Friday, September 30, 2011

The blog will be updated again next Thursday.

I have just approved the final galleys of Walt's People - Volume 11. The book should be available on Xlibris at some point early next week and on Amazon about a month from now. It is 629-page long. I will keep you updated, of course.

My good friend Philippe Videcoq is currently selling a rare telegram sent by Roy to all the Disney offices after the death of Walt.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

These two magazines were released in Palestine in 1946 (before the creation of Israel).

Today I would like to wish you all a Happy Jewish New Year.

I can not tell you how glad I am to see us start this new year. I really hope it will bring all of us good luck and some positive news at all levels.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Disney Historian Jim Korkis recently came up with two questions that might intrigue readers of this website:

1) In Orlando, a theater company is producing a one man show about the life of trumpeter Louis Armstrong. In the publicity, they mention that a lot of the research for the play came from unlimited access to the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, New York that houses over 650 reel-to-reel tapes that Armstrong recorded over the years about his life. My question is "Is there anything in those tapes where Armstrong discusses Walt Disney or Armstrong's work at Disneyland?"

2) There has been a lot of discussion about Disney's plans to include an "Avatar" themed area at Disney's Animal Kingdom. My question is "How long will it be before someone starts to claim that the inclusion of the blue creatures in the film were actually inspired by Walt's idea as evidenced by the PEOPLE AND PLACES documentary Walt made on the Blue Men of Morocco?" (For those who are curious, the blue skin coloring actually comes from the staining of their skin from the blue clothing they wear.)

Do not miss today:

- I've Been Looking For This Photo For Years by Todd James Pierce
- Ron Miziker Remembers the WDW Dedication Ceremony by Jim Korkis
- Early Yzma by Andreas Deja
- Disney historian offers bits of Walt's wisdom during BVU presentations by Ashley Miller

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The book Funny Pictures: Animation and Comedy in Studio-Era Hollywood contains a marvelously well-researched essay by Susan Ohmer titled Laughter by Numbers: The Science of Comedy at the Walt Disney Studio.

I just learned that Susan is working on a book about the Disney Studio in the '40s and am hoping to be able to get more information about this soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen.

[I just found an illustration by Covarrubias where Walt Disney is one of the many in it.

From the May 15, 1938, edition of American Vogue, Miguel Covarrubias’ illustration for an article titled “Our changing tastes … in 1938″. The celebrities of the moment, from left, are Benny Goodman, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Orson Welles, Robert Taylor, Lily Pons, Dali, Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontaine, Walt Disney, Dorothy Thompson and Shirley Temple.

A couple of years ago I sent you another illustration by the same artist, with rather low resolution. And here is a blog about him:]

Do not miss today:

- Painting the Matterhorn - 1959 by Todd James Pierce
- A Skyway for Disneyland Paris! by Maxime
- Lion King animator Tony Bancroft takes “warthog”’s share on Pumbaa! by Jérémie Noyer

Friday, September 23, 2011

This French magazine, which I acquired many years ago while still living in Paris, was released on June 29, 1935 to celebrate Walt, Lillian, Roy and Edna's arrival in the "city of lights" just a few days earlier. The cover image combines two photographs: the photo of Walt and Lilly was taken a few weeks earlier, on June 12, in London, on the roof of the hotel where they were staying, the Grosvenor House.

I have recently written a very in-depth, 50-page-long essay which covers the whole trip and which should be released soon on Paul F. Anderson and Todd James Pierce's Disney History Institute blog. I will let you know when this happens.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

While researching Walt's trip to Europe in 1935, I strumbled upon those two fascinating photographs, which are not connected to the trip itself. Would anyone know more about them, about the show, etc.?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jim Korkis recently returned from being a guest lecturer at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa where he talked about everything from the creation of the Disney Brand to Disney in a Global Society to the Three Business Innovations that Walt used to position his “mom and pop” company for growth.

On the plane flight to and from Iowa, Jim read the book The Monster Show by David Skal, a well respected writer about Hollywood’s early horror films.

Here are two Disney gems Jim discovered in the book:

“Along with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, another favorite, King Kong, occupied a place of honor in (Adolf) Hitler’s private cinematic pantheon….(and Hitler had) an abiding affection for the Disney tune ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf’ which he liked to whistle.”

Skal is using for reference Robert G.L. Waite’s The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler (New York: Basic Books 1977) as the source of this information.

“(Actress and wife of Charles Laughton, star of Island of Lost Souls) Elsa Lanchester recalled several years later that Island of Lost Souls was banned for twenty-five years in England , on the basis that its theme was a challenge to natural law. ‘Of course, it’s against nature,’ quipped Lanchester. ‘So’s Mickey Mouse.’”

Skal used the book Charles Laughton and I by Elsa Lanchester (Doubleday, 1976) as the source for the quote.
I do not believe this new book will really interest anyone, but I mention its existence for the sake of completeness. (Thanks to Jorge Fonte for the heads up.)

Do not miss today:

- WDW: October 1, 1971 by Jim Korkis
- Walt and a Ward by Joakim Gunnarson
- A Special Walt Disney Family Museum Event by Walt Blanchard
- Benny Goodman At Disneyland, Anaheim California 1961 #4 (Thanks to Roger Colton for the link)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I learned recently that this autobiography existed and I wonder if some of you know how much it contains about Disney.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It looks as if the long-awaited autobiography of Imagineer Bob Gurr is about to be released in the Summer of 2012. Already available for pre-order it will be titled Design: Just for Fun.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Does anyone know how much this autobiography contains about Peggy Lee's work for Disney?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I have sent this morning the manuscript of Walt's People - Volume 11 to the publisher, Xlibris. This means that the release date of this latest installment should be somewhere between end of September and early October.

As a reminder, here is the table of content of this huge volume.

Foreword: John Canemaker
Didier Ghez: Ruthie Tompson
Christopher Finch & Linda Rosenkrantz: Walt Pfeiffer
John Culhane: Shirley Temple
John Culhane: I. Klein
Peter Hansen: Basil Reynolds
Christopher Finch & Linda Rosenkrantz: Eric Larson
John Culhane: John Hubley
Robin Allan: Jules Engel
Darrell Van Citters: Ed Love
Darrell Van Citters: Mike Lah
JB Kaufman: Frank Thomas
Dave Smith: Carl Nater
John Culhane: John Hench
John Canemaker: Ward Kimball
Dave Smith: Ward Kimball
Didier Ghez: Frank Armitage
Robin Allan: Ray Aragon
Didier Ghez: Ray Aragon
Gord Wilson: Jacques Rupp
David Tietyen: George Bruns
John Canemaker: Dale Oliver
John Canemaker: Iwao Takamoto
John Canemaker: Richard Williams
Charles Solomon: Brad Bird
Alberto Becattini: Don R. Christensen
Jim Korkis: Tom Nabbe
Dave Smith: Roger Broggie
Didier Ghez: David Snyder
Didier Ghez: Carl Bongirno
John Culhane: Daniel MacManus
John Culhane: Ted Kierscey
John Canemaker: Glen Keane
Didier Ghez: Joe Hale
Jérémie Noyer: Mark Henn
Christian Ziebarth: Andreas Deja and Mark Henn
Didier Ghez: Ed Catmull
This just in.

Do not miss today:

- Walt Disney World Stories by Jim Korkis
- Obsessive Disney-related trivia: A Tyrus Wong in-joke by Jerry Beck
- Urban archaeology: Sleeping Beauty’s Paris apartment discovered (Thanks to Jerry Beck for the link)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This just in from Joel Cohen:

[Part 2 of auctions of some of my items will be sold September 25 2011 at this link. There will be 32 lots of some of my cherishedbooks and figurines. Please bid if you want, the reserves are very low.D etailed descriptions are listed in his on line catalog.]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As we know, in 1933 a version of Alice in Wonderland which would combine live action and animation was discussed between Walt Disney and Mary Pickford and a test was shot in Technicolor. Would any of you happen to have access to that footage? I would love to see it.

Do not miss today:

- Ward Kimball: A Biography by Amid Amidi
- Carolwood Pacific and Other Backyard Railroads by Mitch

Monday, September 12, 2011

Great Song of the South concept drawing by Ken Anderson being offered for sale on Van Eaton Galleries at the moment.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tomorrow is a holiday in Madrid. The blog will be updated again on Monday.

Since Hubert Gregg played Prince John in the live-action version of Disney's Robin Hood, there might be a few pages about his Disney career in his autobiography.

Would anyone happen to have this book? If so, could you scan and send me the one or two relevant pages?

Do not miss today:

- Happy Birthday, Fred Moore! by Andreas Deja
- Happy 100th Birthday, Fred Moore! by Amid Amidi
- Fred Moore's 100th Birthday by Mark Mayerson
- Fred Moore's 100th by Jenny Lerew
- The Definitive Barks Collection??? by Peter Richardson (thanks to John Wigmans for the link)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

This just in from Göran Broling:

[Hard to believe but on September 8th, it will be seven years since Frank Thomas passed away...

Attached are two files, and since you are so interested in every document concerning Disney I wonder if you have seen this folder before? It was given to those attending the tribute and memorial event celebrating the life of Frank Thomas at El Capitan Theatre. Howard Lowery actually sent it to me when he found out that I have been a longtime penfriend with Frank. He had been to the event himself. It may be of interest to see for you if you not was aware of it, and feel free to post it on your site if you wish. There is a nice caricature of a young Frank drawn by himself.]

Do not miss today:

- Phantom Boats! by Todd James Pierce
- Tim Burton by Andreas Deja
- Walt's Last Words: NOT Kurt Russell by Jim Korkis
- The Fatal Flubber Fiasco of ’63 by Michael Crawford (Thanks to Sébastien Durand for the link)
- Au clair de La Luna with director Enrico Casarosa by Jérémie Noyer

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I just love this Norwegian box from the '30s currently being sold on ebay.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Help Needed.

Once again, I need your help. I have recived the authorization to release in future volume of Walt's People, the very in-depth interviews conducted with Disney Imagineers by Jay Horan in the mid-'80s.

I have already received the transcripts of those with X. Atencio and Bill Evans (pictured above) thanks to Jay Horan and Todd James Pierce.

Those interviews are about 80-page long each and need to be properly digitized with an OCR and cleaned up.

Would anyone be up to that task? If so, you can email me at
Do not miss today:

- Clowns in the Magic Kingdom by Todd James Pierce
- The original “Rescuers” theme by Jerry Beck
- Pixar before Pixar by Amid Amidi
- The Ghosts of Marceline: The Midget Autopia by Jeff Pepper

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.]

Do not miss today:

- The Horizons Story, Part III: Disney’s House Of Magic by Michael Crawford
- Eating Like Walt Disney by Jim Korkis

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ann Ronell is "famous" for having written the lyrics of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? This biography seems to contain two chapters dealing with Disney. I will pick it up at some point over the next 12 months and try and review it. (Thanks to Amid Amidi for the heads up.)