Sunday, July 17, 2022

This just in from Jim Korkis about his latest book:

[In the five previous volumes of this Secret Stories series of books, hundreds of tales have been shared about the storytelling elements at the Walt Disney World theme parks, the WDW resort hotels, the water parks, the shopping areas and much more. 


This book is designed to help Disney guests understand what they are seeing and why it is there.  This volume concludes the first fifty years of the Florida vacation destination with a hundred more similar stories to enhance the understanding and appreciation of WDW.    


As WDW enters its next fifty years, extreme changes are happening so quickly that it is more than challenging to try to document them.  In the blink of an eye, the Confectionery on Main Street tossed out twenty years of theming and expanded into The Chapeau hat shop next door removing all of its theming as well.


Epcot has begun its massive transformation into four “neighborhoods”:  World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.  Not only has the Magic Band been upgraded and made no longer complimentary for resort guests, Fast Pass has been eliminated and replaced by Genie+ and Lightning Lane


So it seemed an appropriate time to conclude the Secret Stories series of books with this volume and let others document the next fifty years. As with previous volumes, this book shares the rarely told stories of WDW including:


Ariel the Little Mermaid at the Magic Kingdom, the music of Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the stories of the Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Norway pavilion trolls at Epcot and more are documented.


The detailing in the Art of Animation resort includes subtle references to the Disney-Pixar animated feature Cars, how pin trading began at WDW, the back stories of some of the locations at Disney Springs, Grand Floridian fun facts and much more fill the following pages.


Things that were advertised but never built like Dick Tracy’s Chicago Land, the Buena Vista Street PeopleMover, the Epcot International Airport and the things that disappeared like the Mickey Mouse Revue, Walk Around the World Bricks, Cranium Command, Fort Wilderness Resort Railroad are in these pages.


The exciting thing about Walt Disney World is that it is a living entity and constantly growing so there is always something new to discover and this book will help remember many of the things before they are changed yet again.]

Monday, July 11, 2022

Awesome news: The 2021/2022 Hyperion Historical Alliance Annual has now been officially released. You can order it at this link

As an added bonus, to thank you all for the long wait, we have decided to offer a 76% discount for a limited time only. The HHA Annual is priced at $3.58 instead of $14.99 right now.

I have a feeling you will really love the essays it contains. The one I wrote about Walt Kelly at Disney includes an interesting surprise about the Disney roots of the comic strip Pogo!!!

Thursday, July 07, 2022

My copy of The Disney Revolt, the new book by my friend and fellow Disney historian Jake Friedman should be arriving today. I can't wait.

I read the book in manuscript form and here is what I thought at the time:

"The Disney Revolt--the first in-depth day-by-day history of the seminal 1941 Disney strike--is a meticulously researched book, and a page-turner. Jake Friedman provides enlightening context, offers a balanced account of the traumatic events, and brings all the actors of this colorful drama to life. It feels like taking a time machine and actually being there in person."

Run to get your copy!


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

So, now that "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures" is at the printer, some of you may wonder what other Disney history-related projects I am working on at the moment aside from future volumes of "Walt's People."

The list is a long one. 

1. I am preparing three essays for future volumes of the Hyperion Historical Annual: One about Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen, the second about Disney and Edgar Bergen (including two shelved projects) and the third about Disney's French projects from the mid-1940s.

2. J.B. Kaufman, Ted Thomas and I have just finished writing a new monograph titled "Walt Disney and El Grupo in Latin America," the first day-by-day account of the famous 1941 trip, complete with close to 240 photographs. The monograph is in layout phase.

3. Libby Spatz and I are currently researching and writing a two-part monograph about "Mickey Mouse on Stage and on Radio in the 1930s." This groundbreaking project will cover the origins of the Mickey Mouse clubs in the US and around the world, the Mickey Mouse stage shows (in the US and abroad), the Mickey Mouse marionette shows, the Mickey Mouse parades costumes and floats (in the US and abroad), Mickey Mouse Christmas window displays, and Mickey Mouse on radio in the US and abroad. As always, 90% of the material we unearthed has never been seen before. 

4. Jim Hollifield and I are working on a monograph about "The Making of Darby O'Gill and the Little People." I have written the first half, which focuses on the research trip and the various versions of the story, and will now start help Jim gather material for him to write the second half, which deals with the actual making of the movie.

5. And next week I will have the opportunity to start conducting research for the sequel to the monograph about "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures." That new monograph, "Walt Disney's Adventures in Music, History and Nature," will deal with some overlooked projects from the 1940s and 1950s.

In other words, there is lots on my plate, which is a good thing. 


Friday, June 17, 2022

One of the most exciting projects I have been working on over the past three years is the new, hard-cover, fully-illustrated monograph The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures.

This second instalment in the Hyperion Historical Alliance's monograph series will be released in September this year, at the time of the D23 Expo.

I am very, very proud of this new publication and consider its content to be quite revolutionary. It is the very first time this story is being told; most of the sources I used had never been accessed before (that includes the papers of artist Holling C. Holling, the lost autobiography of Al and Elma Milotte and much more); and most of the illustrations are seen in book form for the very first time.

The first chapter deals with the genesis of the True-Life Adventures: the research trip to Maine in 1938 during the making of "Bambi." (It includes never-seen-before photographs of the trip and a first-person account of it!)

The second chapter focuses on Disney's educational projects during WWII (in a lot more detail that what we knew until now).

The third chapter covers Al and Elma Milotte's one-year-long trip to Alaska and quotes from their correspondence and recently rediscovered autobiography.

The fourth chapter gives information about the roads not taken: the early shelved True-Life Adventures.

Finally, the fifth chapter tells the story of the making of the first of the True-Life Adventures: Seal Island.

Much more to come about this new monograph, very soon. I can't tell you how glad I am to know that it has finally been sent to the printer! 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

A few years back, while researching the fifth volume of the They Drew as They Pleased -- The Hidden Art of Disney book series, I stumbled upon the lost autobiography of Disney artist and musician Danny Alguire.

Over the past three years, jazz historian Hal Smith, myself and Lucas Seastrom (who is a Disney historian, a specialist of the Firehouse Five Plus Two and a jazz historian) have been working on getting the book into print. Lucas served as the principal editor on this project and, thanks to BearManor Media, we are getting very, very close to publication.

More about this very soon.