Friday, July 13, 2018

Great preview of the upcoming Nine Old Men exhibit catalog released here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fascinating interview of Chris Merritt and Pete Docter about their upcoming book(s) about Marc Davis. That book will be revolutionary and I just can't wait for it to be released.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

I can't wait to get a copy of the catalog from the Nine Old Men exhibition which will be released in October.

Friday, July 06, 2018

And here is one additional new book from Theme Park Press that I am interested in. The publisher mentions:

[Disneyland has a lot to hide. Well, that sounds nefarious, so how about, Disneyland has a lot for you to discover. And I don't mean wait times and ride descriptions. I mean the deep, rich, hidden legacy of the park. Its real secrets.

No one knows Disney history better than Disney historian Jim Korkis. In this book, the latest in his best-selling "Secret Stories" series, he unearths still more Disneyland gold and presents it in bite-sized stories that you can enjoy while waiting in line, sitting in a monorail, or whenever you have a few moments to fill with fresh Disney knowledge.

With over 90 "mini chapters", organized by theme park "land", plus a special section devoted to some of the attractions that exist beyond the berm, you're sure to discover new lore about the Happiest Place on Earth, including Roastie Toasties, the Jungle Cruise elephants, Ray Bradbury's Halloween Tree, the (new) Redhead from Pirates of the Caribbean, the Matterhorn Garden, Star Tours, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, and so much more that the pixie dust will dance in front of your eyes for days.]

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Theme Park Press just released two more good books. Here is the description of the first one from the publisher:

[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 evolution and emancipation of the Redhead in Pirates of the Caribbean
The one place in Disney World where you'll see radioactive monsters, zombies, and a giant psychotic woman
The backstories of Auntie Kau'i, Miss Adventure, and other little-known Disney "characters"
More "Disney that never was" with Epcot's Venezuela pavilion and the Lake Buena Vista monorail
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... ]

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Happy 4th of July.

Do not miss this great article today:

Disney's Lost and Found: James Lewis by Vincent Randle

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

I just read this small book by Scott Madden about Walt and polo. It is well written, and the author really did his homework, going to all the sources available to him to put it together. And it is an easy read.

The issue, of course, is that Scott Madden did not have access to the Disney Archives, which means that, despite his best efforts, all of us who have read most of the books written about Disney learn very little.

It is an excellent starting point, though, and one that will be very useful to researchers who might have the opportunity in the future to dig even deeper into the subject matter. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

I just received my own copy of Pierre Lambert's spectacular new version of his Pinocchio book. If you love Disney history books and have an unlimited budget (and a large house) you will want to pick this one up. (Otherwise you will want to wait a few months for the release of the regular edition.)

The special edition that has just been released is the largest Disney history book I have ever seen in my life, is limited to 750 copies, and is not cheap. I was blown away by it.

You can find more information (and a video) about it on the site of dealer Stuart Ng. My heartfelt congratulations to Pierre for another masterpiece.

Friday, June 29, 2018

This came in the mail today. I have to admit that I am extremely proud of this fourth volume in the They Drew As They Pleased book series, which focuses on Lee and Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn and Walt Peregoy.

Almost every single one of the pieces of artwork included in the book had never been seen before in book form, and the story of the 1950s and the 1960s was almost virgin territory when it comes to concept artists (Mary Blair aside, of course).

I have a feeling that you will be amazed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Some exciting material coming up at auction via Van Eaton Galleries.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

While I eagerly await the first physical copy of They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 4, which should arrive in about 2 weeks, I spent a large part of Thursday, Friday and Saturday finalizing all the elements of Volume 5. The text was fully written last year and edited last month, all the close to 400 illustrations have been selected and this allowed me to put together over the past few days the massive caption file which will guide the designer Cat Grishaver over the next few months.

This is a massive amount of work, but I have a feeling all of you will love the end result. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Now on pre-order on Amazon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

John  Musker just sent me this morning the cover drawing for Walt's People - Volume 21. Just a few more weeks to wait and that new volume will be ready. It contains some truly stunning new material.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Quick reminder: Do not forget to check out the catalog of this stunning upcoming auction!

Monday, June 04, 2018

This book by JB Kaufman and David Gerstein will be one of the best books of the year. Can't wait!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The next animation art auction by Heritage Auctions will take place on June 16 and June 17, 2018. The catalog contains some truly spectacular items. Here are three of my favorites: Above are pieces by Eyvind Earle created for an abandoned Disney project from the late '40s and early 1950s about the history of jazz; below is a splendid concept drawing by Mary Blair from Alice in Wonderland; and at the bottom are some character designs for the Horned King from The Black Cauldron by Mel Shaw.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Not sure yet what this new book is worth but I plan on finding out soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I just received my own copy of the second part of Steve Hulett's autobiography, Mouse in Orbit, and I love it. Steve relies on his memories but also on dozens of interviews that he conducted with artists from Disney and other studios to tell the story of animation's new golden age. If you are interested in that time period this is a "must have." 

Monday, May 28, 2018

I was happily surprised by the re-release of the autobiography of Disney director Dave Hand by Theme Park Press. I initially thought that the book would be a straight re-print of the book that had been released in the mid-'80s, but when I got my own copy of this new version, I realized that it contained quite a bit more, including a large section of gag drawings (non-Disney-related), memories by Dave's son, remembrances by his colleagues and even a few illustrations which did not appear in the original book. Sadly, in the core of his autobiography, Hand does not discuss his career at Disney in any depth. Thankfully this flaw is compensated by Michael Barrier's interview with Hand included at the end of the book.

So, if you do not already have this book and are interested in the career of Disney's right hand man on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this volume is definitely worth picking up.

Friday, May 25, 2018

After disappearing for a few weeks, 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 again 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)!

It will be released on August 7.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

In a few weeks Heritage Auctions will conduct another of their amazing animation art auctions. I will be highlighting a few key pieces when the catalog comes fully online, but I have to admit that I could not resist to already mention those three drawings. This is the only example I have seen to date of drawings created (probably by Joe Grant) for the abandoned project The Hollywoods. In a memo to Ted Sears dated December 23, 1935, Walt wrote:

"Joe Grant and Bill Cottrell are quite enthused over this Hollywood idea where all the personalities of Hollywood are gathered together in bird and animal form in the big wood called Hollywoods. It is an idea that could be done in a travelogue style where Mickey, the Goof and the Duck have come back from a big expedition. They have brought back motion pictures and are showing them to the group -- the barnyard group -- or the animal group that we work with all the time. A lot of side play could come in between the characters presenting this thing and the characters watching it."

Monday, May 21, 2018

I read the first part of Steve Hulett's Disney memoirs (Mouse in Transition) with immense pleasure and can't wait to put my hands on this second instalment, Mouse in Orbit.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Life and Times of Ward Kimball: Maverick of Disney Animation by Todd James Pierce is now available for pre-order on Amazon. I have read the manuscript. It is really a great book. Can't wait.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Since They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 5 got the official go-ahead a few weeks ago and is already written (yes, I wrote it way before getting the official greenlight), I am now working on Volume 6, which features Joe Grant, Tim Burton, Hans Bacher, Mike Garbriel and Mike Giaimo.

While researching the abandoned project My Peoples / A Few Good Ghosts on which Mike Gabriel worked for a short time, I discovered this clip, which I believe many of you will enjoy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It looks as if Carsten Laqua's book will finally be released in English in August of this year. I simply cannot wait to read it. I have had it on my bookshelf in German for years and know it is a very important book. If this is real, this is excellent news!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Many of the drawings by Albert Hurter included in the books He Drew As He Pleased and in the first volume of They Drew As They Pleased remain mysterious even in the eyes of experienced Disney scholars. I am still trying to figure out, for example, why Hurter created a large series of drawings of mechanical jungle animals. I strongly suspect that they were developed for a proposed Silly Symphony that was later abandoned, but I am yet to find any concrete information about that specific project.

Which is why I was glad to finally find out a few days ago, why those scarecrow drawings were created. The answer could be found in an extremely rare list of Disney story ideas, compiled in December 1939, in which we find the following idea, submitted by story man Webb Smith:

[Scarecrows come to life in the twilight of an autumn corn field; they drink from a jug of liquor and go into a dance…with male and female scarecrows. They go to a barn nearby, find trunks of period costumes and some old musical instruments. They put on a barn dance. Next, they go to the old swimming hole, toss their clothes on the bank and jump in. This reveals their bodies as being sacks of straw. When they come out they put on any clothing they find, since it has become mixed up. They go to the deserted darkened village in a truck and break into a bakery. As dawn is breaking they furiously crank the truck which finally starts and go back to their perches.]

Monday, May 14, 2018

Two interesting magazine covers about Disney's corporate acquisitions. One from the US and one from France.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Do not miss today:

Changing Trains in Chicago by Michael Barrier.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

I just received a copy of The Art of Incredibles 2. What excites me most about concept art is usually character designs. Since Incredibles 2 is a sequel there is much less character designs in this book, of course. And yet, like all of other Chronicle Books' "art of" volumes this one is beautifully produced and makes you look forward to the movie release. I thoroughly enjoy it.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Great new blog about The Making of Roger Rabbit launched a few days ago by author Ross Anderson. Definitely worth a daily visit!

Friday, May 04, 2018

Sad news: Dave Michener, Animator on 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'The Jungle Book,' Dies at 85.

You will find my interview with Dave in Walt's People - Volume 5.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

I just learned that the Spring 2017 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly contains an excellent article titled "'When You Wish Upon a Star': The Musical Legacy of Utah Composer Leigh Harline." I have a feeling that some of you will be interested in knowing this.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The autobiography of comic book artist Freddy Milton has just been released. Can't wait to read it.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Do any of you live in Osaka or plans to visit Osaka at some point over the next few weeks? If so, could you please email me at 

I am desperately trying to buy a copy of the catalog of the Walt Disney Archives exhibition which is currently taking place at the Daimaru Museum until May 15. Thanks in advance!

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.