Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently by Tim Callaway from The Mouse Castle. In the podcast which Tim just released I discuss the Walt's People project, the upcoming book Disney's Grand Tour and several other Disney History related matters. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I learned with great sadness a few minutes ago of the passing of Disney artist Ron Dias, this morning at 7.30.

I just can't resist stories about early Mickey Mouse costumes and events. Those two articles are simply great and put a huge smile on my face (Thanks to Mark Mayerson for the heads up):

- A Rat Patrol Was Upon Us!
- Follow-Up To Yesterday ...

Monday, July 29, 2013

The latest issues of Tomart's Disneyana Update and Disney Twenty-Three have just been released. I love the article about vintage Norwegian tobacco cards in the Tomart's and am looking forward to the articles about Marty Sklar and about Roger Rabbit in Disney Twenty-Three.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lots and lots of new projects by Jim Korkis to come in the next few weeks, starting with this new initiative from Theme Park Press for Kindle addicts. The Vault of Walt Sampler is a cheap way to get a taste of some of Jim's best stories.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Interesting photo found on ebay last week. The caption just says "March 1964."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One of then most important Disney History books to be released in 2014, Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit by Garry Apgar, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I have just spent a large part of this weekend reading an advance copy of Marty Sklar's autobiography, Dream It! Do It!

This is a must-have, of course, especially if you are intested in the history of the Disney parks from the New York 1964 World's Fair to Hong Kong Disneyland.

This is also a very problematic book, unfortunately, for many reasons. The main one is that the content is way too sketchy. Granted, it would have taken a minimum of ten volumes of the same size for Marty to recount more than 50 years working for Disney, and one is bound to be disappointed by how short the book is. But what makes things much worse are two huge issues in the book:

- Marty spends a lot of time re-explaining many facts that are obvious to anyone who has read even the most basic books about the history of the Disney parks and reminding us of well-known stories told often already.

- What is even worse, Marty quotes at length (and I really mean at length), in several chapters, from autobiographies of various of his colleagues, including Jack Lindquist, Michael Eisner, John Hench, etc. To say that this is puzzling would be an understatement. (On a side note, in the Disneyland Paris section of the book, Marty quotes from an interview which I conducted more than 10 years ago with Tom Morris and introduces that quote as "Tom Morris speaking to D23" - since the quote was used in my recent article about DLP in Disney Twenty-Three this is technically correct but nonetheless frustrating.)

Don't get me wrong, there are quite a few new stories in the book, especially in the World's Fair and EPCOT sections, and I was pleasantly surprised by how candid Marty was when it comes to discussing some of the politics between Dick Nunis and him, or Paul Pressler and Cynthia Harris.  And the three photo sections are pure delight.

I hope that Marty will not consider this book as his final contribution to Disney History but will soon grant an interview to one or to several historians equipped to conduct lengthy oral histories with him (even if those interviews were to be released only "after Marty.")

If the book serves as a starting point, then it will serve its purpose well.
Jerry Beck's website, Cartoon Research, is definitely worth checking every day. I have now added it to the permanent links on the right.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Here's another caricature, by Henry Major - probably not one of his best - published in a book "Hollywood", 1938.]

Friday, July 19, 2013

Snow White - Book Chapter

As you know, last year I rated JB Kaufman's book about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the best Disney History book of 2012. At the time, I mentioned that we can almost never exhaust a subject matter when it comes to Disney History. I have just become aware of the fascinating research conducted by music composer David Johnson about Snow White. David conducted over the years interviews with dozens of the artists who worked on the movie, some of whom he was the only one to locate. I had a chance to read the manuscript which came out of that research and would love to see it in print at some point. One can always dream.

In the meantime, David has allowed me to offer the chapter about Ink and Paint for download on the Disney History Blog. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Small Town Man

 This just in from Gunnar Andreassen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

La Belle au Bois Dormant

Just a short post to let you know that I have now received a copy of Pierre Lambert's lavish book about Sleeping Beauty and this is once again a masterpiece when it comes to artwork and the way it is reproduced.

I especially loved some of the surprises that Pierre includes, like the character studies by Tom Oreb and all of the Kay Nielsen concept art reproduced as it deserves to be for the very first time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Roy Williams

 This article from American History Illustrated, April 1979 thanks to Robert Spezzano.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Help Needed

Help Needed

A good friend is trying to locate a scan of the article about Disney by Janet Flanner released in Harper's Bazaar from November 1, 1936. Can anyone help?

Jack Campbell

These two great shots just in from Steven Hartley!

[Disney animator Jack Campbell worked at Douglas Aircraft during WW2 as a art designer. There, he designed propaganda posters, and one of his creations was Tokyo Kid, who was a well-known WW2 propaganda character during the war. Here is an example of a poster he designed.

Of course, we may vaguely know his work at Disney, but its great to know what he looks like!

(Photo courtesy of Earl Pickett)]

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quite a few interesting new visual documents released in this recently published Italian catalog (written in Italian by the usual suspects: Luca Boschi, Federico Fiecconi, erc.). If you are interested in Italian Disney comics, you might want to pick up a copy by emailing:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Antonio Sotomayor

This just in from Garry Apgar:

[In October 2011, Gunnar Andreassen posted this wonderful pastel sketch of Walt by the Bolivian painter, muralist, illustrator and caricaturist, Antonio Sotomayor (1904-1985). The drawing is in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D. C., on whose website it’s dated “ca. 1935.”

That approximate dating is confirmed by the fact that a caricature of Walt, presumably the same one posted by Gunnar, was among thirty-nine caricatures of famous people exhibited by The Renaissance Society in the Goodspeed Galleries of the University of Chicago from July 1 to July 31, 1941 (

The subjects in the show ranged from Franklin D. Roosevelt and Clark Gable to Salvador Dalí and Disney to Hitler and Mussolini.

In 1942, the Illinois Art Gallery, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, exhibited a similar number of caricatures by Sotomayor. A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune remarked, “His show is one of the most brilliant, intelligent and witty we’ve come across in ages.” Many of the subjects included in the Goodspeed Galleries event appear to have been included in this exhibit as well, among them, presumably, the caricature of Disney now at the National Portrait Gallery.

Though born in Bolivia, Sotomayor arrived in San Francisco as a very young man, not yet twenty years old, in 1924. He spent the rest of his life there, contributing drawings to the San Francisco Chronicle among other publications. In 1988, his widow, Grace Sotomayor, donated his Papers to the Smithsonian Institution.]

Reading List

Do not miss today:

- Disneyland Voce 1955 by Todd James Pierce
- The Lone Ranger at Disneyland by Todd James Pierce
- The Rescuers Story Meeting by Andreas Deja
- Happy Anniversary, The Disney Channel by Jim Korkis

And remember that the D23 site is really posting some GREAT stuff in the D'Scovered section. Really wonderful documents.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This just in from Garry Apgar.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Mickey's Tour of the Walt Disney Animation Department

This just in from Jeffrey Jones:

[Back in January I asked if you had any information on or a copy of  "Mickey's Tour of the Walt Disney Animation Department".  And although you did not have it, you were kind enough to post my inquiry on your Disney History blog.  Unfortunately, no one responded.  Fortunately, on a recent visit to my Mother's, I found the book in which it was featured.  Thinking you may want to read it or share it with your readers, it is attached to this email.]

Monday, July 08, 2013

Who's that guy?

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[An acquaintance of mine recently purchased a box that included the three dimensional stereoscopic picture below and asked me if I knew who was standing next to Walt.  I don't but he looks familiar.]

Can anyone help?

Friday, July 05, 2013

Open Library

One of the most important research tool I have discovered recently is "Open Library". It is thanks to that tool that I was finally able to locate not just one buth three photos of the elusive William Banks Levy (in low resolution unfortunately), and that I was finally able to confirm the exact date at which Kay Kamen's nephew, George, was sent to Europe to take over from Bill Levy, etc.

The search engine is a pain in the neck, but regardless, it remains a very powerful tool once you get the hang of it.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

William Banks Levy

I was delighted to stumble recently upon a pretty good photo of Disney merchandizing pioneer, William Banks Levy (the person who preceded Kay Kamen and his nephew George when it comes to handling Disney merchandizing in Europe in the '30s).

This is, I believe, the first time a photo of Levy, identified as Levy, has been released in a Disney history venue.

The issue: I only have this photo in low resolution and would need to find it (or a similar one) in high resolution.

Have you ever seen this man in a Disney photograph?

If so, could you send me a high resolution scan?

Or is there a way to "create" a high resolution image based on this low-res photo?

Reading List

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

You are probably all wondering what is going on with Walt's People - Volume 13. This new volume is practically ready (you can see above the caricatures that John Musker created for the cover) and I am expecting it to be released around September this year. You will find the table of contents below. Like its recent predecessors, it is huge and its content is very exciting.

Foreword by Dave Smith
Jim Korkis: Virginia Davis
John Culhane: Reg Massie
John Canemaker: George Bakes
Paul F. Anderson: Milt Neil
John Culhane: Al Dempster
John Culhane: Joe Grant
John Culhane: Woolie Reitherman
Michael Broggie: Becky and Carla Fallberg
Dave Smith: Jean Erwin
John Canemaker: John P. Miller
Milton Zolotow and Lawrence Weschler: Jules Engel
Michael Barrier: Fred Kopietz
Dave Smith: Don Duckwall
Pete Docter: John Sibley
Malcolm Willits: George Sherman
Malcolm Willits: Floyd Gottfredson
Robin Allan: Richard Todd
Les Perkins: Roy E. Disney
Les Perkins: Stormy Palmer
Les Perkins: Paul Kenworthy
Les Perkins: Hunt and Chris Hibler
Didier Ghez: Boyd Shaffer
Paul F. Anderson: Fess Parker
Didier Ghez: Dave Spafford
Alberto Becattini: Bob Moore
Didier Ghez: Blaine Gibson
Jay Horan: X. Atencio
Michael Broggie: Don Iwerks
Didier Ghez: Tony Baxter

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Joakim Gunnarson posted last week a fantastic article from 1963 by Disney artist Bill Wright. This article was released in a small publication edited by Wright called
 The Dissonant Shoehorn. As you can see, this is number 2. Would anyone happen to own any other issues of this publication? I am wondering what other wonders we could find in them!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Not sure yet how good this book is, but apparently it contains a few stories about working for Disney. I will let you know my thoughts when I get it.