Friday, October 31, 2014

I also had the pleasure of getting Animation Anecdotes by Jim Korkis and was delighted to find in it a long chapter filled with Disney stories. The book is a real treasure and a must have from my standpoint. One key frustration however (as in all of Jim's books) is the lack of endnotes to identify the sources of the information.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I had the pleasure of receiving last week my copy of The Vault of Walt Volume 3 by Jim Korkis, released by Theme Park Press. I wrote the foreword for that volume, so instead of reviewing it, here is what I had to say about it:

[“All roads lead to Jim Korkis.”

I have been conducting research about Disney history for over twenty five years and that truth is unavoidable. Whatever the subject matter that you are investigating, Jim Korkis has already written about it.

At some point I became interested in understanding more about the highly stylized commercials that the Disney Studio produced in the ‘50s and soon discovered that Jim Korkis had already discussed this obscure subject in one of his essays. Reading Jim’s article led me to interview artist Bob Carlson in order to learn even more about those odd cartoons.

A few months later I was trying to get a better sense of who Walt’s secretaries had been. You guessed it: Jim had written about this too, which helped me understand several internal Disney memos I was reading at the time.

And then, there were instances in which Jim made me aware of a field of research which I never even knew existed, as was the case with the Disney comics drawn in the mid-‘30s by artist Fred Spencer for the DeMolay youth organization. Thanks to Jim’s article, fellow Disney historian David Gerstein and I were able to locate, for the first time, a complete run of those rare comic strips.

What I find fascinating about Jim’s articles, aside from the tremendous scope of the subjects he explores, is the fact that they contain elements of interest both for the in-depth historians and for the casual fans. They are the best bridge between those two worlds which confers them a very unique value. We desperately need new generations of Disney historians and Jim’s highly readable essays are the perfect tool to intrigue, excite and motivate enthusiasts who through hard work, dedication, and focus could become historians. After all, I know this is the case since I once was one of those Disney enthusiasts.

Jim’s essays are critically important for another reason: they help preserve little known nuggets of Disney history, rare interviews, obscure articles and other gems that would be lost forever or extremely difficult to access without his efforts.

To top it all, Jim has been a friend for over ten years. He is the godfather of the Walt’s People book series, which saw the light of day thanks to a long exchange of emails between the two of us. And we have teamed up often to interview Disney artists and other Disney Legends.

So there is joy when I hear that a new volume of The Vault of Walt is in the works, there is delight when I read Jim’s latest online column and there is hope that The Vault of Walt series will one day fill a whole bookshelf.

For the time being, however, I am simply glad to be able to read a few pieces from this volume which I know will fascinate me: Letters to Ruth, Walt Disney Early Feminist, Saving Mr. Banks: Fact or Fiction, Voices of the Disney Theme Parks and Remembering Diane Disney Miller, among others. I have a feeling they will motivate me to conduct still more research on rarely explored aspects of Disney history and that, while doing so, I will become aware once again that “all roads lead to Jim Korkis.”]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I love Chronicle Books' "art of" series (no wonder they were the ones I approached to release my own book series They Drew As They Pleased) and The Art of Big Hero 6 is no exception. It's a gorgeous book filled with - to my eyes - wonderful artwork. I love the concept of a mix between San Francisco and Tokyo and I admit that I am now more curious than ever about this movie, although the upcoming animated feature I am most looking forward to seeing remains Inside Out by Pete Docter.

In summary: If you liked the other volumes in Chronicle Books series, you will enjoy this one too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Joy! Today is a beautiful day: Michael Barrier is starting to post interviews again on his web site. Not to be missed!

I can't wait to pick up this book, which will be released by Tomart Publications in a few weeks. According to Tom Tumbush it will contain tons of new information about the history of Disney merchandizing in the '30s.

In addition I just learned that unbeknownst to me issues 77, 78 and 79 of the magazine Tomart's Disneyana Update have been released over the past few months. I just gor my copies and they are as good as always, especially issue 77 which contains a profile of Kay Kamen's artist Lou Lispi.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A incredible series of preparatory drawings by artist Hank Porter for the Snow White comic book are currently being sold by One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions. A million thanks to Amid Amidi from CartoonBrew for the heads up.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Disney Books Network has just been updated.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Seven years ago, I posted about a Mickey Mouse comic book written and drawn by a French POW during WWII. Since then I had always wanted to read that comic book. Thankfully we will be able to do so soon, since it will be released in book form next month. I love those off-the-beaten-path documents and am extremely excited about this one.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I had the pleasure of getting a review copy of the book Disney Destinies released recently by Theme Park Press. It's a good book, but it is a light book and a book aimed at "beginners", not at Disney historians. Not a lot was new from my standpoint but I especially enjoyed the short biographies of George Kalogridis and Vesey Walker who were Disney people I had not heard about before.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This new book, in French about the history of the Journal de Mickey has been released today. I have not had a chance to see it as my plane left Paris for Miami yesterday. I will order it on and let you know what it is worth when I get it.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The blog will be updated again on October 23.
This just in from Lars Emanuelsson:

[Almost three years ago now, a post on this blog related a story, originally sent to Jim Korkis as a follow-up on an article about the Snow White premiere.

The content was this: for the Snow White premiere, Gustaf Tenggren was presented with an envelope with two tickets. But his wife Mollie didn’t like the seats they were given so she didn’t attend. Years later Gustaf had given the envelope and ticket to a friend in the children’s book trade. The e-mail sender had acquired the ticket but had since sold it.

As a Tenggren biographer I was quite moved by this story. Gustaf had attended the Snow White premiere without his wife, and he had kept the remaining ticket as a token. He was not as discontent with his time at Disney’s after all, I thought.

I was really curious of who the person was that had received the ticket from Gustaf. With the tremendous and kind help of Jim Korkis, I finally got hold of the previous owner of the ticket, and wrote to him to ask who he bought it from. The seller proved to be a person I had known since 1990, when I first started my Tenggren research. His report of the events changed my idea totally.

The parents of the seller had met the Tenggren’s while travelling in Mexico. After Tenggren’s moving to Maine, the seller’s parents worked for Tenggren around the house for some years. After Gustaf’s death, the seller visited Mollie several times. At one of these visits, Mollie presented him with the ticket and told him the story about it: Gustaf didn’t like the places, so he didn’t want to go. Apparently she must have attended herself, since there was only one ticket left. The seller kept it for a long time but later, reluctantly, sold it to a friend, who then sold it on E-bay years later. Unfortunately, none of the owners had a scan of the ticket.

After hearing this last version of the story, my previous image of Gustaf was turned upside down, and in a disappointing way. It indicated that he was just as grumpy as I had suspected after all. Just to think that he participated in this historical and fantastic production without going to its premiere, just because he was discontent with their seating. What a grouch!

If the present owner of the ticket and its envelope reads this, and would like to share a scan of it, I would be truly grateful!

Lars Emanuelsson


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Kindle editions of both Animation Anecdotes and Vault of Walt Volume 3 are now up at Amazon. And on Saturday, November 8, Jim Korkis will be the guest speaker at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco speaking about Walt Disney's work with Wernher von Braun on the three Disney outer space television shows produced in the 1950s for Walt's weekly television program. You can find out more information at the museum website.

For more info about Animation Anecdotes, check this article.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Good news: Walt's People - Volume 15 was sent to the publisher last week and should be available at some point within the next two months. Once again, I love the caricatures that John Musker created for the cover!

Friday, October 03, 2014

This just in from Russell Schroeder:

[I have put out 2 more Disney song folios and wanted to mail you samples.

One folio is the complete score for YE OLDEN DAYS. This is the first time a cartoon's entire score, (songs and background melodies) has been made available. It's the first in a series of folios I hope to put out which will feature a classic Mickey or Silly Symphony from the 1930s.

The other folio is a collection of 34 songs from the animated shorts from the years 1953-2003. Most of these songs were never published on sheet music. The few that had been published have been out of print for some time. I'm only aware of one song that still appears in current folios: "Oh, What a Merry Christmas Day." This folio has a counterpart in another one I am assembling covering the shorts from 1938-1953.

I am including a sheet with ordering information, in case you feel these may be of interest to readers of your website.]

I am convinced that some of you will be interested. If you click on the above image you will see it in high resolution.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Looking for a Research Assistant

This just in from my good friend and fellow Disney historian, Joe Campana:

[I am seeking a research assistant - preferably a college student - who must live in Southern California and have a strong interest in animation history (with an emphasis on Disney animation.)

The position would be an internship requiring 4-8 hours per week and can begin within the next few weeks. Specifics can be discussed once we exchange contact information.

Emails may be sent to animationhistory [at] gmail [dot] com ]

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Found on ebay last week but not picked up (the postage costs were way too high on this one). I thought you would might enjoy it.