Embleton feature on Ancient Egypt from no.2 (the continuation of this in no.3 was illustrated by Angus McBride - another well-known British artist).

Now I Know, like its companion Disneyland, was produced in London by the editorial team responsible for Look & Learn (home of the famous 'Trigan Empire' strip) in association with the Disney Studios in Holywood.]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This just in through Julie Svendsen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I had the pleasure to receive last week thanks to John Wigmans and Phil Rushton the autobiography of English artist Basil Reynolds, one of the two key artists of the 1930s Mickey Mouse Weekly, along with Wilfred Haughton. The autobiography had been published by Denis Gifford in the English fanzine The Illustrated Comic Journal.

I will release this document in a future issue of Walt's People.

As Jim Korkis (and Calvin and Hobbes) reminded me: "There's treasure everywhere."
Do not miss today:

- Historic 1928 Disney announcement by David Lesjak
- Coming by popular demand! 1929 Mickey Mouse ad by David Lesjak
- And you call that a vacation? by David Lesjak

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This just in from Amid Amidi:

[Not sure if you know, but that famous caricature of Walt was drawn by Milt Kahl.

Enclosed is the proof I found in one of Ward's photo albums =)]

Friday, May 20, 2011

I have just picked up this great French 1930s needle kit and I thought you would enjoy seeing it. It was prodiced by Charles Leruth & Cie. in Aix-La-Chapelle.
Do not miss today:

- Chronicle’s Fall 2011 Animation Books by Amid Amidi
- Paul F. Anderson shares the untold history of the war years at Walt Disney Studios by Jim Hill
- ALICE COMEDIES ad June 21, 1925 by Mark Sonntag
- Don Rosa's Never Published Disney-MGM Comic by Jeff Pepper

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This just in from Are Myklebust:

[Here is the link to the website of a Swedish female modern artist, who has made a real life model of the interior of the trailer from the classic Mickey Mouse short, “Mickey’s Trailer” (1938) - that even works! There is also video of the process on her website (just click on one of the images). Quite amazing!]

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This just in from Mark Sonntag:

[A few days ago Cartoon Brew posted a link to Film Daily scans available online. Here's some of my favorites which I've uncovered. I really love the Skeleton Dance ad. Feel free to post them. I've uncovered a bunch of reviews for the Alice, Oswald, Mickey and Symphonies shorts which I'll post next week. I should be storyboarding, but this was too exciting.]

Do not miss today:

- A Walt Disney World Duo - Golf Championship and the First Candelight by Jim Korkis
- 1922 Laugh-O-Gram ad and a 1925 Disney biography by David Lesjak
- ALICE GETS IN DUTCH review by Mark Sonntag
- THE SKELETON DANCE ad by Mark Sonntag
- PLANE CRAZY write up by Mark Sonntag

Monday, May 16, 2011

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[There is a "lost" book written and illustrated by Disney legendary animator and director Jack Kinney in the late Seventies It was roughly 135 (xeroxed) pages and done for the Institute for Career and Vocational Training in Culver City, California (Executive director at the time was Ira Englander). The cover was done by Jack Kinney and proclaimed that the the title was "Learn Animation: It's Your Move". However, the title page claims the manual is actually entitled "Animation: A Piece of Paper And A Pencil and You" by Jack Kinney. There is no copyright anywhere in the book.

It terms of a manual of how to do animation, it is hopelessly outdated and its long glossary of animation terms seems as relevant as describing the parts of a buggy whip. In terms of the history of animation, there are no anecdotes or references that would help connect the dots. This is a straight forward basic "how to animate" book with no stories. While the book does xerox off examples of certain artists like Heinrich Kley and some badly washed out photos, the real treasure in the book are the previously unpublished drawings by Kinney himself. Just like the more famous Preston Blair book, there are pages and pages and pages of Kinney showing how to do character construction, expressions, lip sync, gags, and more. For a true Kinney fan, the joy is that occasionally he will include a sketch hidden in with dozens of other sketches of Mickey Mouse or Popeye or even Disney storyman Roy Williams to illustrate his point. Those drawings by Kinney are probably the only reason for a Disney fan or animation fan to try to track down a copy. ]

This just in by Greg Heberlein:

[I bought a Walt-autographed Simon & Shuster Art of Animation last year from Howard Lowery. Since there was no dust jacket, I shopped for another copy so I could put a dust jacket on the autographed copy. The second book turned out to be a 1958 Golden Press publication, the one in which the dust jacket matches the Golden Press book's cover as well as the Simon & Shuster dust jacket. Do you know anything about how the Golden Press edition came to be? Although mine has a 1958 publication date, it includes material into the early 1960s.]

Could anyone answer that question?
This is a French mystery novel, which I saw in a bookshop two weeks ago while on vacation. Horrible enough for me not to be the only one to have bad dreams about it ;-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I was looking recently for any possible information about a Disney secretary who was part of one of the short cartoon units at the Studio in the '50s. I was not expecting to find anything. But I did: she was listed among the credits of a Disney short... in one place only, a page of the book Animated Film Encyclopedia: A Complete Guide to American Shorts, Features, And Sequences, 1900-1979 by Graham Webb. This caught my attention. Having reviewed that book in more details, I realized that it was the tool I had been looking for for years: a place where one can find detailed credits of all the Disney shorts (or at least all the shorts created for general release), including most or all of the animators who worked on each short, the layout artists, the story men, etc!

This is a treasure trove for researchers when it comes to reference books. I am still puzzled as to how Graham pulled it off: by checking all the animator drafts? By getting the information from some of the artists? In any case, to me the result is priceless. Graham is working on a second edition which will be released shortly. I will try and interview him soon for this blog.

A note of caution: there are several versions of the first edition of the book, including one in two volumes. I believe I am linking to the complete-one-volume set.

Do not miss today:

- The Mysterious Jack... by Steven Hartley
- Lost Treasures - Adventureland by Maxime
- Lost Treasures - Frontierland by Maxime
- Lost Treasures - Fantasyland by Maxime

Saturday, May 14, 2011

You should check this article which has just been released on http://www.awn.com/ (forget the two or three typos it contains). I was particularly frustrated at the Blogger outage this week as it prevented me to share with you yesterday morning this great shot of Freddie Moore and Art Babbitt which Jake used to illustrate his article.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This book seems to be pretty well done and I will pick up my own copy soon.

Do not miss today:

- New Disney History Discoveries by Jim Korkis
- "Working with Disney" gives you an up-close look at Walt Disney, the man by Jim Hill
- SAMLAND - Disney World Essentials by Sam Gennaway

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Although this book is aimed at kids, I have a feeling it might contain some good information about former Disney artist Wah Ming Chang. I will let you know as soon as I get it.
This just in from Carlene Thie. I have a feeling that this could be an interesting DVD. (I have not seen it yet)

Monday, May 09, 2011

I am not yet sure if this new book by Bear Manor Media contains much about James Sheldon's work for Disney, but I will soon find out when I get the book. I am also planning to interview Sheldon in the near future.
The table of contents of issue 16 of Tales of the Laughing Place has been announced and there is a lot I am looking forward to in it.

This just in from S/R Labs.

Do not miss today:

- Forgotten Dreams: The Woodcutter's House by Jeff Pepper (Great stuff)
- Disney’s “Understanding Stresses and Strains” (1968) by Jerry Beck
- The Social Side of Health
- Steps Towards Maturity and Health
- Mary Blair, Fred Moore and Some Other Dude by Amid Amidi
- Two new books you MUST buy! by Jerry Beck
- Letter from Charles Mintz by Mark Sonntag
- Dick Van Dyke's memoir reveals what it was really like to work with Walt by Jim Hill
- The Forgotten Story of Dixie Landings by Jim Korkis
- The Sad Song of the South by Jim Korkis
- Bonus Sunday on Vintage Disneyland Tickets