Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Animation Art auction by Heritage Auctions which will take place on July 1 and 2 is, as far as I can tell, the most outstanding animation art auction of all times. This is not an overstatement. It contains so many masterpieces that I do not even know where to start. Here are just a few of the highlights:

- The best piece by Kay Nielsen from Night on Bald Mountain that I have ever seen (above).

-  An incredible original drawing of Laurel and Hardy with two of the Pigs by Hank Porter.

- The complete thumbnails from the Tar Baby sequence in Song of the South by Ken Anderson!!!

- A huge collection of story drawings from the abandoned musical project On the Trail by Retta Scott.

And there is a LOT more.

Even if you do not have the money to bid on anything, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Needless to say, I can't wait to get this new book by Pierre Lambert, which will be released in France at the end of the year...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Business of Walt Disney by Barry Linetsky is an excellent book. It is the first real attempt at telling the whole story of Walt's career purely from a business standpoint and it definitely achieves its goal. Barry has done his homework. His book is well researched and an easy read (thankfully, since it is 578-page long). He makes excellent use of all the interviews that have been released via Walt's People over the years and of all the other books about Disney history that were not available to his predecessors.

This is therefore an excellent book to get a great overview of Disney's career and one that the casual Disney history enthusiasts will want to read right away.

When it comes to Disney historians, this book might not quite achieve what they are looking for. If you have read everything that has been written throughout the years about Disney history, then you crave books that tap into new sources of information (very rare articles, new interviews, diaries, correspondence, memos, etc.) This is not what you will find in this book. But then again, there are very, very few Disney history books that offer this these days, so this does not take away from the quality of what Linetsky has achieved.

Monday, June 19, 2017

I love Jim Korkis' books. All of them. They are light reading and I always learn something new in all of them. They are also a great starting point to make new discoveries. I find a lead there, a new quote here and this usually sparks new ideas for areas of Disney history that should be researched in depth.

Secret Stories of Disneyland, Jim's new book, released by Theme Park Press, is no exception and I was very glad to add it to my library last week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Will you attend D23 Expo this year? If so, I am glad to say that I will be presenting on the Disney Archives stage for one hour on Saturday, July 15, at 11.30AM. The subject of the presentation:

The Hidden Art of Disney: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the They Drew As They Pleased book series.

I am really looking forward to meeting you all there. After the presentation, I will be glad to sign your books at the booth of Saturday Toys.

For technical reasons, none of the books will be sold at the Expo, but if you bring your own copies, I will be there to personalize them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Needless to say, I hate this book's cover design. It is, however, easy to read and very enjoyable. Target readers are not Disney historians who will not discover anything new in this volume, but the young nephew or nieces of those Disney historians who want to start getting a sense of what is so fun about Disney and Disney history. A good gift idea if you want to introduce someone to who Walt was and what makes Disneyland special.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This new book by composer and scholar James Bohn is the best study of Disney music to date. It is in-depth and based on excellent research. It is a useful reference book that most Disney historians will thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately the physical book version is also way to expensive, which is a shame as this factor is bound to hurt sales.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I was surprised to hear a few weeks ago from someone I trust that the upcoming book Eat Like Walt by Marcy Carriker Smothers is a volume that is based on a large amount of original, in-depth historical research. I am now very much looking forward to pick it up when it is released.

Friday, June 09, 2017

I just received a review copy of The Art of Cars 3.

I hear that the movie Cars 3 is much better than the previous installment in the franchise, which is good news. Unfortunately there is not much in the book that really excites me. I have a feeling that this is because I am much more interested in character designs than in storyboard drawings and there is very little "concept art" in this book since the Cars universe has already been well-established. In other words, this book was a disappointment.

That being said, I have very high hopes from the next "Art of" book which will follow in this series: The Art of Coco. I just can't wait to get that one!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

I just reviewed a review copy of Poster Art of Cars by Victoria Saxton.

I have never been a big fan of the Cars movies, and so I was surprised by the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Make no mistake, this is not a history book and if you buy it you will not do so for the text. But the art it contains is hilarious and really, really well done. All sorts of takes on real and "fake" (parody) posters from the Cars universe. The overall sense of humor and sense of detail got me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

This just in from Heritage Auctions. I will post a lot more about this historic auction very soon.

[One of the Largest Collections of Fantasia Art Featured in Heritage Animation Auction

DALLAS, Texas (June 5, 2017) – From animation drawings to production cels, concept art to storyboards, Heritage Auctions’ July 1 Animation Sale will offer one of the largest selections of artwork from the groundbreaking classic 1940 Walt Disney animated feature film Fantasia. No other piece highlights the rarity of this auction as well as Kay Nielsen’s epic “Night on Bald Mountain” Concept Painting (Walt Disney, 1940), which is expected to sell for $50,000.

“We’re highlighting this sale featuring ‘The Art of Fantasia,’” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation at Heritage Auctions. “This is one of the largest collections of production artwork – cels, animation drawings, concept art, storyboards  – from this film ever in one auction. Over 60 pieces of original production art for this film are in this sale!”

Being offered is a fantastic original of Mickey Mouse as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Production Cel. Mickey’s role as the “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is arguably his greatest and most impactful role (est. $15,000). The Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen,makes another appearance with a piece of Preliminary Background Art (est. $10,000). Another piece of animation from Fantasia is a Production Cel from the “Nutcracker Suite” section. This cel features Fantasia’s equivalent of Dopey, Hop Low and the accompanying mushroom dancers. Ben Ali Gator and Hyacinth Hippo Production Cel (est. $5,000) will be a fun hand-inked, hand-painted, fan favorite, and the “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Storyboard Painting (est. $1,000) is a magical representation of Mickey’s role.

In addition to the ample amount of Fantasia production art, pieces from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Song of the South, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Pinocchio as well as rare never-before-seen artwork from all the major animation studios, among others, will be presented in the July event.

Some of the earliest known art to come from the hand of Tim Burton will be offered, such as Stalk of the Celery Monster (est. $10,000) from Burton’s time at Cal Arts in 1979, and The Black Cauldron (Walt Disney, 1985), several concept art pieces from his time as an apprentice at Disney (est. $5,000).

Ken Anderson’s early Disneyland Haunted Mansion Studies (est. $5,000) is one of the most important lots Heritage Auctions has ever offered regarding Disneyland. Based on the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose California, The Haunted Mansion notes and plans are confined to a soft binder that Walt Disney and Ken Anderson loosely designed in 1957, 12 years before the ride officially opened.

One of the earliest known Mighty Mouse Production cels on its Key Master set ups from the cartoon Pandora’s Box is a special lot being offered in this sale. It is a rare, blue Super Mouse (Mighty Mouse) Production Cel on its Key Master hand-painted production background before legal reasons required the character to have his name and colors changed. In this Key Master Background Setup Super Mouse features the original, pre-infringement, Superman colors. This key cel and background set up could be the earliest Key Master Setup of Super Mouse/Mighty Mouse known to exist (est. $5,000).

“This auction will also feature the largest collection of Disneyland hand-silkscreened park entrance posters ever offered to the public,” Lentz said. “These are signed originals highlighted in several books celebrating the art of Disneyland.”

More than 1,000 rare and many never-before-seen lots from all major animation studios from some of the most important people in the history of animation also will be included in this sale.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
·         It’s a Small World Concept Painting by Mary Blair (est. $10,000)
·         Lady and the Tramp Production Cel (est. $1,000)]

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

I have not yet seen Aladdin - The Musical, but I hear it is an excellent show.

I have just received a copy of the book about the making of the show, The Road to Broadway and Beyond Disney Aladdin: A Whole New World by Michael Lassell.

This is a beautiful book and a model when it comes to books about musicals. All is in there: great interviews, beautiful concept art, great behind-the-scenes photos. If you are into Broadway musicals, especially Disney ones, this book is definitely for you. It is a home-run.

Monday, June 05, 2017

There are two upcoming Disney-related auctions that are really worth paying attention to these days as both contain astounding treasures.

The first one is focused on the Disney parks. It is organized by Van Eaton Galleries and will take place on June 25.

One of the most exceptional items it contains is the map that Roy O. Disney brought to New York at the end of 1953 to convince the bankers and the TV networks to invest in Disneyland. This is the real deal. It is the original document enhanced by hand by Herb Ryman himself based on the original map he drew a short time earlier on Walt's request. More about this at this link.

I will discuss the second exceptional auction later this week. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

This is a series of lectures I would really have loved to attend.

On a more serious note: we know that transcripts of those lectures existed at some point. One of them (the Joe Grant one) has survived. I really hope that one day we will be able to locate all the others if someone saved them... 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Claude Marin was the most "Disney" of all the French artists working for Le Journal de Mickey after WWII and until the 1990s. I had the chance of getting to know him at the end of his life. He truly loved Disney and drawing Mickey and his friends.

I just discovered this tribute to his non-Disney art from Le Journal de Mickey a few weeks ago. This book was released in France in 2007. Its print run was limited to 200 copies.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Japanese friend recently picked up for me this huge catalog from the exhibition that is currently taking place in Tokyo at the Miraikan Museum. Some good stuff in there.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The blog will be updated again on May 30.
This just in from Ken Kebow:

[I wanted to let you know that our award-winning short documentary about Rolly is now available for purchase!!! Interested parties can go to "" to order their DVD copies.]

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A new, expanded version of this seminal book (in Norwegian) has just been released.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I just received this book last week. To be totally candid, I have never been very interested in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so the second part of this volume is one I skipped completely. The first part deals with all of the pirates-related projects that were developed under Walt as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions.

It is a well-written book and quite thorough when it comes to giving an overview of everything Disney related to pirates.

What made the book worthwhile from my standpoint are the pages about the movie Treasure Island which include quite a bit of artwork that I had never seen before. The section about Pirates of the Caribbean is also quite good although I did not discover much in it. At the very beginning of the book is one story sketch from the abandoned Goofy short How to Be a Pirate. I wish there had been a lot more about that abandoned project, which really intrigues me.

Bottom-line: this is not a bad book. For historians and history enthusiasts, it's a nice-to-have (but not a "must have") that does contain a few cool surprises.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Do not miss today on CartoonBrew the preview of Mindy Johnson's long awaited book Ink & Paint - The Women of Walt Disney's Animation!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

And here is another drawing by Ward Kimball, released in the magazine Script on May 25, 1940.

Monday, April 17, 2017

My good friend Paul Sorokowski spent some time last week researching old issues of the magazine Script. In a few of them he discovered some gag drawings created by Ward Kimball. This one was released in the January 27, 1940 issue of the magazine.

We have Norman Ferguson (Fergy) on the right, but who is his assistant "Mike"? I do not have the answer. Could anyone help?

Friday, April 14, 2017

This is another exhibition you really should not miss if you are in LA!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Among the papers of Disney Legend Ham Luske, his kids found this small Christmas book that Ham intended to release during his lifetime.

I knew that Theme Park Press and Luske's family were planning to finally make it available, but I totally missed its launch back in December. I will pick it up soon, of course!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I just stumbled upon this great special cover of the magazine International Cinematographer while researching something totally different last week and thought you would enjoy it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Of course, if you want to know more about George McGinnis, who passed away last week, the book to read is From Horizon to Space Mountain.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Sadly: George McGinnis, last Imagineer hired by Walt Disney, dies.

I conducted an interview with George McGinnis back in 2009. It was released in Walt's People - Volume 16.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

It took Amazon a really long time but the price of Jack of All Trades has finally been reduced (for a limited amount of time) to $9.99. If you plan to buy the book, the time is now!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

One of the artists featured in the upcoming They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age, is the Ecuadorian Eduardo Sola Franco, who worked at Disney for a few months in 1939 and created hundreds of concept drawings for the Don Quixote project.

For those of you who will be in Paris over the next few weeks, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France just opened an exhibition about Sola Franco's amazing illustrated diaries. I wish I could see this.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

I really, really hope I will be able to attend this exhibition from my good friend, Imagineer Julie Svendsen (click on the image to enlarge).

Monday, April 03, 2017

I am glad to announce that  the book Snow White's People: An Oral History of the Disney Film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Volume 1) by David Johnson (which I spent the last few months editing) has been released this weekend. This is a two-part series and Theme Park Press should release the second volume towards the end of this year or early next year, when I finish editing the second half of the interviews.

This first volume contains interviews with the following people:

Wilfred Jackson, Bill Cottrell, Dick Lundy, Grim Natwick, Shamus Culhane, Ollie Johnston, Art Babbitt, George Rowley, Libbie Meador, Eustace Lycett, McLaren Stewart, Ken O'Connor, Claude Coats, Katherine Kerwin, Ink and Paint (Helen Nerbovig McIntosh, Grace Godino, Virginia Pearson), Erna Englander, Elly Horvath, Bob Cook, Eloise Tobelman, and Thor Putnam.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Looking forward to this off-the-beaten-path book by David Bossert.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Disneyland Paris is about to celebrate its 25th birthday on April 12 this year. To celebrate, the park just released a new book, written by Jeremie Noyer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I am fascinated by the history of the Disney commercials from the 1950s and They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 4 will discuss the subject in some amount of detail both in the introduction and in the chapter about Tom Oreb, So I was glad to get this link from Are Myklebust to a website which shows some of the commercials produced by Disney in 1953 for March of Dimes (they were aired in 1954).

Here is some information about them I had in my research notes:

[Donald Duck 1954 March of Dimes (60”) – 5544
Animator draft dated: 10/13/1953
Director: Nick Nichols
Layout: Ken O’Connor
Secretary: B. Sweitzer
Animation: Svendsen, Stevens
Talent: Clarence Nash

Mickey 1954 March of Dimes (60”) – 5545
Animator draft dated: 10/13/1953
Director: Nick Nichols
Layout: Ken O’Connor
Secretary: B. Sweitzer
Animation: Svendsen, Stevens, Hathcock, Tanous
Talent: Art Gilmore

Singers: John Rarig, Bill Lee, Max Smith, Bob Hamlin, Betty Allen, Betty Noyes

Prod number created on Sept. 8, 1953]

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jack of All Trades - 99 Cents (Kindle) TEMPORARY PRICE
Bob McLain just let me know that the interview book with Disney Legend, Ken Anderson will temporarily be 99 cents for the Kindle Version (already set) and $9.99 for the paperback (to be set in the morning). This is a great reference book, with fantastic stories.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I am starting to gather material for the 5th volume of They Drew As They Pleased, which will focus on the life and career of Ken Anderson and Mel Shaw.

If you own any original artwork by those two artists, could you please email me at Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I am actively looking for in-depth articles about the making of Disney's later animated features, from One Hundred and One Dalmatians to The Black Cauldron. I stumbled upon a great one about Pete's Dragon in an old issue of American Cinematographer, but I am trying to locate others. The movies I am focusing on are:

One Hundred and One Dalmatians
The Sword in the Stone
The Jungle Book
The Aristocats
Robin Hood
The Rescuers
The Fox and the Hound
The Black Cauldron

Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I know that this is not directly Disney-related but many of you will want to check out the catalog of this upcoming event by Heritage Auctions focused on Knott's Berry Farm.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

I will definitely attend this exhibition next time I am in Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Amazon just released the cover of David Bossert's upcoming book about Oswald. I love it and I especially enjoy this version of Oswald by Eric Goldberg.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I just received my own copy of Paul F. Anderson's new book and love it. As always, Bob McLain from Theme Park Press has done a great job.

Here is the foreword I wrote for the book:

[Ken Anderson’s flurry of inked lines always fascinated me. This is probably why he has remained my favorite Disney artist throughout the years. That and the fact that he designed the characters of all the Disney features that I grew up with: from The Jungle Book, to The Aristocats, Robin Hood and The Rescuers. Ever since I could afford it I decided to collect his original drawings. I never regretted it: looking at them I feel closer to Disney’s creative process than with any other piece of Disney artwork. In other words, I fell in love at a very young age with Ken Anderson’s talent.

Which is why, when I launched the book series Walt’s People, back in 2004, I knew that the first volume needed to contain at least one interview with Ken. And I knew who to talk to, of course: my good friend and fellow Disney historian: Paul F. Anderson.

In the late 1980s, Paul had struck a friendship with Ken, who came to consider him as his adopted son. Helped by this friendship and motivated by his deep interest in Disney history, Paul decided to conduct a long oral history with Walt’s “jack-of-all-trades.” Twenty-one tapes later, in 1993, the oral history was abruptly interrupted when Ken passed away.

I had always dreamed of reading these interviews and of seeing them released in one single place, in book form.

Thanks to the efforts of transcribers Kevin Carpenter, Carol Cotter, Ryan Ehrfurt, Skye Lobell, James Marks, David Skipper, and Julie Svendsen, as well as to the work of my co-editors James Hollifield, Todd James Pierce, and Paula Sigman-Lowery, I am glad to finally see this long-time goal become reality.

You will notice that tape 9 is missing. Despite our best efforts we were unable to locate it. If and when we do so, its content will be released in a future volume of Walt’s People. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy the fascinating life and time of Walt’s “Jack-of-all-trades,” Disney Legend Ken Anderson.

Didier Ghez
November 2016]

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This newsletter dated July 6, 1945 contains some intriguing information about Disney. Read the last paragraph to see what I mean. The last sentence about Bambi and Russia is particularly fascinating from my standpoint.

Monday, March 13, 2017

It looks as if the Walt Disney Family Museum is planning a huge Eyvind Earle exhibition for this summer, and what makes it even more exciting from my standpoint is that they will also release a large catalog by Michael Labrie titled Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle. I will pre-order it now on Amazon.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I have been dreaming of seeing this book in print for years.

I am glad to say that it is finally available!

I can't wait to get my own copy on Monday.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I just received Jim Korkis' new book about the making of The Gremlins and I loved it. It contains a lot of never-released-before information and is full of great quotes from memos and documents that I never knew existed (with Jim quoting all of his sources). This is a "must have".