Thursday, September 19, 2013

This great picture was taken in Australia at the John Sands packing exhibition at the Sydney Town Hall between August and November 1936.

Among other things, my upcoming book, Disney's Grand Tour, pieces together the early history of the Disney offices throughout Europe, adding a tremendous amount of details to what was known until now.

However, when you look at early Robert Hartman stationary and Kay Kamen catalogs, you realize that, apart from Europe, Disney also had an "official" presence abroad in Australia since at least August 1934.

From what I was able to gather, Disney was first represented in Australasia, through the Australian company John Sands Ltd. Walter Rogan Granger was working for John Sands at the time and seems to have been the Key Account Manager for Disney as early as 1935 (and maybe even earlier).

By the end of October 1939, Walter R. Granger resigned from John Sands and became the General Manager of the newly created Walt Disney - Mickey Mouse A'sia Pty Ltd. He passed away in January 1947 and was followed as GM by his son, Walter Arthur Granger, who remained with the company at least until the 1970s.

Do we have any readers in Australia? Have you researched the early history of Disney in that country? Do you know if the John Sands company, which still exists, preserved its archives? Do you know when Walter Arthur Granger retired? (He passed away in 2008.) Any idea of what were the first products licensed by John Sands and when?

Any additional information which can be added to what I am mentioning above would be tremendously welcome.  


DisneyDave said...

There were at least three wartime Disney puzzles manufactured by John Sands: one had Mickey in a Royal Australian Air Force uniform holding a British Union Jack beside Donald Duck who was wearing an Australian Army slouch hat and waving an American flag; another puzzle had Big Bad Wolf wearing a hat and armband emblazoned with swastikas and carrying a suitcase with a swastika image, walking towards Practical Pig's house with a Union Jack flying in the front yard; and the third was a take-off of the cover from the American, Random House, Victory March book. I have images of the first two and own the puzzle and illustrated envelope of the third one.

michaeltasmania said...

I have an audio recording of when Walter Granger appeared on "The Mike Walsh Show" (an Australian daytime television talkshow)at the end of 1975.

He was there (along with a mute costumed Alice) to promote the upcoming double bill in theatres of "Alice In Wonderland" and "Sleeping Beauty".

In addition to speaking and introducing clips from each of the films, he mentioned that his father had worked for the company, and said that he had met Walt Disney a number of times.


Didier Ghez said...

Michael: Would you be able to post this clip online or to send me a copy at

Thanks in advance!