Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walt's People - Volume 11 will contain an interview by Gord Wilson with Disney artist Jacques Rupp, who - among other things - worked with Ward Kimball on the space shows.

Before joining Disney and after leaving the Studio Jacques also had a fascinating career. Gord was kind enough to send me those three documents related to him.

[The caricature at the top was attached to a letter from the state governor when, in 1976, he won the Washington State Press Award. The sketch is signed Kemp, who I think was a colleague at the Seattle Times at the time. His first name is, I think, Jack.]

[This document is a shred of a storyboard at Animation Inc.]

[And finally an interesting modern painting on wood, perhaps a sketch for a work in progress.]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Are Myklebust attracted my attention this weekend towards this exceptionally rare English flip-book currently being sold on ebay.

I doubt that it is from 1930 (and certainly not from 1929!) as the seller claims or that it is the first Mickey Mouse "book" known to exist (the first Flip the Frog cartoon was released in August 1930 in the US and there is a Flip the Frog flip book in the series), but it is in any case out of the ordinary.

What make things even more exciting is that there was at least one other Mickey Mouse flip book in the series (see above).

And I love the fact that the ebay seller shot the exact name and address of the company which manufactured those items. One more small piece of the jigsaw puzzle found today thanks to Are.

Do not miss today:

- Marc & Milt by Andreas Deja
- What Walt Said by Jim Korkis
- Willie Ito, E3 Expo, and more by Steven Ng

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This upcoming book could be a great reference, but it is definitely too expensive.

Do not miss today:

- Disneyland History 1955 - The Frontier Train (video) by Todd James Pierce
- “It’s Not Cricket to Pass a Picket”– The Disney Strike 70 Years Later by Harvey Deneroff
- Inking at Disney, circa 1931 by Michael Barrier

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Who is Charles Shows? Shows was a writer, but because he inflated his accomplishments (including claiming he created the Bob Clampett puppet show “Time for Beany” and originated “The Flintstones” for Hanna-Barbera) in press interviews over the decades and in his book, Walt: Backstage Adventures with Walt Disney (1980), it is hard to separate his very real and important accomplishments from imaginative puffery.

I have been researching Shows because he was hired by the Disney Studios in 1954 to work on the trilogy of space shows for Disney’s weekly television series. I will be doing a very special presentation on Saturday July 23 at the Disney Family Museum on Walt’s fascination on outer space, which will cover those shows as well as new material about them that I have uncovered recently.

Shows was hired primarily because he had been working on a Los Angeles based local television outer space adventure show for KTLA. Over the years, many have assumed it was the show “Space Patrol” but it was actually “Commander Comet”, a five day a week show with puppets that lasted over two years and starred Larry Harmon as Commander Comet just about a year and a half before he auditioned for the part of Bozo the Clown. Shows later wrote episodes for the syndicated Bozo the Clown animated series.

Shows did not prove valuable working with Ward Kimball and seems to have been moved over to working on the True Life Adventure series and the People and Places series before leaving Disney in 1957 to work with Hanna-Barbera on the launch of “Ruff and Reddy” and “Huckleberry Hound”. Shows claims to have worked at Disney for a decade as a “writer-director-producer” and apparently did some scripting on the television show of Walt’s contributions to the 1964 World’s Fair.

The photo of Shows (from his now defunct website) in front of the storyboard (Shows appears on the right) may be for “African Lion” but the sign in back says “Explorer’s Club” and the board itself looks like the creation story from “Man in Space”. I have no idea who the guy of the left is.

Does anyone have any more information about Shows at Disney?

Would any reader of this blog know if former Disney animator Leroy Cross (left on this caricature) is still alive and if so, how I could get in touch with him? Please email me at
Do not miss today:

- COVERING DISNEY For Disneyland Railroad Week by Paul F. Anderson
- Disney in-jokes make Goofy's Sky School great fun for animation history buffs by Shelly Valladolid

Friday, June 24, 2011

Remember the book I mentioned on Monday about the Disneyland Hotel? I never thought that I would fall in love with a book on a subject like this. And yet, having had a chance to have a look yesterday at some of its content, I have fallen in love with it and I have a strong feeling that it will be featured on my top-5 Disney history books of the year.

It contains so many never-seen-before photos of Walt and Roy that this in itself would convert me. But it also has a tremendous amount of information about the early days of the park and its surroundings, which really helps. More than anything, what generates my enthusiasm is that Don Ballard has clearly gathered everything there is to know on the subject... and I really mean everything.

Here is what Don had to say about this new book and about the amazing new documents he found:

[I was recently allowed access to a storage vault owned by the Wrather family, original owners of the Disneyland Hotel. What was contained within the vault absolutely blew me away. I scanned over 600 photographs detailing many historical happenings through the years at the Disneyland Hotel. There were 1955 groundbreaking photos which I know have not been seen in over 55 years. Pictures showing Roy Disney and Anaheim officials at this event along with an amazing group shot of all in attendance. I also scanned more than 20 new pictures of Walt Disney at the Disneyland Hotel. There were over 120 new pictures from the Hotel's "official" opening day in August of 1956. These not only show the many celebrities and guests but also the Disneyland Band in attendance, the dinner banquet and many new pictures of original partner Helen Alvarez. Many color shots (very rare) from the 50's. From a historical perspective, this was a very significant find and I cannot possibly do justice to the contents in an email.

And if this weren't enough, I also have cans of film (which I have since converted to DVD) on the Disneyland Hotel. One film is over 2,000 feet making this over an hour in length and has an interview with Walt Disney in it I have never seen before. There is one that gives a guided tour of the Hotel into rooms, restaurants, shops, the lobby, the kitchen and the grounds from 1957. Another film details the features and amenities of the Hotel (in beautiful color around 1970) which was displayed on channel 6 in your guest room at the Hotel. This film has Bonita Granville as your host showing you the features of the Hotel. Another of a TV ad being filmed for the Hotel from 1957/58 in living color. A film titled "A Special Place" features the groundbreaking of the first Tower Building as well as many internal shots of shops, restaurants and meeting facilities. One with footage from the Hotel's opening day in August of 1956 with Walt Disney in it. More details on the films below.

There are even pictures with the Beatles....yes John, Paul, George and Ringo and the Wrathers.

I have converted all cans of film to DVD. Contents are as follows:

1957 B&W City of Hope Telerama-fundraising TV show (KTLA) for COH. Shot on the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel featuring an interview with Walt Disney by Bonita Granville, the Disneyland Band, Fess Parker, the Mouseketeers with several skits and roll call also various celebrity guests and dignitaries attending the event. Over 1 hour in length.

1957 Success Story B&W sponsored by Richfield which features a walk-through of the Disneyland Hotel including ultra rare interior shops, kitchen area, conference rooms, original lobby, an original guest room, Presidential Suite with an interview featuring the Wrather family, restaurants and lounges. Also strays over to Disneyland during a dream sequence. Approx. 30 minutes.

1960 Sweet Success Partial B&W and color featuring the many world's of Jack Wrather. Has some very rare Disneyland Hotel footage as well as many other areas of the Jack Wrather organization. Partially filmed at the Disneyland Hotel. Footage of the Wrather's sailing on the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner. Approx. 30 minutes.

1958 color footage from a television ad shot at the Disneyland Hotel featuring a Marilyn Monroe look-alike beautiful blond. Opens with the model driving into the Hotel in a wonderful 1958 Dodge convertible followed by registration, shopping, dining, sunning in a shimmering gold bathing suit, the grounds, the pool and the Hotel signage. This includes outtakes from the photo shoot. Rare interior shops footage, orange trees, interior lobby, first Hotel manager and the owner of Gourmet Restaurants. No sound although I do have the sound reel and could get it. Approx. 37 minutes.

1970ish Channel 6 footage which was the in-room channel at the Disneyland Hotel listing the many features and restaurants at the Disneyland Hotel. Hosted by Bonita Granville. Features long-gone restaurants and interior footage, the Marina, Hula dancers, the brand new lobby for 1970, Dancing Waters and many other attractions. Approx. 15 minutes.

1961-62-A Special Place-wonderful color footage with sound, see more for description above.

Wrather home movies featuring Disneyland '59 shot in June less than one week after Disneyland opened the Matterhorn, Monorail and Submarine Voyage.....the mini-golf course at the Disneyland Hotel in 1962 probably six months after the facility opened. Other guests enjoying the amenities at the Disneyland Hotel from 1956. The Disneyland Hotel Tram, special VIP guest entrance, attraction footage, parking lot filled with vintage automobiles, concession stands plus much more.

The above is in addition to the hundreds of photographs probably not seen in 50 years or more, some maybe never by the public.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tomorrow is a holiday in Spain. The blog will be updated again on Friday.
I have to admit that I am really not a fan of "self-help" books. But I enjoy Don Hahn and what he stands for very much, so I was very curious to read his new book. I knew it would not contain much about Disney history, but nevertheless I was not disappointed. Brainstorm is an easy read and it contains five or six very nice stories about Don's work on The Lion King, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and a few other Disney projects, which I had either never-read before or totally forgotten.

If you already own Don Hahn's Dancing Corndogs in the Night or if you really only care about Disney History, then you probably do not need this book. If on the other hand you want to read quite a few very inspiring stories by one of the best of Disney's "good guys" this book is for you.
Do not miss today:

- The Two Tales of Scales at Port Orleans by Jim Korkis

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do any of you have any idea of when Disney-composer Robert Sherman's upcoming autobiography (Moose) will be released? It was supposed to be out in 2010 and I don't believe any news have been released since then.

Do not miss today:

- DHI NEWS GETS BETTER & BETTER Disney History Institute Channel by Paul F. Anderson
- Disney Dads: Chris Crump on Rolly Crump
- Disney Dads: Ted Thomas on Frank Thomas
- Lounsbery & Johnston by Andreas Deja (where the great video above comes from)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I just heard over the weekend about this upcoming book by Don Ballard titled Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove, thanks to Jim Korkis, and I have to admit that I am extremely excited about it.

On his blog Don says: [The book will feature over 325 pictures, the overwhelming majority not seen ever by the public or for over 50 years: Walt and Roy Disney rare pictures, overhead shots, new groundbreaking and opening day shots....the book is amazing!]

I should be able to review a few chapters soon and will let you know my thoughts as soon as this is the case.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I always enjoy the Armchair Archivists series. The latest one (bottom) is particularly good.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The only major European country that did not have its Disney magazine before the war was obviously Germany. Hitler had come to power in January 1933. But there was, nonetheless, a Disney magazine in German published in… Switzerland. Micky Maus Zeitung was born thanks to publisher Bollmann from Zurich, in December 1936 (when its issue 0 was released) and lived till September 1937 (issue number 18).

I love the covers of this pre-WWII magazine and am sharing a few here.

A few years ago facsimiles of all the issues were released in Germany. If anyone knows where I could locate them, I would love to buy all of them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thanks to Gunnar Andreassen for pointing me in the direction of those great Horvath drawings on Heritage Auctions.

Do not miss today:

- MAMMOTH Disney History Institute News ... by Paul F. Anderson
- Ward Kimball by Andreas Deja
- Stargazing at Mickey's Gala Premier by Jeff Pepper
- Secrets of the Rocketeer by Jim Korkis

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interesting photo of a meeting between Ward Kimball and Tezuka Osamu (creator of Astroboy).

Thanks to Paul Reiter for the information (through which allowed me to locate it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Interesting photo of Ward Kimball and Bill Walsh from the Kimball estate being sold at the moment on ebay. According to the caption:

[U.S.C. Disney Tribute, November 22, 1968, L to R: Douglas Knapp (student), Ward Kimball & Bill Walsh, Richard Franklin (student).]
The Disney Books Network was updated this weekend.
Do not miss today

- WALT AT ZERMATT by Michael Barrier
- New Tomorrowland Construction by Paul F. Anderson
- Milt Kahl II by Andreas Deja

Friday, June 10, 2011

And this is a Spanish box containing four beautiful Mickey and friends jigsaw puzzles, which was probably released between 1932 and 1933.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Help needed

As ever, I am swamped under un-transcribed interviews (and the Walt's People team of volunteers is busy transcribing). Most of those interviews are absolutely fascinating and cover subjects as varied as Walt himself, Disney animation, Disney's trains, Imagineering, and much, much more.

Any volunteers?

Please email me at

Update about Walt's People - Volume 11

It looks as if the manuscript will be ready for review by the contributors around the middle of next week, which in practical terms means that the book should be released around the end of August or more likely early September.

Here is the introduction (the Foreword has been provided by John Canemaker and the cover drawing is being created by none other that John Musker).

[One of my dreams would be to know that all the artists who surrounded Walt have been interviewed or have written their memoirs. This is not the case.
And yet, to fully understand Walt and his creations, I am more and more convinced that one needs to understand the artists and individuals who surrounded and influenced him. Which is why, above and beyond the interviews which are the heart of Walt’s People, I will also include in the series a few well-researched essays about key but little-known Disney artists. By better understanding the lives and times of Perce Pearce, Otto Englander, John P. Miller, Cy Young, John Sibley, or John Dunn, to name a few, we will manage to connect more and more dots, while picturing even more clearly the dynamics of the Studio.
If you have written or are planning to write such an essay, I would encourage you to submit it for publication.

Speaking of connecting the dots, this volume has a scope unequaled by its predecessors. It includes for the first time a large section about Walt Disney Imagineering, a subject which we have not yet tackled much in the series, allowing us to understand better the evolution of the Audio-Animatronics and the building of Walt Disney World. It also delves for the second time into the ‘50s, thanks to the interviews with Ward Kimball, Frank Armitage, Ray Aragon, Jacques Rupp, and Joe Hale. There is even a chapter focusing on very recent Disney history, in which we discover how Ed Catmull helped preserve “the holy fire” of Disney storytelling and bring it back where it belongs. Of course the Golden Age of Disney animation, the troubled ‘40s, or Disney comic-book history are also discussed in detail, thanks to the “usual suspects.”

One more thing: my interview with Ray Aragon was conducted only a few days before his death, which leads me to remind you, once again, how important it is today to preserve Disney history in a timely fashion. Time is running shorter and shorter.

And now, without further ado, let’s meet two Disney Legends who knew Walt as a young man.

Didier Ghez
Oñati, Spain, April 2011.]

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

There were virtually no Disney items released in Spain after the start of the Civil War on July 17, 1936, so when one discovers a book like the one above (I was lucky to do so this weekend) one expects it to date from 1936. But I am also almost certain that this is the translation of the book Mickey Mouse and Mother Goose which was released in the UK by Collins in 1937, which means that it would have been released in Spain during the Civil War, which would be consistent with the quality of the paper used.

Do not miss today:

- DAPPER WALT~An Up and Comer ... An "Important Director" by Paul F. Anderson
- The Walt Disney Studio - One Year On by David Lesjak
- Frank & Ollie by Andreas Deja
- Eric Larson by Andreas Deja
- Vintage Headlines: Keep Running. We're Brothers by Jeff Pepper
- The Osmond Brothers at Disneyland by Jim Korkis
- Walt Disney WorldSwan and Dolphin on WDW Radio Podcast by Werner Weiss and Jim Korkis

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

One of the greatest True Life Adventures' cinematographers is Paul Kenworthy. While working on one of his interviews, I stumbled upon a German documentary that has been produced about him, unfortunately not yet released on DVD. I am hoping to get more information about this within the next few weeks. For now, you can see above the trailer of About Paul, as the documentary is called.
And as if all this (see below) was not enough, Andreas Deja (who left Disney in January this year but still acts for them as a consultant) has just launched his blog.

It's an other very, very beautiful day for Disney History. Michael Barrier has just released his interview with Fred Kopietz. Enjoy!

Do not miss today:

- PLEASANT BUFFOONERY ~ Remembering Wally Boag by Paul F. Anderson (great article!)
- IMPORTANT DISNEYLAND GUEST! Very Important! by Paul F. Anderson
- 5 Year Anniversary of Daveland Blog! by Dave DeCaro
- Tribute to Betty & Wally by Dave DeCaro
- Remembering Wally Boag & Betty Taylor, the stars of Disneyland's long-running Golden Horseshoe Revue by Jim Hill
- Now back on DVD, “Bambi” recalls Walt Disney’s love of nature (with Jim Korkis)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Jim Korkis just found out that Stuart Ng is selling some usually pretty hard to find books of non-Disney drawings by Herb Ryman. You can see them here. Some are a bit cheaper at this other link.

This just in from Leo Holzer:

[We're saddened by the death of a true one-of-a-kind Disney Legend, Wally Boag, a comic song-and-dance man who probably "lost" more than a million teeth in his record run at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Revue. He performed at Walt and Lillian Disney's 30th anniversary party a scant few days before Disneyland opened to the public and the show became one of Walt's favorite things to show off to famous visitors. He was also the only performer allowed to sell his own line of merchandise at the park. Does anyone remember or still have "Boagalloons"?

Betty Taylor has also passed away, a day after her fellow "Golden Horseshoe Revue" castmember. She was in the show the longest, joining it in 1956 and remaining until its final performance in 1986.]

Friday, June 03, 2011

This is not really Disney history, but since this book is written by Disney producer Don Hahn and will contain quite a few examples related to his Disney career, I thought you might want to know about it.

This is basically a new, completely updated and expanded version on Don's previous book, Dancing Corn Dogs in the Night.

I will try and post of a review of the book when I get it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The new Hake's auction is up. A few cool pieces, including this funny diploma created by T. Hee for Bill Cottrell.