Friday, September 08, 2017

Dear all: Have you been considering buying They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 2 but postponing your decision? If so, please think about buying it as soon as possible and possibly pre-ordering Volume 3. Both volumes are selling at a 55% discount on Amazon.

If sales do not pick up sharply for those two volumes before the end of the year, I am afraid that the future of the series may be at stake, which is a major concern on my end.

Those books are a labor of love. They are the books I have dreamed of writing my whole life. They can't exist, however, if sales are luck-warm. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Project Updates

The blog will be silent for two weeks (until September 25), so I thought it might be time to give you a quick update about ongoing projects. Here is what I am working on at the moment:

1. They Drew As They Pleased

Volume 3 (The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age) will be released on October 10 this year. Later this week I will be able to start reviewing the first layout of Volume 4 (The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era, which focuses on artists Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn and Walt Peregoy). This also means that I am now hard at work conducting research about Ken Anderson and Mel Shaw for Volume 5.

2. Walt's People

Volume 10 has just been re-released by Theme Park Press.

More importantly, Volume 20 will be released between the end of November and the first week of December.

3. Snow White's People - Volume 2

The manuscript is ready and the book should be released between January and February 2018.

4. My Life As A Cartoon by Leo Salkin

The recently re-discovered autobiography and diaries of Disney story artist Leo Salkin should be released around the beginning of next year at the latest.

5. Other projects

The Ward Kimball diaries are for the moment on the back burner for reasons outside of my control, but I am hoping that the project will be back on track at some point next year.

I recently located the lost autobiography of a Disney artist who was also a member of the Firehouse Five Plus Two. The book is quite fascinating, and while I can't give more details about the project yet, I am hoping that it will be released towards the middle of next year.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

For those of us who can read Italian, this book promises to be interesting. I will become available via on October 1.

Friday, September 01, 2017

This just in from Jake Friedman via Facebook:

[After SEVEN YEARS of research, last March I began writing my book about Art Babbitt and the Disney strike. 

My goal: to complete the first draft before the end of the summer.

Yesterday: mission accomplished!!! 

Stay tuned for the book "WAR IN THE FACTORY OF DREAMS".]

Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I am really looking forward to this upcoming book by Jeff Kurtti, which should be released next year.

Monday, August 28, 2017

This sad news just in from Joseph Titizian:

[I was so sad to hear of the passing of Ginni Mack, the original model and true inspiration for Tinker Bell.

I was honored to meet Ginni and learn of her contributions to Disney Animation from the 1940s to the 1990s as an Artist and Supervisor at the Studio's Ink & Paint Department. I look forward to learning more about Ginni and the many unsung Disney women in Mindy Johnson's upcoming book, "Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation".]

Friday, August 25, 2017

I just got a copy of this new book by Jim Korkis. As always, this is an enjoyable, light read full of fun stories about little known-aspects of Disney history.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I just got this newly released book from Theme Park Press.

I love those short autobiographies of Disney's Imagineers and Parks Operations people. This one is no exception: it's a easy and fascinating read. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This just in from filmmaker Aaron Pacentine:

[I'm a filmmaker and producer with I wanted to bring to your attention a brand new independent documentary film on The Parent Trap. Hayley Mills is participating and others from the 1961 film and sequels. I have already received clearance from Disney to go ahead with my documentary. We are also in the process of arranging to using music from the 1961 film as well.  

 We are trying to get the word out on the project and trying to raise the funds.]

I have no information about the project beyond this. I might support it this week.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I have not yet received this very specialized reference book but I know that some of you will want to know that it has just been released.

Friday, August 18, 2017

This book is pure images and no text. This is not a book for historians. It is one for Pixar hardcore fans and art directors.

I enjoyed it very much but I do not consider it a "must have."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Talk about a book that took me completely by surprise. With a title like this I was expecting a pure "marketing" product. Not so at all. This is an outstanding book, full of never-seen-before illustrations and photographs, and impeccably researched by Marcy Carriker Smothers, an author who clearly cares deeply about her subject matter.

This is a book that will be a pure delight to fans of Walt Disney himself and to Disneyland enthusiasts. I never thought I would say this about a book titled Eat Like Walt, but this is clearly a "must have" for many of us.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Outside world events rarely influence what is posted on this blog, but it happens from time to time.

They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 4 (Chronicle Books, 2018) will feature a chapter about Disney artist Walt Peregoy. Before he joined Disney for good, Peregoy created this beautiful drawing featuring the US, Russia and the UK defeating Hitler and Nazism...

Anyway... Brighter things tomorrow with a rave review of a book I was originally not expecting to like.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I just received recently a review copy of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons by Dave Bossert and David Gerstein. From my standpoint there is no doubt that this is a "must have."

It is full of never-seen-before artwork, photographs and illustrations (and I mean from cover to cover) and the text will allow you to know absolutely all there is to know to date about all the Oswald cartoons. I was utterly fascinated when I read an early version of the manuscript a few months ago.

Then again, I am biased, since I played a small part in this quest by strongly recommending to Dave and David to work together on this project (the quest for the lost Oswald and Alice cartoons not the book itself). I can't tell you how excited I am with the results and with the number of "new" Oswald shorts that they have re-discovered.

Monday, August 14, 2017

I will be reviewing two wonderful new Disney history books over the next few days, but in the meantime my good friend and animation historian John Canemaker has just released the first review of They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age and I though you might enjoy reading it.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation is a revolutionary book about Disney history. It finally gives the women of Walt Disney's animation (not just those from Ink & Paint) the place they deserve... and it's a very important place.

The book is also absolutely massive. You are definitely getting tremendous value for your money.

And it is chock full of brand new information and photographs... from start to finish.

I truly believe that this is a book that will remain THE reference on the subject in 50 years.

More importantly, I believe that this is a book that none of us can afford not to get. This one absolutely has to be part of your Disney history library.

The author, my good friend Mindy Johnson can really be proud of what she achieved!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Here are two new books that have just been released by Theme Park Press. The American Animated Cartoon is a re-release of a great book that had been long out-of-print. And here is what the publisher sent me about Passport to Pixie Dust, a biography I will definitely pick up:

[Ted's Excellent Adventures

Ted Kellogg sweltered through weeks in the jungle. He was far from civilization, and the natives were sometimes restless. The boats were leaky. The skippers were sketchy. The spiels were in Spanish. Fun times on the Jungle Cruise? Think again. This was no E-ticket ride...

Before Ted Kellogg began his 32 years in service to the mouse, he put on his figurative fedora and channeled his inner Indiana Jones. From tropical jungles to the open sea, Ted survived a deep-sea dive that went too deep, a monstrous storm off the coast of California that nearly wrecked his ship and killed his crew, robbers and night raiders in Central America, and other hair-raising encounters.

With the jungle and the sea out of his system, mostly, Ted took a job in Disneyland, but before long he transferred to Walt Disney World, then being built, and took charge of the park's many water craft. If it floated in or around the Magic Kingdom, Ted Kellogg knew about it.

Equal parts adventure story and Disney cast member memoir, Ted's tale is testament to the power of following your dream, whether on land, on sea, or in a certain Magic Kingdom.]

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

I discovered those two photos recently thanks to my friends Tom Morris and Jim Hollifield. Jim wrote:

[This photo (of Walt and the rabbit) was taken when Walt visited Hot Springs, Arkansas and met animals in the now defunct "IQ Zoo," an unusual organization which studied and demonstrated learned animal behaviors. The woman is Marian Breland, who operated the IQ Zoo with her husband. Here's another photo from the same day in which it appears Walt is wearing the same jacket and tie. A reporter who covered Walt's visit shared this with me. He remembered that Walt was hoping for some Hot Springs therapeutic relief from neck and back pain in late 1965; a colleague snapped the photo of him as he waited to talk to Walt. Sadly, this gentleman only took notes while he talked to Walt, and the reporter seen interviewing Walt for a radio station is now deceased. Perhaps there's a recording out there somewhere! Here's a link to a page with info about the IQ Zoo.

More info, including the original photo and Walt's follow-up letter.]

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

disney film on alchohol

I was interviewing artist Tad Stones a few days ago and realized that in the late '70s he had written and directed a Disney educational short that I had never seen, titled Understanding Alcohol Use and Abuse.

I just found it on YouTube and thought that some of you would enjoy it.

Monday, August 07, 2017

My good friend Sebastien Durand just attracted my attention to the fact that an upcoming exhibition at the Cinematheque de Paris will pay homage to the story man / writer of Asterix, Goscinny, and that part of it will focus on the fact that he was heavily inspired by Disney as a kid.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

I just received a review copy of A Kiss Goodnight. It's a cute kid story about Walt, but what makes the book special of course is the song by Richard Sherman and the illustrations by Floyd Norman.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

And so now I have three practically-impossible-to-find foreign books to locate: The "Power of Princess" exhibition catalog from Japan, the Shanghai Disneyland book that was only given to the VIP guests for the Grand Opening of the park and this French book about Pirates of the Caribbean written by my good friend Jeremie Noyer and only given to cast members at Disneyland Paris. I am not amused.

Monday, July 31, 2017

They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 3 will be released in October this year, so I spent the full weekend "finalizing"... Volume 4! That's the volume that will cover the 1950s and 1960s and specifically: Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb (pictured here), John Dunn and Walt Peregoy.

The text is written and has already gone through a first round of edits at the publisher and I have just delivered the massive caption file (which is what I was working on this whole weekend).

If all goes according to plan, the cover will be ready by next week and we will be able to move to layout in September. Still a lot of work ahead, but this is getting very fun.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sad week for Disney history: Marty Sklar dies at 83.

I find this to be a catastrophe both from the human and Disney history perspective, since so many tales will remain untold.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This just in from Theme Park Press about Jim Korkis' new book:

[Wish Upon a Secret

You've heard Jim Korkis' secret stories of Walt Disney World. Then you heard more of Jim Korkis' secret stories of Walt Disney World. Now, with the neighbors gone home and the kids asleep, Jim has a special treat: other secret stories of Walt Disney World. Gather round.

You know what's more fun than finding Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World? Reading secret stories about Walt Disney World. And no one knows more Disney secrets than Jim Korkis. Just when it seems like the secrets well is dry, the often imitated, never duplicated Korkis hits a gusher:

- The Stromboli Room in Fantasyland, the evil dentist on Main Street, and the elusive Lone Ranger in Frontierland

-  Debunking dinosaurs, counting flags, and the many secrets of Epcot's World Showcase

- Hidden treasures of the Disney World resorts, including nanny chairs, kukui nuts, and vanishing magicians

- Fighting dragons, outrunning villains, racing through a dinosaur dig, and other attractions that never were

Each story is short enough to read whenever you have a spare moment that needs Disney in it. That's, like, every spare moment, so pace yourself...]

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

David Peake just noticed that the Hachette Book Group web site is announcing the release of a book about the 50th Anniversary of Club 33, written by my good friend Tim O'Day. The planned launch date is December 12 of this year. More about this soon, hopefully...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Once again, here is an author who did his homework. The biography of Roy O. Disney that Scott M. Madden wrote is the best biography of Roy that anyone without direct access to the Disney Archives could have written. Madden used all the available sources really well and the tale he told is what one would have expected to read in the disappointing biography by the great Bob Thomas.

In no way is this the last word about Roy. One still awaits the book about him that a historian with full access to the Disney Archives will be able to pen, but this is an extremely satisfying read for now.

My only quibble: once again I dislike a book cover. But that is obviously a very minor issue. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

This newly released history of Disney's True-Life Adventures is a great read. The author did his homework. This does not mean that the book explores the whole history of Disney's documentaries in-depth, but Christian Moran does a good job when it comes to summarizing the testimonies of all the artists and cinematographers who worked on them. The book is well-written and full of great quotes. It is definitely worth picking up.

For those of us who are awaiting the definite in-depth history of the True-Life Adventures (which might be way too much for many readers) we might still have to wait a few more years though...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This is a CD I will definitely order in a few weeks...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I picked up this new book at the D23 Expo. Definitely a winner.

Monday, July 17, 2017

My good friend Sebastien Durand just sent me this fabulous photo of Walt Disney with French actress Arletty from 1953 which I had never seen before.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Let me give you a glimpse into my research process when starting work on a volume in They Drew As They Pleased series. I am currently focused on volume 5, which deals with artists Ken Anderson and Mel Shaw. Here is a small mystery that I am trying to crack at the moment.

By September 1938, we know that Walt and Stokowski had selected Cydalise et le Chèvre-Pied by Gabriel Pierné as one of the pieces that they would use in Fantasia and we know that later on this was replaced by the Pastoral Symphony. This is well documented and not an issue.

However, there is something that now intrigues me. Mel Shaw joined the Studio in 1937 and mentions in his several interviews and in his autobiography that the first project he was asked to tackle was a piece set to the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimski-Korsakow. That piece was considered for the "sequel" to Fantasia in 1940/41, but it is clearly a different and earlier take that Mel has in mind.

Which led me to wonder what the story behind that project is. By digging into my documentation I found a few clues:

a) Story number 1034 is listed as Cydalise Suite (no mystery there) but detailed as Dance of the Little Fauns; Afternoon of the Fauns; Flight of the Bumble Bee.

b) In the Daily Report of Bill Garity, dated July 5, 1938, we read: "Checked with Mel Schwartzman the Leica sync loop on The Afternoon of the Faun. It seemed to work very nicely."

c) In the Future Fantasias report by Bob Carr from 1940, we learn that Disney paid a certain amount on April 12, 1938  to secure a license for the use of Flight of the Bumblebee.

d) In another report from the same year from Bob Carr, we learn that the Studio has been trying to secure a license for the use of Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun since January 26, 1938. (On January 26, 1938 it is for the use of the music in a short on the model of Sorcerer's Apprentice, then on February 28, 1938 for a sequence in a feature with Sorcerer's and four other compositions).

This all suggests that for a few months, from January 1938 to about July / August 1938, the Studio was approaching that sequence from Fantasia as Pierné, Debussy, and Rimski-Korsakow, not just Pierné.

The question becomes: are any of you aware of any documentation earlier than all the story meetings from September 1938 which would give us any insight on the plans for The Concert Feature in the earlier part of 1938?

I am not certain that I will be able to crack this specific mystery, but I will definitely try since it made me aware of a historical gap when it comes to the early days of the "Concert Feature" project. I hope we will soon understand more...] 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This just in from Theme Park Press. Again, I will review the book in a few weeks when I get a copy.

[The Overlooked Disney

Walt Disney made the magic, but it was his brother Roy who did the rest—from finding money for Walt's latest wild dream, to balancing the books, it was Roy who kept the Disney ship afloat. His story is seldom told, but without it, there would be no Disney story to tell.

In this extensively researched biography of Roy O. Disney, the first since Bob Thomas' acclaimed Building a Company, Scott Madden traces the influence of Walt's big brother on the company they founded together.

From Roy's early years spent "looking out" for Walt, to his decision to build Walt Disney World after his brother's death, the life of the "forgotten" Disney is presented in rich detail.

You don't know the story of Disney until you know the story of Roy O. Disney.]

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This just in from Theme Park Press. I will review the book when I get a copy.

[The Natural World of Disney

Walt Disney used to say "it all started with a mouse", but really, it all started with a farm, the one in Marceline, Missouri, where Walt grew up and where his love of the land, and all things upon it, first took root.

Many years later, Walt's commitment to nature and to conservation took cinematic form in the Academy Award-winning True Life Adventures series. These educational but entertaining films showcased the natural world that Walt loved so dearly, and that he knew must be preserved for future generations.

In this follow-up to his best-selling Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
, about Walt Disney and technology, documentary filmmaker and historian Christian Moran turns his attention to Walt Disney and nature, exploring Walt's commitment to the environment and analyzing each of the True-Life Adventures films, from Seal Island to Jungle Cat.

Moran also looks at the Disney company's continuing commitment to the environment, after Walt's death, through such projects as the Animal Kingdom, the planned Africa Pavilion at Epcot, and the Disneynature series of feature films.]

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


As most of you know, there are still a few early Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Alice Comedies which are considered as lost.

Over the past few years Dave Bossert and David Gerstein initiated a search to locate as many of them as possible, They were extremely successful, but there are still a few of these historically critical shorts that have not yet been located and / or preserved.

Dave Bossert is close to locating a few of those missing treasures, but getting access to them and then restoring them takes a budget. Which is why he is a launching a Patreon initiative (very similar in spirit to the better-known Kickstarter).

I will definitely become one of the patrons of this tremendously important initiative. I really, really hope that as many of you as possible will do so too.

For just $1 a month you can help preserve a truly critical part of Disney history. This is worth it!

Follow this link for more details.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quick reminder: I will be presenting  about the fascinating stories behind the making of the first three volumes of the They Drew As They Pleased book series at the D23 Expo on Saturday, July 15, from 11.30AM to 12.30PM on the Disney Archives Stage. You will even get an exclusive look at the content of Volume 3 which will be officially released in October this year.

After the talk I will be available from 1PM to 3PM at the Saturday Toys booth (Booth 301E) in the Expo Emporium in Exhibit Hall A.

Due to technical issues beyond my control none of the volumes of They Drew As They Pleased will be on sale at the Expo.

However, if you bring your own books I will be happy to autograph them that day on the booth of Saturday Toys and...

I will have postcards featuring the cover of Volume 3 which will allow you to purchase that volume online later on at a significant discount!

See you all soon.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Jody Dreyer worked for Michael Eisner for quite a long time, while he was CEO of Disney. If this book is honest, it should be a fascinating read. I just hope it is not too whitewashed. I am definitely looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Has anyone of you been to Shanghai Disneyland? If so, have you seen this recently released book titled Shanghai Disneyland - A Celebration of Dreams? I am really interested in getting a copy...

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

This book about artist Dan Jippes was recently released by the Dutch Strip Museum in Groningen. It is written in Dutch, of course, but it is full of Disney content since Dan Jippes worked for Disney for many years both in the comics and animation (concept design) fields.

Friday, June 30, 2017

And finally one last post from my historian friend who is selling part of his collection this week on Heritage Auctions:


Two additional items to highlight:

LOT #95012: As far as I know (my info came from the source of both the posters and also in talking to Marc Davis), there are only two Mansion Original Attraction Posters extant that are signed by Marc Davis. This is one of the two.

LOT #95315 This is actually a rarely scene brownline architectural rendering.]

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A good friend who has to sell some exceptional items in the upcoming Heritage auction just sent me the following which will interest many of you:


THE HAUNTED MANSION GENESIS: This auction contains the HOLY GRAIL Haunted Mansion piece ever offered (LOT #95314); in fact Heritage Auctions wrote about the item, "Here is one of the single most important lots we have ever offered in relation to Disneyland." Strong words.  We all know the history of Walt's Haunted Mansion and how he approached Ken Anderson in 1957 to work up a story and an attraction for Disneyland's Haunted House.  After working on it for the first portion of 1957, Ken had an idea, but Walt sent him back to the drawing board. Ken returned with this piece, "The Haunted House, 2nd Revision, Sept. 17, 1957 by: Ken Anderson." It included a story and a flow through of the attraction, a fold-out architectural rendering of the walk-through attraction, a fold-out brownline of the front of the Mansion (with the Jungle Cruise boat peaking in at the very far left), and history was begun. Also included are two-pages of Ken's hand-written notes taken at the Winchester Mystery House, where Ken tried to track the habits of people walking through the famous Northern California haunted house.  This "report" was placed in Walt's hands and the rest was history.  (Ken also included for Walt's pleasure, a drawing of a ghost done in ink at the end of the report.  There are less than a half dozen of these reports (all different revisions) in existence, but they are all owned by the Walt Disney Archives ... except for this one, Ken's personal copy was given back to him and this piece of rare Haunted Mansion history is now being offered in Heritage Auctions July 2, 2017 sale.  An amazing, one-of-a-kind Disneyland historical like nothing else ever offered.

The above image is a little ink sketch that Ken drew for Walt Disney in the book.

The below  is the far left of the fold out photostat in the binder. You can see fare left and down a bit there is a Jungle Cruise boat, which gives people a bit of the proximity of where the Mansion might be.]

I just got the following note from the collector / historian who is selling the amazing drawing of the Pigs with Laurel and Hardy in the upcoming auction by Heritage Auctions:

[I have some info (and a special piece - a copy of an interesting letter - to go with it that is not in the catalog) on the Oliver Hardy painting in the Heritage Auctions (with two of the Three Little Pigs and an inscription from Walt--disguised as Hank Porter).  It is lot 95007.  One similar to this, but was to Laurel (not Oliver) sold for around $8900 in a Heritage Auction about a year ago (it was HEAVILY faded--mine is pristine). Also more info not in the catalog, the painting was obtained from the Disneyana Store at Disneyland back in the late 1970s. It was acquired by Disney from the Oliver Hardy estate.  They said in their Disneyana card that it had been displayed personally in Hardy's home and was one of his favorites (which the letter also mentions).]