Thursday, April 19, 2018

I have to admit that I am really looking forward to seeing Amid Amidi's biography of Ward Kimball released by publisher Antibookclub. It is now scheduled for some time in 2019 apparently.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

I just noticed that The Art of Incredibles 2 can now be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I was helping a friend with some Disney history research this weekend and stumbled upon this great WWII poster.

As David Lesjak explains in his seminal book Service with Character:

[In 1941, United China Relief, an organization was formed to aid the people of China, set a goal to raise five million dollars in donations. The Sino-Japanese War, which had started in 1937, caused untold misery for hundreds-of-thousands Chinese citizens who suffered under the yoke of Japanese occupation. The main purpose of United China Relief was to raise money to help ease the suffering of the displaced and sick, as well as aide wounded Chinese servicemen and guerilla forces fighting in the country’s northwest region.]

Thursday, April 05, 2018

A few stunning items in this upcoming auction, including an extremely rare concept painting by Mary Blair for Susie, the Little Blue Coupe (page 10 of the catalog).

One mistake in the captions: the drawing on page 40 by Ken Anderson is not from The Jungle Book but was created for the abandoned project Scruffy.

You can download the catalog here

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Interesting auction coming up at Van Eaton Galleries.

Monday, April 02, 2018

This just in thanks to Garry Apgar and Robert Neuman:

[Canteen Muralized

New York’s successful Stage Door Canteen has set off echoes in cities from coast to coast. The latest is the Hollywood Canteen, in which glittering motion picture stars administer to the recreational needs of servicemen stationed in the vicinity.
To brighten the Canteen, the sponsors called in the Screen Cartoonist’s Guild, which in turn assigned Elmer Plummer and Mary Blair, shown above, to design and supervise the painting of a mural. The Guildmen worked nights and in five working periods turned out a bright, gay pictorialization of a cowboy’s dream of heaven. Beer, blondes, cards, gold dust, horses (some starry-eyed from inhalations of schnapps), and blowzy red-nosed semi-angels lend gaiety and sparkle to the walls.
Calcimine color, Plummer reports, “was used to get the most brilliant effect. For instance, the skin tones varied from magentas to greens on the characters; cloud colors ran true to fantasy, etc. Plenty wild, eh?” In a postscript to the DIGEST Plummer added, “Oh yes and we also had to add clothes to our plump nudes (old stuff).”
The artists, besides their work as screen cartoonists with the Disney studios, are serious painters, their work appearing in major museum exhibitions throughout the country. Assisting in the execution of the four-paneled, 336-square-foot mural, were Lee Blair, Marc Davis, Earl Murphy, Retta Scott and Virginia Plummer.

The Art Digest, June 1, 1942, p. 18. ]

Friday, March 30, 2018

 As Disney historians, we are always trying to put faces on names. Here are three Disney story artists from the 1930s for whom I finally managed to find photos. At the top is Lew Landsman who worked for Disney then for Warner.

Below, the photographer is Peter O'Crotty, who also worked for Disney and then Warner before the war.

Finally, at the bottom is Dick Creedon, a prominent Disney writer in the 1930s.

Monday, March 26, 2018

This just in...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I really like the newly released cover of Jeff Kurtti's upcoming book!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I just received my personal copy of Mickey's Movies by Gijs Grob. I absolutely love this book. Gijs discusses all of Mickey's shorts and his insights are absolutely fascinating.

To be read in small installments. A "must have" for Mickey enthusiasts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I just received my own copy of the recently-released autobiography of Larry Watkin. This is a mus-read for all of you interested in Disney's live-action  productions. The afterword by Todd James Pierce about Watkin at Disney is also pure delight. 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

I just received a review copy of Travels with Walt Disney by Jeff Kurtti and I have to say that I love this book.

It is chiefly a book of photographs, which means the amount of text is very limited (but what there is is well-researched, of course).

When it comes to the photos, I had not seen at least twenty percent of them in any art book before. In other words, I discovered quite a bit in this beautiful volume. I was especially delighted to see a great series of WWI pictures of Walt reproduced in it. They had appeared before in the excellent book Service With Character The Disney Studio and World War II by David Lesjak, but the quality of the paper in Jeff's book is much higher, which allows us to appreciate all of the details for the first time.

From my standpoint this book is a "must have." Kudos to Jeff!

Friday, March 02, 2018

For obvious reasons (alcohol and cigarette) this stunning piece by Mel Shaw for The Great Mouse Detective sold recently by Van Eaton Galleries will not make it into They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 5, but I thought you would all enjoy it.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

This just in from Theme Park Press:

[A Few Words About Our Star...

In this definitive book about the cinematic career of Mickey Mouse, animation historian Gijs Grob analyzes each of Mickey's theatrical films, in chronological order, with introductory essays, plot summaries, and notes about the talented creatives who brought Mickey to the silver screen.

Grob divides Mickey's filmography into seven parts, beginning with his first primitive efforts in 1928 and continuing through Get a Horse! in 2013, with substantial sections about Mickey's "barnyard" years, the introduction of his friends and rivals, and his "settling down" to cartoon prosperity, as Goofy, Pluto, and Donald eclipse his fame.

The book also includes a look at Mickey's "doppelgangers," the little-remembered Foxy, Milton, and Rita; a list of Mickey's Academy Award nominations; comprehensive "show notes" that include release dates and the names of the animators, storymen, layout artists, musicians, directors, and others who created each Mickey film; and extensive notes and index.

Throughout, Grob stays opinionated, pointing out flaws where he finds them, and not letting Mickey (or Disney) off the hook for a poor performance.]

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kosti Ruohomaa was a special effects artist at the Disney Studio from 1938 to 1941. After he left the Studio he became a professional photographer.

I just discovered a few days ago this fascinating biography which contains a great chapter about Kosti's work for Disney and about 15 never-seen-before photos that Kosti shot while he was working at the Hyperion studio and later in Burbank. From my standpoint, in themselves these photos are worth the price of the book.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another photo found online which I had not seen before.

According to the caption, this is Walt Disney skiing at Sugar Bowl Lodge on September 5, 1941. That date does not make any sense, of course, since Walt was still in South America.

In reality the photo was taken during the first part of 1941, according to this article on the site of the Walt Disney Family Museum. I will find to find the exact date at some point...

Monday, February 19, 2018

I am so glad to see the autobiography of Larry Watkin released today by Pulp Hero Press. I had been looking forward to this release for more than a year.

Larry Watkin was a screenwriter on some of the best Disney live-action films, including Treasure Island, Robin Hood, and Darby O'Gill and the Little People, as well as a fascinating human being.

50 pages of the book are focused on his Disney career, not counting the in-depth afterword by Disney historian, Todd James Pierce.

I will pick up my own copy right away! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Just found online this photo of Walt at the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This just in from Are Myklebust:

[I found this very interesting photo on a Charlie Chaplin website to day:

Members of United Artists at United Airport in Burbank, July 1933

L-R: Ed Finney, Hal Horne, Walt Disney, Al Lichtman, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Joe Schenck.

The first four were heading to Chicago for a convention of film exhibitors.

Link to the blog posting for details and identification:

Futher information about the four lesser known persons on the photo:

Edward Finney (1903 - 1983), film producer.
Hal Horne (1893 - 1955), publicity director for UA (and later a publisher).
Al Lichtman (1888 - 1958), businessman and film producer.
Joseph M. Schenck (1878 - 1961), Russian-born film studio executive.]

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This just in from David Peake:

[I just found this  today on the Hachette Book Group website:

Practically Poppins In Every Way - A Magical Carpetbag of Countless Wonders by Jeff Kurtti (November 2018).

Also the Taschen Disneyland book has dropped off the Amazon website.
The Ub Iwerks and Monorail books both have release dates in 2019.]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This just in from Theme Park Press about this new book, for your information:

[The Past in Mint Condition

Film critic Josh Spiegel analyzes in depth the poignant themes of loss and nostalgia that run beneath the exuberant playfulness of the Toy Story and Cars films. He concludes with a chapter on Disney animation in the 2010s. With photos.

Pixar tickled a yearning in adults who gave up their own Woodys and Buzzes but still cling to the idealized wood and plastic and stuffing of their lost-forever youth. As their own children face forward to the future with Buzz Lightyear's "To infinity...and beyond!" they hear just an echo from their past.

Spiegel adroitly positions the Pixar films as not just animated fodder for the kids but as surprisingly sophisticated—and introspective—fare for the grown-ups.

"Affectionate, vivid, and insightful. ... Even if you've seen these movies a thousand times, you'll discover something new about how yearning for the past defined the future of animation."
—Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly]

Monday, February 12, 2018

I just received two good books about Walt Disney World: One by Aaron Goldberg (released by Quaker Scribe Publishing and the other one by Andrew Kirste (released by Theme Park Press).

If you have read Andrew's previous two volumes you know that his work is quite in depth and will satisfy those of us who want to know about the most minute details in the parks and about the historical background.

Aaron's volume takes a different approach: it is much more of a summary, but it is illustrated and highlights some details about the making of each of the attractions.

Both are really good books for park enthusiasts.

Friday, February 09, 2018

I did not learn a whole lot in this wonderful new book about the Sherman Brothers, but it is a good read and Katheryn did locate a few new sources of information which do make this volume special and worth having if you want to know absolutely everything there is to know about the most famous of Disney's song-writing teams.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

I just received a copy of this new book from Theme Park Press and can confirm that the quality of the research and of the writing is truly excellent. This will become of of the two key reference books about the making on Animal Kingdom (along with the Melody Malmberg book which was released in 1998). A "must have" for park enthusiasts.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

My wife Rita and I at the Annie Awards. I have to admit that I am proud to have been chosen as recipient of the 2018 June Foray Award.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

This just in from Christian Svenningsen:

[While I was researching about Queen Margrethe II meeting Walt Disney on her California trip to Disneyland, I couldn't find anything in the history books at the local library. My mind was set up finding other documentations of this story than some comic book of our Danish queen from her birth 'til her coronation day on January 1972, which is where I first learned about it. The librarian at the info desk asked me if I had found anything useful, I explained him my research, and he looked it up on the database. He found documentation of King Frederik and his princesses attending the Rebild Festival in 1961 where Walt Disney was the American speaker that significant year. Not exactly what I was looking for, but the librarian shared some anecdotes of his father attending the festival and meeting Walt Disney, which was something better. He told me his father was eager to meet Walt Disney, and Walt even made a paper hat for him. He located a photo of Rebild Festival 1961 where Walt was visible at the front seats next to the Royal Family. He jokingly couldn't find his father among the attendants on the hilltop in the photo from The Danish Emigration Archives. I asked for a copy of this Photo, and he generously printed it out for me.]

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The blog will be updated again on February 6.
The last volume of the 14-book-long Floyd Gottfredson Library was released two days ago and, like the previous 13 volumes, it is a masterpiece. (12 volumes of dailies and 2 volumes of Sunday pages).

I simply cannot congratulate my good friend and editor David Gerstein enough for having pulled off such a feat. Bravo!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

This new book just in from Theme Park Press. This looks very interesting. According to the publisher:

[Jungle Genesis

Disney's Animal Kingdom "hatched" in 1998, the fourth Walt Disney World theme park, with its DNA an ambitious helix of conservation, animal appreciation, and thrill rides. Journalist Chuck Schmidt explores the genome of this "half-day park" that continues to expand and evolve.

With contributions from Disney Imagineers instrumental in the design and construction of Animal Kingdom, including Kevin Rafferty, Zofia Kostyrko (who wrote the foreword), Joe Rohde, and Marty Sklar, as well as zoologist Rick Barongi and horticulturalist Paul Comstock, among others, Schmidt's book is the definitive guide to Disney's wildest theme park.

Beginning with Walt Disney's original idea to use live animals for Disneyland's Jungle Cruise, and Michael Eisner's determination decades later to build "nahtazu" ("not a zoo"), the story of Animal Kingdom is told on all levels: from the visionaries and concept planners to the scientists, engineers, and cast members who turned dreams into red-blooded reality.

In addition, the book includes separate chapters for each "land" of the Animal Kingdom, including the newest land, Pandora, as well as coverage of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Let's run through the jungle!]

Monday, January 22, 2018

Russell Schroeder just did it again. Disney's Lost Chords - Volume 3 was launched last week and its content is as stunning as that of the first two volumes. The research that Russell conducted to find those "new" lost songs is phenomenal and if that weren't enough the whole book is illustrated with little-known (or never-seen-before) concept drawings and story art.  From my standpoint those books are a dream come true and should be part of the libraries of all serious Disney history enthusiasts.

The Disney's Lost Chords series is not available on Amazon. It needs to be ordered directly from Russell. Here is the practical information:

[The book retails for $40.00.
Shipping within the US is $3.65 extra.

Anyone wishing to order it in the US can mail a check made out to Voigt Publications for $43.65 to
Russell Schroeder
2055 Lower Tuskeegee Road
Robbinsville, NC 28771

Those wishing to pay by PayPal should address their inquiries to and a PayPal invoice will be sent to them.

International shipping is, as always, a shock. I received the following estimates from the post office.

The United Kingdom $40.00
France $40.00
Italy $40.00
Japan $36.00
Australia $36.00
Canada $30.00

International orders should be addressed to If the actual shipping turns out to be less than estimated, a refund will be sent via PayPal.]

Friday, January 19, 2018

Two excellent articles to read this morning:

Paying Income Taxes: The Disney Way by David Bossert
Walt and Zermatt by Michael Barrier

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This is only indirectly linked to Walt Disney, but one of the relatives of animation pioneer E.G. Lutz (whose book Walt used as reference when he was a young man) just launched a fascinating website about Lutz which is well-worth exploring in detail.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Great news! The second volume of Snow White's People has just been released. For those of you who love interviews with Disney artists, this one is a "must-have."

Monday, January 15, 2018

OK, I admit that this specific new book is not totally up my alley but I know many of you will want to know that it exists.

The authors are good people: The Nearys wrote the official Hidden Mickeys book, released by Disney Editions (and the only one now sold in the Disney theme parks). In addition, they co-wrote the great  The Disney Park Maps, also for Disney Editions, and Kevin Neary collaborated with Dave Smith on four Disney trivia books, in the 1990s.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another recently-released book which might be of interest to some of you. (Again, I have not received this one yet.)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

This biography of the Sherman Brothers has just been released by Theme Park Press. I have not read it yet (nor gotten a copy) but it looks potentially interesting.

Monday, January 08, 2018

We have heard often the story of the compact that Walt offered the Ink and Paint girls for Xmas. Mindy Johnson, author of the seminal book Ink and Paint - The Women of Disney Animation has located one of them and posted its photo as one of the illustrations of her excellent article Christmas Traditions, Surprises & Gifts.

Friday, January 05, 2018

I just received a few good books from Theme Park Press yesterday, including the 20th volume of Walt's People and the 6th volume of The Vault of Walt, which is an excellent read, as always.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

My good friend David Peake just noticed this upcoming book on the Hachette Book Group website:

From All Of Us To All Of You The Disney Christmas Cards by Jeff Kurtti (September 2018). Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Two potentially interesting upcoming books that I just spotted on Amazon:

Disney Deconstructed: Fun Facts and Trivia for Disney and Pixar Fans by Jessica Ward (Disney Editions) and Walt Disney’s Disneyland by Chris Nicholas (Taschen).

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Happy New Year to all of you!

After months of technical issues, I was finally able to update the Disney Books Network this weekend.

Also, Todd James Pierce noticed that the 4th volume of my They Drew As They Pleased book series, The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era (The 1950s and 1960s) is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

The book contains chapters about Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn and Walt Peregoy, and, as always, is full of never-seen-before artwork (more than 400 never-seen-before illustrations)!